Ten Books That Have Stayed with Me

This has been going around Facebook for quite a while, and I was tagged for it a few weeks ago.

“Book Fun! In your status line, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and don’t think too hard—they don’t have to be the ‘right’ or ‘great’ works, just the ones that have touched you.”

I thought it would be fun to post mine here, rather than on Facebook. Here’s my list of the ten books that have stayed with me.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

Goodbye, I Love You by Carol Lynn Pearson

My Antonia by Willa Cather

In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

in the night kitchen

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Aesop’s Fables

I didn’t put much thought into this. I just named the books that came to my mind first. They are books that I have fond memories of and that often occupied the spot of “favorite” book at some time or another in my life.

What are the ten books that have stayed with you?

67 thoughts on “Ten Books That Have Stayed with Me

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  1. Those are all good ones except I haven’t heard of Hatchet. Now I’m going to have to think about this. To Kill a Mockingbird, Jane Eyre, Sense and Sensibility, David Copperfield, The Secret Garden, Cloud Atlas, Life After Life, Anne of Green Gables, Atonement, Wolf Hall.

        1. Oh, and Hatchet is a YA book about a boy whose plane crashes in the remote Canadian wilderness. The pilot had a heart attack. He’s alone and has to survive until help comes. It is a pretty fun book.

  2. Love Wallace Stegner- reading his work makes me fall in love with words all over again…Enjoyed your list and others by the same authors such as Willa Cather, wow. Always been a fan of Dickens as whatmeread mentioned. I’ll add to the list some recent books, not all fiction, either, but ones I’ve pulled off my shelf and pushed into the hands of young readers and friends…The Tender Bar by JRMoehringer, How to talk so Kids will LIsten by Faber and Mazlish, Marriage Shock by Dalma Heyn, Cutting for Stone by Verghese, Ivan Doig’s The Whistling Season, Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice, Let the Great Word Spin by Colum McCann, Those who Save us by Blum, Anything by Tracy Chevalier and anything by Michael Chabon.

  3. I love your top-of-the-head list and can not believe I’ve never heard of In the Night Kitchen by Sendak. I’ll be looking into that one. Ten books that have stayed with me? The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings, Anne of Green Gables, The Song of the Dodo by Quammen, Oryx & Crake by Atwood, The Sea Runners by Doig, The Yearling by Rawlings, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Kingsolver, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Blueberries for Sal by McClosky, Snow Falling on Cedars by Guterson. And a runner up is The Witch from Blackbird Pond. And the second runner up is…. The Secret Garden. This could really go on all day. Fun post! Thanks.

    1. I love your list, too! There are so many great books to remember. I remember hating The Witch of Blackbird Pond because my mom kept trying to get me to read it, and then I finally read it and loved it. I’m going to pester my own daughter about that one! And Sendak’s has stuck with me because there’s a naked scene! 🙂

      1. The Witch of Blackbird Pond was forbidden to me because of the subject of witchcraft and the portrayal of the church being so rigid, so I read it chapter by chapter inside the library to subvert the parental sensors. 🙂 I remember it being very influential to me as a youngster.

        Sendak had a naked scene? Now I definitely have to look it up.

  4. I was tagged on Facebook for this as well, but didn’t end up doing it. I found that there were so many repeats. Either those were really good books, or reading other people’s lists made the same books pop up in everyone’s heads. So, I decided to wait a bit to list mine, then never went back to it. Listing them here was a great idea! There are so many good ones on your list, but I would have to add Anne of Green Gables (the whole series, really), Roots, and Little House on the Prairies (again, all of them). I’m sure there are so many more, but those are the few that popped into my head right away (that weren’t already on your list).

  5. Emily, I love your choices, especially Maurice Sendak’s “In the Night Kitchen.” While a child’s book, it is so very inventive and my kids loved it. Since you included a child’s book, one that moves me still is “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. To save space, I will leave off the quotation marks.

    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    Pillars of the Earth
    The Stand
    The Bourne Identity
    The Day of the Jackal
    Brave New World
    The Prince of Tides

    I have gone through several authors where I read much of what they wrote at a point in time – Robert Ludlum, Stephen King, Ken Follett, Frederick Forsyth, James Clavell, Malcolm Gladwell,, Pat Conroy – so I picked one of each that I liked. I loved the series on Shogun back in the 1970s, that I just had to read the book, e.g.

    Thanks for asking, BTG

    1. Emily, I was thinking more about your question and I recalled two books that were also impactful to me, maybe moreso than some in my first pass – No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre was huge, especially as it defined Hell as other people, who do what you don’t like. And, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, my favorite of his. Thanks again, BTG

      1. That is definitely a great definition of hell. It seems to be one that we all operate under! And I had a hard time leaving Steinbeck off my list. I LOVE all of his books.

