I found this meme over at Bookfoolery and Babble, and heaven knows I love lists. These are the 10 books that form the backbone of my library, the 10 books with which I would never part, the 10 books that I will always reread at every stage of my life. That’s not to say that I could live without any books but these, but that I need these books to be me.
1. The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I have these in 1 volume that I bought in Oxford in 1998 while traveling with my best friend. I brought them with me on my honeymoon–and thank goodness for that, because my husband came down with a hideous case of food poisoning while we were in Toledo, Spain, and the only English-language TV we could get was Charlie’s Angels 2 and intermittent shows on MTV Europe.
2. Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier (just like Bookfoolery). As familiar to me as any story in the world, I’ve probably read this book at least a dozen times already. The Gothic story and intimate voice captivate me every time, even though I know every beat of what will happen.
3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (and, of course, the subsequent books in the series). I grew up with this book, reading it over and over again, and wearing out the record version which I checked out from the library numerous times. “Wild nights are my glory,” indeed. The depth of feeling and metaphysical complexity certainly keep me coming back.
4. The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris. This is the book I crack more than any other to find a meaningful quote or explanation of some spiritual truth. It also changed the way that I viewed the practice of my Christian faith, helping me make a vital jump from condemning myself for not having the “right” behaviors to seeking the truth through contemplation and prayer. Lastly, it helped me integrate my feminism with my Christianity in a non-contradictory way. Seriously, I’m totally not kidding.
5. Bold Love by Dan Allender. I’m always loaning this book out and having to replace it–which is fine with me. Allender’s book is all about the practice of forgiveness, which doesn’t mean pretending that everything’s fine. He presents a radical view of living in the world that starts with seeking reconciliation and hoping for healing.
6. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. This is my absolute number one favorite book on writing. Funnily enough, it has a lot in common with The Cloister Walk, as well as with Into Great Silence, an amazing documentary I saw recently.
7. The Philosophy of Horror by Nöel Carroll. I studied film theory in grad school, and this was my favorite of all the books I worked with. Carroll’s approach to theory is rational, useful, and engaging. I always come back to this book when I want to use some film theory in my day-to-day life. Hey, it could happen!
8. The Year it Rained by Crescent Dragonwagon. My favorite YA book of all time. I love this out-of-print book so much that I spent like $20 to buy it from Amazon, then, when I lent to to an unreliable friend who never returned it before we had a fight and stopped speaking, I spent $20 to buy it again. (This was a while ago, and we actually have spoken since but I’ve never asked about the book.) It’s the story of a girl dealing with depression in a realistic, accessible way.
9. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann. I admit it, I kind of can’t stop reading this book. It’s terrible, I know. But Superfast Reader needs her brain candy.
10. I have to say it. I’ll totally get in trouble if I don’t. Not sure from whom, but growing up in the church culture I did makes you paranoid about lightning and what not. So, The Bible. I don’t read it as often as I’m supposed to, but it’s been in my life for always and always will be. I prefer the New King James Version, for the beauty of the language.
This morning’s work read was a police procedural. Not my favorite genre but I liked this one a lot.