Hello everyone and welcome back to Stuck in the Stacks. This week we decided to do a two part series discussing five of the many books that shaped our reading lives and tastes.
You can find Emily’s post here and as always tell us all about the books that shaped you as a reader in the comments!
Life Changing Titles
1- Watchers by Dean KoontzWatchers by Dean Koontz
Published by Berkley on June 2, 2020
From a top secret government laboratory come two genetically altered life forms. One is a magnificent dog of astonishing intelligence. The other, a hybrid monster of a brutally violent nature. And both are on the loose…Bestselling author Dean Koontz presents his most terrifying, dramatic and moving novel: The explosive story of a man and a woman, caught in a relentless storm of mankind’s darkest creation…
When a family member put this book into my hand at the tender age of twelve all I was told was that it had a super smart dog in it named Einstein. My family had just rescued a female Golden retriever and so I was stoked by the prospect of reading a book about a dog like mine. Watchers opened up a door to horror that I did not know I wanted. All throughout middle school I devoured every Dean Koontz, Stephen King and John Grisham novel that made it into my possession, whether through family members who were all too happy to feed my reading addiction or by saving up my weekly allowance to buy those cheap paperbacks and the grocery store. Watchers was my first, delightful taste of horror, and I have never looked back.
2- Flowers in the Attic by VC AndrewsFlowers in the Attic (Dollanganger, #1) by V.C. Andrews
Published by Pocket Books Pages: 389
Such wonderful children. Such a beautiful mother. Such a lovely house. Such endless terror!
It wasn't that she didn't love her children. She did. But there was a fortune at stake—a fortune that would assure their later happiness if she could keep the children a secret from her dying father.
So she and her mother hid her darlings away in an unused attic.
Just for a little while.
But the brutal days swelled into agonizing years. Now Cathy, Chris, and the twins wait in their cramped and helpless world, stirred by adult dreams, adult desires, served a meager sustenance by an angry, superstitious grandmother who knows that the Devil works in dark and devious ways. Sometimes he sends children to do his work—children who—one by one—must be destroyed....
'Way upstairs there are four secrets hidden. Blond, beautiful, innocent struggling to stay alive....
Around the same time that Watchers crossed my path I was introduced to VC Andrews and I was not old enough to read these novels, but I devoured them. Over and over I read these dark, twisted stories. As I have sunk deeper into the online bookish community I have realized that I was not the only one who read these books until my copies were in tatters. While my opinion about how emotionally prepared I was for the content has changed over the years I have to admit that I, like so many other young readers, found a love of reading in these trigger warning laden pages.
3- Gone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellGone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Published by Scribner on June 30, 2011
Scarlett O'Hara, the beautiful, spoiled daughter of a well-to-do Georgia plantation owner, must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of the poverty she finds herself in after Sherman's March to the Sea.
My first cinematic exposure to the classics was the 2004 version of Pride and Prejudice, but my first literary love was the doorstop that is Gone with the Wind. I was swept up into the high society of the south, Scarlett’s confident but often selfish choices, and the romance that was embodied by one of literature’s greatest loves: Rhett Butler. At 14, I ready 1000+ page time in a week. I could not stop and when I finished and dove into the works of Austen, Dickens and the Bronte sisters. Thanks to Mitchell’s masterpiece, I spent years reading mostly classics and I have no regrets.
4- Eragon by Christopher PaoliniEragon (The Inheritance Cycle, #1) by Christopher Paolini
Published by Alfred A. Knopf on August 26, 2003
Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire.
I read a handful of books about dragons before Eragon but this is the book that I remember reading at night before bed and dreaming about as I drifted off into dragon-filled dreams. I am not sure what it was about this series that sparked my imagination to just take off but I feel like every dragon book I pick up now is held to the bar this series set for my younger self and I have only found a handful that measure up.
5- Sawkill Girls by Claire LegrandSawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on May 7, 2019
“Reader, hang on for dear life. Sawkill Girls is a wild, gorgeous, and rich coming-of-age story about complicity, female camaraderie, and power.” —Sarah Gailey, author of River of Teeth
“An eerie, atmospheric assertion of female strength.” —Mindy McGinnis, author of The Female of the Species
FIVE STARRED REVIEWS
NAMED ONE OF YALSA’S 2019 BEST FICTION FOR YOUNG ADULTS
A BRAM STOKER AWARD NOMINEE
A LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD NOMINEE
From the New York Times bestselling author of Furyborn comes a breathtaking and spine-tingling novel about three teenage girls who face off against an insidious monster that preys upon young women. Perfect for fans of Victoria Schwab and Stranger Things.
Who are the Sawkill Girls?
Marion: The newbie. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.
Zoey: The pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.
Val: The queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives; a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.
Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires. Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight…until now.
This is the most recent read on this list but it is one that reminded me of the power of a good book. You know that meme’s that circulate around the bookish internet where a person has a shocked look on their face and they are asking, “What year is it?” After reading an immersive book. There is just some thing about Legrand’s writing that is so utterly consuming. Let’s just say their is a scene with a bunch of spiders and the thought of it still makes my skin crawl.
What About You?
What books shaped your reading tastes? What do you think of my selections? Let me know in the comments!