  6. My 10 that stayed with me are: The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (Dr Seuss), The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (CSLewis), What Katy Did (Susan Coolidge), Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll), Little Women (Louisa May Alcott), The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien), Middlemarch (Eliot), The Fionavar Tapestry (Guy Gavriel Kay), Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier), The Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas). I’m not sure Rebecca stayed with me in a good way.

  7. You’ve just given me an epiphany! For both the movie Boyhood and My Ántonia, I can’t really articulate what precisely they’re about without explaining the entire plot and the subtleties woven into it.

    I’m off to add more books to my to-read list. Thank you!

    1. Off the top of my head.
      1. Bleak House – Dickens
      2. Middlemarch – Eliot
      3. Under the Volcano – Malcolm Lowry
      4. Dubliners – Joyce
      5. Lord Kilgobbin – Charles Lever
      6. Where I’m Calling From – Raymond Carver
      7. Collected Stories – John Cheever
      8. The Complete short Stories – Ernest Hemingway
      9. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
      10. Collected Poems – Michael Hartnett

  8. I’d have to do it by year -this year, We Were Liars, The Pilgrim, Cpmpany of Liars, All our Yesterdays, these books will stay with me until 2015 and I’ll start a new list. of course there are some, like The Secret Garden, that have a special place because they changed my childhood.

  9. Ooh, first time I saw this challenge. So many good ones. Off the top of my head, here’s what I thought of:

    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
    Personal History by Katharine Graham
    Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
    My Antonia by Willa Cather
    Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
    The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
    Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
    Diary of Anne Frank

  10. I knew I was following you for a reason! I got this on facebook, too, and my mental response was, “What? Only ten?” I mean, I didn’t inflict a whole huge list on my facebook community, because I do have a blog for that. We have Pride & Prejudice, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and Little Women in common. I want to read some of your other titles now… thank you!

  11. It’s a task to come up with a list of favourite books. I find ALL the books to be my favourite, even if I don’t like them. They always leave me with something. I’ve only read Pride and Prejudice and Little Women from your list. I don’t agree with a lot of what I read in them, but that’s the beauty of literature: they tell you not just what you can be, but also what you can’t.

  12. I loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn too and would love to reread that now as an adult. I did the list on Facebook and now I can’t remember half of what I had put down. I blogged a similar list about a year ago and I think it changes every time. Many of the Judy Blume books have stayed with me though. I think Jane Eyre will always be on my list. And there are many more that I think will make an impact that I’m anxious to read, like Angle of Repose.

    1. Our lists do change! I could rewrite another one today. I think I could write some specifically about how they affected me: this list is my happy list and this list is my growing up list, and this one is my knowledge of history list, etc. I do hope you get to read Angle of Repose soon. And yes on Judy Blume!

  13. I got tagged to play this ‘game’ on Facebook as well and here are the ten books I chose (in no particular order). Even though #6 and #7 are series, I thought it would be okay to list them as one title.

    1. Doctor Zhivago – Boris Pasternak
    2. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
    3. Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
    4. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
    5. Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
    6. The Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling
    7. His Dark Materials trilogy – Philip Pullman
    8. Finn Family Moomintroll – Tove Jansson
    9. Swimming with Maya – Eleanor Vincent
    10. Suite Française – Irène Némirovsky

    I see that we share a couple of favourites. 🙂

    1. Very cool! I love your #10. Nemirovsky’s work is amazing and I love that she’s gotten some attention in the last decade. The series totally count, and I need to read some of these. They look intriguing.

      1. I agree, her writing is wonderful and the story of the publication of Suite Française is remarkable.

        Tragically, Némirovsky and her husband were killed at Auschwitz but their two daughters survived and kept their mother’s notebooks. They didn’t realize what the notebooks contained until the 1990s and Suite Française was finally published in 2004. I have heard that a film version of Suite Française is in the works but I’m not sure when it’s due to be released.

  14. It is so difficult to come up with a list of your “favorite” books… There are so many that have influenced me and inspired me. I would like to recommend a book by author Andre Atabaki titled “The Bible of Mithra: A Book of Clarity” (www.PersianAstrology.com).This book was great in the fact that their is no religious “recruitment” going on. The author is an equal opportunity practitioner in trying to get you to be the best, most connected spiritual person that you can be. There are some really deep and fascinating incites in here that were hard for me to wrap my head around at first but by the time I closed the book I felt like I had actually grown in a way. It is amazing the hurdles we set up for ourselves on the journey to peace and enlightenment, and this book helped me understand my own “road blocks” and overcome them.Definitely something I am always looking for when I am reading; something that changes my way of thinking. Hope you will check it out

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