Choosing the five books that define us is hard work. Every time I write one down five more come rushing into my head. Here is my attempt at this almost impossible task.
There’s a book challenge going around various social media sites right now that requires you to list the 10 books that have affected you the most. Here at Hypable, we’re kicking off our own version of the challenge. While we may be doing only five books, we’re also going to tell you why they affected us — and maybe we can convince you to read them, too.
Now these books may seem odd and some I fully expect to be judged but each has stuck with me for one reason or another. One was my introduction to fandom others made me want to read everything I could get my hands on.
‘Twilight’ by Stephenie Meyer
Let the judging begin! I found Twilight when I was working at summer camp. The cover drew me in several times but each time I put the book back because I didn’t like vampires. I finally caved and bought the book. There was something special about this book. I read it in one sitting on a stormy night at camp. There was something about this book that drew me in that made me want to talk to people about it. Twilight was the book that got me into fandom. At first I just looked around to see what people were saying then I starting posting on a website called Twilight Lexicon and from there I never looked back. Without Twilight I would not have met Andrew or be writing about books on Hypable. While the series didn’t turn out the way I wanted it still means something to me because of where I am today.
‘The Power of One’ by Bryce Courtenay
The Power of One is an amazing story about South Africa during World War II and the beginning of the Apartheid. When I stumbled across this book I didn’t really know what it was about, I randomly picked it off the shelf at the library. Anyone who knows me wouldn’t suspect this is something I would read for fun. This book is intense and disturbing, yet beautifully describes the human condition. The story of PK spans just over a decade as he grows from a young boy to a man who dreams of going to Oxford. The story is filled with bullying, loss, and violence but it is an irresistible read. The story drew me in because of the setting and it was a topic I knew nothing about. The Power of One has stayed with me all this time and made me look at the world differently.
‘Anna and the French Kiss’ by Stephanie Perkins
Anna and the French Kiss was my first young adult contemporary novel that I couldn’t put down. I read it in one sitting and it changed my view on what a YA contemporary novel could be. The characters were real to me and the setting was perfect. I loved that the characters were layered and had quirks that made them unique. The story was a perfect escape that felt like visiting old friends. Since reading Anna and the French Kiss I have definitely been more open to reading more contemporary YA novels even though not all of them speak to me the way Anna did.
‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte
For my AP English class in high school I had to read Wuthering Heights. While this is not one of the most loved classics it has always stuck with me. The dreary feeling of the desolate Moor and the Gothic elements create an inescapable setting that adds to the feel of the novel. I remembering reading the novel and thinking how awful the characters were to each other. Catherine was self indulgent and spoiled. Heathcliff and Hindley were both vengeful to a fault. It was the first time I read a book and couldn’t find anything likable about any character. It was a unique experience to like a novel but not anyone in it. It made me look at literature differently and what my expectations were for a good book.
‘The Giving Tree’ by Shel Silverstein
This was a book that my grandmother read to me when I was very young. She would sit and read several books to me but this one always stuck. I would make her read it over and over again. I guess it was the first book I ever really loved. I can’t tell if it was the book itself or being with my grandmother that made me love it so much but that time inspired me to be a reader. This year is the 50th anniversary of The Giving Tree and I have already begun to share the book with my niece and nephew so a new generation will hopefully find a love of reading like I did.