Yesterday, NPR Books (via All Things Considered, I think) asked people a surprisingly awesome question about books:
— NPR Books (@nprbooks) March 25, 2014
I added my response to Twitter, but felt like expanding it a little bit more in a blog post. Here are my three books:
The Harry Potter series – This feels like cheating, just a little bit. If I had to pick just one of them it’d be the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but really they’re all my book. This series was the series of my young adult/new adulthood and I have so many memories tied to these characters and this franchise. Plus, choosing this series would tell a stranger about my love for fantasy and magic in my stories.
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman – I’ve always loved good nonfiction writing, but I think The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down was the first book I read where I thought, “Yes! This is the writing I love.” It’s a beautifully complicated but compassionately told story that changed the way that I think.
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell – I thought long and hard about what fiction book to put on this list. I wanted something that was smart with beautiful writing, but that also was a little weird – not straight “literary fiction.” I picked this one because the ending of this story – even though you know exactly what is coming – was like an emotional punch in the stomach. I loved this book.
I imagine there are a lot of combinations of three books that I could have picked that get at this trifecta – a book loved in my youth, a book loved as narrative nonfiction, and a book loved for it’s fictional depth and quirkiness – but these were the first three that popped into my head.
What are your three books?