Sunday, April 19, 2009

Back on the Blog Chain: The Books of My Life

For this round, Kate wants us to focus on reading:

Specifically, what books have influenced you? This can be books that influenced you as a writer, or simply books that touched you as a human being. If you want to talk about one book, a top three, ten, or even twenty go right ahead.

Archy posted before me.

Before I discuss some of my favorite books, I'd like to provide some background music. This song popped into my head as soon as I read Kate's title:

Anyway, where do I start? If I go back to childhood, I read books such as the Hardy Boys series (I got the first eighteen as a Christmas present when I was seven or eight; even then, I wondered why the boys were the same age in every book), The Oz books, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues. (I learned the nursery rhyme "Oranges and Lemons" from the last book.) As an early clue to my impending nerdettehood, I even read English and science textbooks. Authors I remember reading include Edgar Eager and Andre Norton (though she may have been when I was a preteen). I went through a classics/historical fiction phase in high school. I read a lot of Jean Plaidy/Victoria Holt. I've discussed Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance before in other Blog Chain posts, so I won't go into detail again. This book did influence my philosophy and inspired me to read about Taoism.

When I first became a fantasy/science fiction fan, I read a lot of Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffery, and Mercedes Lackey--some of the big name authors in the field. Although I now find them formulaic, they have influenced my writing. In particular, I picked up a love of interior monologues from Lackey. These days, my favorite author is Patricia McKillip; I would say that reading The Sorceress and the Cygnet started my appreciation of her. (I met her at WisCon a couple of years ago and got her autograph.)

As for science books, I read In Search of the Double Helix and In Search of Schrodinger's Cat when I was a teenager; the latter book got me interested in quantum mechanics. I read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions when I took a history of science class, and that changed my view of science.

I'll end with one more book: The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Back. That book influenced my view of romantic love. Considering I've been with the same man since I was twenty, I'd like to think it was a good influence!

In conclusion, I've read a lot of books most people wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. No wonder I'm so weird. (grin) Follow the chain to Kat Harris's blog to find out what her favorite books are!


Windsong said...

I love McKillip!

Reading your list of books you enjoyed as a child reminded me of my own childhood books. I loved Narnia and the Mouse books. I had a copy of a book of poetry by Perlutski (?) that was dead from love before I even made it to sixth grade. :D

ElanaJ said...

Being a science fiction and fantasy fan, I know I need to read some of these books. Sadly, I have not. This is going to be a hard topic for me. Thanks for sharing some good authors to read, Sandra!

Anonymous said...

Oh My...I haven't found anyone that enjoyed Richard Bach as I have. Nice. Great list of books!!!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Oooh, there are a bunch of books I've never read before on your list that I am definitely going to have to check out!

Also, great song, but it was not what I was thinking of at all when I wrote the title for my post. My train was more along the tracks of the tagline for the soap opera, Days of Our Lives. You know, "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days (or books) or our lives." Now that I think about it, your song makes a lot more sense:P

Kat Harris said...

My husband is a fan of Piers Anthony.

This is a great topic. Who would have guessed everyones influences could be so different and yet so similar? You know?

Michelle McLean said...

Ooo, the Oz and Narnia books! Loved them! And totally laughing at the nerdettehood comment :D I used to read encyclopedias...some good stuff in there ;-)

Annie Louden said...

Ha, when I was like 9 or something I tried to read all the World Book Childcraft books. I think I got through about half of them. And my brother used to read the encyclopedia.

I'm going to have to check out that Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Also The Bridge Across Forever.

Thanks for the recs!

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