Thursday, August 28, 2014

11 Influential Works

 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. ~ Philippians 4:8~

 Here are ten books that have stayed with me.  I'd been planning to do this for a long time.  Some of these are books that had a big emotional impact on me when I first got into reading.  They have shaped me in some way or another and made me who I am now.

1.  The Final Storm by Wayne Thomas Batson (last book in the Door Within series) Yes, I know, the writing isn't very good (some say it is choppy and too Christian and could have been better).  But this was the first book that made me set it down and just stare at the wall for a few minutes before reading on, with tears and a big realization.  And it made me very emotional and excited.  It was the first book that had an impact on me.  I read these when I was ten-twelve.  Also these were the first books I'd read that were around 300 pages long.

2.  The Candlestone by Bryan Davis (for the longest time I spelled his first name with an i instead of a y) This and the first book of the Dragons in Our Midst series were my favorites, plus the Eye of the Oracle.  I read it sometime after the Door Within.

3.  Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet.  I have said it many times now.  This book (and the ones after it, which added a lot to the experience) made me see how beautiful prose could be.  The moment I started reading chapter two, I was ready to put it on my Christmas list (my family didn't think I could know so early on in the book that I would want to own it but I was ready to), and I did.  I whispered the paragraphs of the second chapter out loud over and over again.  And the story.  The theme!  And then I got to talk to the author through Facebook and learn even more about the meaning of the series.  Other things that made me really happy when I read this book: Auralia didn't want to marry anyone, didn't want to capture anyone's attention.  She wasn't boy crazy.  And I loved that so much.  Jeffrey Overstreet doesn't look down on children and I could really tell that in this series, even though the series was the first book-series I'd read that was  published/marketed for adults.

4.  Cyndere's Midnight by Jeffrey Overstreet. Second book in the Auralia Thread series.  What really stuck with me from this book was the idea that sometimes we can't save everyone, that we only have one heart, one hand.  I understood that more in the past two years.  This book is like a Beauty and the Beast sort of tale, and very good.  Also it has a very pretty cover.

5.  The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Petersen (though I haven't read the last book yet).  It made me see into the eyes of the older sibling who knows he has to protect the younger ones.  I'm a younger sibling so it was eye-opening seeing things from the older one's POV (even if he happens to be younger than me).  Janner goes through so much and is so loyal to protecting his younger siblings, NO MATTER WHAT.  If he gets beaten up, he doesn't care.  If he dies, he doesn't care because at least he will have done his job.  He's going to be there for his younger brother and shield him as long as he can.  And the theme of monsters and grace. 

6.  A Little Princess by Frances Burnett.  Very strengthening and giving hope.

7.  The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett.  This book was just.. very healthy for my character when I was growing up, and very inspiring, and I probably wouldn't be quite myself if I hadn't ever read the book or watched the movies several times.

8.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  First classic from the 1800s that I ever read on my own (when I was fourteen-fifteen, I think).  Yes, it did take me a year to get through it.  But it was amazing and I identified with Jane a lot in the beginning half of the book (no, my childhood wasn't terrible at all I just felt her passion for justice).  I'll be buying K. M. Weiland's new annotated edition for writers because it's amazing.

9.  The Book of Names by Dr. Briggs.  It's a fantasy novel that has a distinct flavor and kinda... gave me hope (about the same thing the thing below is about).  Also it reminded my sister and I of our own stories.  But I'm still gonna write mine anyway.

10.  The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis.  In a time when I was just... maybe going a little crazy because of early teenage years plus the intense desire for stories to never end and the dislike of my own life because it was boring, and fear that I didn't know what was real, my sister quoting Puddleglum's famous line at the end was one of the things that saved me and brought me back to reality.

11.  Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie.  The 2003 movie, more than the book, really made me ask questions about growing up and yes, I actually did cry because I knew that in the Bible Jesus always loved children and said that we should become children, that God reveals mysteries to children, and so I didn't want to grow up...  And it's harder to have faith when you're older.  That was when I made the vow that I would always stay a child at heart, with faith and humility and never look down on children or become cynical like people like Hook.  Also I've always had a lot of actual dreams with Peter Pan in them. :P He's a shadow (NO pun intended) who has led me through childhood.
The questions I have had have shaped me, and entered my stories.  The answers to the questions have become really important to me.  So the books that have given me questions and helped me answer them are important to me as well.
If you like, you could write a blog post of eleven works that have influenced you the most.
Or you could tell me some of them in the comments!  (:


  1. I really enjoyed reading this post. Isn't it interesting, the things that shape us as children? Perhaps I will do a post like this too.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Yes. When you're younger reading is more magical it seems, because it's a new experience. Maybe that's why our early books are so special to us.

  2. Amen to the Frances Hodgson Burnett books, I adore both of them. And I have been OBSESSED with Jane Eyre for years and years! It's so true, as you say, that certain books just stay with you-you never really forget them (although multiple rereadings don't hurt ;)) Haven't even heard of some of these! Always good to get book recommendations from people with similar tastes, thanks for posting :)

    1. Yes, they're such special books. And Jane Eyre. The newish movie of it with the lady from Alice in Wonderland was pretty good. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Beautiful list. Stories are more important than most people know; they can give us strength and teach us that we're not alone.

    1. That's so true. And some of the best books make us feel at home too.