This was a meme several people were doing on Facebook awhile back. I liked it so I decided to do it, too, but then forgot to post it for awhile. Part of it was sitting in my draft box in my email for over a month. Guess I've had a lot on my mind, but here it is. I tried to finish it and post it before, but I accidentally deleted it instead and had to start over. I won't tag anyone here, though maybe I will on Facebook later. Feel free to do it if you like.
Here are the instructions....
Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you.
First 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.
Copy the instructions into your own note, and be sure to tag the person who tagged you.
1. The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers - This is my favorite book of all time and I can't even begin to explain why exactly. It just came to me at the right time and was such a dead-on portrait of isolation, written so beautifully that I could nothing but carry it in my heart ever since. It's hard to explain why a mute character is probably your favorite character in literature ever, but it makes sense if you consider that this is coming from a girl who once told her therapist that she wanted to be Silent Bob.
2. Taking The Ferry Home by Pam Conrad - Talk about books sticking with you: from the time I was 14 until I was maybe about 17 or 18 (possibly a little older), I read this book every. single. summer. I was in love with the secretive, brooding character of Simone and something about this book just made me feel wistful for summer.
3. Naked In The Promised Land by Lillian Faderman - I think this book really changed my life - at least in the time I was reading it - made me stop being afraid of myself for a second.
4. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls - I don't even know if I can say I liked this book...I think I did, but I spent half the time feeling extremely angry at it, too. Some of the time, I really wanted something to kick Walls' parents...and other times, I thought they were really cool. Sometimes I even wanted to kick Walls and her siblings for not doing more - running away or something. But in the end, I guess something about the way they grew up taught them all to suck it up and deal with anything - and most of them became fairly successful, not at all following in their parents' footsteps.
5. Backroads by Tawni O'Dell - What is it with me and orphans? Yeah, I don't know, but as disturbing as this tale of a dysfunctional family is - a 19 year old boy taking care of his siblings while his mother serves time for killing his father - it has been one of my favorites for awhile.
6. White Oleander by Janet Fitch - The language in Fitch's novel was so lush I wanted to eat it.
7. Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel - Wurtzel is still one of those people whose talent for writing I covet, even if she doesn't seem to be using it as much these days - and even if she has become a bit vain. Prozac Nation is a rare book about depression that made me see it in a very different way from my own side of it - as a person who has spent a lot of her life being depressed (though perhaps not in the same way as Wurtzel). I think it made me see how awful it was on the people around the depressed person as much as on the depressed person themselves. Several times, even I wanted to slap Miss Wurtzel and say "snap out of it!" or "Why can't you just be happy?"
8. Girl by Blake Nelson - Another book I read a lot as a teenager and one of those that shaped who I am in a lot of ways. Made me want to run away to Portland and befriend grunge-rock stars.
9. Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown - Honestly, I can vaguely recall reading this in Junior High School on the school bus. Swear to god...that cannot be normal, even for me.
10. Speak by Lauren Halse Anderson - I just remember reading this book during a particularly difficult time in my life and reading most of it while waiting around downtown Elizabeth City for therapy appointments and then my ride home. I was feeling disconnected and so was the protagonist - it sort of made me feel better.
11. The Pigman by Paul Zindel - The first book that ever made me cry.
12. Bitch by Elizabeth Wurtzel - Even when I was reading this book, I got some very annoying commentary about the title and how the cover of the book explains that it is "in praise of difficult women." I feel like this is a book that a lot of people misunderstood - not just people who hadn't read it, either. I never felt like it was male-bashing so much as it was a compassionate treatise on women who were not even close to perfect - women who cry and throw things, cut themselves, drink too much, sleep around, etc. And although it is sometimes disjointed, more often it's insightful in regards to gender and cultural issues.
13. Missing Angel Juan by Francesca Lia Block - For many, it was Weetzie Bat, but for me this was the first Block book I read. It was a good first, since I fell in love with her language and the darker (than Weetzie) character of Witch Baby.
14. The End of Alice by A.M Homes - The thing I found most disturbing about this book was that, by the end, I actually felt more than a little sorry for both main characters, despite their extremely despicable crimes. In fact, I found myself liking them...that disturbed the hell out of me, frankly.
15. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume - My sister read this in high school, too and it was weird that many years later, we both realized that the part that stuck with us both so much was the same small fragment: the main character, having spent days in bed steeped in depression following her father's death, talks about she has gotten used to and even likes her unwashed smell.
It's interesting how the books that affect me so deeply end up being some of my favorite books; it's also interesting to note how many young adult novels there are on this list. When I did the list before, I think some of the books were different - but since I did this one a little quicker, I actually think it turned out more accurate. Every single one of these books are books I can name pertinent scenes in that still arise in my memory from time to time during moments when they seem most poignant.