Don't take too long to think about it: fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. Make sure it's the first fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.
Then we were supposed to tag 15 friends, but I didn't do that. I have a (nonexistent) sign on my (nonexistent) desk that says, "The Meme Stops Here."
With each of these books I remember something different--a scene, a character, a concept, or the way it made me feel in that moment. With most, I can remember where I was when I first read it, the same way I associate certain songs with certain stretches of highway where I first heard them (or where I played them on infinite repeat).
In no order other than when they popped into my brain:
1. Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker
2. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
3. Call of the Wild by Jack London
4. Stupid and Contagious by Caprice Crane
5. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
6. "Notes from the Underground" by Fyodor Dosteyevsky (technically a novella)
7. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
8. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
9. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
10. A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engel
11. Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones
12. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
13. The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder
14. L'Etranger by Albert Camus
15. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
Rather than discuss the rationale for each one (because it was meant to be quick, after all), I wanted to point out one book that I was just thinking of a few minutes ago (which led to this blog post): Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.
In a central scene, the novel's protagonist Tita is forced to cook the wedding food for her older sister Rosaura, who is marrying the man Tita loves (and who loves her back but for custom's sake has to marry the oldest girl because the youngest has to stay home forever and take care of her mom--bogus!).
Anyway, Tita cries bitter tears as she's preparing the cake, and the tears kinda get mixed into the batter. At the reception, everyone who eats the cake starts crying. These episodes continue throughout the book, as Tita's repressed anger and passion infuse her cooking.
Takeaway message: the spirit in which food is prepared affects its taste. So ever since I read this book, I try to be merry or at least calm when I cook. I have certain carefully chosen CDs that can play while I make dinner. (Most of my favorite music would make food taste really nasty.)
Oh, and a glass of wine or beer helps a lot, but not until I'm finished with the knives.
What are your "Forever 15" books? If you only have a minute, give me five, or even one, and tell me why. What parts of the book will you always remember--the characters, a scene, the philosophy, or the feelings it gave you?