Naturally, once the idea got in my head, I thought about it all day, even writing on my sticky notes the titles of all sorts of books I could think of that I thought had an influence on my life. Anyone who knows me well knows about my addiction to post-it notes and I even carry them in my purse and my coat pockets for emergencies. It's an on-going joke in my family and at school. Anyways, I've come up with a partial list of books that I know for sure had an impact on my life for various reasons. Hope you enjoy. It also looks like there will a part 2 to this post as I am amazed at how many books really had an impact on my life.
Anne of Green Gables
by L.M. Montgomery
I can't think of any other book that had such an impact on a young Canadian girl. Anne, an 11-year-old orphan girl is mistakenly sent to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, elderly sibilings who had been expecting a boy. Her bright, overactive imagination gets her into a lot of trouble initially and drives the austere Marilla into total distraction, but her loyalty and love break down Marilla's stiff reserve in the end. I can't tell you how many times I've read this book and all the sequels over the years. I even own the made-for-television movies. I have now introduced my daughter to 'Anne' and the fanaticism is continuing to the next generation. Visiting Cavendish, PEI where Montgomery drew her inspiration is still on my Bucket List of to-do items.
The Chronicles of Narnia
Anyone else try to get to Narnia through their own wardrobes when they were young? I know I did every time I opened a closet door. These books just fueled my belief in the fantasy and boy, did I believe. I wanted to go there so badly and have adventures just like Lucy. I see these books as being the first books that drove my interest in reading Fantasy Fiction as a child. There isn't a time when I walk in a closet, even today, and wonder "What if?"
The Nancy Drew Mysteries
by Carolyn Keene
I know today that these books were written by a variety of authors under the pseydonym "Carolyn Keene", created by Edward Stratemeyer. When I was young, I didn't care about all of that. I was in awe of Nancy and wanted to grow up to be like her and have all of these adventures. It didn't matter to me that she never grew older or that she never went to college, not when I was 7-years-old. I still have the set sitting on my shelf and I will never sell them. Every once in a while, I pick up a book and read it, remembering the child I used to be, with the whole world in front of her. The Hidden Staircase was my favourite book in the series.
by Louisa May Alcott
This book has the unsual impact on me by being the first book I read (I was seven years old), where I realized that tragic moments can happen. I remember crying after finishing the book and I barely slept that night because I kept thinking about poor Beth. I slept with the book under my pillow. I realized for the first time that books can have a huge impact on your emotions and really affect you. I still have the version on the right on my shelf, and will never get rid of it. I also spent the next six months reading whatever I could find on the American Civil War, which, at seven years old, wasn't much. Libraries didn't carry a lot of non-fiction things for children at that time.
Little House on the Prairie
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
These novels developed a lifelong interest in learning about the history of the Pioneers as well as the Native Americans. Until I read this series, I didn't know a lot about them and wanted to learn more. Luckily, the libraries stocked a lot of non-fiction books for children about the various groups in North American and I got my fill of details, at times gory and grusome, about life as a native. I still have the entire series on my shelf, but have not as yet been able to develop an interest in my children.
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.