Books that stay with you

Chuck Wendig wrote a blog post the other day about the ten books that stay with you (haunt you?) long after you have put them down.  So I have been thinking about mine…

The Liveship Traders trilogy by Robin Hobb.  Hobb an incredibly spectacular writer–so much so that it is very difficult to put down her work.  But, the first book in this trilogy–Ship of Magic–is honestly, the first book that I have ever thrown across a room in absolute fury.  Why?  Because I have hardwired issues about abuse of power and it also might have something to do with the main character sharing a very close version of my name.  It felt a bit personal.

Stirring the Mud by Barbara Hurd.  This is a collection of essays about swamps.  While it doesn’t sound particularly appetizing, Hurd is glorious with her language and imagery.  It will invite you to slow down in order to appreciate the natural world and your life a bit more…

The Red and the Black by Stendhal.  I was fourteen when I read this book.  I was in love with the romance of it all–the love and betrayal, the power, the rigid rules of society and the struggle for everyone to fit in.  It is truly a beautifully written piece of literature.

It by Stephen King.  I loved reading Stephen King as a teenager.  I had a deal with my mom that if I earned all A’s in a semester, she would buy me a King book of my choice in hardback–I’ve got quite a few.  But, It.  Since I read this book, I haven’t walked over storm drains (or other weird city-understructure openings of any sort).  In my rational brain, I KNOW there is not a monster waiting there.  But, my little lizard brain says…”What if?”

Desiree by Annemarie Selinko.  This book is about a young girl in love with Napoleon (when he was just a nobody) who eventually became Queen of Sweden.  It is a book about first love and betrayal and the power struggles happening in a nation just after the French Revolution.  As a fourteen year old myself, I was swept up by the drama and the romance of it all.  Highly recommended for any teenage girl–and so much better than Twilight!

The Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell.  What stayed with me was the harsh realities of being abandoned (left behind on an island) and the innate biological impulse to stay alive.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.  Holy cow!  I never knew Austen was quite this funny and wildly imaginative.  By far the best Austen book I ever read; I had been fooled into believing the sedate, polite and polished stuff was really Austen.  This one feels a bit raw and wildly dramatic in a tongue in cheek way.  I wish all her books had been like this…

Macbeth by Shakespeare.  Seriously?  Witches.  A  mad wife.  Murdering your way to the top of the political ladder.  EPIC AWESOMENESS!  Best Shakespeare play ever.

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  I read this on a recommendation of a professor in my Arthurian Romance class (part of my work toward a Medieval Studies minor).  I absolutely loved it.  This book moved the focus away from the male-dominated tales and focused on the women (who are quite frequently mentioned only in passing in the traditional stories).

The Nibelungenlied by unknown.  My mother recommended this book to me (although she read the original in MHGerman).  Like Macbeth, this is a murdery tale.  Wooing.  Power struggles.  Politics.  Treachery.  And, mad revenge like you would NOT believe.  It is not something you can put down until the last body is on the floor…


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