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This is inspired by the Big Read meme going around that prompts people to select 'classic' books from a list that they have read. With that in mind, I'd like you to list the ten books that have had the most influence on YOU, personally. It doesn't matter whether or not they're classics, adult books or YA. This meme is not asking you to be a literary critic. These are the books that have made an impression on you, that stay in your mind, that have had an impact on your life. The books that taught you how to write, that molded your ideas about life and love. The books that you *always* have a copy of on your bookshelf, and invariably read until the binding is falling apart.
1) The Fire Rose, Mercedes Lackey
Lackey has a way with language that always strikes me, even when she's writing about certain Mary Sues I could name (Vanyel, anyone?). She's splendid with description, and even when her plots fall flat, which this one doesn't, the language carries the day. I also love Beauty and the Beast, and this reinterpretation of the legend has the benefit of being impeccably-researched historical fiction as well.
2) Persuasion, Jane Austen
Guh. Just guh. One of the best love stories ever, and a wonderful, wonderful book. Jane Austen makes some of the most memorable characters I have ever read. A pitch-perfect romance.
3) Proven Guilty, Jim Butcher
Plot! Jim Butcher teaches me about Plot! Proven Guilty has the added benefit of just being fun.
4) American Gods, Neil Gaiman
Likewise plot. Neil Gaiman weaves everything together skillfully and near-seamlessly. I will admit to having problems buying the climax, but I'm just too in love with his concept and execution that I simply can't care.
5) His Majesty's Dragon, Naomi Novik
WOW. Amazing language, great plot, a climax that never fails to make me tear up, wonderful characters, just wow. Seamlessly weaves dragons into British history. This is precisely how the Napoleonic wars would have gone had Napoleon in fact had dragons to deploy.
6) Magic and Malice, Patricia C. Wrede
See above. Wow. Also has a wonderful love story that His Majesty's Dragon doesn't. Both take place in the Regency; a coincidence? I THINK NOT. So does Persuasion. I'm terribly fond of the Regency, so having so many of my favorite novels take place there is a bonus.
7) Crown Duel, Sherwood Smith
Some of the best damned worldbuilding since Tolkein. Tolkein and I don't really get along for various wordy-related reasons, but Crown Duel is so wonderfully written and just right with the world.
8) Matilda, Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl is a master storyteller, and Matilda is my favorite story of his. A bright little girl and the people who believe her, the people who don't, and her revenge on the idiots of the world. Clearly Roald Dahl was at some point a bright little kid, because this book resonates with me so much. Hands up, who else tried to move chalk with their eyes after seeing this?
9) A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett
I don't know. I love Sara, I love Becky, I love the coincidences, I love Miss Minchen and Amelia Minchen, I love the whole book. It's just so well done and such a childhood memory. Maybe that's it. Either way, the binding on mine is kind of dead.
10) The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara
Oh, Michael Shaara. A heartbreaking story of Gettysburg. The language is exactly right for the time. The men he's writing about are so right for their time and yes. Amazing story.
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