Inspired by the movie challenge I decided to list the books that have most impacted or influenced me in some way. This was way more difficult than picking ten movies and I simply could not restrict me to 10 but decided to go with 15 instead. I have read way more books than I’ve seen movies, and I love reading way more than I enjoy watching a movie.
- Saariston lapset (Astrid Lindgren)
This is the the book that made me a book dragon. I devoured the book and then continued to devour book after book, first the other Astrid Lindgren books I had, then everything else in my own book case, then everything from the local library.
- The Tripods (John Christopher)
My debut SciFi read. My friend recommended this trilogy and borrowed me the book too, and I loved it. I think I read it multiple times after that, once in my adulthood too. I never owned the book until a couple years ago when I decided it was something I needed to have in my own library.
- Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
This WSOY series of “girls’ books” ❤ All of the Anne of Green gables books, the Emily of New Moon books, I had them all, I read them all, and I loved them all.
I guess this one got picked into the books that made an impact on me simply because it was the one I modeled my first attempt at book authoring by. I wrote several chapters of something sort of similar to this story until I moved on to something else.
- Watership Down (Richard Adams)
We used to have a bunny. Well, actually several, but when I was 9-13 years old, we had the first bunny and I got this book for Christmas or birthday or something during that time. It made me cry, it made me think I somehow understood the bunny better, it gave me a new partial language what with the rabbit language invented by Adams. I still remember a tidbit like Narn = good and Hraka = poop. And rabbits only count to four, after that everything is Rhair (million).
- Exodus (Leon Uris)
Mom had this book – like all of Uris’ books, and I did read them all too, some many times – in her book case. It was one of the first books I read from her collection, probably after having read some Ian Flemming’s Bond books and Peter O’Donnel’s Modesty Blaises first. I loved the story and later on it prompted me to read e.g. Bodie Thoene’s Zion Chronicles series.
- Name of the Rose (Umberto Eco)
I actually saw the movie first (so it could’ve been in that list too). We watched it in school maybe some religion class thing? It made a strong impact on me – the story, the monks, the mystery, the sex on the kitchen floor 😀 – and I went and got the book from the library and read it and loved it every bit as much as I had loved the movie.
- Trinity (Leon Uris)
Trinity and Redemption really go together, I mean they are two parts of the same story, after all. However, Trinity came first and obviously I found it in my mom’s books, read it and was immediately smitten with Ireland. Have been too, ever since. Later on, when Uris released Redemption, I immediately bought it (I already had all of Uris’ books in my own collection at that point).
In my late teen years my mom also introduced me to the series The Emerald Ballad series by B.J. Hoff and that more or less sealed it. Anyhow, I think I used to be Irish in one of my previous lives. Most probably a leprechaun of sorts 😉
- Daddy-Long-Legs (Jean Webster)
Out of all these “Nuorten toivekirjasto” books (that included books like The Little Princess, The Secret Garden, Huckleberry Finns, all sorts of adventure books and classics and whatnot), this was my favorite. You can believe I was thrilled when I learned that Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn had made a musical of the story!
- Tuntematon sotilas (Väinö Linna)
The Unknown Soldier. One of the absolute Finnish classics, the book about the WWII in Finland. One of the rare classics that I have loved and read multiple times (I usually find classics somehow pretentious in the high-culture-boring kind of a way). I’ve seen all three movie versions of this book, the newest one being my favorite.
Hietanen: “Mää ole hiilest tehty ahvena.”
- The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
I can thank my mom for this one too. She told me when I was a teen that she really loved The Thorn Birds and that prompted me to read the book (in Finnish). I fell in love with the story and through this book started reading other McCullough books too. I have read this book dozens of times, in Finnish. Only a few years ago did I finally order the English copy, but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.
I love this book so very much that it was quite the disappointment, when my mom finally confessed to me – not long before she died! – that she actually had never read the book. Her fascination had more to do with Richard Chamberlain than the story itself, Chamberlain being Father de Bricassard in the 4 episode TV series, which I also do love. It’s actually funny how the storylines mix sometimes, for I can fully picture the book with the TV series characters playing each scene of the book in my mind.
