Books that stay with you

“It is a great thing to start life with a small number
of really good books which are your very own.”
~Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
No matter what exhilarating, beautiful, unputdownable books you may come across as an adult, there’s something about stories you read when you were young. I think most of us have kids’ books and writers we devoured, in a way that you never quite devour books again once you’ve grown up.
Here are mine!
(I have terrible trouble with “top ten” lists.)
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
any Roald Dahl, but especially Danny, The Champion of the World
the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
The Secret Garden and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit
The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander
the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen
Ella, Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Swan Lake by Mark Helprin and Chris Van Allsburg
The Nine Days Queen by Karleen Bradford
Catherine, Called Birdy and The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
The Indian in the Cupboard series by Lynne Reid Banks
Jacob TwoTwo Meets the Hooded Fang by Mordecai Richler
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
I Am David by Anne Holm
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Some of these I haven’t ever re-read, but the memory of them – the way I felt when I read them – is still vivid. Others I return to every couple of years for a reunion, like a long-lost member of the family.
Because I’m always curious…
What are your “books for life”?

4 thoughts on “Books that stay with you

  1. There are a number of them, but the one that still resonates with me the most is The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin. For children’s books, I’d go with A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, which I read as an adult, mind you. For illustrated picture books, pretty much anything illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, but I am completely biased there, because they are friends of mine. (You should see my collection, and their next book is dedicated to me!)

    When I was a kid, I had one of the Rupert the Bear annuals, and I loved it.

  2. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never heard of those two, Sheila. Consider them added to my “to read” list. And Ursula Le Guin’s been on my list for ages; I should really get around to her – thanks, Randy!

    I won a copy of “A Wrinkle in Time” in elementary school in what we called a Chinese Gift Exchange, and it sat on my shelf forever because I thought the cover looked boring. When I finally opened it years later, I couldn’t put it down! I loved the scene with Meg in her attic bedroom during the storm, sulking about her beautiful brilliant mother… and wished that *I* had an attic bedroom. And that someone would tell *me* I had “dreamboat eyes.” (HA!)

    P.S. I still watch the Rupert the Bear TV show if it’s on.

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