This was a Facebook meme, but since things disappear faster into nothingness on Facebook than on this humble blog I will post it here too in an ‘extended remix’ with some description for each book in the top-ten.
This was the original FB meme, stolen from a FB friend -I wasn’t tagged myself-:
In your status, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and do not think too hard. They do not have to be the “right” books or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way. These are in no particular order. Tag 10 friends, including me so I can see your list.
So I made a list of 10 books that stayed with me. A very diverse list:
Astrid Lindgren – Ronja Rôvardotter
One of the books I remember from when I was a child, and one that I’ve reread several as an adult. I also own the Swedish series on DVD. A story about a young girl living in a magical forests, 2 competing clans of robbers, and love and friendship. You should just read it.
Franquin – Guust Flater (Gaston Lagaffe) series
Comic series about the completely un-heroic office helper Guust, who is also a crazy inventor. Maybe I’m too much like him sometimes.
David Wilkerson – the cross and the switch-blade
As a pentecostal kid I read a lot of Christian books, a lot of which I’ve completely forgotten by now and which would not interest me at all anymore. But this story about an American rural preacher who goes to the gangs of New York to preach about the love of Jesus to the unlovable whom no-one wants will always stay with me. It showed me something bigger than this world, and bigger than the meaningless priorities of humans. It made me go on a search for what it means to love God above all and love my neigbor as myself, a search that isn’t finished yet…
Antoine de St-Exupéry – Le petit prince
Not much comment, just read it, if you can in French. If you don’t understand why I like it there’s no way I can ever explain it..
J.R.R. Tolkien – the hobbit
Yes, I like fairytales, and I like ‘the hobbit’ a bit more than LOTR, although that’s very brilliant too. Not much explanation needed I think.
David Quammen – the song of the dodo
This is also a book that everybody should read. About the scientific field of island biogeography, evolution and extinction. But also filled with very interesting anecdotes about weird species, strange scientists and the life story of Wallace, who was working on the same theory of evolution as Darwin and possibly was kind of ripped off by him.
One of the few books I read about evolution in my teenage years that were fascinating (The other one would be Stephen Jay Goulds ‘Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History “, both are much more convincing that any 6-day-creationist I’ve ever read.)
Bill Watterson – Calvin & Hobbes series
Another comic, and one of the most brilliant ones ever made.
C.S. Lewis – the abolition of man
A lot of Lewis’ books stayed with me, but this weird, sometimes almost unreadable philosophical tract might have had even more influence on me in the end than the others. It put things into words that I felt but could not name. But the guy has written a lot of stuff that has influenced me a lot. (The thing I disagree most about with him is gender roles though). It’s probably Lewis who has helped me to not get too modernised..
Shane Claiborne – the irresistible revolution
And here we enter the new millennium, and my clumsy search for love that is more real than anything we can make up as humans. I was deep into investigating Christian anarchism for a while (Ellul didn’t make this list, but het would be in a top-50). Shane Claiborne, a dreadlocked new monastic was a bit more practical and down-to-Earth. He also is an amazing storyteller and one of the other examples of people who have sparks of the ‘love that is bigger than anyone we know’ in their life.
Terry Prachett – small gods
Terry Prachett is unique as a fantasy-writer. His books are completely weird sometimes and you shouldn’t take anything serious, way too funny and very intelligent. A lot of stuff to think about though in this one that really expanded my way of thinking about the spiritual world. (And the concept of slavery). Not for anyone with no sense or humour or for anyone who’s easily offended.
Strange and slightly inconsistent list now I come to think about it…
Note that I wrote the title in the original language, no matter in which language I read the book. Several of them I have read in 2 languages anyway.
Note also that they are more or less in the order that I read them in my life, and that I’ve read all of them except for 2 in for the first time the last millennium. The exceptions are “the irresistible revolution’ in the ’00’s and ‘small gods’ in the ’10’s.
And lastly note that I did include comics but not the bible -don’t ask why-, and only added one book/series per author, otherwise it would have been mostly Tolkien ans Lewis. Runner-ups would be more C.S. Lewis books, The Lord of the rings, the Harry Potter series, the ancient epic of Gilgamesh, the Edda, the Flora of the Netherlands and Belgium, Karl May’s Winnetou I, some Brian McLaren and Neil Postman’s ‘amusing ourselves to death’.
And oh, the hitch-hikers guide to the galaxy.
Strange how no book originally written in my own language ended up in the list. English, French, German and Swedish but no Dutch. I have to think about what exactly that means. I’ve read a lot of interesting Flemish books as a kid (René Swartenbroekx, Jan Terlouw, Thea Beckman, …) that I might need to reread; But they didn’t stay with me.
Also, 9 women and one man. None of my big Ursula Le Guin books made the list for some reason .
so do you have an interesting list?