Put forward 10 (ten) books that have impacted your life in one way or another
Rules: Don’t overthink it. Tag someone else to do it.
I was tagged rooneverse on fb. X-posting here because it took me an hour to write ok. This was written for people who know me very well in real life so… don’t be weird at me tumblr. I tag all of you who wanna share their book feels!
When people ask what I’ve been reading these days my knee-jerk response is often “I don’t really read these days” but that’s a lie because I consume enormous amounts of fanfiction. There seems to be a line drawn that if a story’s not published it doesn’t really count as reading, even in my own mind, but I’m getting over that. Fanfic gets a bad reputation sometimes from those who have only consumed or heard of badfic (and stuff like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey doing so well and coming from fanfiction roots and being poorly written and of dubious quality and merit), BUT over the years I’ve grown a network of friends around the world with similar interests and exceptionally good taste in literature, many of them writers of fanfiction themselves and professional writers in their own right. I’m like a pig in mud happily flailing in an enormous pond of excellently written fic right now. I bring fanfiction up as something that’s impacted my life because it can be so hard to find positive queer representation in mainstream media. There’s not an overabundance of positive LGBT stories being told where the gay person isn’t just the funny sidekick. Or stories being told about f/f relationships that are symbiotic and not destructive or ending in one of their deaths. So it’s wonderfully affirming and heartwarming to find these stories in fanfiction. I don’t think I read a single published book with a legitimate lesbian or bisexual relationship until last year? In 27 years of reading. I didn’t go looking for those books so maybe that’s why, but it’s still quite outrageous. There certainly wasn’t anything available in my rural Australian hometown’s library. Representation is important and it just wasn’t available to me growing up, and it might have been nice as I identify as bi leaning strongly towards ladies. Anyhow, I read booklandreeve’s Frozen AU fic Love Worth Waiting For just last night from the prompt “Soulmate AU: Elsa/Any Disney Princess” and it was SO BEAUTIFUL I cannot even.
- Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling
Duh. We were the generation that got to grow up with Harry, being either exactly or very close to the same age as he was as the books were released. Harry wasn’t that good at all his subjects but his heart was in the right place and he accomplished a lot by not giving up and having an open heart. It was reassuring to see Harry, Ron and Hermione deal with bullying, xenophobia, family dysfunction and loss, problems that are relevant to everyday muggles like us. Harry Potter’s release was strangely well-timed with the internet becoming easier and easier for me to get my hands on, so Harry was my gateway book to online fandom and fanfiction.
- His Dark Materials - Phillip Pullman
Formative childhood reading experience. As a kid who tried to understand religion and was frustrated by my inability to connect with it, His Dark Materials was THE series that helped me make peace with the idea that not being religious and being a good person were not mutually exclusive. Also a really, really, really amazing fantasy tale of parallel universes, personal identity (dæmons!), love, theology, religion, the whole deal wrapped up in a massive, heroic adventure.
- 45 & 47 Stella Street and Everything that Happened - Elizabeth Honey
One of the first children’s books I read as a kid with a distinctly Australian voice. It was a jolly good mystery with a lot of laughs and it was a lot like coming home. Love a lot of Ms. Honey’s other YA books too. What Do You Think, Feezal was also familiar and warm in the same Aussie tones. The adult version of this is probably I Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes by Jaclyn Moriarty, which is also quintessentially Australian but more grown up and also a great warm-hearted mystery that just dug its way into my heart and never escaped.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Not a book you say? Wrong! My first exposure to Buffy was in the form of a series of novelisations of season two I came across in my hometown’s library. I was COMPLETELY in love with Buffy and co before I managed to get my hands on the show. A teenager confronts monsters and demons as metaphors for growing up and surviving high school. I was obsessed and mum and dad were understandably quote concerned but Buffy will always be my hero for helping me through my teens with lots of laughs and glorious irreverence and kickass ladies.
- Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson
A children’s book about friendship and loss. I was not ready and am STILL NOT OKAY.
- The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
When I was about eight one of our teachers read us some of The Hobbit and I couldn’t wait for him to finish it in class so I nabbed dad’s battered old copy and was completely freaked out by the spiders. But Bilbo really left and impression as a literally small “nobody” who overcomes his fears and the trauma of being way out of his comfort zone. And LotR of course because when I was ten my primary school’s librarian pulled mum and dad aside to express her concern at my low reading level when I kept checking out Mr. Men and Little Miss books. Mum and dad explained I was borrowing books that were fast to read so I could get back to reading The Lord of the Rings, hah. Mum loves that story. The Lord of the Rings was a mammoth undertaking to read and at a young age it spoke a lot to me about personal sacrifice and the effect that the horrors of war can have on a person. Deeply affecting but also good vs evil adventures and songs and dragons yesss.
- Any Jane Austen
Because her books make me open my dictionary every other word and the prose is so beautiful. Jane Austen is the ultimate resource on how to cleverly insult someone whilst sounding like you’re not. XD
- Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein
“It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.” Picked this up by recommendation from pals on Twitter last year (lookin’ at you fidesangelus, hjea and bedeliadumurderer!) and it just killed me. Equal parts funny and devastating. Plus, best lady friends during World War 2!! Both women are quite amazing in their own right (lady pilot helping the war effort!) and their friendship practically carries the whole novel. Haven’t read a book that quickly in years.
- A Song of Ice and Fire - George R.R. Martin
A colleague and friend at work sold the series to me once he learned they were making some of his fave books into a TV show in 2009. Good thing I had a few years to get through them before the show aired because the series is huge. It was a game changer for me because I never expected 1) for political manoeuvring to be so interesting, and 2) that a fantasy novel would set up its ‘heroes’ and then tear them down so brutally. That’s just not how fantasy worked in my mind up to that point. And then the books go and show you why the people you thought were the ‘baddies’ are just people as well with their own motivations and problems. It’s an amazing series of character studies.
Most of these are kinda obvious but I guess there’s a reason why they are such famous books/series. THE END.
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