A friend of mine invited me to come up with a list of ten books which have stayed with me. It was really hard to make the choice, I certainly wanted to list more than ten, but I enjoyed the process. As I remembered each book and noted it down, it was as if I was recalling a friend or a special moment, each book came with an emotion, some came with an image or a sense of place.
One thing I realised as I finalised my list, was how much I wished – fantasised about – hoped that one day something I had written would be on somebody’s list of books which had impacted them. It would be a fantastic feeling.
Here is my list. Feel free to come back with your own.
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindberg – a red headed heroine who could lift up a horse with one hand.
Down Among the Women by Fay Weldon – my first grown up feminist novel.
Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker – I just love the idea of generations of women speaking through me.
The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin – a scathing attack on capitalism and a glimpse of a better way.
Staying Alive edited by Neil Astley – I had to have some poetry in here and this is an anthology I go back to, it’s also where I discovered the wonderful Anne Sexton’s ‘Her Kind’.
A Dark Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine – Ruth Rendell at her psychologically most complex. Any VI Warshawski, by Sarah Paretsky – a tough female detective and crime novels which are politically aware.
Pigs in Heaven by Barbra Kingsolver – fab book and reminds me of my time in the USA. Writing as a Way of Healing by Louise de Salvo – gave credence to what I already knew and reminds me of the good times at The Women’s Press.
Affinity by Sarah Waters – spookily wonderful and a book I enjoyed studying for my MA.