Or, more to the point: The seven books which most influenced my love of reading and ultimately, writing...
I've been bequeathed the Sweet Blog Award (already posted on my side bar), this time by Jenna Cooper of Finding the Write Way. Thanks Jenna! Make sure to check out her blog. She's new and on the rise!
The rules state I list seven things about me and find 15 people to give said blog award to. And as I'm prone to do, I'm rebelling. ;) Instead of boring stuff about me, I'm listing the seven books which played the biggest roles in my passion for reading and writing, and why.
So off we go: The seven most influential books of my life thus far...
1. The Bible. Okay, stay in your seats. Nobody panic. I'm not going to preach to you. But have you ever really sat down and read it? Here's a tip: turn to Psalms. Read any of them. Poetry: uplifting, passionate, meaningful, romantic, and melancholy. Then there are the stories in the Old Testament: Daniel in the Lion's Den, Noah's Ark, Moses and the 10 plagues of Egypt, etc... C'mon peeps! This is drama at it's best! Suspense, tension, dysfunctional families, romance, spurned lovers, murder, mayhem and death. It's all there. Honest to goodness, want to know where I first developed my love of story telling? In Sunday School class with those little worksheets that used pictures and text to highlight a different bible story each week.
2. The Cat in the Hat. Who wasn't influenced by Dr. Suess at some point as a child? I remember sitting on the couch just looking at the pictures. Suddenly, I was somewhere else. Transported in time and space to hang out with a funky cat and his candy-striped hat. I got to make a HUGE mess of someone else's house, and didn't even have to help clean up. YAY! Then, once my mommy sat down and actually read the words to me, my ears tickled with rhyme and rhythm.
3. The Wind and the Willows. My first grade English teacher introduced me and my entire class to this tale, a few pages each day. I couldn't wait for that small window after lunch when she would read. The pleasures of country life and the dependability of good friends. This book greatly influenced my appreciation for individual characterization and scene setting/building. The Devil-may-care Mole, impetuous Mr. Toad, shy Badger, and discerning Rat, all going on picnics, joy rides in old-timey automobiles, and hanging around in row boats. These animals ... they knew how to party. And in the process, they taught me some valuable life lessons. Subtlety at its finest.
4. Charlotte's Web. I think I first read this in third or fourth grade. I cried. HARD. It was the first book to touch me viscerally. I loved Charlotte. She epitomized beauty, but on a level I wasn't familiar with. Spiders had always been scary and ugly to me. But Charlotte, she was beautiful inside. She cared about Wilbur when no one else did. And she threw herself into making his life better, in spite of how weary or busy she was. E.B. White gave me my first experience with a selfless character. And when Charlotte died, my love for the bittersweet ending was born.
5. Goblin Market. Please, don't disqualify me on a technicality! I know it's only a poem. But I would be remiss if I failed to mention Christina Rossetti's influence on my writing. She ignited my passion for imagery and sensory through the power of her beautiful and seductive prose.
6. To Kill a Mockingbird. One word for what Ms. Lee taught me with this timeless and poignant tale: VOICE.
7. Stephen King's On Writing. Granted, I read this book after the writing bug bit me. But even from a reader's standpoint, it's engrossing, intriguing, and encouraging. One of the most valuable lessons I learned from him (paraphrased, of course): You're a writer, not a liar. As long as something is true to your character, it will be true to your reader. Always seek the truth in your writing, and your readers will follow you anywhere. I think he's proven that with his incredible career, so I'm taking his word.
And there you have my seven books.
As for who I'm passing this on to, I'm leaving it open.
Think of it as a meme ... if any of you haven't received this particular blog award and would like to follow the original rules or my new ones, snag that puppy up, post it on your sidebar, and give us all some insights into what makes you tick. Just make sure you let me know in the comments so I can come by and read your post. I love learning new things about my fellow writers!
Thanks for dropping by! Since today is my official day to blog, I'll be hitting your blogs shortly. Can't wait to see what's new with you. :)