I was "tagged" for this by a few people on Facebook, and I'm going to write my answers here rather than there. I still haven't gotten into the Facebook habit (I check it maybe once a week or when I get a note from someone). Guess I'm just a blog girl. Or a diehard conservative who thinks Facebook is for young whippersnappers (you know, people like Elephant's Child and Renaissance Biologist), not old fuddy-duddies like me.
The instructions were to brainstorm, in no more than 15 minutes, ten books that "stay with you." These were the first ones that came to mind. Shakespeare and Milton are not on my list because they wrote poetry, not books. And the Bible is not on the list because it doesn't belong here. It's in its own category set apart.
There are more than ten books here, but I'm leaving the list as is (one of the rules of brainstorming). When I think of books that left a lasting mark on me, these are the ones that jump out. There are a lot of books that I know I have read, but I can't remember where or when (is everyone humming now? Did I succeed in giving you an ear worm?). But when I think of these books--even if I am fuzzy on the plot because it's been such a long time since I read them--I can actually picture myself reading the book at a certain time or place. I can remember where I was, the occasion of my reading (for example, whether the book was assigned for a class or recommended to me and who recommended it), and often the look and feel of the book itself. I can remember how the book captured my attention and imagination and the way I felt while lost in it.
Enough exposition. Here's my list. For the most part, they're the same books that are in my Blogger profile. A few have enjoyed repeat visits (mostly because I have read them with students), but the majority have commanded my gaze only once (there are so many books out there--who has time for re-reads?). But once was enough to make them stay with me for a lifetime.
Huckleberry Finn - Twain
The Screwtape Letters - Lewis
Brothers Karamazov - Dostoyevsky
Jane Eyre - C. Bronte
The Fountainhead - Rand
The Spirituality of the Cross - Veith
Catch-22 - Heller
Candide - Voltaire
The Elements of Style - Strunk & White
1984 - Orwell
Godel Escher Bach: An Eternal Gold Braid - Hofstadter
You Can Teach Your Child Successfully - Beechick
A Different Kind of Teacher - Gatto
Cultural Literacy - Hirsch
If you want to play, consider yourself tagged! Or feel free to post your own list in Comments!