January 2, 2010

The Big Ten Books

I'm on a mission. I want to find 10 books that are magical. Ten books that I can't put down, that make me a self-proclaimed bookworm. You know the type. We all have them, I think. Some of us don't read as much as we used to, so our "magical books" are from our childhood. (As a side note, I think a lot of kids today don't read. I don't know that they have magical books and that breaks my heart.)

There are a few that were magical for me in my childhood. The one that stands out the most in my mind is Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. That book made me stay up all night, laugh out loud, and sob like a baby. Ms. Levine is the person who encouraged me the most to start writing. So yeah, Ella Enchanted is on my 10 Magical Books List.

What is this list for? Well, as writers, we can learn by reading. But we can learn a TON by reading like writers. I want to find ten books that are amazing, for one reason or another (or several) so I can pick them apart and find out what makes them tick. What about this scene brought out an emotion? Why do I love/hate this character? Why do I root for that character? Why do I feel as if this world is a real place? Why do I care so much about what happens next?

I want books that I wish I had written, books that can help my writing. Right now, I write Young Adult Fantasy. I want some books on my list that are classics, some that are brand-spanking new, and some that are just my personal favorites or hopefuls. I want a wide variety of books with a wide variety of strengths.

So far, here are the books on my list (and the biggest reason why):

1) Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (emotional impact, relatable characters, romance)
2) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (world building, sympathetic protagonist)
3) The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (voice, humor, worldbuilding)
4) The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (creating constant conflict and raising the stakes, romance)

Books I have in my To-Read Pile that I hope will be magical:

1) Graceling by Kristin Cashore
2) Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
3) Gossamer by Lois Lowry
4) Immortal by Gillian Shields

Books on my tentative/maybe list:

1) Twilight (character building/showing but not necessarily the characters themselves)
2) Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
3) Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix (action sequence, emotional development)
4) The Ruby Key by Holly Lisle (fantastic plot and world building, how to create doubt and emotion by showing, best ending ever, but not the most fantastic example of YA fiction, in my opinion. Also, I've learned a lot of Holly's techniques from her course, which may save me some trouble)
5) Something by Madeleine L'Engle
6) Something by Bruce Coville (another childhood favorite)

I have a lot more maybe books, but I want to get through the four to-reads I listed above before I delve into those.

What magical books make your list?


Kerryn Angell said...

This is a fantastic idea!! What better way to get that buzz about writing, story telling, great worlds and characters than to have your 10 Magical Books shining at you? I've already started to think of what books might be on my list but I wonder whether the memory of some of the stories has been embellished by time. What a great excuse to re-read these books!

Unknown said...

Yeah, I'm going to re-read some of my old favorites. I forgot to mention Hatchet by Gary Paulson. The Madeleine L'Engle books, Bruce Coville books, and Ella Enchanted will all be re-reads as well. It should be fun! :)

Happy said...

One of my magical books would be The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I also liked The Hobbit.

I think it's sad that kids don't seem to read as much. I know one of mine does like Measle and the Wrathmonk.

Great blog btw!

Unknown said...

Thanks! Yeah, the Hobbit and the Chronicles of Narnia are classic magical books :)

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