I have read a lot of books. So many excellent, wonderful, marvelous books. But how many of them have had a lasting impact on me? This is the question I began to ponder after reading Lory @ Emerald City Book Review’s post about her personal canon. I have plenty of favourite books that have influenced my reading and writing preferences. Fewer books have made a lasting impression on my personality, my beliefs, my habits, etc.
This list is an attempt to pinpoint the fiction books that have influenced me as person, not just as a reader (non-fiction may get a separate post). I’m trying to be a little more specific than favourite books. These aren’t just favourites. Nor are they necessarily books I would read over and over – they are books I selected because they left a mark on me.
Some of these books I have reviewed here on the blog. Most I read before I started book blogging. I haven’t prioritized or otherwise sorted this list. Links lead to my review or Goodreads. My brief notes are an attempt to give insight into why a book is special me to, but for most books the connection is so personal and so many years old, it’s difficult to describe!
- Dear as Salt by Rafe Martin with illustrations by Vladyana Kykorka – picture book from my childhood exquisite illustrations, style of storytelling, fairy tale
- White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi – personal connection, Gothic atmosphere, inspiring young author
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – my gateway to Tolkien, an enjoyable and re-readable book
- The Lord of the Rings (FotR | TTT | RotK) by J.R.R. Tolkien – incredible book, never read anything else like it, so much to absorb, can enjoy for the rest of my life, always expanding
- Inkspell by Cornelia Funke – particular kind of fantasy, with adult characters not dumbed down
- Zen Keys by Thich Nhat Hanh – introduced me to Zen meditation
- Hitching Rides with Buddha by Will Ferguson – likely planted the seed of my interest in Japan and the idea that I could go there and teach
- Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami – protagonist and story line I could deeply identify with, a new style of storytelling
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – blew me away, unlocked something about stories and memories
- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – apparently I love a creepy house story apparently, plus dear Eleanor.
- The Sight by David Clement-Davies – wolves, dark forest fantasy, always reading when in mountains.
- Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer – first demonstrated to me that I can enjoy storytelling that’s not pure fantasy
- Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale – The Final Chapter by Russell T. Davies – insight into the writing process, how that beloved season of Doctor Who developed
- The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarity – relatable for teenage me, an epistolary novel I liked
- The Southern Reach (Book 1 | Book 3) trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer – unique book, making my mind work and engage with the story
I’ve read 800+ books, yet I’ve got only 37 books on my Goodreads favourites shelf, and just 15 books here. I thought I would have come up with more! Perhaps I’m being too strict with my criteria, haha…At least this reminds me to give my favourites shelf a tidy 😛 What books would you include in a personal canon?