Those That Remain: 10 Books That Stayed With Me
Recently a friend posted a Facebook challenge that requires nominees to list 10 books that have stayed with them in some way. I normally avoid the challenges doing the rounds of social media. They somehow remind me of the chain letters I used to receive during my childhood. And the introvert in me particularly resists those requiring video evidence. But I guess my friend suspected this task would appeal to me, and she was right. So, which books have stayed with me in some way?
1. The Magic Faraway Tree and The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton
As a child, I loved the magical world of the Faraway Tree and its inhabitants. Blyton knew how to write a cliffhanger, too, and I often found myself begging for ‘just one more chapter’.
2. The Famous Five by Enid Blyton
When I was 11, my family spent a year travelling around Australia, but I think I spent more time in the world of the Famous Five than I did my own. Whenever we arrived in a new town, I’d look out for a second-hand bookshop with which to feed my habit.
3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
I first read The Chronicles of Narnia when I was about 10, after discovering original editions on the dusty shelves of my grandparents’ beach shack. Now my children have also discovered them.
4. Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden
Tomorrow When the War Began was published about the same time I began my teaching career. After devouring as much YA fiction as possible, I thought this book had potential to appeal to both reluctant and avid readers. It went on to win numerous awards.
5. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
6. Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
I read Dairy of a Young Girl at about the same age Anne was when she started keeping her diary. I loved her strength, tenacity and way with words; I was devastated that those were not enough.
7. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Hadden
In acknowledging that this is just one representation of someone living with Aspergers, The Curious Incident caused me to change how I viewed those on the Autism spectrum, to see the person rather than the condition, their abilities instead of limitations.
8. Cloudstreet and The Turning by Tim Winton
Cloudstreet is set in the same area of Perth in which my mother grew up and where I lived while at university. In The Turning, the settings and characters in one story reappear in another so as a reader, I have the best of both worlds – a story I can read in one sitting without having to say goodbye to the people in them. A technique I’d like to replicate in my own writing.
9. A Country Too Far, edited by Thomas Keneally and Rosie Scott
An extraordinary mixture of fiction and non-fiction narratives about the experiences of asylum seekers in Australia. While I still don’t claim to have the answers to the questions about refugees, each story enabled me to ‘climb inside of his [or her] skin and walk around inside it’.
10. The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez
Perhaps it is because I have been reading numerous books about Iraq and Afghanistan this year, but I enjoyed this easy-to-read novel about life in Kabul from a range of perspectives.
Your Invitation to Participate
Rather than nominate others to complete the task, as the challenge dictates, I offer an invitation. If it appeals to you, I’d love to hear which books are on your list. There are no right or wrong answers; simply those that impacted you in some way. Either leave a comment here, or include as a post on your blog and let me know so I can go check it out.