As an avid reader and overall general book lover, there are many books that have had a major impact on me. I read a question recently that asked, "What book has had the most impact on you?" I thought about this for a while trying to narrow down the list in my head. Was there only one book that had impacted me the most? Could I really boil down the list of favorites that I had to one singular book? The answer to that is no. So, instead of focusing on a singular book, I'm instead going to focus on the top five that had the greatest impact on me.
1. "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein
This book taught me to be kind to others and remember those who helped you to become the person you are. In the story, the Giving Tree ends up nurturing the young boy at all stages of life and this makes the tree happy. The tree always has something to give to the boy who grows into an old man. It's a lifelong friendship. The kindness the Giving Tree shows, showed me how to be kind in many ways, including when I might not get anything out of it.
2. "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights was the first book I read that made me challenge myself. The language used in large parts of the book was hard to decipher unless you were paying close attention. At the point that I read this, I was whipping through books in hours. Wuthering Heights forced me to slow down and really dig into the meaning behind the book in order to understand it. This book sort of set the stage for my college career in the English Language field since I was forced to analyze parts of it to understand it. It also set me on the path to read even more books that would challenge me.
3. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling
Like many kids who grew up as the Harry Potter series progressed, the books were a large part of my life. However, the first book in particular is special to me. It really set the stage for the rest of the series and helped me to dive right into the realm of magic. I used to wait eagerly for the next book to come out.
I can still remember flinging my copy of The Deathly Hallows across the room when I read about Dobby dying. Rowling with her series set me on my path to become a writer. She set the stage for my growing interest in creating my own fantasy worlds and delving into character developments.
4. "Eragon/ The Inheritance Cycle"
Eragon was the beginning of my interest in writing fantasy. Paolini created this absolutely wonderful world in which dragons still existed but were few and far between. He created this young man who started off as a no one and blossomed into a hero. The entire series showed me how to transport myself into a completely different world.
Christopher Paolini published the first portion of The Inheritance Cycle at only nineteen years old which was also a major factor in the impact on me. Being published so young, Paolini encouraged me to keep writing and to show my work to someone.
5. "The Gunslinger/The Dark Tower Series"
The Gunslinger and the whole of The Dark Tower series sent me on a trip that I wasn't really expecting. While I had read works by Stephen King before, nothing could have prepared me for the way that he wrote the series. Normally, King has a large amount of creepy, spooky and mystery in his works that all unravels pretty fast in a sort of mystical way. This series focused on the very real demons that lurk inside all of us.
The main character and his companions are all flawed in a major way. However, the flaws in each person all help to lead the Gunslinger to the tower. This series and the first book especially, set the stage for the way that I want others to one day read my writing. I don't think that I will ever be on par with King himself, but I do hope that one day my writing can impact just one person in the same way.