I have been challenged by few of my friends on Facebook to name 10 books that changed or influenced my life. However, I have so many books, stories and series that changed or influenced my life that I cannot possibly only name 10. Therefore, below is my attempt to limit this list to only the top books, stories or series that changed or influenced me throughout my life so far!
Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
This was actually one of my Mom’s favorites. It influenced her so much that she made a gift of this book to me as an adult. My Mom told me, when she gave me that gift, it was to remind me that there is always a silver lining no matter how dire things are. Now that she has passed away, this story is even more precious to me and will continue to remind me of her for years to come.
Poky Little Puppy A Little Golden Book
This was a favorite story when I was in elementary school. I am not sure how it changed or influenced me, but I read and re-read this book so much that I wore the binding out and pages fell out of the book.
Nancy Drew Mysteries by Carolyn Keene
I was first introduced to these stories in elementary school, by the school librarian. The first story of the series I read was The Hidden Staircase. These were first set of stories that I became obsessed with and just had to read!
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
I first read an excerpt of this story in Middle School as part of an overall reading assignment in the textbook. However, it was the scene where Mr. Collins proposed to Elizabeth and her response to that proposal. The character of Elizabeth was just so powerful in that short scene that I just had to find out more about her and her life. It influenced me to seek out the novel and of course all of the other iterations and adaptations.
Once and Always by Judith McNaught
This is my very first adult historical romance novel. The story, characters and the steamy romance scenes really caught my attention. For a long time, this is the historical romance story I used to measure all the other stories I read in the same genre!
LONG, TALL TEXANS SERIES by Diana Palmer
This series has been a part of my life since 1988 and I mentioned that this was one of my favorite series before. I bought the first story in the series, Calhoun, with money that I earned working part time at a local Kmart store. I was so proud that I was able to not only read such an amazing story with great characters, but that I was able to buy it new with my own money!
Mallory-Anderson Series by Johnanna Lindsey
This is another series that I have mentioned before and has been a part of my life for over 25 years. The first story in the series, Love Only Once, introduced my favorite male character, James Mallory, and I was NEVER the same since.
Legacy by Jayne Ann Krentz
This is the first story that I found by one of my favorite authors, Jayne Anne Krentz. I found this at a used book store one Saturday afternoon. The book was so good that I went to find all her previous books. In addition, because all the other books were just as good as the first, Jayne Ann Krentz became a must read and buy author from that time on.
Flirting With Trouble by Cathie Linz
This is my first signed book by the author! I met the author through an online Bulletin Board while I was in College. The members of the Bulletin Board decided to have a meet up in Cathie’s home town. Not only did I get to meet this amazing author and have this book signed, but it found a life long friend as well.
A Night In the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny
This story is one that my husband and I re-listen to every year during the month of October for Halloween. Each time we listen to it, it feels like brand new all over again. In addition, we have the rare audio version of this story narrated by the author himself!
And, but definitely not least…
Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold
I have mentioned this series before. Every single story in the Vorkosigan Saga constantly changes and influences me, even in small ways. However, if I had to choose one book from this amazing series to list it would be Shards of Honor!
My sister, my husband and I spent a few hours at Detcon1 yesterday!
While we were there, my sister and I attended the panel on What’s New About Fandom’s Diversity. I have been an advocate for women and their right to be fans and creators of Science Fiction & Fantasy for awhile now. Therefore, this was a panel topic I was very interested in.
One of the things that stood out for me was that all of the panelists had diverse backgrounds and perspectives. I was really impressed with what each of the panelists had to say, especially Isabel Schetchter. Not only does Isabel represent the female point of view, but the Jewish and Latino points of view in Fandom as well. The most powerful statement she made had to do with a comment about not seeing a person by their ‘color’. I do not remember the exact quote, but it did make an impression on me and I my sister and will do my best to paraphrase it below:
Do not tell me that you do not see ‘color’! This just tells me that you are trying to ignore my ‘color’ because it makes you uncomfortable.
I have to admit in the past that I told many people that I do not see their ‘color’, ethnicity, race, etc in reference to Fandom. As a Fangirl, I always looked at the lack of diversity in Science Fiction and Fantasy Fandom, as a female and not by other aspects. Therefore, I never realized that in the mind of another fan, who faces diversity issues in Fandom that may or may not relate to just gender, that it could mean the opposite. This is a revelation to me and I hope that I can learn from this in my future dealings with other fans.
Dealing with Diversity in Fandom, as one of the panelists said (again I am paraphrasing)…
…is not about you and what you have experienced, but it is about listening to others. It is in the listening that you can learn that what you may have experienced, no matter how bad it is or was, may have also happened to another. Their experience may have been just as bad or even worse, but in a different way than what you experienced.
The panel closed with each of the panelist indicting what they see are the positives with Diversity in Fandom. The best quote on the positives of Diversity in Fandom is:
We are better off than we have ever been before because of panels like this!
For more on the topic of Diversity in Fandom you can check out the following:
War is Coming to Science Fiction and Fantasy Fandom via The Province
Neurodiversity and Fandom via TOR.com
#AtoZBlogChallenge Topic: Zuko
Zuko is one of the more complex recurring characters from the animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender. It is complexity of characters, like Zuko, that are one of the things that impresses me the most about this series.
The Complex Character of Zuko
Zuko is the main villain and anti-hero, in direct contrast to the heroes of the story, Aang and his friends, in the first part of the series. As the series progresses, he slowly changes, but is often torn between doing what is kind and unselfish vs doing what is mean and selfish. Especially, when certain members of Zuko’s family are involved in the situation. By the end of the series, despite all his trials and bad decisions, Zuko indeed becomes one of the heroes of the story.
The description of Zuko below does a MUCH better job of describing this change from the beginning of the series to the end, than I ever could.
In the beginning, Zuko is an incredibly focused, teenage Firebender who bullies and intimidates everyone around him. He is obsessed by only one desire: to capture the Avatar. Zuko’s greatest weaknesses are his arrogance and impatience. He believes Firebending is the most dominant art and can never be bested by Water, Earth, or Airbending. Zuko’s teenage overconfidence makes him believe he’s invincible. Zuko charges into conflict impulsively and without precaution. As the series progresses, however, Zuko develops compassion towards the nations he’s terrorized. Ultimately, he renounces the Fire Nation and joins up with Aang to teach him Firebending.
Character biography from NickToons website
#AtoZBlogChallenge: Princess Mononoke
Today, I thought I would highlight one of my husband’s favorite Hayao Miyazaki animated films, Princess Mononoke, per his request.
Set in medieval Japan, Miyazaki’s original story envisions a struggle between nature and man. The march of technology, embodied in the dark iron forges of the ambitious Tatara clan, threatens the natural forces explicit in the benevolent Great God of the Forest and the wide-eyed, spectral spirits he protects. When Ashitaka, a young warrior from a remote, and endangered, village clan, kills a ravenous, boar-like monster, he discovers the beast is in fact an infectious “demon god,” transformed by human anger. Ashitaka’s quest to solve the beast’s fatal curse brings him into the midst of human political intrigues as well as the more crucial battle between man and nature.
What I find the most interesting about this film is not only is an epic fantasy story, with interesting characters and scenery, but it also seamlessly integrates hand-drawn cels with computer-generated images, which created a new standard of visual storytelling.