Saturday, September 6, 2014

The influential book challenge

A few days ago, my daughter-in-law challenged me to make a list of the books that have had the biggest influence on my life. It's a challenge going around Facebook. After engaging in a debate with a friend regarding the difference between best books, influential books, favorite books, and important books, I settled for influential books. One thing that surprised me about making my list was that not very many of the books I have read in the four years I have been doing this blog made it on the list. I may have to change my approach to reading in 2015.

 I'd be interested in seeing lists from my reader friends. What books have you read that were influential in your lives? Here's my list! If I have written a blog post about the book, it will be highlighted so that you can look at my thoughts on the book.

The most influential books in Miriam's life.

1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett . This was my mother's favorite book. She read it aloud to me, and I read it several times myself. Probably my first "chapter book" and the beginning of a lifelong reading obsession.

2. The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James. The first time I understood that spiritual experience was different for each person.

3. The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer's life experience and his theology had a profound effect on how I have tried to live my life.

4. The Pelican Brief by John Grisham. Not a great book, but the first time I realized that when we elect a president, we are also electing a Supreme Court. A stunning revelation to me.

5. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Religion and Politics by Jonathan Haidt. Read aloud with my husband. Some mornings we couldn't get up from the breakfast table.

6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Read several times. The most memorable was listening to it in the car with my early teenage daughter and hearing her reaction.

7. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Read many times as a young woman.

8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. When I was a teenager, every summer I would try to read all the young adult books in the library, but I would always get stuck in the A's. Never got past Alcott.

9. The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Listened to this in the car with my husband. Magnificently written. It has stayed with me for a very long time. 

10. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. The best novel I have read in the years that I have been reviewing books.


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