15 Most Memorable Books

Monday, August 10, 2009

This is actually a Booking Through Thursday meme prompt, but despite the fact that today is Monday, I need something to write about. So:

"This can be a quick one. Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. The first fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes."

Here are mine, in no particular order:

1. Fahrenheit 451 - by Ray Bradbury
This is possibly my favorite book of all time. It's a book about what would happen if people stopped reading. It's a book about how people are overstimulated and how the world moves too quickly. It's about burning books. It's about love. It's about hope. It's effing fantastic.

2. Watership Down - by Richard Adams
Yes, it's a book about rabbits. But not really. It's actually a book about society, and folklore and religion. And you should read it, even though you think it's just a book about rabbits.

3. To Kill a Mockingbird - by Harper Lee
Really, could any list of memorable books be complete without this classic on it? When I read it, I wanted to be Scout. I thought I WAS Scout.

4. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher - by Bruce Coville
I read this book when I was, maybe, 9 years old. It captured my imagination, and it broke my heart. This was the first book to ever make me cry. It's the book that started my love affair with the Fantasy genre.

5. Till We Have Faces- by C.S. lewis
An absolutely beautiful retelling of the myth of Eros and Psyche, told from the point of view of Psyche's "Plain-Jane" older sister. I reread this book every few years, and I love it more every time.

6. Wuthering Heights - by Emily Bronte
Heathcliff! Ah, Heathcliff! He is a despicable human being, but he is an amazing, complex character. This dark love story is one that has inspired a few of my own twisted character relationships.

7. I Capture the Castle -by Dodie Smith
This beautiful book was recommended to me by a friend just last year. I now count it as one of my top ten favorites. How can you not love a book whose first line is "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink"? Cassandra Mortmain is one of the most loveable characters I have ever had the good fortune to meet through my reading.

8. Dandelion Wine - by Ray Bradbury
This is, very simply, a book about one 12 year old boy's summer adventures. It's Ray Bradbury's beautiful prose without all of the martians and monsters. It's partly autobiographical, and almost more a collection of short stories than a novel, but it is spectacular. Read it.

9. 1984 - by George Orwell
One of the most fundamentally disturbing books that I have ever read. When I finished it I was left with a sense of dread and hopelessness. This is not a book that you forget.

10. The Last Unicorn - by Peter S. Beagle
No, this is not the book that the strange Tom Cruise movie from the '80s was based on. (For some reason, whenever I talk about The last Unicorn people ask me about this.) It's the book that the strange cartoon from the '80s is based on. Only it is infinitely better than the cartoon, obviously.

11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - by Stephen Chbosky
This was my favorite book when I was a senior in highschool. It deals with the usual themes that teenagers are faced with, (drugs, sexuality, peer acceptance) and at that time in my life I found much to identify with in Charlie. I haven't read it in years, and need to read it again, but it is a book that has always stuck with me.

12. The Crucible - by Arthur Miller
Technically a play and not a novel, but I count it anyhow.

13. Stardust - by Neil Gaiman
Have you seen the movie, but never read the book? Then shame on you. This novel turned me on to the rest of Gaiman's work, but I think this might be my favorite of his. It is not as dark as his other novels, and is probably his most accessible bit of writing.

14. Les Miserables - by Victor Hugo
I have only read the abridged version as of yet, but when I read it I was captivated by the story of Jean Valjean. I have since gone on to become obsessed with the musical. I could sing you every song. Really, I could.

15. A Wrinkle in Time - by Madeleine L'engle
After I read this book, I devoured anything and everything I could find by L'engle. She is brilliant. There are a few of her books that I like more than A Wrinkle in Time, but I list this one because it is the one that started it all.

Annnd there we go. I even managed to steer away from any series' or trilogies. Quite a feat, I assure you.

*Edit* Upon rereading my post, I found that the above statement is not entirely factual. A Wrinkle in Time can be read as a standalone novel, but is considered part of a quintet, the other four books being A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters and An Acceptable Time... all of which are lovely books. More than once after reading them I wished that I could learn to Tesser and Kythe.