I was tagged in a Facebook note and challenged to put down 15 authors (poets, screenwriters, etc. included; I think YOU get to define writer for yourself) who've influenced you and whose work will always stick with you. As I wrote I realized how thankful for writers both old and new. From the Western Canon to Calvin and Hobbes, I am grateful for a literary heritage and a love for the written word
In random order and by no means a complete list of books I am passionate about, as I was limited to 15 authors....
1. C.S. Lewis
As if Narnia were not enough, the man wrote some of the most beautiful and thought provoking Christian literature of all time. Mere Christianity and the Screwtape Letters are my favorites.
"Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become."
2. J.R.R. Tolkien
Like Shakespeare, the man needs no introduction. Pure enchantment.
“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.”
3. L.M. Montgomery
"Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?"
Anne of Greene Gables, a book for girls of all ages, perfection in prose, humor and wonder.
4. Ann McCaffrey
The Dragonriders of Pern series.
"We build the worlds we wouldn't mind living in. They contain scary things, problems, but also a sense of rightness that makes them alive and makes us want to live there."
5. Benedict and Nancy Freedman
They wrote Mrs. Mike. If you haven't read it, do so and you will understand.
”The air was so cold they were afraid it would freeze the lungs of the horses. When it snows like that, you can stick your head out of the window and all you see is the nearest snowflake. You can walk two steps out your door and never find your way back to the house.”
6. Gwen Bristow
Not the best, but her books hold a place in my heart. In particular, Jubilee Trail. My mother loved them and so do I. My first historical fiction. Do NOT see the movie. Ever.
7. Susan Wise Bauer
This woman wrote the book that outlined our entire homeschool life. The Well Educated Mind. It is a model of Classical Education that was incredibly helpful and a revelation to me. She has since written my new favorite history books for adults as well.
8. William Shakespeare
Brought to life for me by the incomparable Alice Williams at Barnstable High School, the Bard needs no words of praise that I can offer. I would add that Kenneth Branagh is also my hero for bringing them to life on screen as well.
9. Robert Parker
It must be stated that it is only the Spenser for Hire books that I love, not his other series. Spencer. My kind of gumshoe. A man's man, a woman's hero. And funny. Sidesplittingly funny. Bonus, they are set locally.
"I pulled the MG in beside him at the curb and he got in. "This thing ain't big enough for either one of us," he said. "When you getting something that fits?" "It goes with my preppy look," I said. "You get one of these, they let you drive around the north shore, watch polo, anything you want." I let the clutch in and turned right on Dartmouth. "How you get laid in one of these?" Hawk said. "You just don't understand preppy," I said. "I know it's not your fault. You're only a couple generations out of the jungle. I realize that. But if you're preppy you don't get laid in a car." "Where do you get laid if you preppy?" I sniffed. "One doesn't," I said. "Preppies gonna be outnumbered in a while," Hawk said."
10. Elizabeth Peters
Dear Amelia Peabody, what a character. Set in the golden age of Egyptian archaeology these mysteries are a romp. With fabulous characters, history, romance (which I generally abhor) and danger these are much loved. Our verbose heroine made me laugh from book one and her adventures are memorable.
"Most men are reasonably useful in a crisis. The difficulty lies in convincing them that the situation has reached a critical point"
11. Joss Whedon
The creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly this man is a master of his craft. Literate, funny, articulate, thought provoking and campy these tv shows were much deeper than one could imagine if you are not a fan. I own them all and wouldn't part with them for anything. There is no one quote I can use to exemplify his brilliance, go watch them.
12. J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter. I resisted reading them for a long time due to all the hype. Never one to follow the crowd, I snubbed them. By the time I decided to delve in, there were three books already and I got them from the library. And fell in love. While not the unrivaled prose of Tolkien, Harry and his friends grabbed my heart. These are the kind of books I adore. I was swept away into a new world with new friends that I came to deeply care about and I couldn't wait to go there and back again.
No ending can be right, because it shouldn't be over at all. The magic is not supposed to go away. ~Stephen King on Deathly Hallows
13. David Eddings
The Belgariad. While not the perfect prose of many of my favorites, this man's gift is in his ability to develop characters that are utterly unforgettable. And I never have forgotten.
" I didn't particularly feel like being arrested, so I argued with the soldiers a bit. Several of them died during the argument - those things happen once in a while. Unfortunately, one of the casualties was Taur Urgas' oldest son. The king of the Murgos took it personally. He's very narrow-minded sometimes. "
14. Francis Schaeffer
One of the greatest theologians of the 20th century, one does not come away from his work untouched. I am also greatly indebted to his daughter, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay for her work on educating children, For the Children's Sake.
Humanism, man beginning only from himself, had destroyed the old basis of values, and could find no way to generate with certainty any new values. In the resulting vacuum the impoverished values of personal peace and affluence had come to stand supreme.
15. Bill Bryson
Humorous and anecdotal travelogues I have come to love. I began reading him on a lark for a read- a- thon and have not stopped since. I laughed my way through A Walk in the Woods. So will you.
"Black bears rarely attack. But here's the thing. Sometimes they do. All bears are agile, cunning and immensely strong, and they are always hungry. If they want to kill you and eat you, they can, and pretty much whenever they want. That doesn't happen often, but - and here is the absolutely salient point - once would be enough."