Here’s the deal: “list fifteen books that had the most profound impact on you – ones you can think of in fifteen minutes or less.”
Alrighty then. I’ll say this: I’m making the list in less than 15 minutes, but the explanations will take longer. I tried to think back as far as I could, but I tend to have a bad memory for this stuff! I also have a hard time differentiating my favorite books from the most influential. I figure my favorites are favorites because they made an impact on me. So, we’ll go with that.
1. Contact – any time I am asked what my favorite book is, this is my response (same for a movie). I know it’s cliche for an astronomer, but this book was absolutely influential on me going into astronomy. Plus, Carl Sagan is an amazing writer (I have read his other books, which were also amazing, but I chose just to put this one on the list).
2. The Book of Negroes – a very recently read book, but it left some very vivid pictures in my mind. We’ll see if they’re still there in years to come.
3. War of the Worlds – I took a science fiction literature course in my undergrad because I read this book. One of the few books that I’ve read multiple times.
4. Good Night Moon – I still remember my mom reading me this book, especially the “bowl full of mush” part for some reason. Even better is that my mom gave me a copy of it for Christmas a couple years ago – best gift I’ve ever received.
5. The Red Balloon – I distinctly remember the pictures from this book, but I had forgotten all about it until I saw it in a bookstore in New York. All sorts of memories came flooding back when I read it!
6. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. – LOL! Seriously, this was the book of my early adolescence. I’ll always remember “We must, we must, we must increase our busts!” Classic.
7. Catcher in the Rye – this was the first (previously) banned book that I had read, which I did in high school. Funny enough, I read it again last year and didn’t like it much, but it’s on the list because of my memory of it as a teenager.
8. Catch 22 – this was the book that made me want to read more classics. Absolutely and utterly amazing.
9. Time Traveler’s Wife – holy man. I never thought I’d read something that would take my breath away like this book did. I still have vivid pictures in my head from it, and I actually cannot wait to read it again once I get through the pile of books beside my bed.
10. The Introvert Advantage – another recently read book, and my only non-fiction entry… I felt like I learned so much about myself from it.
11. A Wrinkle in Time – I remember sitting in class, on the floor, with our teacher reading this to us. I read it again a few months ago, and (like with The Red Balloon), memories came flooding back.
12. Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! – the best book for any physicist to read! Hilarious, and defined my life as an undergrad.
13. Brave New World – War of the Worlds made me take the literature class; this book made me want to read more science fiction.
14. Interview with the Vampire – an odd book to have on the list, I’m sure, but I read this book (and then the whole series) during a dark time in my life. It was fitting, and a great way to escape.
15. Life of Pi – I’m not sure if this was influential at all, but I was absolutely enthralled with the story. And it’s nice to read a “feel-good” book once in a while!
To take Cath’s theme of tagging even further, I tag anyone who’s been in space!