“Share a list of books that affected you in some way. Then tag 10 of your friends, including me; so I can see your answers.” I was tagged by Jen Siems.
1. Blindness by José Saramago. This was a gift from my college boyfriend, who I mistakenly thought had read it. Whoops. It was the first novel I remember really loving. It’s dark and has the most disturbing assault scene I’ve ever read. But I think it reminded me that there was good fiction out there. For many years it was the gift I gave when I stayed with friends.
2. Atonement by Ian McEwan. I think most people think of this as that Kira Knightly movie. The book is so good. It’s frustrating and drags emotions all over the place. And there is a moment – I think those who have read it know what I mean – that nearly destroyed me. I remember reading it sitting on the floor of my apartment in NYC and shaking and crying, realizing what was going on. I haven’t read it since.
3. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. It’s about friendship, and love, and a sort of strange dystopian but not post-apocalyptic world. It’s not dramatic – it feels almost muted. But it is devastating in its own way. Huh. Apparently my kind of novel is the kind that slowly screws you up a little.
4. The Bible by Various. I know. Weird for an atheist, right? But by the time I was re-reading it in college, discussing it in bible study, I had the realization that I was not only not a Christian, but didn’t believe in god. Without reading it at that moment, with that group, I might not have realized that for years.
5. Brain Droppings by George Carlin. I was never lucky enough to see him perform live, but man, this book. It’s bizarre. There are jokes that are funny only in their absurdity. But I (and my sister) can turn to any page, read a line, and end up laughing out loud.
6. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. Known as the Bloggess, Ms. Lawson is weird and amazing. The book is funny and sad and relatable even if you didn’t grow up surrounded by taxidermied animals.
7. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. This is the only piece of reading (book, article, poem, whatever) that was ever assigned to me in my twenty years of education that I did not finish.
8. Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. This was one of the first books I recall reading that helped me to verbalize my progressive beliefs. It got me angry, and it profoundly affected how I view corporations.
9. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Another former boyfriend recommended this one. Oh god. It is so bad. Just utter crap. It’s a pretty easy litmus test for whether I’m going to get along with someone if, when I mention this book, their response is a deep shudder or an audible groan.
10. BITCHfest by Various. It’s the first straight up feminist book I read. Once I finished, I found more. And more. And I haven’t stopped.