My Top 10 Books (so far...)


{Photo credit: Goodreads}

If you're going to ask a person to create a list of their dearest friends, there has to be enough space to talk about each one and to share how they influenced and impacted your life. 

I was terribly shy as a child and a good book was often a good friend. I still end each day with a few chapters. Reading is like oxygen for me. 

So when I was tagged (a few times) in the Facebook 10 Most Influential Books meme, I had to sit on it for a couple of weeks. I left a piece of paper on my desk and started jotting down titles when they came to me. 

Let me tell you, there are far more than 10 books on that page. 

I was the kid who got in trouble for reading at the table, who spent hours in my room on a sunny Saturday reading a book, who looked forward to wandering the aisles at the library.

I have always been the kind of reader that feels the story and becomes intimately connected to the characters in a well-written book. And many of them have stayed with me long after I read the last page.

Here they are:

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein:My grade two teacher read this book to us in class, and I felt such a wave of empathy and connection to that tree. It was one of the first books I added to my children's collection, and I hope it will stay with them too.

The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson: I was intrigued by the unexpected friendship in this story and the hope it gave me for my own awkward social skills. I remember sitting on my bedroom floor and sobbing for the characters. It was the first time I realized a book could touch you enough to make you cry. 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: This book was so well written and its story so well told that I felt like I was in it. I fell in love with its characters and Twain's ability to take me somewhere I had never been.

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller: We read this play in grade 10 and I loved it more than all the Shakespeare I had ever/would ever read. I felt for Willy the way I did for the Giving Tree. I went back and read it again and again.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding: Most of my high school years were very uncomfortable. I was fascinated by the dynamics of an uncivilized group of children and the wrath they could unfurl upon one another. At that time in my life, it felt very relatable. 

The Diviners by Margaret Laurence: I wrote an independent study on this novel for my grade 12 English class and the teacher held me back after class and told me she was giving to fail me unless I confessed to where I had found the "cheat notes" for the book (since she wasn't aware any existed). The words and ideas were all mine (no internet back then, folks)—that's how much Laurence inspired me. I bought all of her novels with my part-time job money and finished them by the end of that summer. Laurence also led me to Carol Shields and Alice Munro (whose writing has also influenced me greatly). 

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera: This book was given to me by a friend with whom I shared complicated feelings. So before reading it, there was already a weight of emotion attached to it. But Kundera's writing made me feel like I was reading the words to a love song or sonnet. This novel is a beautiful unveiling of the complexities of the human experience. 

The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis: This book was also a gift from a friend, who thought I would appreciate the writing. I did, indeed. Much like Death of a Salesman, Amis is brilliant in his portrayal of the underdog (who I've always had a thing for). I loved every single page.


{Photo credit: Goodreads}

Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See: I picked this book up from a display. I liked the cover, I liked that it was written about China. It has since become a treasured part of my library. Written about the friendship between two girls, who are one another's "old sames", it spoke directly to my heart and connected me to my own history

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: I read this series (at the speed of light) before becoming a parent and it reignited my childhood imagination in the most wonderful way. This series—with all its magic—was a sneak peek of how wonderful it would be to share books with my children and watch their imaginations light up. My oldest daughter has read the series over 20 times and really felt a connection to its characters.  

What about you? Which books have you been inspired by so far (because we know there are so many more waiting to be read). I'd love to hear about them.

For my favourite children's books, you can read my post here.  


Elan Morgan

Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works through Elan.Works and is a designer and content editor at GenderAvenger. They have been seen in the Globe & Mail, Best Health, Woman's Day, and Flow magazines and at TEDxRegina and on CBC News and Radio. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.