Ten Influential Books Tag

As always I found this tag on YouTube and didn’t get tagged, but I love these tags and I want to find out more about the books that influenced other people, so if Kathy, Emma, Becky and George have the time, I’d love them to do this tag too!

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So, here are ten books that have influenced me in some way or another.

#1 Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat – Ursual Moray Williams
I absolutely had to include this because this is where it all started. Gobbolino was one of the first ‘proper’ books I ever read by myself, by ‘proper’ book I mean one without pictures and actual prose. Not only that, but it was a gateway book for me into fantasy novels like the Worst Witch, the Hobbit and Harry Potter which pretty much dominated my childhood.

#2 Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats – T S Eliot
I’ve never really been taken with poetry, I appreciate a good poem, but I never really got it. Which is why, when I found myself having to write a poem in junior school, I came across T S Eliot and being a cat person, fell in love with this collection of poems. I think these were one of the reasons why I ended up getting so into theatre.

#3 Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
(Please ignore the fact that this is in an anthology in the picture!) I was very, very young when I first read this, but Jo March had a really profound affect on me and made me want to be strong and independent, I might not be anywhere near there yet, but I am working on it.

#4 Goodnight Mr Tom – Michele Magorian
Another childhood favourite which directly correlates with my fascination of WW2 and fuelled many a trip to war museums and even concentration camps. It really opened my eyes to a completely fascinating time in history.

#5 The Giver – Lois Lowry
This book was the first to really challenge my way of thinking and became my step into dystopia which is now one of my favourite genres. It was also a title I picked completely at random to fulfil an offer and it really taught me that taking a chance on something is always worth it.

#6 Harry Potter – J K Rowling
Yeah I know, but HP really opened my eyes. I had always loved stories, but JKR made me passionate about them and convinced me that they were worth telling. I’d always written shorts and stories and then hidden them away in cupboards, after Harry Potter, I wanted to show them to people and have them read. Honestly, she made me realise that I could be a writer if I wanted to be and the series inspired me to write this.

#7 Catcher in the Rye – J D Salinger
I make no secret of how much I hated uni, of how scared I was all the time about everything and the fact that I pretty much have an existential crisis every other week, I had no idea what I was doing, but at least I wasn’t in as much of a quandry as Holden. I read this for the first time during my second year at uni and it really helped me pull myself together, I just knew that I in no way wanted to be a pretentious prat like Holden and it really helped me just get over myself and get on with it. I did end up buying a hat like his though. Sorry I’m not sorry.

#8 The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
Not only is this wonderfully written and about my favourite historical period, but also got me back into reading in a major way. After I’d finished uni, I found myself disolusioned with everything, I sort of gave up on books because I never really had the time to read any of them and I honestly just didn’t enjoy it anymore after trailing through academic texts all the time. Then I read this and fell in love with words all over again.

#9 13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson
I’ve always liked the idea of travelling but never seriously thought I could do it until I read this. I lost myself in Ginny’s international adventure and now I want to go to all the places!

#10 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
This book had such a profound affect on me it was almost frightening.
I was suffering quite badly from anxiety and depression exacerbated by being unemployed, poor, lonely, miserable and uninspired. I was forever travelling in and out of my nearest city for interviews I never got a job out of and visits to the job centre which made me feel as worthless as the paper my degree is printed on so I would make my trip in worthwhile by spending hours in the library which is where I first came across this and with it, I found someone else who was a writer who was scared, unfulfilled and lost in her own mind and it was exactly what I needed. Given Sylvia Plath’s eventual end, the fact that I related to her novel about manic depression probably isn’t a good thing, but the Bell Jar really understood me and put into words everything I was feeling at a time when I didn’t even understand myself.

What ten books influenced you the most?
I’m always on the look out for more things that are likely to change my outlook on life.

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19 thoughts on “Ten Influential Books Tag

  1. Oooh that’s a tough one, I’m going to have to give it some serious thought!

    I love your choices and the stories behind them. I’ve read 5 of them (#3, 4, 5, 6 and 8), all of which I love and I’m keen to read #10 as well.

    Can I just point out though, 3 isn’t an anthology, I think you might mean 2!

    • I know, but I always feel a little like Peter Petegrew, tagging along with the popular kids whenever I do a tag I’ve not been tagged in! It was a good tag though, so I think it’s ok for me to take over! I think number six might be on everyone’s lists!

  2. I loved loved loved Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats when I was little! We used to name all the barn cats after the poems. Little Women would definitely be on my list, too. Otherwise: Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak is the first book which turned me into the weirdo I am today. The story is simple and the illustrations are haunting. I remember reading it over and over again when I was tiny, then looking for goblins out my window every night.

  3. Wow this is an awesome tag you’ve picked up on, Leah! And I’m so honoured that you would be interested in hearing my answers too. 😀 I will definitely be taking part, although I am going to have to give these answers some serious thought!

    I love your explanations behind #7 and #10 and couldn’t help but pick up on the sentence ‘I make no secret of how much I hated uni, of how scared I was all the time about everything and the fact that I pretty much have an existential crisis every other week’. You know, you are the first person I have ever come across that has admitted hating university, and I am so thankful to you for saying it. You can probably tell from my blog posts and the way I rarely say anything good about university that I’m not its biggest champion either. I have to say, I don’t like it very much. It’s not fun and a bundle of laughs for me. It runs me ragged to be quite honest and it sounds as if we have had/having similar experiences. For ages I felt like a failure of a human being because WHO DOESN’T LOVE UNIVERSITY? It took me a long time to accept that I was in the minority. Thank you for sharing, maybe I will have to pick up Catcher in the Rye. 🙂

    • I had serious issues with university and looking back, I really should have dropped out and done something else or taken a year off or something because it did me no good whatsoever. If you ever want to share uni horror stories, I’m your girl!!
      Catcher in the Rye (and to some extent Perks of Being a Wallflower) helped me feel less alone in hating uni, they didn’t make me hate it less, but I felt like I had friends in Charlie and Holden and I really didn’t want to end up like Holden so I tried to be more positive about my situation… But anyway, Catcher in the Rye is one of those books you’ll either love or hate, but it’s worth a go! I’m looking forward to seeing your ten influential books now!

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