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~Sunday~ Recently—twice in fact—I've been tagged on Facebook to participate in a meme that asks you to list 10 books that have stayed with you or have impacted your life in some way.

I'm sure there are others, but these are the ones that immediately came to mind.

They are somewhat in order from most impactful to least, but it's more qualitative than quantitative.

  1. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

    • This book struck me mostly for how wonderfully it presented a cogent story of fate. I was really sucked into it even though fate as a "meaning of life" paradigm doesn't resonate with me personally.


  2. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

    • What I loved about this book, which I had to read in high school in "AP" English, was how impactful and beautiful tragedy can be in a story. And, how a "classic" could read like one big soap opera.


  3. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    • I read this book when I was quite young, probably in AP English as well, and I remember the "ah-ha moment" from this book being that it was the first time I ever considered that you could actually be punished (that is to say, suffer) more by getting away with a crime than by getting caught for it. I was just that naive, to have not had that thought, up until that point in my life.


  4. South of Broad by Pat Controy

    • I actually only read this recently, in the last couple of months, in fact. What struck me most was how beautiful the writing was. It also made me remember that that was what I loved about The Prince of Tides when I read it many, many years ago. I also think the beautiful writing was so palatable, because I'd just finished reading Divergent, by Veronica Roth, whose writing was, well, let's just say it was for young adults. And showed it.


  5. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

    • There were just so many things to love about this book. Themes explored included: father-son relationships, male friendships, social class, fear and helplessness, guilt, endurance, perseverance, atonement, and redemption.


  6. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

    • A classic that I read later in life, there are two things that struck me about this one: 1) How accessible it was, especially considering the stereotype I had of classical Russian authors. It was actually very easy to read—character names aside, and 2) Not unlike The Mayor of Casterbridge, this read like a big ole soap opera, too.


  7. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

    • I love this novella, and I've read it several times, because it's the quintessential study in what's known in literature, film, and the theater as the unreliable narrator, which not only makes it a fun read, but one in which you can see things very differently on a second and third reading.


  8. Perfume by Patrick Süskind

    • The words "wonderfully bizarre" are the ones that come to mind when I think about this German murder mystery that I also read many, many years ago. I'm not sure if it was around the time that I had a 6-week business trip to LaGaude, France, virtually on the French Riviera, and a day trip I took during that time to Grasse to visit one of the perfumeries that that area is known for. But if it was, that certainly would have heightened my enjoyment of this story.


  9. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

    • Five reasons that I, personally, loved this book (of the Ten reasons why we love Donna Tartt's The Secret History) were: 1) It starts with a murder, 2) It has all the best elements of the campus novel, 3) It has a classic, lonely narrator, 4) It is full of quotations, and 5) It lets you in on secrets.


  10. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

    • Again, this is a book I read many, many years ago, so it was before all the hoopla connecting Ayn Rand and her philosophy to "right-wing politics." What I loved about this book was that I read it around the time I was working on becoming certified to administer and interpret the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, and the protagonist in this story, Howard Roark, has been called the archetypal INTP. BTW, if you don't know, it's not pronounced "Ann." Correct pronunciation of Ayn Rand's name.


You're invited to comment with your list, and your reasons if you're so inclined.
 

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