You know I am a voracious reader. This post is right up my street.
Ten Eleven Books That Have Stayed With Me Long After I Read Them.
- A Wrinkle in Time / Madeline l'Engle. I read this when I was about 12 when it was new, and I always remembered it with affection. Reread it in about 1990 when Elder Son was at an age when I thought he might enjoy it; it didn't age quite as well as I had hoped but was still good.
- Winterdance: The Fine Magic of Running the Iditarod / Gary Paulsen. One of my favorite books ever, maybe because I have a weakness for north-woods-wilderness-type stories. (Especially if they involve dogs or other animals.) This is a nonfiction account of Paulsen's training for and running two Iditarod races. It is hilarious and profane and spiritual and totally enjoyable.
- The Exception / Christian Jungersen. A suspenseful psychological semi-thriller set at a Danish NGO that researches genocides. I use the term "suspenseful" here to denote "could barely breathe and lay awake at night after reading."
- Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead / Ayn Rand. I was, like many people, a devotee of Ayn Rand when I was about 17. Happily, I outgrew her. But the books were powerful and still linger in my memory, not necessarily in a good way.
- The Stand / Stephen King. My favorite Stephen King book. I reread it every few years.
- Prodigal Summer / Barbara Kingsolver. The image of the mountain breathing (exhaling at morning, inhaling at evening) is still with me. And how the protagonist solved the problem of how to make her land sufficiently profitable without growing tobacco.
- Never Cry Wolf / Farley Mowat. This one is a classic of animal behavior. As a young naturalist, Mowat lived for a time in the remote woods and tundra of northern Canada to study wolves. I read it in high school; perhaps it was the basis of my love of such stories.
- War for the Oaks / Emma Bell. The book is modern urban fantasy. The reasons I loved it were 1, it was set in Minneapolis, and b, it took me back to my early 20s in that city, hanging out on weekend nights with my friends, skinny dipping at Hidden Beach at 2am and eating breakfast at 4am at the Embers at 26th and Hennepin. (Neither of those two things occur in the book, but it had the same feeling I remembered.)
- We Wish To Inform You That We Will Be Killed Tomorrow With Our Families / Philip Gourevitch. Nonfiction about the 1995 genocide in Rwanda. As much as humanity said, "Never again!" after the Holocaust, genocide continues.
- Mountains Beyond Mountains / Tracy Kidder. Nonfiction about Paul Farmer's health campaigns in Haiti. Farmer is a Harvard-trained doctor and anthropologist who founded Partners in Health and invented effective and low-cost ways of delivering good health care in desperately poor countries. His approach made me consider other NGOs in a different light.
- Nickel and Dimed : On (Not) Getting By in America / Barbara Ehrenreich. Author is an investigative reporter; this is her account of her -- ultimately unsuccessful -- attempt to live on the minimum wage in several different cities in America. Eye-opening.