Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ten Books

Downtown Raleighwood Parking Deck
August 2014

I was tagged in a FB posting by writer, adventurer, and all-round amazing hero Jill Gleeson to "List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't take more than a few minutes, and don't think too hard. They don't have to be the "right" books or great books of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way. Tag at least 10 friends, including me, so I can see your list"

Here's my list, with annotations.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
I had no idea what science fiction was when I read this book, but the idea of truths and concepts beyond the everyday reality resonated with me.  It's a great story about not fitting in, heroism, and the strength of great love.

The Motel of Mysteries / Black and White by David Macaulay
David Macaulay is best known for his The Way Things Work book and/or his books that deconstruct buildings (Castle, Cathedral, Pyramid, etc).  I prefer his take on future archaeology (Motel of Mysteries) and his picture books, especially Black and White.  Black and White is a series of four stories, told simultaneously and with different art styles, that all intersect at some point -- and won the Caldecott in 1991.

Mortal Engines / Larklight by Philip Reeve
These were two books I wish I had the imagination and creativity to have written.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
Astonishingly fine writing that I didn't want to see end.

In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan
The first Brautigan book I read.  He had a very gentle way of writing that has stayed with me.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Urusla K. LeGuin
The first of the Earthsea books and still my favorite.  In fact, it might be the only one I'll go back and reread again.  (I've read the series 6 or 7 times)  The original hardback series had some wonderful woodcuts at the start of each chapter.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
A book that challenged my way of thinking in my early twenties.  

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Writing humor is difficult.  Incredibly difficult.  Douglas Adams made it look easy.  Any book that can make me laugh out loud deserves recognition.  That Adams did it three different ways with the same-ish story (Radio, TV, and the book) earns a trifecta of appreciation)

Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka
I have read this book (and the first two sequels) to at least 600 kids.  Very good times.

Bird By Bird by Annie Lamott
My go-to book for people just starting out with their writing.  And for myself when I need to remember such things as the importance of writing a $%#$%^&) first draft.

The Friendship by Mildred Taylor
Another book I read to hundreds of kids.  It's the story of two men, one black and one white, during the 1920s in the south.  It required some considerable background with the kids before reading it so they had a clearer idea of segregation.  Taylor's writing, as always, is powerful and the kids loved it.

-- Tom