Thursday Thirteen
Thirteen Books I’ve Read that made an impression on me
(in no particular order of preference)
1. Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien: This book took me forever to read – I cannot tell you the number of times I put it down and gave up. But my eldest son convinced me that if I could just get past Elrond’s council I’d enjoy it. He was right! I became a die-hard fan and even read the Silmarillion after that. Loved the movies too – but where are the Rangers who became so real in my imagination? It’s spawned tons of fanfiction stories, and other authors have obviously been heavily influenced – Terry Pratchett and Terry Goodkind, even Christopher Paolini with his Eragon. Because his world is so rich, and so involved that it’s as if you’re reading an actual history. Even though editors/publishers admit his book wouldn’t be published today as it is, the Professor set the bar very high for the rest of us writers with his character and world building, not to mention his storytelling.2. Harry Potter by JK Rowling. Kudos to Ms. Rowling for writing a book that made my youngest son read. He hated reading, wouldn’t sit still to listen to anyone read to him, but this book made him stop and listen. Even lunch hour, while he was eating, I’d read the next chapter and soon he began reading them himself. (He was 10 when he began the series and had trouble reading before that.)3. Shogun by James Clavell – This book at first caused fights in my marriage – my husband, a non-reader at the time, couldn’t understand why I’d go into the tub and read for an hour. He’d think I was angry with him and was sulking. I wasn’t, he didn’t understand that a reader loves to read. Things came to a head when I buried myself in this massive tome. I got so involved in it, I even dreamed that everyone around me was speaking Japanese and couldn’t understand me. But then he picked it up and he got hooked on reading and now he patronizes one of the six book stores in the block where he works and brings home books that he thinks I might like to read. What a treasure!

4. The Man by Irving Wallace. I read this when I was 13 and I think it still stands up today. And when you consider the book is about the first black man becoming President of the United States and covered all sorts of political and social issues, and I was a 13 year old white Canadian girl – you realize he wrote an incredibly interesting novel to hold my attention and make it a favourite.

5. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I just picked up this series last year, and promptly sent hubby out on a mission to find the rest – which he snagged at a used book shop. And I’ve since worn out the original Outlander and Drums of Autumn and had to replace them. I love Jamie, and the premise/world Gabaldon has created … although I must admit that I didn’t like Dragonfly in Amber as much, I don’t like Brianna, and by the time I got to the end of Breath of Snow and Ashes, I don’t like Claire anymore either. Such a pity. But this first one is great and will stay on my ‘keeper’ shelf.

6. Hard Truth by Nevada Barr. A recent discovery recommended by a friend who knew I like Sue Grafton novels. Hard Truth is the latest of Nevada’s Anna Pigeon novels. I’ve gone back and read the first two in the series and they’re equally spectacular — intriguing plot, quirky characters who are ALL suspects. As soon as I’m done the first draft of my story, I’ve promised myself time to read Nevada’s third novel in the series.

7. Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. They seek him here, they seek him there, those Frenchies seek him everywhere … I adored the Scarlet Pimpernel from the moment I picked up the book on the bus. It was a ‘required reading’ novel in a different English program than the one I was taking, but I was bored on the hour long bus ride home and picked up a friend’s copy and started reading it. Finished it on the way to school the next day. A few years later I saw the 1930’s film version with Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon. And fell in love again! It, and Victoria Holt novels, began my lifelong love of historical romances.

8. Chrysalids by John Wyndham A required reading novel from my grade nine English class, but it really introduced me to a love of fantasy and sci-fi. The ultimate what-if novel, along with a consistent theme with my writing about social interactions with people who are ‘different’ from the norm. I loved it so much when my kids were old enough to read it, I went out and found a copy at the ‘Half Price Books’ store and it’s now on my keeper shelf.

9. Richard III by Shakespeare. Great grade 11 required reading that really inspired my love of Shakespeare. Don’t get me wrong, I like the others I’d read before too, but Richard III introduced the concept to me that ‘History is written by the victor’. I got so inspired by the story that I actually approached my English teacher and asked for extra assignments. Ok, I was a geek, but I loved that tale and all its intrigue.

10. Rising Tides by Nora Roberts. This hasn’t influenced as such, but it’s one of those memorable tales because Nora’s character Ethan could be my hubby! Seriously! I love Nora and how she brings her characters to life and gives them such depth without making them too stereotypical. (Ok, most of her characters, there have been a few duds in her day) But Ethan is so accurate! and sensitive and I just want to hug him. And I like that he’s not a big rich successful ad exec like Philip, he’s a humble fisherman who falls in love with a single mother. In other words, normal despite his horrific background. And yes, they do exist. I have proof.

11. Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. My first historical romance that I didn’t have to hide — because I was married and had my own apartment so my mother couldn’t criticize what I read. I can’t say I’ve read many romances that begin with a rape and wanted to continue to read (I did a rant on this subject in an earlier blog). But these characters caught my imagination. I look at her style in her later books and I shudder a bit at how florid they are, but then again this was written in the 70’s and purple prose was in. But I still love this story and these characters. I also like her A Rose in Winter, and Shanna … the others, not so much.

12. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis. My favourite book as a child – I SO wanted to find a secret world in a wardrobe. I hated Edmund and wished I could meet Aslan. My parents even had a wardrobe in their bedroom – which was a house called Cherry Cottage built in 1877. I love the opening because my mother has often described how she and her family would have to run to the shelter when the air raid sirens sounded – and how her mother fell into theirs one dark night and broke a vertebrae. I thought, well, if it’s written the same as my mother lived, then the rest must be true too! But their wardrobe never had a secret world as far as I ever found. What a pity!

13. This is a tie — between two non-fiction books. When I was in high school, a girl I thought was a friend spread what she thought was a joke about how whenever she visited me she found me reading the encyclopaedia. It spread like wildfire and I was ostracized for the rest of the year. Unfortunately, as much as I denied it, it was true. I love the encyclopaedia. I love reading about exotic lands and looking at the pictures – remember this is pre-internet days, and where I lived we only got two TV channels, so we were pretty limited for entertainment. So that’s one, the other one that I couldn’t decide from is Stephen King’s On Writing. Which basically made me sit my butt in the chair and write to a specific number of words a day.

By the way, I can’t figure out how to get a list of other ‘Thirteen’ participants here the way I’ve seen on other people’s lists. If anyone can tell me how to do it, or tell me where to find the code, please let me know.

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Thursday Thirteen #1
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3 thoughts on “Thursday Thirteen #1

  • March 1, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    I love the Chrysalids by John Wyndham, I also recommend The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. Very excellent.

  • March 2, 2007 at 11:54 am

    hmmm… 13 favorites. I’d have to list series or worlds rather than books, I think, or authors.

    You know I’d list Tolkien first, The Silmarillion, HoME and then LotR/Hobbit – although, like most kids I read TH and LotR long before the others.

    For me, it has to do with the depth and layers of the world building as much as the characterization.

    This touches chord with me, because it’s something I’ve been debating in myself as I’m writing, trying to be professional about it, and looking at the currently selling books. – and I have to admit that I don’t care as much for most of the more recent books. My favs mostly go ‘way back.

    Burroughs, Tarzan and John Carter.
    I love the old pulps and Sword and Sorcery and don’t find it as easily these days.

    at the convention last weekend, H. Turtledove did a reading from his latest, released yesterday I think, that sounds very fun and entertaining. It’s a fantasy based on a true historical event and I plan to pick up a copy soon.

    Other favorites are AM Dragonriders and almost anything by CJ Cherryh. The Faded Sun trilogy is one I reread on occasion and I just finished a reread of _Arafels’ Saga_ which should be a *must read* for anyone who wants to play in the ancient otherworlds that overlap into our own.

    *looks up* .. I’m rambling and don’t think I’ve listed 13 yet.

    _The Walking Drum_ by Lamour is one you’ve heard be talk about endlessly.

    non-fiction (creative non-fiction) anything by Carl Raswan, although _Drinkers of the Wind_ is my fav.

    recently. I’ve found a new favorite in Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series. _Moon Called_ and _Blood Bound_.

    and I did a little ‘step back’ the other night and tried to figure out what I liked about them.

    The men are strong yet have their weakness. Werewolves fighting agless instinct. Mercy is a skinwalk, coyote. She’s cute and strong and perky – all the things that make me hate most modern protags, (didn’t their daddy ever give them a real spanking?!?) but, being raised by werewolves, she knows good and well when avoid challenging the dominate individual in the room, and even when she needs to get down on her belly and crawl, literally, and she’s not too proud to do it. PB’s world has true cause and effect and sometimes harsh results. She isn’t overly graphic but doesn’t pull punchs, she has a tremendous amount of sexual tension, but (so far) nothing graphic.

  • March 2, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    I had a hard time with a few of these — Nevada Barr is a recent discover, so it’s not like she’s influenced my life as to choice of books, etc. Nora’s Rising Tide just spoke to me because Ethan is SO similar to my hubby – she really wrote a great, realistic character there. But I know I forgot some others that should be on the list.

    However, I made a major mistake when we moved four years ago – we had so many bookcases filled with books that we culled out hundreds and gave them away to the local charity. I ended up regretting many of my choices and began buying them back. I’ll probably end up doing a secondary list, LOL.

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