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5 Influential Books Read Before age 17

January 8, 2011 Leave a comment

After being inspired from this blog I came across today at The Simple Dollar I decided to follow in his footsteps and think back to 5 books that have influenced me personally the most in my 23 years.  I do not think I can place them in order from most to least but I will just put them down as I think of them.

1. The Stand (1978) by Stephen King

Read: 2003 or 2004 when I was 15 or 16

A good friend of mine at the time was into creepy books like this but was really into Dean Koontz books.  The copy I read was over 1000 pages.  I had never read a book that long nor had I ever read or even heard a post-apocalyptic story before besides random tidbits from the book of Revelations in the bible (also from this same friend).  I was totally engrossed and horrified by this story.  It is the epitome of the road novel. For me to imagine our country in ruins and only 1% of the population still alive was something I never imagined could happen before.  This may seem cheesy but it was a stepping stone in my life from innocence to experience.

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (1997) By J.K. Rowling

Read: 2001 or 2002 when I was 13 or 14

Harry Potter

I was a little bit behind the times when I first read this book.  Eighth grade was kind of old to be reading it for the first time.  Plus I did not really want to read it because everyone else really liked it so maybe I did not want to follow the trend.  However, I was hooked from the first book and checked out the same copies from the tiny local library countless times.  My love for this story goes on into my adulthood and am in the middle of reading them all again.  I don’t care if people look down on the books simply because of their phenomenal status or how much money they made or the somewhat annoying fanboys and fangirls of the actors in the movies.  The books are simply fantastic.  I feel like it is really my generation.  When I was 15 I read the 5th book and Harry and Hermione and Ron were also 15.  I felt like we were really connected somehow.  Haha.

3. A Wrinkle In Time (1962) Madeline L’Engle

Read: Not really sure the first time I read it….1999 or 2000 when I was 11 or 12 is my instinct.

I have read this book probably 5-6 times since adolescence and I think that I get a little more out of it each time.  I am pretty sure the first time I read it I was blown away, flabbergasted at the craziness that occurred in the book.  What the heck is going on?  Each subsequent time it just got better and better.  I recently bought the whole set of books but haven’t read them all yet…shame shame.

4. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950) by C.S. Lewis

Read: Not really sure the first time I attempted this…probably fifth grade, around 1998.  It was too difficult for me then so I suppose I really read it in the eighth grade, around 2002.

This book was a lot of fun for me to read and I have gone back to it several times.  Along with the previous book I bought the whole set but have yet to read the other books.  Perhaps because I read this in childhood and they had such an impact on me I don’t really feel all that excited to read the others.  It has big, interesting ideas that sparked my imagination.  It was very unlike other books I was reading at the time in elementary school.  Like The Babysitters Club and Goosebumps.  Haha.   Great Children’s Literature right there.

5.  Jane Eyre (1847) Charlotte Bronte

Read: 2005 when I was 17 years old and a senior in AP English class.

It was the first long classic that I read my self through and felt really proud of writing a real research paper on. The crazy wife in the attic totally got me!  This was one of the first books that introduced me to–symbolism.  Wow.  I loved Jane and her strength of character.