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Books That Have Inspired Me

23 June 2007

If it’s good enough for Zen Habits, it’s good enough for me. I posted the first few of these in his comments. They are in no particular order.

* His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman re-energized my desire to read fiction. His series, starting with The Golden Compass, is thought-provoking and entertaining at the same time. My wife and I have remarked over and over to each other that these books are a stupendous example of the art of "show, don’t tell".

The audio books are excellent, by the way. Full cast renditions, they’re actually how I got started with the series until I became frustrated halfway through The Subtle Knife with only being able to go as fast as Philip Pullman and crew could read them.

* The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin

Here is a novel I love to contemplate in the middle of winter. It’s a tale of a stranger in a strange land, and LeGuin’s ability to bring characters and situations to life is beautiful to behold.

* The Earthsea series by Ursula LeGuin

Once my favorite fantasy series, until I started reading the His Dark Materials series. The idea of True Name magic is very appealing to me.

* Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

I was identified as a gifted and talented child, but I hadn’t found a book that really encapsulated that experience until this one. Reader’s note: have a box of tissues nearby.

* The Empty Pot by Demi

I think about this modern parable a lot. It’s a simple yet powerful lesson in telling the truth.

* What Do You Care What Other People Think? by Richard Feynman

I love the stories in this free spirit’s autobiography, but the title keeps coming back to me when I’m struggling with how others perceive my actions. I find in doing so that I’m bolder and take more risks, which often bear sweet fruit.

* The Dragon Kite by Thomas Lewis

This is a beautiful children’s story about a child who becomes captivated by a dragon kite and eventually becomes a monk, beautifully illustrated in red-and-sepia toned drawings. In a sense, it’s a tale about following your heart.

That’s all that come to mind just at the moment, though I can foresee follow-up posts. It also causes me to think that maybe I need to rethink what titles I keep on my bookshelf. These are the kind of books that most belong there.

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