Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ten Books That Have Influenced Me (and a Free Ebook)

Hello, chaps.

Bethany from Ramblings of a Young Author tagged me in with the Top Ten Most Influential Books tag, so here's my list, in no particular order.

1. Embassy by S. Alex Martin.
This one is free this weekend on Amazon, which is why I put it first on the list. Go download it. It's fun.
I started reading Embassy last summer when Mr. Martin put out a request for beta readers on the Go Teen Writers Facebook group. I'd been thinking about reading someone else's story at the time since my dad and I had recently talked about critique partners, so I thought, "Why not? He only wants someone to read the first chapter, I'll give it a go." Three other readers and I worked with him over the next several months as he polished and polished and then published it. The book itself didn't influence me much (though it is a good book and I did enjoy it) but the process of working with Mr. Martin and the other betas was hugely influential and I loved it. So, go download Embassy while it's free. Read it! Enjoy it! Find my name in the acknowledgements!

2. The Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling.
When my parents read me the first one when I was little, I thought "I want to write books like J. K. Rowling does!" Did I write any stories then? No. (Though for a while I told my sister bedtime stories every night.) Writing was for the future, and why worry about that when there were imaginary friends to play with? I didn't really start writing until I tried to get out of writing a book report by writing a story instead. I think I was about twelve. Mom didn't go for that, but I kept writing that story anyway. That awful thing was the inspiration for my first, awful novel.

3. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede.
Dealing with Dragons and the following books were the first fantasies I truly fell in love with. I've read the whole series at least twice, and plan on reading them again someday.

4. The Trixie Belden books by Julie Campbell and Kathryn Kenny
My mom bought all but four of the Trixie books while she was growing up (34 total), and my dad read all of them out loud to my sister and I. (He read out loud to us every night for YEARS.) They are falling apart, especially the oldest ones, but I loved them and they fostered my love of mysteries. Same can be said for The Boxcar Children books.

5. The Hank the Cowdog books by John R. Erickson
These are some of the funniest books I've ever read. Or, listened to. The author reads the audiobooks and sings all of Hank's funny songs, and they are fantastic. Like plastic. (Bonus points if you get that reference.) Many a long car trip or day helping my dad at work was spent listening to Hank.

6. All the Shakespeare I read in middle school.
Gotta love the Bard and his poetic, if sometimes practically indecipherable dialogue. I know, technically these are plays and not books, but whatever.

7 and 8. Little Dorrit and Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Little Dorrit is actually the only Dickens I've read, but I've seen the TV miniseries for each a couple times, so I know the stories. As I've said before, I love the complexity of the plots and the characters and how everything ties in at the end.

9. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
I read the Mistborn series last summer, and was blown away by the characters and the plotting. Yes, the books are sometimes creepy and bloody and gruesome but they are AMAZING. I'm thinking about dressing up as Vin for Halloween. Mr. Sanderson was the first author in recent memory to do something I usually dislike in a story and make me love it anyway.

10. The textbooks I've read over the years, especially the science ones and my American government book.
Call me a nerd if you want, because I am one. These books have taught me so much and helped me understand the world better and write better. Pretty much the only reason I read the gov book after that class was cancelled is because I knew I'd be able to apply what I learned to worldbuilding governments. (And I was so right.)

Other books worthy of mention, because top ten just doesn't cover it: almost anything by Dr. Seuss, Eragon and following books by Christopher Paolini, the Bible, Laddie by Gene Stratton-Porter, Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright, The Blood of Kings series by Jill Williamson, and all that poetry Mom made me read in middle school.

I'm not going to tag anyone specifically, so if you want to participate in the tag, go for it! Or feel free to tell me about some of the books that have influenced you in a comment.


  1. Love that you did this! And look, a new blog design. :) I like it.
    ~Sarah Faulkner

    1. This was fun!

      Thanks! I like it too.

  2. Ooh! Books...

    Top ten for me would probably be something like LOtR, Mistborn, The Chronicles of Narnia, Nancy Drew, Eragon, Percy Jackson, The Lemondrop Jar (a beautiful picture book that I patterned one of my first stories after)...maybe Trixie Belden influenced me, too...The Mysterious Benedict Society. I'll have to keep thinking. That's only nine. :) It's possible Jane Austen is the last one.

    ~Robyn Hoode

    1. Nice list! You aren't the only one to mention The Mysterious Benedict Society. People have been telling me to read those for years.

    2. Thanks. And you really should read those. ;)