Monday, March 29, 2010

My Ten Most Influential Books

Cheers to Patti for making me think up this list: ten books that have influenced me most. It was interesting to see what pattern they show. Anyway, here she goes:

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lundgren
If you’ve been following my blog a while, you know how much I love Pippi. Pippi taught me that freckles are great, and being different is cool. We need a YA Pippi, one who doesn’t worry so much about which hot boy to choose, but instead thinks of different ways to use a wedding dress. Like as a hammock for her veranda.

The BFG by Roald Dahl
I loved disappearing into Roald Dahl’s books—they’re the ones I read with a flashlight, under the covers, when I should’ve been sleeping. If I had to pinpoint where my passion for reading began, it would be with this book.

Crusade in Jeans by Thea Beckman
This one’s one of my favorite middle-grade books—it taught me history can be cool.

Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan
I read this in my early teens and again as an adult. I think the writer was in her teens when she wrote it.

The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie showed me how much I love a good mystery. I devoured her books.

John Sanford’s Prey series
After I didn’t read for almost ten years (shame on me), a friend gave me one of Sanford’s paperbacks to read while I was on bed rest (pregnant with first daughter). This book reignited my passion for reading.

A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
Sue Grafton taught me that mysteries are cool, and that they’re even cooler with a butt-kicking protag.

The Safe House by Nicci French
This book taught me how to create the perfect twist—read it and you’ll know what I’m talking about. I hope to write a suspense like that some day.

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
This book was recommended to me when I was thinking about writing YA, and I absolutely fell in love with the book and the genre. Best YA voice. Ever.

Rat Life by Tedd Arnold
My most recent pick, this YA is a perfect example of great crime fiction written for teens. It’s a favorite of mine—wish I could write like that.

So, what books are on your list?


  1. I came this close to putting an Agatha Christie on my list because I think PERIL AT END HOUSE was the first adult crime fiction I read. I was Pippi Longstocking, wanted my braids to stick out like hers, to have those adventures.

  2. Pippi is cool :-) Agatha Christie was such a great way for me to be introduced to mystery at a young age (I think I was 10 when I started reading her books).

  3. Stieg Larsson, who wrote THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, said he was updating Pippi Longstocking by creating his character Lisbeth Salander. Wonderful list! I went through an Agatha Christie phase when I was a teenager, read dozens of them. Now, I'm going back and reading the titles I missed.

  4. Will have to read that one, George--thanks for the tip!