Originally wrote this list in a response to a meme on tumblr asking for a list of top ten influential books. Turns out I had a lot of thoughts. For one thing, I accidentally ended up with a list of influential series as opposed to books. I also only came up with eight, although when you consider the individual books I guess you could claim I really am talking about over a hundred. Wow.
So, in no particular order:
- Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome – I spent years collecting the entire series, I fantasized about outdoor adventures and camping on islands, I dreamed about secret valleys to live in, I fell in love with communicating by code, and most of all, I wished for a dinghy sailboat of my very own.
- Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – Fueled my love for portal fantasies and creating my own mythologies, inspired an interest in the WWII era and older-minds-in-younger-bodies, and threw me deep into fandom and fanfic. (I wouldn’t be nearly so good a writer now if it wasn’t for all the practice I had playing with this world and these characters.)
- Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer – Lots of people grew up with Harry Potter or the Pendragon books. I grew up with Artemis Fowl, the sarcastic criminal genius who started out kidnapping a fairy and ended up (reluctantly) saving the world more times than he could count. Greatly inspired my interest in combining magic and sci-fi, as well as the type of humour that comes out in my writing.
- Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene – Over the years, Mom and I collected most of the original series, and I’ve read them all at least twice. Timeless tales of a plucky girl protagonist who can get out of any jam? What more could you want?
- A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket – Again, another huge influence on my writing humour. Also on combining humour with morbidity.
- Thursday Next by Jasper Fforde – Mysteries, literary puns, kidnapped book characters, time travel, footnoterphones, dodo pets, evil corporations of evil, and a giant master library run by the Unitary Authority of Warrington (formerly Cheshire) Cat… It’s like these books were written for me. If there’s one series I will recommend to absolutely anyone, it’s this one.
- Savvy by Ingrid Law – An absolutely adorable and heartwarming coming of age story with a very cute way of bringing in superpowers and the problems that might come with them. The characters are wonderful. This, this, is how to write a road trip story. The sequel is just as delightful.
- John Dies In The End by David Wong – idek? This one has a cruder humour than I normally like but that hides how clever it actually is. The way the opening riddle, seemingly a meaningless joke, ends up a metaphor for later important plot points; the Narnian parody at the end; the seemingly-straightforward-but-actually-brain-twisting title. I’ll often reread books but this is one of a few that I just stop and think about a lot.
And there you have it! I’d love to see other lists, if anyone wants to post them down in the comments?