Stories That Stayed With Me

Listing ones favorite books is an arduous task akin to murdering your own children, if you had a score or more of them. Depending on mood or season or time of day, the list can ebb and flow with a fey-like whimsey. There is, as I’m sure you’re more than aware, a meme circulating that seeks to circumnavigate this horror.

Rather than commit to a list of favorites, it asks for the chronicler to draft an inventory of those books that “stayed with you”. Rather than simply dash this off, it occurred to me that this could be rather telling.

Peeling back the years, what books had the most impact? Which of the multipudes of stories shaped the mind that rattles about in the Sanctum Cranium Calvariam Sanctorum?

Would you like to play?”, the meme asks.

Why, yes… Yes, I would.

In the order, I think, of which I read them:

The Secret Hide-Out by John Peterson

The House on the Cliff by Franklin W. Dixon (Leslie McFarlane)

The Children of Odin by Padraic Colum

The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley

Unseen Forces by Manly Palmer Hall

The Hobbit /  Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

“A Witch Shall Be Born” by Robert E. Howard

“The Dunwich Horror” by H.P. Lovecraft

The Stand by Stephen King

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Necronomicon by Simon

The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea

Magick in Theory and Practice by Aleister Crowley

Psychic Self-Defence by Dion Fortune

Lammas Night by Katherine Kurtz

“Sticks” by Karl Edward Wagner

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco

Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Love is the Law by Nick Mamatas

I will readily admit that this is an imperfect list. For one thing, it is constructed from memory and that can be a right nasty business. There are things, perhaps forgotten, which still could have left an indelible imprint on my psyche, and others that may have just slipped my mind only to come crashing back later, instigating a bout of self-loathing, hair-pulling (doubtful, as I have little), and the rending of clothing.

Already, before I’ve even dared hit the publish button, things like Rowling’s Harry Potter and Hammett’s Maltese Falcon spring to mind.

Surely they belong on the list?

And they do. As do so many others. In fact, I’m now questioning this whole meme.

Why, I didn’t even mention my first reading of Manly Wade Wellman, for pity’s sake… and there is ne’er a comic mentioned. Bloody hell, I’ve buggered the whole wretched listy.

Is it not more honest to admit that nearly each and every book, for good or bad, has shaped us in some way?

We read, therefore we is.

There is the truth of it, methinks, and therein lies the rub.

Books. It’s what’s for dinner.

Feed your head.

2 Responses to “Stories That Stayed With Me”

  1. It certainly is difficult to piece together a list like this. I wonder if I could do it in under 100 titles. Somehow, I seriously doubt it!

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