Hmmm. Ten most important books? Well, I only came up with
seven eight (plus minor edits to the
descriptions of the existing list).
- Freedom and Necessity, Steven Brust and Emma Bull
- The Eye of the World, Robert Jordan
Mom saw the freebie version, the first third or so, at the bookstore and brought it home for me (probably summer 1994, going by the printing date on the copyright page). Sometime in 1995 I started participating in rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan, which was my first fandom, online or otherwise—and here I am now. (I was posting in rec.arts.sf.written before then, but it didn't have the same social dynamics.)
- Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
It was, very consciously, my reason for being kind to animals when I was young, and may have had some influence towards empathy generally.
- The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
This is the first obsessive re-read I can recall. Every year, starting sometime in elementary, we'd take a week at our Vermont timeshare, I'd check the three paperbacks out of the school library, and re-read them cover to cover. Obviously, it still takes up large chunks of my mental landscape.
Oddly, it wasn't really my gateway drug into sf, because I was still reading everything at that age. That honor goes to:
- Anne McCaffrey's books up through about All the Weyrs of
They haven't held up well at all. But I believe these were the first sf that led me into other sf—I specifically remember picking up a Mercedes Lackey book (who, alas, hasn't held up well either) because she'd co-authored one of the Ships books with McCaffrey. And I also think this was about the time I started focusing on sf reading, rather than general YA novels.
- Manhunting, Jennifer Crusie
My first Crusie, and a step on the path to admitting publicly that yes, dammit, I read romance novels: you gotta problem with that?
- Possession, A.S. Byatt
The joys of the intellect and of narrative voice, two things that have become increasingly important to me, in a novel that I get more out of every time I read it.
- The Prize in the Game, Jo Walton
This is kind of cheating, but it's my sole claim to any tiny place in literary history (and every way I try to write that I feel like a different variant of idiot, so maybe I should have left it off after all).