Friday, October 8, 2010

Timeless Stories, Puppies and the Future

First off, thanks to the great ladies of YA-5 for asking me to be a permanent blogger on the site.
I’m excited to brainwash young minds – I mean, I’m excited to talk about the books I love.
When I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than a couple of dogs. Two Golden Retriever puppies. Every Saturday morning, I’d wake up and grab the The Tennessean newspaper and scour the classifieds, looking at the puppy listings.
I had pretty bad asthma growing up (still do), so I wasn’t supposed to have pets, but I loved imagining going to see a big litter of puppies and getting to pick a couple out.
I was obsessed with puppies. Posters of puppies covered my walls, I drew pictures of them, I wrote short stories about dogs.
Nearly twenty years ago, when I was about eight years old, I read WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS. And of course I loved it because I shared a love of dogs with the main character.
Here’s where it gets weird: My obsession with dogs faded away by the time I was twelve or so, but the book still moves me to this day. I love that the main character worked so hard to buy those coonhounds, and then he trained them, and then he beat all the odds when he took those dogs out coon hunting.
So a few weeks ago, I happened to be talking to a coworker who’s in her fifties. She told me how much WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS affected her as a child, and how she still thinks about the book. Still loves the book. 
Forty-plus years later!
I just checked a few bookseller sites online: The book is still selling fabulously.
Which makes me think: Are there any books I’ve read in the past few years that might still affect me in another twenty years? Forty years?
A few come to mind: Terry Pratchett’s NATION, Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING, and M.T. Anderson’s FEED.
What books do you still think about, years after having read them?
What books have you read recently that have deeply affected you or made you think? Do you think they’ll still affect you in forty years?

3 comments:

Cholisose said...

Feed is definitely a good one for getting readers to think. Very ominous, and surprisingly very foretelling, considering how it was written nearly ten years ago.
I think The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks is rather telling of the path modern society is heading toward, and it makes for a great read too.

kellybarnhill said...

Love FEED. And NATION. In fact, NATION was one of those books that I couldn't wait to finish, just so I could start it again.

For me, the book that I come back to is Jane Eyre. I re-read it every November. Jane's loneliness and her unwillingness to allow circumstance to define her gets me every time.

K said...

The last book I read that really affected me was THE REAPERS ARE THE ANGELS by Alden Bell. I think about that book all the time. Not just the plot and characters, but how it was written. It is a lovely, horrifying book with lovely, horrifying prose and I just enjoyed the hell out of it.

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