Top 10 Books That Influenced Me!!


Look!! TWO tags in less than a week!! HOW COOL IS THAT?? Anyways, I’ve got my awesome CP, Christine, to thank for this one!! She is also the one I happened to force into getting a blog, so you guys should all check it out!!

So the title is pretty self-explanatory, but here are some ground rules that Christine laid out!!

1. No two books by the same author!

2. But, you can count a series as one book!

3. Also, this isn’t really a rule, but we’re listing our books in chronological order, which I think is super cool! 😀

All right, here are my books!!

1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’engle, age 9

THIS BOOK CHANGED MY LIFE!! I was in fourth grade and our class made the weekly trip to the library! I was with one of my friends, deciding what I should check out, when she suggested A Wrinkle in Time. I read the entire thing in THREE days. Well, now I could probably read it within a few hours, but at the time, this was the fastest I had ever read a book! I was so proud of myself!!

This is the book that made me LOVE reading. Before then, I could safely say that I liked reading, but I definitely couldn’t say I loved it. This book changed that! This book made me realize that I absolutely LOVED to read and since I’ve loved reading ever since. So naturally, this book has a special, special place in my heart because it is the first book that I ever loved!

2. Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, age 11

I remember reading this book so clearly! Same kind of deal–I was in sixth grade at our weekly library trip, when I saw this on display on the checkout counter. I was immediately drawn to it (probably because of the Alison Jay covers, which are beautifully gorgeous and I’m upset that they changed it!! MERH!)

But Goose Girl is amazing!!!! I think it might have been one of the first books that I wanted to BUY. I’ve always loved fairytales and this book just affirmed that. I remember carrying this book around everywhere and rereading it multiple times and also listening to the wind, hoping that it would speak to me and call my name.

Goose Girl was also the first books ever that made me want to write. I think it was a couple of years later when I was thirteen that I read a bunch of Grimm Brothers’ fairytales and tried to write a retelling of my own.

Shannon Hale has been one of my idols ever since! And the amazing thing is that I’ve gotten to meet her!! I told her that I was a fan since I was eleven (I’m almost 22 now) and it was just so surreal to get my books signed by her!!

3. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, age 11

I actually probably read this around the same time I read Goose Girl. I remember… not arguing exactly, but bargaining (maybe??) with my friend. I know she wanted to read Inkheart as well but I happened to pick up before her, so she convinced me to let her have it while I read Goose Girl. 🙂

But wow!! I loved this book! It’s such a complex and fantastical world and I loved it immediately! Just the idea that someone could have a voice so lovely that it makes characters from books come to life?? Amazing. To this day, I’m astounded by that idea! It’s such a beautiful idea and I have a feeling it’ll definitely play a role in my ideas as well!

4. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, age ~11-12

Stargirl is hands down my favorite contemporary ever. I’m actually surprised that it’s not spoken of more often, but I guess it is an older book. I honestly can’t remember when I first read this, but I think it was about when I was eleven or twelve. It was book that I’d heard about a lot and because of the turquoise cover, I was attracted to it immediately.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read this book, but I love this book so much. I love the themes presented by this book: conformity vs. non-comformity, courage, love. And I especially love how raw the ending was. It’s a bit sad and bittersweet and achy, but it’s part of the reason I love it.

5. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, age 12

Of course, Harry Potter! My mom read this to us (my brother and me) as children and as I got older, I read them on my own as well. But it wasn’t until I was twelve that I seriously realized how amazing these books were. I remember being incredibly surprised to find that I really enjoyed Harry Potter. I had read them before, but I was too young to truly comprehend the story and therefore didn’t really love them. So when I decided to “reread” them when I was twelve, I had this crazy epiphany. I couldn’t believe how amazing these books were.  I think the thing that stuck out most to me (and still do) are the INCREDIBLE plot twists and foreshadowing that J.K. Rowling puts into her books. The Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix especially, totally blew me away! Completely and entirely. I can’t explain how it feels to have this amazing, completely unpredictable twist turn you on your head, but  I really really wish I had one of those Men in Black flasher things so I can go back and read them and have them blow me away again.

Also, the foreshadowing. This is something I came to admire once I started rereading the Harry Potter books. It’s amazing. It’s foreshadowing books and books ahead sometimes. For example:

The Vanishing Cabinet is first mentioned in Chamber of Secrets when Peeves breaks it. It then comes up again in Order of the Phoenix when Fred and George stuff Montague into it and then finally again in Half Blood Prince with Malfoy.

