So, I've read a lot of books in my day (who of us hasn't?), and every now and then, there is a book that just sticks into my spirit and sews itself into my soul. That's really dramatic, but that's the best way to explain it.
The first book that ever did that to me was The Outsiders back in the 7th grade, and I spent a whole half of a class period bawling my eyes out as quietly as possible when Johnny died. Then, I spent a year or two trying to write a book like it because I wanted to see more like it.
Thinking of all of the books I read between 1998 (sheesh) and now, another book didn't really touch me like that until Octavia Butler's Fledgling. Shori's hardship bled through the pages, and I was an emotional wreck through most of the story. That it was Octavia's last book before she died also left such a huge mark. I call her my spirit mother and wrote a novella that may never see daylight but continues the story with Shori's daughter Ruby. I wanted to expand on the world of which she only got to give us a smidgen, and I hope one day someone will see it and say I did well.
The next books that touched me that hard was the Enduring Flame Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. This was the first solid fantasy book I picked up from the library, and what struck me most was how different it was from the general medieval fantasy that dominates the genre. The language was genuine and modern, and the main characters, even though they were boys, were just like me in a sense. I related to them and went through their trials with them on a deep, personal level. These novels inspired me because they helped me know there is a place for my book out there, and it doesn't have to be the traditional fantasy to make it.
If you follow me on Twitter and don't have a non-stop feed (I do) so that you've seen my tweets, you know I just finished N.K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy and will not be reading again for another couple of days to recover. She doesn't know it yet, but she is now my spirit sister. The emotions and struggles tied into these three books definitely left their mark on me. The stories were rich and different, and complete. (PAUSE. What is The Awakened Kingdom? Oh, my God, it's a fourth book. I'm dying right now. I am now writing you all from the grave.) I've read other authors in binge-mode when I discover them, but I feel like Ms. Jemisin will be on the same level for me as Octavia Butler, a new look at writing that I understand on new levels that I didn't ever expect to reach. I'm very excited about her and reading more (Oh my God oh my God, I can't wait for payday) of her brilliant works.
Do you have any books or authors that touched you in a special way?