I recently suffered a tragedy of e-fic proportions. I left my Kindle on a plane. Now, I had been reticent about converting to an e-reader before realizing that I didn’t have to fully convert. There are certain books and particular writers that I need to be able to hold in my hands (yes, I hold writers in my hands. They like it. I treat them like baby birds.)
But that Kindle–MY Kindle! It contained books that I neeeeeeded to finish. Books like Broken Harbour by Tana French and Inked by Eric Smith. So I bought another Kindle.
And then the airline found my Kindle and are allegedly mailing it back to me for a small fee.
This reading habit of mine. I can’t kick it and don’t want to, even though it costs me several pretty loonies. Hundreds of pretty loonies.
There are so many books that have helped shape who I am. Writers who have inspired me, stories that have made the world a little brighter or a little darker, all in life-affirming ways. Here are some of those treasures:
1. One More Time: A Memoir by Carol Burnett – This was the first ‘grown-up’ book I read and I read it at least three times. Carol Burnett has been a personal hero of mine since I was five. Just thinking about her makes me smile and tear up all at once.
2. Shampoo Planet by Douglas Coupland – When I was sixteen, a friend leant me his copy of this book. The first few pages lit my eyes on fire. I had never experienced writing so dizzyingly clever. Shampoo Planet is not my favourite book Douglas Coupland has written (J-Pod, Eleanor Rigby, All Families are Psychotic, Microserfs, Miss Wyoming, Hey Nostradamus! would rank higher for me) but it was the one that introduced me to his genius. He is the first writer and artist I truly fell in love with.
3. The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin – Yes. That Steve Martin. He’s another one of my all-time favourite artists. Funny and heart-breaking, his writing cracks through to my core. He’s just the best.
4. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan – Her prose is so beautiful it makes my brain hurt. The fact that she is also clearly a soothsayer is just icing on a fascinatingly gorgeous cake.
5. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – I know this book is problematic for so many reasons and I hesitated putting it on the list. What tipped the scales was Scarlett O’Hara. She is one of the best protagonists ever written. Period. Full stop.
6. Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – I stumbled upon the audio book version quite by accident and quite deliberately listened to it more than once and read it a few more times after that. I am a sucker for a sassy contemporary romance–something I used to be embarrassed about. Until, that is, I found out there was a community of women just like me. Goddesses bless the gals at Smart Bitches Trashy Books.
7. Funny Girl by Nick Hornby – It hurts me to pick a favourite Nick Hornby book when I love them all. I’m choosing Funny Girl for this list simply because reading it felt as though Hornby had crawled around in my brain, scouring for things that I love, and then wrote a book out of his findings.
8. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – She’s magical, isn’t she? I love her books like I love the best people in my life. And Eleanor & Park nearly wrecked me. I stayed up all night afraid to finish it and needing to all the same.
9. The Likeness by Tana French – All of her books are amazing. This was the one I felt I actually moved into; I unpacked all of my belongings and I settled in for the long haul.
10. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer – This book was the most pleasant and engaging of surprises. This book contains the best elements of Jennifer Egan and Douglas Coupland’s artistry with extra zest poured on top. I recommend it at the TOP OF MY LUNGS.
There you have it. Ten of my favourite book-things. I promise to sing this list to you using my best Julie Andrews voice in person some time.