My Ten Influential Books
I checked my email a few days ago to find that A Wordless Blogger has tagged me in her “Ten Influential Books Tag” post! The post was originally inspired by the list posted by Leah’s blog The Perks of Being A Bookworm.
I decided to do my own ten influential books post since I have not done any book related posts since March. I have been busy with schoolwork, writing poetry, and applying for internships. By the way, I will be interning for the online black women’s magazine For Harriet this summer and taking classes, so if I don’t post for a few months, that’s why.
1. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
This book was my introduction to young adult literature. I read it for the first time in 7th grade for class and then again in 8th grade. By the time high school started, I had read the book three times and felt a strong kinship with the book’s narrator Ponyboy Curtis. Sometime before I graduated high school, I reread this book again and decided that I wanted to become a young adult author. To this day, if I get frustrated with writing, I can reread The Outsiders and feel so much better.
2. In Montgomery and Other Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks
When I took English Literature 1101 or 1102 in community college, I read a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks called “We Real Cool” and was amazed at how the poem was written and its message. This caused me to check out this collection of poems and read even more of Gwendolyn Brooks’ work. There was a particular section of the book called “Children Coming Home” which contained poems from a book of the same name. I’ve tried finding it, but no to avail. Anyway, Gwendolyn Brooks was the first black poet to ever inspire me and show me that I could use poetry to write about issues that I cared about.
3. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
In 4th grade, some kid brought this book to class and a woman read it to us in the library. The woman may have been his mother, but I can’t remember for sure. Somewhere between this reading and that same kid bringing Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire to class, I started reading The Harry Potter series and a love of fantasy fiction was born.
4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Not only this was the first classic book I read and liked, but this is also a book I have read in three forms: graphic novel (3rd grade), children’s illustrated book (7th grade), and the original book (8th grade). In addition to The Outsiders, this book was another security blanket in my teen years whenever I felt like my life sucked. Jane Eyre gave me hope that someday I would find true happiness.
5. Tears of A Tiger by Sharon M. Draper
This was the first young adult book I read that was by an African-American author and it made me look for more books in the same vein. I found in a classroom of my 9th grade literature teacher, who kindly let me borrow the book to read.
6. The Phantom of The Opera by Gaston Leroux
Read this book during my first or second year of college because I wanted to know what the big deal was with the musical. Although I would learn that the musical and the book were completely different, this book still got me interested in reading gothic literature.
7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
This book taught me that sometimes the best characters don’t have to be likeable.
8. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
This extremely long, beautifully written book came to me the same way Phantom of The Opera did. It taught me not to judge someone by their circumstances of their life, but by what they have done with their life.
9. Looking For Alaska by John Green
This book taught me that even the most attractive girls can be messed up inside. I’ve read it a few times and it has always haunted me afterwards. It’s also my favorite John Green book.
10. The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story: Michael Jackson by J. Randy Taraborrelli
I read this book a few months after MJ died. Before I read this, I was a bored MJ fan who was obsessed with almost anything having to do with Michael Jackson. After finishing this book, I decided to never again become obsessed with any celebrity’s life beyond their profession, including Michael Jackson. This book showed me that a celebrity is NOT your personal freak show to gawk at every time they do something.