1. "The Forgotten Door" by Alexander Key (1965). This is a child's science fiction book that I probably read in fourth grade and is the reason I fell in love with science fiction and fantasy stories.
2. "The City in the Dawn" by Hervey Allen. This is actually three books in one - "The Forest and the Fort", "Bedford Village", and "Toward the Morning". The reason this one has stuck with me is not because it's a wonderful book, although I did enjoy the stories, but more because of the memories it evokes. Set on the Susquehanna River and the surrounding area in central Pennsylvania, my father and I read the book together, then walked the paths Salathiel (main character) walked and I learned the history of my family. The book has stuck with me because of those times with my father.
3. "Draper's Self Culture" by Andrew Draper, c 1907. And yes, I have the original - and no, I didn't buy it new. :) Unfortunately, I only have volume II - Fairy Tales, Myths and Legends of Many Lands. I read these stories as a child and still love them as an adult. As the sub-title says, they are tales from many lands - Africa, Arabia, Native American, Chinese, Norse, Celtic, Greek, Turkish, Russian... and more. Again, showing my bias toward tales of other worlds and paranormal beings. But although these tales are over a century old - most are even older - they are still as vivid today as they were when first told.
These are my three obscure books. My list of authors I've read and enjoyed over the years is quite extensive and I will not go into them here. But there are certain ones that have stuck with me. When we moved to this smaller house last year, I was forced to part with nearly a thousand books (765 to be exact - and yes, I counted and yes, I have a list of which ones I donated). Those hundreds were but a small part of my library. Though some were easily discarded, others were not, but as I looked at them, I knew I'd never read them again and they had no "collector" value. Many were in poor shape. Though I am trained in book repair and can even do rebinding with sewn bindings, these were not worth the time and effort, so they joined the discard pile.
But what I was left with were the ones that, for me, have special places in my heart. From Piers Anthony to Sarah Zettel, these are books that I have read many times and will continue to do so. And yes, I've got more than sf on my shelves. They share space with Shakespeare, Dickens, Poe, Dumas, Hugo and Kipling. I've got volumes of short stories and an extensive non-fiction library also. These books that remain are ones that will stay with me until the end. Each has a special meaning to me - either a memory, a good story, or other association.
And each was a step toward me becoming a writer. Because a writer can't be truly effective unless she is also a reader.
So, what are you reading?
Birthdays: Ian Fleming, May Swenson, Walker Percy, Thomas Moore
Tips and Teasers: Reaping rejections can be very depressing. Make a list of things you can do to make yourself feel better. The next time you get rejected, pick one (or more) and do it.
Thought for the day: "If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mouse-trap, than his neighbor, though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door." - Ralph Waldo Emerson