There’s a meme that comes around Facebook a couple of times a year and I always think, “Haven’t I answered this already?” And I have, but damned if I can figure out where I put those elusive answers. It would be interesting to see what has or hasn’t changed between answers, but that would require a lot of sifting, so I decided to post it here to share it with a little more permanence.

These are in no particular order.

1. The Complete Harry Potter Collection — J.K. Rowling

Fanfiction was what got me writing fiction. I was a journalism major before.


2. The Color Purple — Alice Walker

I still look at the color purple in a field and wonder if God gets angry we don’t notice.


3. Middlesex — Jeffry Eugenides

It’s really so many stories in one. There’s war, intrigue, sexy sex, gender identity, identity in general. History. Ugh. If I could write something like this I’d die happy.


4. Another Roadside Attraction — Tom Robbins

Like, seriously? When people get all pearl clutchy about “the children” learning about bondage in school, I think, “I bet you really think you stashed your copy of Fifty Shades of Grey well, don’t you?” Well, you didn’t. And my aunt didn’t hide this book very well and I snatched it off the shelf and read it when I was 7. It’s blasphemous, hilarious, sexy, it’s… not a children’s book. But oh, I loved it.


5. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — Douglas Adams

Nary a day goes by where I don’t quote or think about some hidden nugget of truth in this series.


6. American Gods — Neil Gaiman

I love all of his books, but I have a definite, definite favorite and it’s this one. I love the idea of displaced gods so much that I swiped it.


7. Invisible Monsters — Chuck Palahniuk

To know me is to know that this book has everything that I love. Violence, sexuality, insanity, humor. Brandy Alexander. That’s all I’m going to say.


8. House of Leaves — Mark Z. Danielewski

I was a hardcore Stephen King/Clive Barker reading as a kid so it’s hard to disturb me, but this, between the two stories, the crazy formatting… it was so fascinating. I love haunted house stories but I don’t really believe in ghosts so it’s hard to get under my skin much and this did.


9. Interview with the Vampire — Anne Rice

She made me love vampires and hate them in a span of a few books. The first one is the only one I really loved. I stopped reading after I threw Memnoch the Devil across the room. I love my haunted Louis. Fuck Lestat.


10. The Tourist — Olen Steinhauer

I loved this book so much, I put it in No Tea, No Shade because Lindsey loves a spy novel. I just love the marrying of the old cold war techniques to the modern age and Milo is thoroughly flawed and interesting in ways that often other spy heroes leave me cold.


Honorary mention: The Magicians — Lev Grossman

Comparing it to Harry Potter is grossly unfair to both. They’re both about magic and getting into a magic school and adventures that happen, but The Magicians is targeted at adults and is written to be more literary. Some will find the pretentious tone (and good god is it pretentious) off putting, but I really loved the magic and imagination. If I were to give it a better comparison, I’d say it was more Chronicles of Narnia, which is more clearly what it’s riffing off of with a magical land connected to children (after the magic school happens.) I have to read the third one, it just came out and I thought I had it set to come to my kindle when it was out but alas!