Jon Tripp challenged me to pick the 10 books that influenced me. That's as much as I know about this challenge, so I'm basing this list on the books that most often quote and the ones that have had the greatest effects on my personal outlook. They are in no particular order.
1. The Bible*. This one's kind of obvious, but it's impact on me has been tremendous. I've read it three or four times, and portions of it more often than that (I read the book of James every few days, it seems).
2. A Wrinkle In Time. The first in L'Engle's amazing series of books, I consider it to be her best. It taught me that love is always more powerful than hate, that life is worth living fully and that being smart and being wise are equally important.
3. Knee-Deep In Thunder. Based on Native American mythology, this book taught me . . . well, just about everything about how to deal with conflict. It taught me that there really aren't bad guys and good guys, there's just us, some of us worse than others.
4. Small Gods. One of Terry Pratchett's standalone books in the Discworld series, it's a hilarious book and a meditation on the nature of faith, and manages to do good service to both ideas.
5. Ocean At The End Of The Lane. Page for page, there just isn't a better book, in my opinion. It's biographical, it's semi-mystical, it's fantasy, it's reality, it's . . . it's a book about a world that I wished that I lived, a world that scares me and one that terrifies me. It's all of those things at the same time and is a book that inspires me to write better and to write more.
6. Till We Have Faces. It's C.S. Lewis' best work of fiction, but I also think it's his best work of apologetics, although I can't quite explain to you how exactly it does that. That's the reason I love this book - it ignores fiction and non-fiction conventions in favour of just being good.
7. Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook. No, those last two aren't actually D&D, but they're carrying on the tradition of being books that function as a toolkit you can use to create your own fantasy stories with your friends. I've spent so many Friday nights doing this with friends, and many of them I'm still in contact with now.
8. TheNeverending Story. I could tell you about how this story enabled me to have the courage to walk up to a beautiful young blond woman and ask her on a date, but that is another story, and will be told another time.
9. TheGift of Fire. One thing I've always struggled with in man's initial fall from grace. This book was absolutely vital in helping me come to terms with that, and with a lot of the other things that drive my faith in God.
10. Watchmen. Yeah, I put a graphic novel on here. Read it, if you haven't, and you'll understand why. It's really pretty amazing. I mean, I'd always loved graphic novels and comic books, but Watchmen taught me that it's a medium that simply has no limits.