Meggie Cleary: “And there’s one thing you’ve forgotten about your precious roses, Ralph, they’ve got nasty *hooky* thorns!”
- Tim (Colleen McCullough)
I read this one right after the Thorn Birds and it touched me possible even deeper in some ways. Tim, the simple man, who finds love with a lonely older woman. Tim, whose family thought him just a simpleton and a burden. Beautiful story!
- Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank)
I was just about fourteen when I read this book, more or less the same age as Anne Frank when she wrote it. It touched me deeply! Later on in the early ’90s, I also read the sort of similar more contemporary book “Zlata’s Diary”, taking me to the war zone of Bosnia. Reading the stories of these girls made me solemn in a way. Just so sad, yet grateful.
In 2012 I went to Amsterdam for the first time and one of the things on my bucket list was to visit the Anne Frank House. We did – I was traveling with my current husband – and it was practically a religious experience for me.
- The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
I hijacked my dad’s old copy of The Count of Monte Cristo already as a teen, when I first found it at our summerplace and read it and the sequels. This wasn’t my first Dumas book – I’d already read the Three Musketeers and it’s sequels – nor was this the last, for I went to read quite a bit more Dumas books after this one; my great-grandfather was a fan and we have a proper collection at the summerplace.
I was actually contemplating between Musketeers and Cristo because really both should’ve been on this list, but while I’ve always had a bit of a crush on D’Artagnan, the story of Edmond Dantés still won my inner battle.
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
Out of this collection of books, this is the first one I actually read as an adult; all previous ones I read as a teen. Somehow I just had never even known about this book until my sister, who fraternized with nerds, talked about it. Still it took me quite some time to get around to it. At first it was a “I guess I should read what it’s all about” but then it ended up being one of the best books I’ve ever read, and definitely my most quoted book.
Ford Prefect: “There is no point driving yourself mad trying to stop yourself from going mad. You might just as well give in and save your sanity for later.”
- The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
The most recent of these books. This was a really strong, wonderful story of wartime Europe and a little girl stuck in the midst. I also got the movie, after reading the book, and while it too was awesome, the book was just something in its own sphere.
Other little trivia about my books and reading:
- The other Astrid Lindgren books I had and loved were ‘Veljeni Leijonamieli’, ‘Mio, poikani Mio’, ‘Marikki ja kesäkummun Tuikku’, Ronja ryövärintytär’, and ‘Rasmus ja kulkuri’
- I still have the others in my bookshelf, but my son hijacked Veljeni Leijonamieli and Ronja Ryövärintytär when he was younger, so he has them now
- The first ever book I tried to read was “Pelastuspartio Bernard ja Bianca” (The Rescuers, by Margery Sharp), but somehow it only bored me and I never got further than maybe 50 pages in the book
- In the summer of 1984 (when I had just turned 9) my mom tried to challenge me to read five books during my summer vacation. I thought it impossible, and it was. However, during the following autumn I found that Saariston lapset, and haven’t stopped reading since
- During my pre-teen and teen years I frequented our local library and read basically every book I could find that interested me even remotely. Later on, I moved on to some bigger libraries for more selection
- I did get a bit of a reading exhaustion when I was studying in the Uni and had to read so much for my studies
- When I was on sick leave while pregnant with my daughter, I read a book a day; I had borrowed a pile of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books and read all day long while my son was in day care (I was in bed rest due to preliminary contractions)
- I’ve been an Evanovich fan ever since and have read all of her books
- When my kids were small, I had really little time to read, so I restricted my reading to the new releases of a few favorite authors: Janet Evanovich, Tess Gerritsen, Patricia Cornwell, John Grisham, James Patterson, and Michael Palmer
- Sometimes, if a book really has me hooked, I may cook and walk dogs and do whatnot with my book in the other hand
- I love “real paper books” and I love my own library, but there is no way I could fit all my books in a normal home, so I read a whole lot of books in Kindle too
- Besides, Kindle is easy since it’s always with me right there in my phone
- I usually have two books going at the same time: one paper book and one Kindle
- I currently read more in English than Finnish, but one of my favorite authors is Finnish: Max Seeck – I love his thrillers!