I got tagged on Facebook to list ten books that have stayed with me and moved me. As always I began to over-think things and went off for a while to do some deep pondering and reflecting. Then I made my list, and instantly realised that I had missed a very important book from it, then another, then another. Yes, again I was tying myself up in indecision.
However, I drew a line, figuratively, and said, right that’s it, no more, I stop now. Therefore, I present my list, with a brief description as to why it is on the list. You’ll see there aren’t currently any ‘classics’ here, and I am sure there are others I have forgotten about. There are also some notable omissions that, if I had been compiling this list on another day, I may have been included… ten is such a small number.
Before I list my books, I would like to thank authors everywhere, past, present and future, for writing their words, words that have stayed with me and moved me. My list is presented as close to the order I read them as possible.
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S.Lewis. The book that introduced me to metaphor. Yes, I suppose it is a classic.
- The Last Legionary – Douglas Hill. Possibly the first science fiction I liked and enjoyed, beyond the old Doctor Who target books. Perhaps the last children’s book I read… as a child.
- The Stand – Stephen King. The epic, post-apocalyptic battle of good and evil. There aren’t many 600+ page tomes I have read more than once.
- Haunted – James Herbert. There is a passage in this book, when I first read it, that made me feel scared. It remains the only passage ever to do that.
- The Post-evangelical – Dave Tomlinson. The book that resonated. Here was someone saying what I was thinking. Since I read it I am so happy that others were, and are, on the same wavelength.
- Excession – Iain M Banks. Science fiction will always have a place in my heart. This is currently my favourite, that may well change. Here we have galaxy-spanning events, unidentified objects and Artificial Intelligence that brings humour and humanity into play.
- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey. Seven habits that should change my life… I’m still working on them.
- Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk. The book that made me think that there are alternatives, alternatives to everything… all wrapped up in a shocking and disturbing tale.
- The Wind-up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami. The book that reintroduced me to metaphor and surrealism. I’m still not sure if I understood it all, or if I was supposed to. However, I love the way Murakami weaves his words and worlds… even through translation.
- The Book Thief – Markus Zusak. Beautiful, just beautiful. A sad story, that makes me glad to live every moment this universe gifts me.
Okay, that’s my list. It will change. Currently there is no room for The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, I read this not too long ago, so felt it needed a little more time to be included. I haven’t included, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Neuromancer and Brave New World, but on another day I might. Peter F Hamilton may have made the list, but my favourite works by him are never stand-alone books, so I couldn’t choose one on its own.
One other piece of writing should be here. Technically though, we could argue for a very long time as to whether it is a book or not. So I’ll leave it as an aside. Ecclesiastes by Qoheleth, has probably stayed with me the most as a religious text, and one I return to time and time again. It is practical, simplistic and questioning. It speaks to my Gen X mind like a Palahniuk novel, despite being over 2,000 years old. I would say that it might be the ‘complete’ text… if only it said, there is a time to read.