I’ve written a lot about the influential books and characters in my life. But I think that I’ve forgotten about some. It’s weird—I devoted huge portions of my life to these books, and to these characters, but when I think hard about it, they drift out of my head completely.
I think part of me definitely wants to impress my audience, and so tries to talk more about the more “adult” books; the classics and the adult fantasy. But then later, I remember:
There are others that have influenced me enormously over the years that I stop and think about from time to time. Books that I don’t have to reread in order to be able to quote, or to correctly name all of the main characters.
They’re not necessarily high literature, though some of them might be. But they did all play their parts in defining who I was at the time, and as a result, defining who I am now.
The first would have to be the Warriors series, by Erin Hunter. Not only did I read way too many of these books (there are about a thousand of them, all in various series that all sort of interconnect and really do tell the same story over and over again), but I also spent endless hours with my friends acting out the storyline. To make this even more ridiculous, the books are about cats. A cat society in the woods. With politics. And quests. It’s absurd, and yet… I still feel nostalgic for these stories, and these characters. I reminisce about those days when I’m hanging out with people. Somehow, these books became important to me, even after I stopped reading them. I don’t even own a copy of any of them anymore, but I still think about them on a fairly frequent basis.
The next is also fairly obvious if you know me. I’m talking the glory that was the Rainbow Magic series. I had a thing about fairies when I was younger. I still have a thing about fairies now—even if my tendencies have shifted to the whole dark-fae-scary-adult-magic side of things than the light-happy-glitter-and-sparkles-magic side. But these books were all about the latter. They, too, had very similar storylines from book to book. And I really, really liked them. I went back and reread them recently, actually, because the girl I used to babysit had a fixation with them.
But they’re nothing compared to the Pixie Tricks series. This being, the series that sparked the fascination with not-all-fairies-are-good. Also the series that led to my fascination with miniature people and bubbles, though those two both went away fairly quickly. Oh well. These books did have repetitive storylines, in a sense, but not really, because they each had their quirks that made them quite separate. It was a fantastically empowering series for six-year-old me, and also strongly supported the idea that girls and guys could be friends, and still save the world, while being clever, and relying on wits instead of on magic. It was spectacular. I still uphold the idea that this book series is beyond phenomenal, and every kid should give it a try.
And then you get the series that really got me into high fantasy. Redwall. Oh, Redwall. It’s SO SO SO SO good. Rodents with swords and smarts and ridiculously awesome food. And magic mouse prophecies. They defend the world, and they don’t give a crap about traditional gender roles when it comes to the crazy combat-y stuff. And the writing is wonderful. And the riddles are witty. I love this series. I still reread this series. Not very many people have read it, which is why I don’t talk about it much. But it’s absolutely still one of my favorite series to this day. And it is the series that, along with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and The Hobbit got me into the world of high fantasy.
Of course, I also have to say something about the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series. It was good. It was. AND THEN THEY WENT AND MADE A MOVIE OUT OF IT AND I CANNOT ACTUALLY ADMIT TO THE WORLD THAT I ENJOYED THE BOOKS ANYMORE. This is why I don’t trust movie adaptations, okay???
There are other books that probably belong on this list, too. Bone. Blue Jasmine. Deltora Quest. Septimus Heap. The Moorchild. Tintin. Gooney Bird Greene. American Girl Dolls (aka the beginning of my interest in historical fiction).
It’s the strangest combination of books and characters… pretty much ever. And that’s nowhere near the end of it. I could continue listing books for a LONG while. But no one wants to read a 4,000 word long post. So I’m cutting it short.
But there is one crown jewel to this.
The entire Little House series. I will not call it Little House on the Prairie. That is the stupid TV show. And also the first book is Little House in the Big Woods. GOSH PEOPLE. GET IT RIGHT.
But this series.
For one thing, it was the series that got me ridiculously interested in sewing and crocheting, and that lasted for a good long while. I still occasionally pick up some yarn and make something. It was the series that made me really, really invested in wearing long skirts and also a bonnet for a good long while. And I love this series. It was my first indicator that someone could just grow up and be an author, that not all authors were… I don’t know what my preconception of authors was. But this changed it. And it contained so many good messages about people, and the fact that it was a true story, just…. Gah. I love it.
But I never talk about it. I talk a lot about Anne of Green Gables. I talk a lot about Little Women. But I never seem to talk about this.
And I have no idea why.