The following survey was sent by a fellow writer and I thought it deserved a blog post. Do you dare to post your answers?
1. The book that turned you on to reading.
Probably “Dick and Jane.” Yes, I am that old! It didn’t keep me interested long but I remember the magic of discovering that little black marks arranged on paper actually tell stories. I was hooked.
2. The book that got you through high school.
“A White Bird Flying” and “A Lantern in Her Hand” by Bess Streeter Aldrich were among the books I loved in middle school. In high school, I read everything - Edgar Rice Burroughs, Albert Payson Terhune, Edgar Allen Poe, Jack London, Hans Christian Anderson. I only remember once not finishing a book… however, I’ve just started one last night that might be a second.
3. The book that made you a writer.
Perhaps surprisingly, it was when I read J. K Rowling that I realized I was a writer. I knew I had the imagination and had scribbled stories and poems my whole life; but I felt that I lacked the educational base I needed.
4. The book you were obsessed with.
Obsessed is a strong word but as a child, I must have read “Peter Pan”… the real story written by Sir James Barrie more times than I can count. “Hook” by Terry Brooks is a lovely sequel. My treasure, however, is a family heirloom edition of Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales. “The Little Mermaid” always made me cry. The only thing that bears similarity to Disney is the title. “The Little Match Girl,” “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” and “The Red Shoes” – my childhood returns.
5. The book that matured you.
Pearl S. Buck’s “The Good Earth.” I saw the movie when I was barely a teen and had to read the book. I wasn’t disappointed. I began to believe that a woman could do anything… anything at all.
6. The book you can't live without.
My scriptures – words of comfort and knowledge, a base from which to soar, guidance, comfort, and the origin of almost every story I’ve ever read. It also opens the door of history, relationships, and human behavior.
7. The book that surprised you in a good way.
The book was a series - “The Hunger Games.” I didn’t think I’d enjoy the story as it is based on so much violence. I can’t stand the “Survivor” TV series… so much deceit, backstabbing, and man’s basest traits. However, with the exception that Suzanne Collins rushed through the last 20 pages, which created an abrupt end, I actually enjoyed the story as a whole. Oops, should have warned about “spoiler alert.”
8. The book from a favorite author that made you a fan.
My sister read me a line about thousands of lit candles floating over the dining tables. That one line and her recommendation made me a Rowling fan.
9. The book that still is literarily relevant.
Whichever book floats your boat and inspires you to write - Beowulf, Shakespeare’s works, Jane Austen, V. Woolf, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Dickens… even Uncle Wiggly, Aesop, (see #11). Good writing is just good writing.
10. The book that you’re embarrassed to admit you like.
An interesting question. If I like a book, I’m fairly comfortable admitting that I like it from A Little Goldenbook - “Scuffy, the Tugboat” (once pronounced Scuppy by my oldest son), to … perhaps “Twilight,” which will invoke a bit of heat from other writers but Meyer is a good storyteller (I didn’t say good writer and, by the way, neither did she; but she has a good storyteller voice) and I liked the series as a whole.
I’d add #11 – Who do you like now?
Pick of 2011 - Deborah Harkness - “A Discovery of Witches” - She hit a home run on her first novel. If you’re a wine connoisseur, you’ll enjoy her knowledge. I know nothing but was impressed. She’s a history prof in So. Cal. but really has a way with words.
James A. Owen – The Imaginarium Geographica (Excellent Crossover series). Be prepared to enjoy all the adult-who-is-well-read in-jokes! Delightful! Written for children, adults will love it, hence – crossover.
Cassandra Clare – I like her Clockwork series best but Mortal Instruments are a fun read.
Rick Riordan - “The Red Pyramid” series (excellent YA mingled with Egyptian mythology. Quick reads.
Nathan D. Wilson - “100 Cupboards” and “Dandelion Fire” – Young YA. Interesting premise.
Christopher Paolini – The final, Inheritance” is worth the wait.
Elizabeth Gilbert – “Eat, Pray, Love” The movie was also good.
Just finished “Labyrinth” by Kate Mosse.
Currently reading “The Way of Kings” by Brandon Sanderson.
I enjoy books based on history, a fact, maybe mythology and then restructured/recombined to make another story.