The problem with this meme is that there are both too few books to list and too many. I can’t think of 15 books that will stay with me forever – I’ve read and remembered far too many but not so many have really stayed with me to that extent (unless I list series which would take me way over the limit).
Obviously, the books that influenced me as a child are the ones I will remember the longest. Once I would have said until I’m old and grey but I already am! So I shall start with them.
The Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome: I loved these books so much. I wanted to sail boats. I wanted to camp on islands. I wanted to be Titty! I was four when my father started reading them to me (oddly he started with the fourth book Winter Holiday). I can remember how dark it was so I think he must have started reading them in October. He read all 12 to us and, when he wouldn’t read them again, I read them myself – again and again.
The Narnia books by C. S. Lewis: I enjoyed these too but I didn’t ‘live’ them the way I lived Swallows and Amazons.
I think this book was one of those little Ladybird books (large, friendly writing on the left page and a picture on the right). I can’t remember the title but this one line stays with me (it was much quoted by my family) – “Sitting on a silken cushion, like a little dog of wood.” I can see the picture that went with that line. I wish I could remember the name of the book.
Ivanhoe by Walter Scot: it still sends shivers down my spine.
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy: explains exactly why I could never get married.
The Harry Potter books: because without them I would never have met all of you and I wouldn’t have discovered the virtual world of fandoms and fanfiction and blogs and so on not to mention Live Journl.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo: Unput-downable. I read it over one very wet long weekend whist Dave was on a council-funded CND march in Dortmund. I just got up to eat and make tea. Leaves all musicals and films for dead. I’m glad I got to read it before seeing any other versions.
Pride and Prejudice – enough said!