The rules: In a text post, list ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you. Tag ten friends.
(I won't tag anyone, but feel free to do this if you're so inclined!)
1) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - I read this as a teenager and was completely swept up in the romantic classic. Heathcliff and Cathy . . . just thinking of them roaming the moors in their youth makes me want to read it again right now.
2) The Bastard by John Jakes - (The first of 8 books that comprise The Kent Family Chronicles) When the illegitimate son of an English nobleman is denied his heritage, he's forced to flee to the new colonies and soon finds himself among the ranks of those fighting for American independence. Jakes is a master of historical fiction, weaving this family saga around the origins of our country beautifully. I consistently RAN to the bookstore to purchase the next in the series upon reading the last line of the previous book. (pre Amazon.com days)
3) Dear and Glorious Physician by Taylor Caldwell - The man we know as the author of the third gospel of the New Testament, St. Luke, was a humble doctor in the first century A.D. An extraordinary read, the book is a biography of his life and includes his years-long search to discover who Christ was by seeking out the people who knew Him. (Inadequate summary is INADEQUATE - doesn't even begin to do justice to this breathtaking novel.)
4) The Color Purple by Alice Walker - Celie's letters tell the story of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused by her father and continuing through her marriage to a brutal man who isn't any better. Walker's prose is beautiful and touching.
5) Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice - A San Francisco reporter interviews 200-year-old vampire Louis, who was 'turned' by Lestat in 1791 New Orleans. Plagued with guilt at having to kill to survive, Louis is a likable character, forming a deep bond with the child Lestat turns into a daughter for himself and Louis. I read the first 4 sequels to this book (out of 10), discontinuing the series when it strayed too far from the original characters.
6) Balanchine, a Biography by Bernard Taper - One of many, many biographies and autobiographies I've read over the years. Engrossing account of the famed choreographer's life and tangled ends that resulted after his death.
7) Dancing on my Grave by Gelsey Kirkland - Dancers' lives in general fascinate me, but this one . . . OMG! A product of Balanchine's School of American Ballet, Kirkland was taken into the company (NYCB) at a young age and quickly rose to stardom, only to descend into a drug-crazed nightmare fueled in part by a classmate of mine who attended the National Academy of Dance with me in Champaign, Illinois in the early 70's. Needless to say, I couldn't put this book down.
8) Six Wives: Queens of Henry the VIII by David Starkey - The line of succession to the British throne greatly interested me (still does), and I spent a good 10 years devouring books on the kings and queens of England and their offspring. The sheer lunacy of Henry Tudor had me yelling at him through the pages of time much the same way I yelled at my TV screen when Brian didn't buy the roses.
9) Victoria's Daughters by Jerrold M. Packard - The 5 daughters of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were married off into various royal houses of Europe in their father's attempt to 'create world peace by kinship.' A lofty dream, but in reality some of them introduced hemophilia into their new families and helplessly watched World War 1 break out.
10) Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer - A journalist for adventure magazine OUTSIDE, Krakauer was part of the 1996 disaster on Mt. Everest when 8 climbers died and several others were stranded by a snowstorm in their bid for the summit.