Top Ten Influential books

It was Top Ten Tuesday yesterday, but the subject was swoon-y books, and I don’t think I swoon, I’m too bitter. Anyway. I couldn’t think of anything. But there is a video going around the booktube, where you list the top ten books that have been most influential, to you, not like world changing, but books that had a major impact on you. Anyway. These are the books that have had an impact on me. Woo.

Pippi Longstocking books by Astrid Lindgren
I think my mother gave me the Pippi books. And I really loved them, and I loved her, cause she’s strong, and a badass. And I wanted to be her when I was a kid. I freaking love her. And reading the books made me realize how amazing reading is, and I wanted to read more books.  

The Aurora books by Anne-Cath. Vestly
Anne-Cath. Vestly is a really important Norwegian children’s book writer, or was, she’s dead. She wrote a lot of children’s books and she did sort of revolutionary things. She basically told kids, if not outright, that kids come from inside mom’s belly, not the stork. Which was huge in the 1950s. And in the Aurora books, which were my favorite books growing up, the mom went to work, and the dad stayed home, which was kind of a big deal in the 60s when the books came out. I don’t think I thought much of it, because I read them in the 90s, and my mom went to work, but yeah, they were huge for me. Aurora was a kind of weird kid, she had an interesting family, with a tough mom. I feel like, looking back, that my parents pushed badass women at me, through books.

Matilda by Roald Dahl
I think I read Matilda about 10 times growing up. I really liked her, because she was nerdy, and sort of precocious, and she was strong and interesting, and at some point I will buy the book, and read it in English.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
My mother, as always my mother is the book pusher, bought me Harry Potter when the first book came in Norwegian. And I read it in about three days, because I found it so fascinating and exciting that I stayed up all night to read it. It was amazing. And it was the first series where I just started waiting excitedly for the next book. It changed my whole reading life.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Before the fifth book I waited for the books to come out in Norwegian, because I didn’t think I was strong enough in English to read the books in English. When the Order of the Phoenix came out I was like… 16, and I felt I could probably do it. And I read it in English and this whole world of books opened up for me. Also, it’s one of my favorite Harry Potter books, it goes so dark, and it introduces one of the creepiest villains in Harry Potter, the hag that is Dolores Umbridge. It’s awesome.

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan led to me discovering the world of Fantasy literature. I knew it existed, but I didn’t really know how to find them, or if it was for me. And then I got this book for Christmas, and while it took me a while to read it, I was so excited when I did. I realize that there are problems with Wheel of Time, I realize it isn’t perfect, I don’t care. Wheel of Time is amazing. It led me to the Comic/Fantasy/Sci-fi book store in my town, and I found the other books, and oh yey. It was awesome.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
When I read Slaughterhouse-Five I think my first thought was basically: WHY HAVE I NOT READ HIM BEFORE? He is amazing. He’s funny, he’s sarcastic, he is sharp, and reading Slaughterhouse-Five was a revelation.

How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
As mentioned I have parents who pushed books with strong women on me. I have a working mom, she was a teenager in the 70s, and she doesn’t even have my dad’s last name (although to be fair, it’s quite common in Norway, in her generation), she took me to an International Women’s day March when I was like 8, I wanna say. Looking back, my mom might be weird, and awesome. So even though she never told me; women are awesome, you’re worth as much as a boy, you should be a feminist, it was always there, she has insidiously given me this idea. To be fair to my father he is a seriously supportive awesome guy who always told me I could do anything. This was a long road to me discovering Caitlin Moran. Caitlin Moran wrote basically a biography, which is also about her discovering Germaine Greer and becoming a feminist. And it helped me put into words what I thought about women, and being a woman. I know that I am fortunate to live in a country where equality is something we work hard on, and a country where we are apparently known for equality, I didn’t know that, but we are. Yay us. Anyway, this book made me more aware of what feminism is and that it is important still.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I dabbled in classics when I was younger and I never really figured them out. I just found them annoying, and I worried that I was just stupid and didn’t get it. And then I read Pride and Prejudice, and it was friggin’ awesome. Jane Austen is funny and snarky, and she’s cool and it suddenly felt like I wasn’t an idiot, because I liked it, and I wasn’t alone. And it was great. I don’t know if it means that I now “get it”, but I’ll keep reading them, and see what happens. And by classics I mean both the canon of Jane Austen, Dickens, and that crew, and also the classics that aren’t from the 1800s or whatever, but books that are timeless, and work out of time (can’t think of a single example, to Kill a Mockingbird?). Yes.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
My mother grew up reading this book, and always really liked it, so when my sister was maybe five, and I was eight, or we were even younger, I don’t remember, she read the Hobbit to us. I was asked once what my favorite fairytale was and I couldn’t think of anything because my mother read the Hobbit to me, and it was the only “fairytale-like” story I could remember. I grew up on the book. I will read it again and again. I own four copies of the Hobbit, and a graphic novel adaptation. I love the movies, and it’s like a family event to see the movies.