Top Ten – Books Affecting Me

Leaving the Two Rivers
Leaving the Two Rivers

There’s this whole series of, well, let’s call them “re-postings” for lack of a better term, all over Facebook having to do with a list of the top ten books that have affected people. The verb that is being splattered all over the FB world is ‘impact,’ but I prefer to abstain from using it in that sense since ‘affect’ does the job divinely.

But the point is that I do have a list; I haven’t thought of it yet, but I let’s put it down. And let’s make it simple – books that have “affected” me…somehow. Right? Very well. Let’s be off, then.  *I’m not mentioning Tolkien in here because it’s a given.


1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: Probably the book that gave me the shove I needed into writing was this one. I remember getting somewhere around halfway through the book and thinking, “This is so easy. I could do this!” Just shows how easy Coelho makes writing look.


2. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan: It was sometime around 2000 when I first read this and I have since needed adventure fantasy books to be around me. The world Jordan made is absolutely stunning. He had it all there and the genre suffered a loss with his passing.  A must-read for anyone who wants to get into fantasy.


3.  Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: The best digital fantasy adventure book I have read in the past three years. I had the pleasure of meeting Cline in Seattle at a signing and what a cool guy. The concept he created for this book, and how well he wrote this is fantastic. A digital age in which everyone lives in a computer-enhanced world as their own reality is too dismal to face. Yet, within their world there is a hidden treasure and anyone who finds it will pull themselves out of any impoverishment they’ve ever known. An exciting book for the nerd/geek who grew up in the 1980s.


4.  After the Quake by Haruki Murakami: I had never laughed out loud at reading a short story until I read a wonderfully-penned piece called “Superfrog Saves Tokyo.” You can probably get from the name how amazing this story could be, and it was all that I thought it would be. Murakami’s style is wickedly surreal. A great collection of short stories, all with some relevance to the 1995 quake that rocked Kobe.


5.  The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett: When my brother told me about this, I had to take his recommendation. Not only was it a beautiful storyline (using ancient symbols to fight daemons? Umm, yes.), but the way it was told, I thought was strong. It’s a quick read, but a good one. I wanted to get to the sequel right away.


6. Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin:  Laugh if you will, but this is the only Martin book I’ve ever read…and it was terrific! The vampire genre has been stretched really thin, but this Martin killed it (in the colloquially positive way)! Vampires taking over Mississippi riverboats in the 1800s? How kick-ass is that?


7.  Cloud Atlas/The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zöet by David Mitchell: There’s no one in fiction whose work I’ve ever read who has the command of English and masterful style of Mitchell. The man was born to write. I am a language lover to the bone and the way this man uses words is fabulous. He is a master crafter of sentences and a true storytelling artist.


8.  The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle:  I have been wanting to read this for a while and I was first turned onto it by following the blog of Patrick Rothfuss. Whenever Rothfuss had the chance, he plugged this book, and I’m so glad I listened to him. This book is, as Rothfuss said it, like a pearl – a beautifully crafted fantasy story. It’s a place that the reader wants to go and a world in which the reader wants to live.  It’s magic realized.


9.  The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss: There are two hugely popular fantasy authors (among a handful) at the moment – Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss. I’ve read a few Sanderson books, but Rothfuss really has it locked on. This book is a masterpiece. I have not read the sequel until the last of the trilogy comes out. I don’t want it to end, but hey, all good things, right?


10.  Assassin’s Apprentice, by Robin Hobb: The first book I read for pleasure after college, and what a feeling. I went to Barnes & Noble and picked this out knowing nothing about it. I fell in and it was over pretty quick. One of my favorite authors; she’s been writing fantasy for a long time and I was able to meet her in WA. She’s usually writing about dragons and such, but this was the series that took off. A great solid fantasy series…you know, if you’re into that kind of thing.


There are universes of other terrific writers out there and just not enough space, but this is my list. You go get your own.




3 thoughts on “Top Ten – Books Affecting Me

  1. Coelho is one of my favourite authors. I think I’ve read everything he’s published, including Aleph which I recently finished. There’s a lot of fantasy in your list, Levi. It’s not something I’m into – does Kerrie like it?

    1. Sue – Kerrie shares your interests in this regards; it’s not her cup of tea either. She likes different genres of fiction that still remain on the realist side of things. Thanks for commenting. Yes, Coelho is one of the greats of the modern age, if you ask me.

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