Welcome back to part 2 of the 10 books that will stay with me. If you missed part 1 (which explains more about what this list is), you can catch that here.
Now let’s get into the books 6-10 that will stay with me.
- My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok. I don’t remember much about when I read this book. I know it was at some point in high school, but its haunting tone, images, and message has stayed with me for what has now been more than a decade. I learned a lot about independence from this book, and going against the grain. That is a lesson I have tried to remember and take to heart ever since.
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. This is on the list for one very specific reason: it was the first real classic I ever read by myself and it taught me that I could. I could read them, even though they had always felt unapproachable before. It taught me that classics were accessible to me and that I could understand them.
- Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier. This is one that comes slightly out of left field, I suppose, in comparison with the other books listed. I’ve included it because of what it showed me fantasy could be. I had never really thought the genre could have beautiful writing. I didn’t think fantasy and literary writing could mix, until I read this book. It also taught me more than just about any other book I can think of about writing, as well as creating a world, characters, and high stakes.
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. When pressed to select a single favorite book of all time, I have often cited this one. I was head over heels from the moment I read this book (shortly after it came out, if memory serves correctly). I loved the originality of having Death as the narrator, and the lyrical style of the writing took my breath away. I was devastated at the losses near the end of the book but definitely admired Zusak for carrying it out. The idea that it’s about a girl who loves words, and about the power of words, also has no small part to play in why this book is so incredibly special to me.
- Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. Connie Willis has proved to be a hit-and-miss author for me (although in fairness, I have only read a small handful of her books), but I had to include this one. The scope and the intensity are what stands out to me with Doomsday Book. I raced through it, desperate to find out what happens to these characters–all of which are brilliant–and by the time I closed the book, the first word that went through my head was “unforgettable.”
And, because who cares about rules, I have to include one honorary mention: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick. This is another book that really challenged my notion of what a book can do. The ingenuity and creativity behind it astounded me and when I finished it, I was in complete awe of what Sedgwick had done.
It takes a lot for a book to be considered life-changing or profound enough stay with me for years or even decades.
Those are the ones that make the cut.