Have you seen the "10 books" challenge that's been circling Facebook lately? The idea is to list 10 books: not the Best books, not your Favorite books, but simply 10 of the books that have stayed with you since you read them. I've loved seeing what books my friends have listed, and then when Stephanie went and wrote her blog post on this topic, I started daydreaming about what my own list might include and finally decided to write my picks down.
Like Stephanie, many of mine are from my first 10-15 years as a reader, a realization that surprised me initially. For all of my life, reading has been a vehicle through which I explore other perspectives and ideas. I've never stopped reading for that reason. I do wonder if that experience was more startling and thus more formative in different stages of those first 15 years, from the first chapter books I read to the wonderful English class in my senior year of high school that introduced me to modern fiction.
And before I begin the list: yes, I have many more in my head that didn't fit in the first group of 10!
10 books that have stayed with me
The Giver: This may actually be the book I've read the greatest number of times in my life.
Stargirl: If Stargirl had been around when I was a kid, it might have rivaled The Giver in total times read. This book came out in 2000, and I think I discovered it in college.
Number the Stars
Animal Farm, which my dad read to me as a bedtime story in elementary school
The God of Small Things and The Things They Carried, both from that high school English class
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (and the sequels that followed)
The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir
What is the What
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life: I read this collection of essays during a day of train and air travel, and I was in tears or close to it practically the entire time.
Just choosing these 10 books makes me want to re-read every one, in addition to so many of the books that my friends have mentioned. I will have a long reading list this fall.