f0zKg0J4zFLYz-Yq0aednQVqREE Once Upon a Prologue: Discussion Post - #5: Authors Who Changed Me
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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Discussion Post - #5: Authors Who Changed Me

Books That Changed You

I've been wanting to do a huge, fangirlish (but also serious) post on this subject for awhile.  I've alluded to some of these books and authors before, be it in guest posts, Top Ten Tuesdays, or just in book-ish discussions with blogging friends and "IRL" friends.  But the truth of the matter is, for those incredibly rare, special books that changed the way I read books (as Suz would say), introduced me to a new genre, strengthened a friendship, or just plain changed ME....there is never enough that can be said.  I can't think a few authors enough for putting their books out into the world.  Without them, I wouldn't have had the courage to write, to reach out with my words, and to become the (rather awesome) person that I am.  So...here's to you!  

After I gush about a few authors and books that had a big impact on me, hit the comments and let me know what ones did that for you.  What books moved you?  What books made you cry and mourn?  What authors or books have YOU never been able to forget?  What authors would YOU say "thank you" to?

{Note: At the top of my blog on my navigation bar is now a link...for YOU to send in a suggestion of any topic you'd like to see a future discussion post here cover!  It's super easy and I'd LOVE to know what my readers would like to discuss, or see what questions - literature or blog-related - you'd like me to answer!}

V.C. Andrews
Y'all can't see me right now, but I'm smiling.  Because of V.C. Andrews, I discovered: keyhole covers, family secrets, modern day Gothic novels, ancestral mansions with hidden secrets, swoon-worthy boys, guilty pleasure books, evil grandmothers, and females who NEVER GAVE UP.  Because of V.C. Andrews, I joined my first ever online roleplay and tried my hand at writing for the first time in a few years.  Because of V.C. Andrews, I stepped outside my comfort zone, made amazing memories with great people, and met my best friend, Julie.  Because of V.C. Andrews books...I learned to dream.

It's been many years since I read many VCA books.  The original ones - the ones written by her before she died - as well as a few of the ones that her ghostwriter wrote still have a place on my bookshelf together.  The ghostwriter has gone WAY downhill in the last ten years or so...it's been that long since I read anything new he published under her name.  But I have LOTS of memories of debating the classic VCA novels, writing, laughing, and falling for these books.  If you're looking to EVER read anything by VCA, please start with FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC. Go in with an open heart and I think you'll fall for the characters, too.  Her books are still so polarizing and lasting.  

Suggested read: Flowers in the Attic
Anne Bishop

Oh, what to say about Anne Bishop that I haven't said here several times already?  My AP English teacher in my senior year of high school recced her books to me, and yet it wasn't until about three years later that I picked up the first one, because one of my best friends was just finishing the trilogy.  I met her and another amazing online friend (see the paragraph on Robert Jordan for more about them) that year and all it took was Julie's recommendation that I try this series - a trilogy at that point.  

I did.  And I was amazed.  Here was a dark fantasy unlike ANYTHING I'd ever read.  These books are intense, to the point that I constantly felt breathless and on the edge of my seat.  The characters are so REAL.  You can't help but adore them - and hate the ones you're supposed to hate.  Characters like Daemon, Lucivar, Saetan, and Janelle are STILL somewhere in the back of my mind; along the way of reading the trilogy, I laughed with them and at them, sobbed for them, feared for them, and ultimately, fell in love with all of them in some ways.  

Recently, Bishop published the ninth book in her series - maybe the final book in her series - and I only read part of it.  She took the story in a direction that, while I knew it HAD to happen, did not want to see or experience.  And that's her choice; she is, after all, the author.  But I want to keep the memory of my beloved characters intact, so I'm holding off on continuing with the series for now.

But, oh.  Daemon.  Daemon Sadi.  The first alpha male I ever read about, and a DIFFERENT sort of alpha male.  Quietly dangerous, sensual to the point of being overwhelmingly so, loyal, fierce, caring, and all around amazing.  The love he shares with Janelle and with his family is truly inspiring.  To this day I can open to any point at random in the trilogy and end up laughing or crying. 

Suggested read: Daughter of the Blood.  

Jodi Picoult.

