The first five of a list of 10 books that made lasting impressions on me are:
1. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Even the big and powerful can be brought down by the many.
2. On the Beach by Nevil Shute
Oh, how I cried when I reached the end of the book. I sobbed in my bed until I got up and talked to my mother about it. She was up late with heart burn. So was I, but it was of a different kind. The story of the very possible human-made disaster to end all human-made disasters is gut-wrenching and inspires soul searching.
3. Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs – and all the other books in the series
During the summer of 1977 my grandfather suggested I read this book. I did not know if I was interested, but I loved and respected my grandpa, a voracious speed-reader, so I agreed. Once I started reading, I could not put the book down. I was hooked! I was inspired by how Tarzan could overcome, yet not loose touch with, his strange existence. I also loved how he communicated with the wild things of the jungle – always his real family. Oh, and I am still appalled that Hollywood changed Nikima’s name to Cheetah!
4. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
What a story. It parades before the reader’s imagination the grand plantations of the Old South and the overwhelming horrors of the Civil War. Through it all, I desperately wanted Scarlett to realize she and Rhett were perfect for one another, and I kept wishing she was not so cruelly self-centered; but, I admired her optimism, determination, her grit, her intelligence and quick thinking. The novel may have sparked my dreams of writing.
I have to say there is no way she had a waist that tiny! The description of her figure had me feeling quite jealous.
5. Ben and Me
An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse Amos By Robert Lawson
I think this book made me love history. I knew the story was fiction (Honest!) but I was enchanted. Amos the mouse describing some of Benjamin Franklin’s most well-known achievements made me want to know more about the man, and caused me to wonder at the founding of the United States.