All words presented in this blog are purely opinion, not fact - unless specifically stated otherwise in the post.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The most influential five books I ever read

I've been thinking about the books I've read over the years and which ones meant the most to me. Not necessarily the ones that I liked the most or that I felt were written best, but the ones that influenced me the most.
I came up with a list of five. They're not the types of books that most people think of when they say it means a lot to them, they're mostly the kind of books that people talk about in throwaway conversations, but they meant a lot to me.

5. Hard Contact by Karren Traviss
This is a star wars book in the republic commando series. It's basically fan-fiction that someone got paid to write. It's about a group of clones and a Jedi during the clone wars who were trained as a commando strike team. The first book follows their infiltration of a hostile world. That book in general isn't the best in the series, there are a ton later on that are fantastic, but it was the first book military book that I've ever read that I enjoyed. I don't mean books about war. Most fantasy books are about war, but it's always from the perspective of the guy at the top or a guy on the side, people not really in the military structure. This was about the guys nobody cares about. The guys who are expendable, and I really loved it. So much so that when Lucas arts ret-conned the Mandalorian people to be peaceful and the series got cancelled without an ending it legitimately pissed me off.

4. Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Storm front is a book about a wizard Private detective in Chicago who occasionally works with the police on murder investigations. Think Harry Potter if he was a homicide detective. This book revolves around Dresden (the detective) as he attempts to unravel the mystery of a mobster and an escort whose hearts exploded from their chests in the midst of a tryst.
Storm front was the first crime book I managed to read from start to finish. It was the first book that showed me that you can mix genres. High Fantasy mixes eloquently with murder mystery and it only gets better with every book. It's also the first and only book series that I listen to as an audio book.

3. Snow White and the Seven Samurai by Tom Holt
Snow White and the Seven Samurai was a comedy adventure set in the world of Fairy Tale. The basic plot is that two kids hack into the Wicked Witch's Mirrors 3.0 desktop and accidentally break the world, flipping it on its head. making damsels rescue knights from dragons, having the three little pigs try and kill the Wolf with Uzis and having Snow white try to take control of the world with her seven samurai henchmen.
It was the first comedy book I ever read, the first book I ever read that made me laugh and I couldn't stop grinning the entire time as I read through it.

2. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
The mist born books, are about a group of people with metal based magic trying to overthrow an empire, then trying to maintain an empire, and then trying to defeat a god. I'd read a lot of fantasy novels before this book, but they'd all been some variation of the same magic. This was the first book that showed me that you can make up your own magic. You don’t have to just use witchcraft or elemental magic, or telekinesis, etc... You can say 'screw it, eating metal turns you into a magnet!'. And you can turn that into pure awesomeness.

1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
You know the harry potter books. Don't even pretend you don't. It's the story of a boy who's living with abusive relatives only to discover that he's a wizard, the attempted victim of a mass murdering psycho, and off to wizard school. The books follow Harry through the years at school as he contends with dark wizards, monstrous beasts, a terrible education system and 'teenage stuff'.
I loved the harry potter books, when they were coming out I was in the same year as Harry (until that year that they didn't release one anyway). I grew up with him and it really helped me a lot, to the point that when I have kids I want to withold the books from the kind until they reach the year that Harry is in and give the child the book on the day they start school.
The harry potter books, the first one at the very least, are the books that got me into writing and reading. Until the harry potter books came along I was that kid that thought reading was boring. I absolutely hated it, then on the recommendation of my English teacher, I gave Harry potter a read and now I spend all my time reading, writing or listening to audio books. This book more than any other made me fall in love with words and without it... I don't even know. Harry potter made me who I am today. That’s something I can say about that book that I can't say about any other.

So thats that. Those are my 5 most influential books. There are other books that I really like. Books that aren't all fantasy and sci-fi. Other books that I enjoyed more, and maybe I'll list them out at some point. But these books meant the most to me.

Way-Back-Wednesday-Tube
-James

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