“This can be a quick one. Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.”
(Note from Renae: This meme comes from Shelly’s Bookshelf at http://shellysbooks.blogspot.com/2009/05/memorable-books-meme.html; she reports that she got it from somewhere else. I know others have only posted LISTS of book titles rather than adding book descriptions, so you can do that, too, if you want!)
1. A Room for Cathy, by Catherine Woolley. I read this many, many times as a child and still remember it to this day. It is the story of a young girl who desperately wants her own bedroom. And as the oldest of four girls, I totally related!
2. The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster. Milo is bored, bored, bored with his life. Until one day, when he comes home from school, to find a strange package in his bedroom. This book dazzles with pun after pun after pun, such as when Milo suddenly jumps to Conclusions (an island). I’ve read this aloud to my children … and think it’s about time for another family read-aloud of it about now!
3. Mars, by Ben Bova. A young Native American’s dreams come true when he finds himself on humankind’s first expedition to Mars. What’s that he sees? Could it be the remnants of a Martian society? Read it to find out! I bought this in hardback because it’s well-loved and well-read.
4. Rendezvous with Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke. Wow! The ultimate hard sci-fi tale. Someone is gazing through a long-range telescope when they notice a strange object whose destination appears to be earth. It’s man-made. Cylindrical. Like nothing we’ve ever seen before. This is the story of the people who venture inside the mystery to discover a strange, new, exciting and frightening world.
5. The Incarnations of Immortality, by Piers Anthony. My sister Maria turned me on to this many years ago! From Wikipedia: “The first seven books each focus on one of seven supernatural “offices” (Death, Time, Fate, War, Nature, Evil and Good) in a fictional reality and history parallel to ours, with the exception that society has advanced both magic and modern technology. The series covers the adventures and struggles of a group of humans, called “Incarnations”, who hold these supernatural positions for a certain time.” I look forward to when my kids are old enough for this series, too!
6. The Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis. A scholar from the year 2025 travels back in time to what she thinks is the period right before the Black Death pummeled Europe. But something goes wrong and she winds up arriving in the village only two weeks before the plaque hits—and she doesn’t know it until people start dying. This book opened my eyes to the fact that people throughout the centuries were people just like me—they laughed, they cried, they lived, they died. It also shed light on a fascinating era I knew little about. Because Willis has a way of making you really connect and care for the characters, it’s hard not to feel for and with them—which is why I’ve read this book many times.
7. The Lost Race of Mars, by Robert Silverberg. This was the first science fiction tale I’d ever read, a story about a brother and sister who have to go to Mars to live because their parents are scientists who get stationed there. The children must give up their beloved dog, fight prejudice (they’re only Earthlings, not real “Martians” like the children born on Mars), and learn to live on Martian time. And to make the story really interesting, they also discover the very thing their parents are studying: living aliens, true Martians, what people considered “the lost race of Mars.”
8. Passage, by Connie Willis. Passage explores near death experiences through the eyes and experiments of two scientists. It is most memorable because the haunted, desperate desire to “know” and “understand” experienced by the protagonist became real to me as reader; the feeling builds during the reading and lingers for days after. In fact, I picked up Passage again not because I remembered the story, but because I remembered that feeling and I wanted to experience it again.
9. Believe That I Am Here: The Notebooks of Nicole Gausseron. In these writings, translated from French, a Catholic woman living in Chartres, France records her conversations and experiences with Jesus over a several-year period. This moving, thought-provoking three-part series is a permanent part of my collection.
10. Fine Things, by Danielle Steele. I confess: I love a good Danielle Steele novel, which I can usually gobble down in a few hours. This one, though, about a husband who finds and then loses love, is a heart-breaker; I’ve read it many many times — and I always cry! Maybe that’s part of the charm!
11. Daddy, by Danielle Steele. My next-best DS novel, also about love but this time lost and found.
12. The Mother Tongue, English and How it Got That Way, by Bill Bryson. Given to me as a gift from my college English professor.
13. The Elegant Universe, by Bryan Greene. A look at string theory, M-theory and other quantum mysteries for the layperson.
14. This Present Darkness, by Frank Peretti. Opened my eyes to possibility of a spiritual reality unfolding all around us, impacting us yet unseen.
15. Hinds Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard. A Christian allegory about a girl named Much Afraid who travels to High Places, meeting many others along the way, including cousin Pride, Mrs. Valiant, Mercy, Peace and others.
What are yours?