Over on the book of faces I was asked to list 10 books the only rule being that they should be ones that have affected you in some way.
It was hard to keep the list to 10 so I stopped thinking and just started writing the list, these are the 10 that ended up on my list, FB is hardly the place to give the rationale behind why these books so I thought I would do that here.
1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas – This was one of the first books I downloaded for my Kindle and thus became influential in me revisiting a lot of classics I hadn’t read for a long time or at all.
2. A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes – The chapter about the woodworm in the ark sent me on a writing idea which there has never been enough time to complete, maybe one day.
3. In Every Face I Meet by Justin Cartwright – I first read this book during a very difficult time of my life and it was a wonderful distraction, it is one of those love it or hate it book. Each chapter follows a different person at a different time, while this technique has been overused in recent years back then it was novel and made for an captivating read.
4. If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor – This book continues to inspire and challenge me, to look at the world afresh, to look at the ordinary with wonder, to look at things from other viewpoints, and as a reminder that we never really know what we think we know.
5. The Tree That Sat Down by Beverly Nichols – I read this book so much as a child it fell apart, re-reading it as an adult doesn’t work in the way that MAdeleine L’Engle’s Time Quintet does, however now I am a very different person from who I was 40 years ago, and this list was supposed to be about books that had an impact rather than ones you enjoyed. The Tree That Sat Down was my escape from a childhood that needed some escaping from.
6. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks – Inspiring, courageous and powerful, made me glad I wasn’t around at the time of the plague but also made me wish I too could be that strong and crave.
7. The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out A Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson – In some ways this book is absurd in others it explains how the absurd in the world came about. I am not sure I will ever understand it, but then I am an not sure you are supposed to. It is however a book to make you laugh.
8. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson – This may seem a strange book to be on an influential list I certainly wouldn’t have put the parts 2 and 3 of the trilogy on the list although I read them and enjoyed them as much as this one. It’s reason for being on this list is that opened my eyes to a whole host of Scandinavian writers I might otherwise still be unaware of.
9. The Dirty Parts of the Bible by Sam Torode – If The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo opened my eyes to Scandinavian writers this one opened my eyes to Kindle books. Not books you can for your Kindle but books that are written only for Kindle. There are some awful ones out there but there are also some gems and this is one of them.
10. Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones – I had struggled to read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens on several occasions this book made me want to read it and it has become one of my favourite books.
So that is how I ended up with my 10 books, I don’t know which one/s I would have removed to include others which have since come to mind, there are authors I regularly read who aren’t on the list, books I regularly re-read which aren’t there, books I buy in batches to hand out to others which are missing, books I would never want to part with which are un-named. That doesn’t mean they are any less precious to me, nor that they are any way lacking, indeed some of the books that could have been there are far better books than a couple that made it, but these are the books that had and in most cases continue to have an impact on me beyond the story they tell.
If you aren’t on facebook, or haven’t already done so, why not take a moment to think of the 10 books that have influenced your life and why?