We’ve recently been selected by our good friend & fellow blogger J.C. Wolfe of “The Wolfe’s Den” http://jaycwolfe.com/ to partake in a literary challenge, where the recipient chooses 10 books, their all-time favorites.
Sounds easy enough… fun even right? But what a daunting task to select only ten. After all, these books to a writer/reader are sacred.
In some cases, the stories can be the readers first love, first friendship, first scare. First time they were introduced to an idea that ended up being the basis for a strong belief. Ideas that shaped who they are & influence the way they write.
When writers are asked what their favorite books are, do they approach that process differently than readers? And what does it tell you about them? Does it ever influence your opinion? Do we find people with similar interests? Or do we like to network with those who are different, adding variety to our friendship like our books. Perhaps you’re a choosey reader, “A one-genre only kinda gal/guy. Maybe you prefer Nonfiction over Fiction, keeping both feet in the real world rather than letting your heart be led astray by fantasy.
When Inion & I meet a new blogger/friend on line. We will always look at their book history. Their list of fav’s, must-reads or take a look at their reviews, as if it will reveal some secret about the person as to who they are. Pleasant introductions and a trail that leads directly to them while filling in the blanks. No different than dating, after all these books take up space in our mind, occupy our hearts & can cleanse & even darken our souls. They add to our personalities can make us change our way of thinking. Can be a long-lasting relationship or perhaps just a fling, here today gone tomorrow; but great while it lasted.
When you think about it, a person’s book preference allows us an intimate look into their soul. Just a peek… but a peek never the less. There are so many reasons why a writer/reader needs more than ten books to hold as treasures and favorites. But when we’re forced to narrow them down, it allows us to reflect on the ones that truly made the difference in our lives & craft. These are but a few of the reasons we used on our checklist.
Those magical places that are fantastical enough to allow us to escape but real enough to keep our feet on the ground.
Those unique male protagonists that open our heart; catch our breath; make us feel young again. Our literary significant-other.
Those female protagonists that we put on a pedestal. Amazing ladies from the in-between that stay with us & act as our conscience, reflections of our own souls, or our idols.
The villains that flavor our naughty side. The characters we just love to hate. What would any story be without the antagonist? The evil mastermind who spends his/her entire existence ruthlessly plotting the takedown of our beloved MC’s. How many of us find our literary soul mate in the same place we find the villain? You good-girls love those bad-boys! And these my friends are the real-deal-bad-boys!!
How ‘bout that perfect, best friend. Whether it’s the boy next door, an imaginary creature, the Kooky but wise old man or woman, the eccentric teacher, the loner teen whose completely misunderstood by everyone but the MC.
The Plots that have us second guessing. Those twists & turns that we don’t see coming.
Charming Romances popping up, surprising us at every corner & finding us in places & faces we didn’t expect. Spooky urban legends lived out in tales of horror. Unique curses that haunt families & unsuspecting victims. Romantic formulas tested & tried in the literary fires to come out clean on the other side.
What are some of the guidelines that make up YOUR check list in search for your top ten? How do you determine one book holds more importance than another?
Our List of Top (10) Books:
Inion’s (5) Picks:
• The Witching Hour by Anne Rice: This is probably my favorite book of all time and one I commit to read annually. Rooted in the Celtic culture and showcasing my all-time fave paranormal characters: witches, I first read this book at the ripe ole age of thirteen and have loved it ever since. It’s such an intricate novel, but the layers aren’t random and disconnected. They merge beautifully into one solid story. Everything about The Witching Hour intrigued me. From the seductive setting of New Orleans to the strong family aspect, but most of all that along with these powers came a heavy burden. With every action comes a reaction and it’s nice to see that worldly law abided by otherworldly creatures. It makes them seem all the more real/human to us, which also makes them much more relatable.
• C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe:(Mutual I & M) It was the first time I’d seen fiction so interwoven with reality and that mash up has been a signature that Inion N. Mathair’s adopted as their own style since our conception. Not to mention, it opened my eyes to see that even the innocent (children) are susceptible to the world’s evils or rather the immorality of men. It showed that sometimes people underestimate the strength in children and the lengths at which they’re willing to go to protect themselves, those they love, and/or do what is right. It was also the first book Mathair ever gave me, (which I still have in my collection).
• The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice: (in my opinion) Is the greatest fictional character of all time, Lestat has always been a great inspiration for me. The perfect villain/hero with beautiful flaws (i.e. arrogant, broken, cynical, seductive, vain) horrifying characteristics and a soft vulnerability that’s captured millions of readers.
