thewrongkindofpc: ryan ross in dark glasses, in a car with a cat on his shoulder (Default)
As per the meme [personal profile] just_ann_now posted, ten books in no particular order that have influenced me, off the top of my head:

1) Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
One of those loves you're not really sure where it comes from, or how it's even possible to identify with it so hard--it's not about my country, not about my generation, not about my drug of choice, and except for a couple of startlingly gorgeous feminist sections, not about my gender, but there's something about it that got under my skin, and I haven't found a way out yet.

2) Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
I watched the BBC miniseries when I was sick with mono and watching and reading every piece of media the little island library had to offer, and I was totally hooked, both on Brideshead's undeniable soap-operatic moments and on the long, sweeping voiceovers of sections straight from the text, which, I found out later, happened in a panic because something went wrong with the script they had at the last minute. It's a weird, beautiful, flawed book about weird, beautiful, flawed people, and I'm still sorry the movie version with Emma Thompson and Ben Whishaw wasn't better than it was.

3) Swordspoint, Ellen Kushner
What is there to say about Swordspoint? It's the fandom that drew me off of lurking around the Harry Potter fic on and onto LJ because I knew I was just so sure that there had to be people who loved this book as much as I did, and I needed to talk to those people as soon as was humanly possible. I also have a major weakness for the energy of authors' first novels (see Trainspotting) and this one has that in droves, there's this gorgeous, palpable urgency, and you can feel how in love with her characters Ellen Kushner is, and it's just wonderful.

4) The Heritage of Hastur, Marion Zimmer Bradley
The entire Darkover series pretty much was my life for a couple of years, there, everything else was almost secondary. This book in particular, though, I remember reading over and over again, buried up to the neck in blankets in that uninsulated place we lived in when I was in jr. high, doing the thing where there is no actual privacy, so mental escapism is your privacy, and I lived in that book one winter. I knew the places to flip through when I just needed to dive in and be emotionally invested right off the bat, and I wore the spine of that paperback through. My forever favorite.

5) Black Hearts in Battersea, Joan Aiken
This book and the series it was a part of were something my mom and my sister and I read together for years after it was socially acceptable to read together as a family. They're darkly funny, fast-paced, adventurous, and populated by some of my favorite fictional people ever, full stop.

6) The Soul of the Silver Dog
I don't even remember who it's by, it's been that many years, it's just this girl-and-her-dog book-fair paperback I picked up once when I was a kid, but there was a stretch there where I would reread it every year, it just got so lodged in my head. Plot-wise, it's about a girl who trains her blind dog to win agility competitions, but underneath that, it's all about being a family again after something terrible has happened, and how hard it can be to love someone who's really sick, and being there for the family you have rather than wishing for a different one, and I don't think I really registered at the time how much I needed a model of that in fiction.

7) The Complete Poems of Emily Bronte
Once, I traveled across the country and left this book behind on a three week trip, and I so much couldn't stand to be away from it that I had to go out and buy a second copy.

8) The Complete Poems of A.E. Housman
Just holding my copy of this one in my hands can make me calmer, sometimes. There are more than a handful of these poems that I have off by heart, and I run them through my mind sometimes when I need to take a breath. I have grown up with these poems, and the way I read them has grown up with me--after each step I take in my education, I keep coming back to them and seeing new things, then seeing old things I can't believe I've forgotten. I can see better where he slips into melodrama now, but I think I can feel why he does so better, too, now. There's something comforting in the rich absoluteness of the overblown, and Housman is great for that, but he cuts it with such fantastic humor, too.

9) Nobody’s Perfect, Anthony Lane
Maybe my geekiest choice here, but this one is a book of film criticism and profiles Anthony Lane published in The New Yorker between, I think, the '80s and the early 2000s. I have many problems with The New Yorker, starting with the majority of the things in their fiction section and ending with the smugness of the supposed political commentary, but Anthony Lane's movie reviews are always fabulous--even when I disagree with him (which is reasonably often, my tastes aren't as high brow as his) his commentary gives me new and interesting ways to think about what I've seen, and reading his work has helped me shape how I feel about criticism, about movie adaptations, and about journalism in general.

10) Lioness Rampant, Tamora Pierce
First book that ever made me cry, Alanna my hero forever and always.

*heading should count as an honorable mention, since Ros&Guil only just barely didn't make the cut, right?


thewrongkindofpc: ryan ross in dark glasses, in a car with a cat on his shoulder (Default)

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