Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Musings: Ten Books that Stayed with Me meme (list and thoughts)

My friend Anitra challenged me to list the Top Ten Books that Stayed with Me:

by: Eric Carl
Age When First Read: 3
Why it stayed with me: This was my favorite book as a child, it showed me that books can be interactive because each page had a new hole that then all combined into a dozen holes at the end of the book, and they all meant something! It was meta! Also, I was three when I loved this book, so my need for pretty pictures was at an all-time high.

by: Joanna Campbell
Age When First Read: 9
Why it stayed with me: This is the book that made me love reading (and writing). I wrote horse racing fan fiction for these books. I was a fan fiction writer before I knew what fan fic was (how hipster of me).
Also, go here for my review of this series.

by: Brian Jacques
Age When First Read: 11
Why it stayed with me: I read Mossflower first in the Redwall series. It didn't ruin the series for me, since it is technically a prequel. And it is EPIC! I also wrote fan fic for this book, but it had humans instead of mice because I knew what plagiarism was at that point and I felt guilty if I made my fan fiction novel the exact same as Brian Jacques awesome book.
Go here for my review of Redwall.

by: K.A. Applegate
Age When First Read: 11
Why it stayed with me: This series made me turn into more of an adult. Because I started reading them when I was around 11-12 years old. And I was still just reading young chapter books about happy kid times. This book started out as a fun adventure chapter series, and then it became a commentary on war! It made me realize that we are not invincible! It made me take a look at my mortality! (Also, it was just an awesome series and cemented my love of reading).
Go here for my review of Animorphs.

by: Nora Roberts
Age when First Read: 13
Why it stayed with me: This book made me a woman. Haha, not really, but it did make me obsessed with romance as a genre. And I still love it. I would bring so many romance novels to school with me that my friends all knew I would have one in my bag at all times. Yup, I was that girl (and I'm not sorry!) Also, Nora Roberts writes so well. I think I kind of wanted to write like her when I was little. She not only has romance in her books, but action and mystery. I love a book that crosses genres.
See my Featured Author post on Books Are Bread here.

by: William Golding
Age when First Read: 14
Why it stayed with me: This book was the beginning of me liking school assigned books. This book actually taught me the true meaning of metaphors and analogies (you guys, Piggy was a symbol for Jesus. What?!) Also, I learned about Freud's whole ID/Ego/Superego psychology theory with this book. It made me see that there was something deeper in literature than just words. Mind blown.

by: Aldous Huxley
Age when First Read: 15
Why it stayed with me: This book wasn't the first dystopian I read, but it made me love dystopian (I was a little bit twisted as a child). It was different than all of the other dystopians because it involves controlling a society by making them give in to their basic desires (however, they are not allowed to make their own order). This is genius! (thought 15 year old me) Because they can't organize and rise up against the government

by: Yann Martel
Age when First Read: 17
Why it stayed with me: I was not a very religious person growing up. But I was always a person that liked having faith. That's exactly what this book is about, it is what made me realize there is a difference between organized religion, spirituality, and having faith in something bigger. I am still not very religious, but I have faith in the bigger things out there and I think I am very comfortable with that (not in small part because of this book).

by: Anne Fadiman
Age when First Read: 20
Why it stayed with me: I have my Masters in Public Health and I would attribute a lot of that path to this book. I read it in a Science in Society class in college, and it stuck with me. The idea that we can't just treat an illness, we have to treat a person, their culture, and their deep-rooted faiths. This book was written in the 1990s, but it definitely still resonates today. We need to have more cultural sensitivity in medicine, and public health seeks to accomplish this.

by: Audrey Niffenegger
Age when First Read: 22
Why it stayed with me: This book is the best. Period. It has everything, romance, sci-fi, deeper insights into what it means to be happy/be a good person. No one in this book is perfect and I love that. It is the book that I read to detox from a series that I can't get over.
Also the writing is beautiful, the story is so well crafted (especially because it jumps around in time) and the characters are so great. The ending is not a normal happily-ever-after and that might be why it resonated with me. It was the first unconventional ending book that I truly loved. Not all endings are completely happy, but that doesn't mean that they don't change you #philosophied  #booyah.

Now for my very important thoughts on this meme!

So, I have been seeing a lot of versions of this meme: Top Ten Books that Stayed with Me, Top Ten Books that Changed the Way you Think, Top Ten Favorite Books.

Obviously, these can all mean very different things. And based on which one was sent to a person, their list will look very different. However, this almost always happens with internet memes. Nothing ever stays pure on the internet, it's just a giant game of telephone that spans thousands of miles and millions of computers. Even a meme that starts out as pure and fun and full of happiness can be morphed into something that brings out all of the naysayers filled with their unhappiness and negativity.

The internet sometimes takes a beautiful butterfly and it lets the butterfly land on its palm and once the butterfly is all nice and settled it crushes it! It crushes it until it can't spread its beautiful wings anymore. And then it laughs as all of the internet trolls come out and dance in an evil circle while they throw their angry comments at the crushed butterfly.

Huffington Post had a Blog entry about the meme where they said Stop lying about your favorite books on Facebook. I guess my biggest issue with this is that she claims that the meme (no matter how you phrase it) is really just about top ten favorite books. However, my favorite books now might not always stay with me. So, they're not all on my list, because I have other books that were more important to me at important parts of my life.

I think where she might have gotten her thinking twisted is she interpreted it as "Books that changed the way I think" and that sounds super pretentious just by itself. I prefer the original meme (that was sent to me a bajillion years ago even though I'm only just now posting my list. Sorry Ani!) The original meme I got said "Top Ten Books that Stayed with Me." So I don't care if it changed how I think about life, those books stayed with me. Eric Carl's Very Hungry Catepillar was a seminal literary work in my mind (when I was three)!

Also, Book Riot went to town on what they thought of this particular article (hint: they think it's dumb and based on insecurities of the author).

I understand when people get upset that something that started out one way gets morphed into something else. However, at the end of the day it's all about talking about books we love. So how can this be a bad thing?

What do you think about the Ten Books meme?


  1. I lol'd at the degradation of a meme title. "Books that Changed the Way I Think" just puts way too much pressure on reading, omg. "'Books that Stayed With Me" brings the meme back to it's fun roots. yayyyay. My list would probably be just a bunch of kids books...also, the only books I've read on your list are the kids books, so that goes to show you what kind of adult I am. aRAWRsome.

    1. Yea, some memes are started to change the world and some are started to make us happy. This meme is firmly in the happy-times category for me. There are other wonderful reading memes (#WeNeedDiverseBooks) that are working hard to change the reading/publishing industry.