• The Dark Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont (artwork by Dave Cockrum and John Byrne): This was the first time that I realized that not all characters are safe and not all endings are happy. I also love an ensemble cast of characters that are vibrant and could very well be leads on their own. For those of you that haven’t read the brilliance known as The Dark Phoenix Saga, I suggest you take a peek at a story that is wonderfully balanced with suspense, drama and heart along with the brilliant illustrations to go along with them.
• The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien: I’d never delved into a world the way I did with this one. Middle Earth became like a second home to me while reading Tolkien’s works. A place where magic is completely viable and danger is ever present, lurking around every glen or mountain. While the entirety of the saga is heavily doused in the fantastical realm, its conflicts and obstacles are very much a reality. It also had these beautiful poignant moments of vulnerability and random bouts of humor that alleviated the tension that seemed constantly suspended within the story.
Mathair’s (5) Picks:
On The Banks of Plum Creek / 4th Book in the: Little House Series By Laura Ingalls Wilder I first read this book, when I was in the 6th Grade. From the time I started until I closed the book, I fell in love with the story of a close family whose journey thru this life was anything but simple or trivial. What I find amazing is the idea of something as simple and relatable as this that could be loved by so many. A perfect example of the rule: Writers write what you know. Little House Series proved a reader didn’t need paranormal creatures leaping off every page. Magical doors or holes to escape. Yet each & every page seemed to hold another adventure keeping my attention.
Nancy Drew The Secret of the Old Clock By Carolyn Keene (pseudonym) Mildred Wirt Benson. It’s funny when I look back I remember it adorning my dresser, collecting dust, as it added to the décor of my room. I finally read it & asked my mother to buy me the next book in the series as I couldn’t wait for the bus. The first copy I had checked out from a traveling book bus that came to our rural town once every three months. I thought for sure I would hate it. I didn’t like child-like mysteries that we’re easy to solve & lacked in horror offering me no kind of a challenge. Yet this writer found ways to make PG thrills, completely bad ass & spun mysteries worthy of any detective worth their salt. I read the books like any die-hard fan, until I was too embarrassed to carry them to High School for fear of being made fun of. Don’t get me wrong, I still luv me some Stephen King every once in a while. But books should be like that. Diverse for every need & time in your life. The Nancy Drew series was the series that did just that. Filled a perfect gap in my life between important ages & changes.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Mutual) This classic piece of literature needs no sell as it is still beloved and read by millions at Christmas. I know we still read this at our home & never get tired of the story that has magically morphed into something other worldly. Charles Dickens was a man before his time. Writing tales that we’re not only entertaining. But which also challenged us as human beings & gave us morally grounded questions to ask ourselves. He set the bar for many & showed the penalty for neglecting others. Perfect holiday lesson for all of us to learn & be reminded of every year.
Little Women By: Louisa May Alcott Oh how I could go on forever about this one. I was thirteen years old when my mother passed this book to me & told me to read about the March women. I gave that same copy to my daughter at the same age. Funny enough, neither of us ever had the luxury of a sister but the book doesn’t isolate it’s readers that way. It’s one of those tales that finds a way to speak to you, no matter your age, race, gender or siblings & is completely relatable as long as your capable of love. I’ve seen every movie, the play (a couple of times) & even had the privilege of watching a “Little House On The Prairie” Episode that was dedicated to the story. But I have yet to see anything on the big screen or the stage, that could match the brilliance found on those pages.
The Haunting of Hill House By: Shirley Jackson This book, was the first book I ever had restrictions with. Cut me a little slack…..other than a few of Poe’s works, I had yet to be introduced to the Horror-King. The Haunting of Hill House was my daylight read as my house seemed to come alive at night & toy with me while I was trying to read. I should’ve known then that my overworked imagination was finding it’s footing in the world of writing. It seemed to me that the story was manifesting itself; intruding on my world. But you can better believe that I didn’t put it down until I finished it.
And there they are! Inion N. Mathair’s top ten picks. A big thank you to J.C. Wolfe for giving us this challenge. For inspiring us to curl up with some classic favorites while adding a few new ones from her list, to our must-read!
And now, we would like to pass this challenge off to, three of our blogging- buds to continue the chain. We had a few ladies in mind but our female bloggers we feel as though we know pretty well. So, in order to make this a real challenge & get to know some of our other buds we thought we’d share this challenge with a few of our male friends and pick their brains & see what books they come up with. So the challenge goes to:
1st Mike Vogler / Past My Curfew Musings From A Night Owl http://pastmycurfew.com/
2nd Phil Gayle / For Singles & Couples http://forsinglesandcouples.wordpress.com/about/
3rd Coach Daddy / It’s All About Fatherhood, Futbol & Food http://coachdaddyblog.wordpress.com/
Congrats gentlemen we look forward to your Top 10!!