What books have influenced my life? This is a difficult question for me. Partly because I read so much, it’ll be hard to narrow the list. Partly because I don’t know that I’ve had any profound moment of change.

I’ve lost myself in books, escaping into the worlds and falling in love with the characters until they feel like old friends. Books can do more, absolutely. They can teach, inspire, reveal, expose, and so much more. Important roles. But mostly, if they are like me, any author would be happy to hear that a book simply touched a reader in some way.

With that in mind, rather that go into depth, I’ve listed the books with the most impact on me and why. (In the order that I thought of them.) What books would you put on your list and why? I’d love to know!

blue_violet_v5Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – The first time I learned that quote-unquote serious literature could involve a love story.

War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy – The book I read to prove to a doubting teacher that I could.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway – The book that convinced me I didn’t like anything by Hemingway. All his characters are assholes. And that’s when I learned that I need at least one redeeming character in a story. Even if they don’t win.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – The first book where I lost myself in the characters. I re-read it every so often.

Twilight by Stephenie Myer – The book that introduced me to the world of paranormal romance.

Love Comes Softly by Janette Oak – My first inspirational romance.

A Case for Christ by Lee Strobel – The arguments posed are still ones I consider daily.

Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn – These Star Wars books took my favorite world and made it mine.

Inferno by Dan Brown – Best book club discussion I’ve ever had.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden – Another book where I lost myself in the character and her journey.

Summer Rainfall by Kerry Allyne – From the 70s. Still the category romance I reread the most.

Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – Still the best epic saga, with a myriad of fantastic characters.

Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare – The best flirting on paper.

Blue Violet by Abigail Owen – The first book I ever finished writing.

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