The Facebook ’10 Books That Stayed With You’ Meme Post

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This week I got ‘tagged’ on a ’10 Books That Stayed With You’ post, and wanted to quickly

“List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes, and don’t think too hard. They do not have to be the ‘right’ books or great words of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way.”

OK, before I start I admit to peeling four of the books from my ‘Ten Days You’ list of ‘Four Books’ … I mean, why not, it is only three months old, right? And then I found I had been tagged way back in the early days of the blog, and wrote about it here. Interesting that there are similarities and differences in the list.

So here we go!

1. ‘Cat’s Cradle’ by Kurt Vonnegut – this book I would call my all-time favorite. Like most Vonnegut works it is a fairy easy and quick read – deceptively so. I have read this book 20 or more times since around 1980, and I don’t think I have read it the same way twice: it is funny, bitter, sardonic, twisted, anti-government, anti-religion, pro-spirituality, pro-human, both pro- and anti-science, and so more. I cannot recommend it enough.

2. ‘Foundation Trilogy’ by Isaac Asimov – while like so many sci-fi series there is a ton that this trilogy gets wrong, so much that has been changed as technology advances … the human side of the stories and the thrilling chase and mystery aspects are all consistent with what could really happen. It is interesting to juxtapose some of the events of these books with some anti-science movements in our own country today.

3. ‘100 Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Getting through this book the first time early in high school is something I still remember (not assigned, just pleasure reading my sophomore English teacher thought I would like) – the sweeping story of a town as it rises and falls, told through the history of a single family, if funny and sad and touching and engaging throughout. It really is an epic piece of modern literature, and I always love stepping back into that world.

4. ‘Star Wars Thrawn Trilogy’ by Timothy Zahn – It was either this or the ‘Jedi Academy’ trilogy by Kevin Anderson, but this is better written, has a better villain and of course introduces Mara Jade. Starting a few years after ‘Return of the Jedi’, it pits an Imperial Grand Admiral against the fledgling New Republic. Even without the Star Wars mythos these are enjoyable books.

5. ‘Night Watch’ by Sergei Lukyanenko – these books by Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko captures great character studies and tales of the human spirit in the context of magic and mystery, all set in post Cold War Moscow. The series has ups and downs, but having just re-read the first couple I was reminded of how well it mixes intriguing storytelling and quality writing.

6. ‘The Plague’ by Albert Camus – Danny is reading ‘The Stranger’ right now, another of my faves, but I love this one more! It is an amazing tale of the human spirit in the face of crushing despair, and a very hopeful and positive take on the essence of existential philosophy.

7. ‘Harry Potter’ series by JK Rowling – I have been flipping back through these recently, re-reading the series for the fourth or fifth time overall. And aside from the epilogue of the final book (that I always hated that) the series has held up well. Sure the books starting with Goblet of Fire could have used tighter editing, but overall they are a great series.

8. ‘Guerrillas’ by V. S. Naipaul – Naipaul was recommended to me by my 11th grade English teacher, Mr. McLellan who called him ‘the best living writer’. This book is not a happy, fun or easy read – yet it is incredibly compelling.

9. ‘Winesburg, Ohio’ by Sherwood Anderson – Anderson (no relation) transports you to a small town just after the turn of the century. While there is a central character, the stories are told through the loneliness and despair that permeates the people of the town and the town itself.

10. ‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury – although technically dated, the heart of this book is the character study of the interface of people and information and freedom. And it remains interesting because of that – I love looking at the stuff he got wrong about the future, and yet there are things that seemed wrong that are becoming more true with time (The Family, for example).

Tag, You’re It! Either post your list here, on Facebook, or your own blog!

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8 thoughts on “The Facebook ’10 Books That Stayed With You’ Meme Post

  1. 100 Years of Solitude is towards the top of my winter reading list! I’ve been meaning to read that one for a long time.

    Here are mine, in no particular order: I was just going to list a few but wound up doing the whole 10, and now all I want to do is curl up and read for the rest of the day!

    1. Harry Potter series – just because it’s wonderful. I agree with you about the epilogue, though – it ruined the ending for me a little and felt very ‘tacked on’. I was just a little older than Harry when each book came out, and I literally grew up with the series, having the unique experience to have to wait each year until the next book came out. I could (and do) read these books over and over.

    2. Black Boy by Richard Wright. This was required reading in one of my high school English classes. I grew up in a rural WI town that was very racially homogeneous, and I’m sure my teacher knew what he was doing by requiring us to read this book. It really opened my eyes about race and racism.

    3. Egalias Døtre/Daughters of Egalia by Gerd Brantenberg. A novel about a society in which women are the dominant gender, not men. I never truly understood feminism until reading this book. I was a Norwegian major in college so I read it in the original Norwegian – the auther does fascinating word play with gender-specific Norwegian language – though it’s definitely worth a read in English as well.

    4. Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner. I loved reading about Darwin’s finches and learning more about how amazing evolution is in general.

    5. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Lincoln is easily my favorite president, and this is an incredibly fascinating (and engaging) read about his life and political history.

    6. The World According to Mister Rogers by Fred Rogers. Mister Roger’s Neighborhood was an integral part of my childhood, and the more I learn about the man behind the show, the more I’ve grown to tremendously respect and admire him. He was a singular human being.

    7. The Cat Who Went to Paris by Peter Gethers. It’s not high brow literature, but I’ve read this book multiple times and I just love it. I think we bought it on a whim at Barnes & Noble when I was in middle school or high school – it’s a charming (true) story about a man who hates cats, and suddenly finds himself the owner of a particularly intelligent Scottish Fold. Some might find it cheesy, but it’s a fun, light read and a charming story.

    8. Any of the Sherlock Holmes books. Reading part of a mystery before bed is becoming one of my favorite wind-down rituals.

    9. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. I (shockingly) didn’t read this book until adulthood, but deeply moved me.

    10. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen. I couldn’t put a book list together without including an Austin book, and this one remains my favorite of all the others I’ve read by her. I read it without knowing anything about the story beforehand, and I remember being amazed that a 19th century novel could keep me in stitches like this one did.

    Thanks for sharing! It was a lot of fun to dig some of these memories out of my brain cobwebs.

  2. The ones that come to mind easiest are probably books I have read recently. Harry Potter series (which I read years ago), Divergent (more recent), Hunger Games, Gone Girl (just heard they’re making a movie for that too), Wild, 19 minutes, The Fault in Our Stars ….and that’s all I can think of right now but I guess the Harry Potter series counts as more than one:)

  3. Pingback: The Facebook ’10 Books That Stayed With You’ Meme Post | Aging Runnah

  4. Great list! Cat’s Cradle and Fahrenheit 451 are two of my favorites, too, though not ones that came to mind when I first picked my 10. Mine are:
    -The Humans, Matt Haig
    -You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train, Howard Zinn
    -Hiroshima, John Hersey
    -The Alchemist, Paolo Coelho
    -Frog and Toad Are Friends, Arnold Lobel (the first book I ever read on my own!)
    -The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis
    -All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
    -The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
    -The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold
    -Animal Farm, George Orwell

  5. Pingback: 30 Days of Gratitude – Day #19, The Joy of an Epic (or not) Read | Running Around the Bend

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