Reading meme

Snagged from osewalrus:

What are the five most important (not necessarily favorite) works of fiction that you read, and why?

1. Witch’s Sister: The first book I ever bought for myself. When your allowance is seventy-five cents a week, you agonize over every book you buy, wanting to make sure it’s going to be worth the money. I saved up for this book for two months, going to the bookstore every weekend to stare at the cover and try to imagine the plot, play-acting it with a friend, until I could finally buy it. All the effort I put into imagining the story, my love of the book when I finally read it, and my frustration when the series took a real downturn after the first three books, feeling like I could have written it better at that point, was what made me want to be a writer myself.

2. Bridge to Terabithia: It was the first book I’d ever read where the main character died. I didn’t know that was possible, and it had a huge impact on me as a reader and as a writer. Things change, no matter how much it hurts or how hard you resist.

3. Alvin Journeyman: This was sort of the flip side of Bridge to Terabithia. Where Terabithia taught me that change is inevitable, Journeyman gave me the perspective that change doesn’t have to be crisis and mourning; we’re all changing all the time, trading innocence for experience, and that painful as it can be, the alternative is stagnation.

4. Stranger in a Strange Land: Despite some of its flaws, the book really made me think about what it meant to go through life half-awake or to truly pay attention; that if you spend your life enduring situations you don’t like, you waste years waiting for a better life that never comes. Paying attention means confronting pain instead of ignoring it, but it also means a far richer present.

5. A Wind in the Door: Number five was a toss-up between several books by different authors, but I have to include something about the impact Madeleine L’Engle has had on me. This was the first book that really resonated with me, where I felt a kinship with the main character, her intelligence, her awkwardness, her outsider status, her anger. It’s an honest book, which at the time was a very rare thing in children’s literature. Madeleine L’Engle’s characters live in a world where religion subtly imbues everything, and where families are well-intentioned and deeply loving despite their imperfections; I feel like the world she creates reflects my own.

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