Today, when we got back from yet more dental work in Denver, I had a most welcome gift waiting for me:After trying to find this book for a reasonable price on Amaz0n, I finally found it for $12.00 (including shipping) from Abe Books.  I highly recommend them! I first read this book in high school, and have wanted my own copy ever since, and can’t wait to fall back in time to the Trojan War and all its intricacies.  This is one of the best historical fiction books that I’ve ever read and I have a “thing” about the Trojan War, so I’ve read a lot of books, both fiction and nonfiction.

In case you haven’t noticed from my “What I’m Reading” page, I’m a reader. No, a READER. I don’t remember not knowing how to read.  I don’t remember not being able to pick up a book and simply disappear from my physical surroundings into whatever world the author had created for my journeying.  There’s a commercial here for Carl’s Jr. (a fast food restaurant), which shows variations of “hunk-y” guys chowing down on huge, messy, drippy burgers with the voice over of “Don’t bother me, I’m eating.”  My riff on that is “Don’t bother me, I’m reading.”  G. likes to read, too, but she gets distracted.  And she doesn’t understand how crazy it makes me when I get a chance to settle down with a book at any time besides right before bed, and invariably she’ll call me to run outside and hold a ladder or move a rock or pull some weeds or look at her Farmville page, and she just doesn’t understand that NONE of that compares to jumping into a book.  I can lie down on a sleepy afternoon, exhausted from work or whatever, but rather than sleep, I’ll find the latest chapter than I’m on, and an hour of reading is way more refreshing than a nap.

I’m also a huge fan of libraries.  As much as I love to read, I don’t feel the need to own every book I pour through.  This recent purchase was the first fiction book I’ve bought in a while.  If the library has it, I’ll check it out.  But this book has had such a hold on me for such a long time, that I really felt the need to HAVE it, and, well, $12.00 was do-able.

Every time I pick up a book, I bless my parents, who never limited my reading choices, even as a precocious kid, reading huge Greek mythology tomes at age 7 (no wonder church never made any sense to me!).  I had a couple of teachers early on who questioned some of my choices, but more from a point of “Can you REALLY read that?” and when I showed them that I could, they waved me along.  Bless them, too.

I was thrilled yesterday when we picked up the boys to go to Denver and GS1 wanted to read the 1st Harry Potter book.  He’s seen all the movies, but wants to read the book, and he’s 10 now, almost the age when all of Harry’s adventures began.  I myself finally finished the 7th book this week.  I’d had it for ages, picked it up a while ago, but it just didn’t “click” with me at the time.  So months later I tried it again, and couldn’t stop till I was done.  J.K. did a wonderful job.  The final chapter in the Potter saga is a stirring adventure/quest with a poignant and perfect ending.  Good on her.  Can’t wait for the movie!

Still, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie from a book that I liked as well.  No one else’s movie can compare to the “movie” your own mind makes when you read a book.  IMHO, The Lord of the Rings trilogy came as close as anything.

Oddly, I don’t like to listen to books.  I don’t have the slightest desire for a Kindle, Nook or iPad.  Give me the actual tome–like that lawyer character in the Star Trek episode who insisted on surrounding himself with actual books when everyone else was using those tablet thingies.  That’d be me.  I want the BOOK.  I want the weight of it, the smell of it, the feel of the pages running through my fingers, the sound of a new book spine opening up for the first time.  Yeah, that’s my music.  The pure potential of an unread book is mesmerizing–will this book enthrall me or bore me?  Will I love the characters or wish them dead and off the pages? Will I encounter some words I don’t already know and have to run for the dictionary? (Yes, I have a REAL dictionary!)  Words weave their tapestries around me and hold me in worlds as varied as Darkover and Bronze-Age Britain.  And so, in no particular order are 10 fiction books that in one way or another changed my life:

1. Stranger In A Strange Land – Robert A. Heinlein.

2. Time Enough For Love – Robert A. Heinlein

3. The Mists of Avalon – Marion Zimmer Bradley

4. Warrior Scarlet – Rosemary Sutcliffe (all of her books, really)

5. Gone-Away Lake – Elizabeth Enright

6. Whom The Gods Would Destroy – Richard Powell

7. Dreaming the Bull – Manda Scott (Book 2 in a 4-part series)

8. The Shattered Chain –  Marion Zimmer Bradley (from her Darkover series)

9. Season of Ponies – Zylpha Keatley Snyder

10. The Crystal Cave – Mary Stewart (and the rest of her Merlin series)

What’s your life-changing book list?



11 thoughts on “Books

  1. You mention Star Trek and Heinlein is numbers 1 and 2 on your list. Fantastic. LOL

    I need to re-read Stranger in a Strange Land. Also some of the weirder Tennessee Williams stuff I never understood in junior high (but I was completely obsessed with)…

  2. I could have written this post. Except for a few small details, this is how I am as well. I’ll have to think about my life changing book list, but I will just say that I have never known anyone to comment on “Gone Away Lake”. I LOVED that book when I was a kid! And the sequel.

  3. Oh my, this post rings so true for me! You’ve summed up exactly how I feel about books, libraries and reading, in general.

    Alice Walked was a life-changing author for me. I read The Color Purple as a young girl, too young to fully take in that whole story, but it moved me nonetheless. I picked it up again in college and that sucked up everything she’d ever writted soon after. She will always have a special place in my heart as an author. The same for Tom Robbins, though for different reasons. Abstract/fantasy stuff wasn’t really my cup of tea…until I picked up Another Roadside Attraction. And while I may catch some flack for this, not too long ago I read A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey, and it moved me like no book ever has before. When I finished it I wanted to find Frey and hug him tight and never let him go. He may have used excessive creative license when penning that memoir, but he did it well. I don’t care what Oprah says about him, no memoir has ever touched me emotionally like his did.

  4. e–I knew we were soul mates! I adore that book, and may have to go back to ABE to find a copy to read to the boys.

    Ms. EM, I know Frey got a lot of flack on his book, but whether it’s a “real” memoir or augmented fiction, if it affected you, then it’s valid. I read “The Lovely Bones” a couple of years ago and was a complete emotional wreck afterwards. I mean, I sobbed and sobbed for nearly an hour, and still don’t exactly know why. It wasn’t the actual subject or story, but the whole “mood” that was evoked by the book, I guess. I’ll never read that book again, but I’ll always remember what it did to me.


  5. I am an avid reader and there are just to many books to list that are life changeing for me. I am still working through the White Goddess by Robert Graves that book is just blowing my mind. Then there is anything written by Charles De Lint. Granny if you ever get out to Portland you will have to check out Powells.

    I have found out of print hard to find books there. I love going to their web site and browsing the shelves when I can’t get down to Portland. I do feel lucky, this weekend I went down there and got away with spending only $36 mostly on out of print De Lint books.

  6. e- Brilliant! I’ll have to do the same.

    Nulaanne–Charles de Lint is one of my favorites, too. I just checked out a book of his that he’s apparently revised, “Eyes Like Leaves”. I can’t wait to dive into it. When I come to Portland (not if), will you give me a guided tour?? 😉


  7. I will even if you are not booked out take you to the other powell locations. The smallest one is at the airport. All the other branches that I have been to are the size of a grocery store if not bigger.

  8. A couple of years ago, I proposed some books on CD for a two day drive to Cape Cod. Ha ha!! She immediately vetoed the idea, saying she wasn’t going to have me shushing her on vacation, too.

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