I honestly don't know how to describe my love for Jodi's books.  Jodi Picoult has the rare, amazing ability to write characters that feel so REAL, characters that linger with you long after you turn the final page of whichever book of hers you happen to be reading.   Her characters get inside your head, and don't leave you alone - not while you're reading their story, and not after.  It's been years since I read a few of her books that I consider favorites and from time to time, I STILL think about this book or that one, or certain amazing characters.  

Jodi Picoult takes you on a journey with each book of hers.  And what I like best is that she makes you THINK.  She isn't afraid to tackle tough, ugly, hard subjects and make you wonder: how do I feel about this?  She pulls at your heart and leaves you trying to put yourself back together.  And I adore her for that.  

Suggested read: Mercy.  

Suzanne Collins.   

I could tell you about my experience reading - laughing, crying, weeping - The Hunger Games.  I could tell you about Gale - male, snarly, Gale.  I could tell you about Finnick - tortured, beautiful Finnick.  I could tell you about Gale/Katniss.  About stalking these books until I had all three.  About finishing Mockingjay and being ripped apart, turned inside out, and wondering if I would ever heal.  I could tell you about writing for these characters.  

But I think I'll let this post that I wrote last year speak for itself.  

Suggsted read: Seriously?  The entire trilogy!

Terry Brooks

I was 15 years old when I read my first Brooks book.  To be honest, Terry Brooks was one of the VERY FIRST sci-fi/fantasy authors I ever read.  I was at Wal-Mart and wandered over to that section, where I'd never really been before.  I was fresh out of young adult - Sweet Valley University and such - and wanting something different.  Wal-Mart had First King of Shannara on the shelf; the word "Druids" jumped out and me and I bought it.  I ended up writing a paper on it for English later that year, and from then on, I spent about a year reading everything by Brooks I could get my hands on.

In recent years I've fallen quite a few series behind, but I still have a soft spot for Brooks.  I spent many a lunch hour with my nose buried in one of his books. 

Suggested read:  The Sword of Shannara.

Robert Jordan.

Two of my closest friends and I read this series together; for Jamilla and I, it was a first read, and for Julie, it was a re-read.  We had many long discussions about what this prophecy meant, how much we loved that character (MAT CAUTHON, yo!), and where we thought the next book would take the series.  The Wheel of Time series was my, to date, biggest and most heart-wrenching venture into epic fantasy.  It brought me closer to two friends.  It provided hours of escape, thought, and imagining.  Jordan's words brought smiles to my lips and tears to my eyes.  I felt like I KNEW his characters through and through.  I met Aviendha, one of my all time favorite female characters.

When Robert Jordan died after a long illness, I cried for quite some time.  He is the only author whose death I've truly mourned.   I haven't read a WOT book since he passed.  A ghostwriter is finishing the series in Jordan's memory, and I am very excited to one day return to the books and the world I love. 

Suggested read: The Eye of the World.  

Stephen King.  

In the summer of my sophomore year of  high school, one of my then-best friends moved away, but not before adamantly telling me to read Stephen King's Dark Tower series.  I'd read a few of King's books and even loved several - IT, The Eyes of the Dragon, and so forth.  But for some reason, I put off reading the Dark Tower series until around my senior year.  My friend and I lost touch, but every once in awhile I'd see a SK book and think of him.  During one library visit, I finally checked out the first Tower book, The Gunslinger...and I fell HARD.  It was so different from anything else I'd read by King.  I fell for gritty and hard Roland, brave Jake, and the AMAZING Eddie Dean.
I followed the series for a few years, catching up on the books, then waiting impatiently for the final three to be released.  I have a LOT of mixed feelings about the series, and I tell people now to only read the first four books, because the last three just hurt TOO much.  I have a great deal of issues with the series but I've had to accept that it's the author's story to write, and not mine.  But I am SO glad I read these books, because after I finished the Tower series, I started reading more books outside of my comfort zone, and I found other authors and worlds to visit and love. 

Suggested reads: The Talisman | The Gunslinger | It

That's it for me this week.  Your turn!  What books have changed YOU?  Made you laugh until your stomach hurt, or cry until you had no tears left?  Let me know in the comments!  And if you've read and loved any books by these authors...let me know!  

And don't forget to click the "Submit A Discussion Question" link at the top of my navigation bar!