How amazing is that?? How amazing is it that you can go back and catch all these little things that become huge in later books??? It’s something I admire SO MUCH and something that I strive to do with my own books (though I don’t think I’m even one-millionth as successful).

I’m obsessed with Harry Potter to this day. Seriously. I can’t even go a few months without reading at least part of a Harry Potter book (currently have the Half Blood Prince sitting on my nightstand) and if I think about Harry Potter too hard, I start crying because I love it so much! (Kind of like… now 🙂 )

6. Graceling by Kristin Cashore, age 12

This is another book that I distinctly remember being drawn to. I was at Barnes and Noble with my family and wandering around in the YA section when I came across this book. I picked it up, read the description, and immediately had the strongest urge to buy it and read it. Luckily, I did end up getting it and I think it read it that night. Sometimes impulse book buys are a hit or miss, but this was 100% a hit! Graceling is/was amazing.

I don’t know at what point that I decided that I loved fantasy, but I think this was one of my first forays into high fantasy. It was such a lush world and the idea of a Graceling is incredible. Also one of those ideas that I wish had thought of first. Fire is actually my favorite of the three, and again, influenced me a ton, but it all started with Graceling. I’m reread Fire a month or so ago and I’m rereading Graceling now, but something I’ve learned is that done right, backstory can be just as engrossing as the current narrative. Usually, I get a little bored with backstory, but Krisitn Cashore is incredible. Her prologues, her little flashback embedded in the story are amazing and I’m just as entranced with it as the main story.

7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, age 15

I remember to the exact date that I first read this book: January 19th, 2010. Okay, I kind of only remember that because it was my friend’s birthday and it also happened to be Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I went to Barnes and Noble to buy my friend a present and The Hunger Games caught my eye. I heard about it through Stephenie Meyer and honestly, it didn’t sound like my kind of book, but I picked up anyway.

I read it in one sitting. I stayed up late reading and knowing that I was going to be so tired in the next morning when I’d have to get up for school, but it was one of those books that could not put down for the life of me. I think this was one of the first times I experienced a book hangover. The BIGGEST book hangover ever (and also I didn’t know it was called a book hangover till recently). But I was up all night wondering what was going to happen to Peeta and Katniss and my mind was just spinning from it all.

And it’s rare that a book will give me the desire to write, but The Hunger Games was one of them. I think I had couple of dystopian ideas and I tried writing a couple of paragraphs, but gave up because I wasn’t in love with any of the ideas I had and (although I figured this out much later) I don’t think I have the write voice and/or style to write a dystopian solve.

8. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, age 19 

At the time I didn’t know how big of an influence Sarah J. Maas would be on me–especially in regards to writing, since I didn’t starting writing until about a year later. But no doubt, Sarah J. Maas is one of my biggest influences! I think this was around the time when I fully realized that I loved not just fantasy, but epic/high fantasy. I didn’t even know it was called that at the time, but ever since I was kid, I’ve loved books with assassins, thieves, princesses, and all that and reading this just reaffirmed this. It sort of solidified me in that way. Since then Sarah J. Maas has become of one my favorite writers and her books are all wondrous!

9. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, age 20 

I think Scarlet is another life-changing book. Similar to how I figured out that I loved reading by reading A Wrinkle in TimeScarlet was a book that made me realized I wanted to write. This book is the catalyst that made me start writing. I read Scarlet and, like The Hunger Games, I had the biggest book hangover. In fact, I think it’s the second really big book hangover that I’ve had. I read Scarlet when I was going through a tough period in my life: Unlike most people, I hated college and sophomore year was definitely the hardest. This book definitely made it easier. Reading was my only solace during that year and Scarlet, the most notable.

But after reading Scarlet, I had the biggest desire to write. I wanted to write a book that amazing, that good, that it could blow a reader away, like Marissa Meyer did to me. I wanted to create that feeling in someone. It took me about year before I actually started writing (because I was really afraid to) but this is the book that got me started and made me want to write.

10. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, age 21

I read this very recently and I feel like this is another one that totally stunned me. I’ve always loved fairytales and so naturally, I loved Arabian Nights as well. I can’t remember when I first hear these tales, so it almost feels like I’ve known them for my whole life. I’ve read other Arabian Nights retellings and they were good, but didn’t completely satisfy my craving for the tales. So, in a way, I feel like this is a book I’ve been waiting for my whole life (which sounds dramatic, but it’s true!) I knew from the very first pages (which is rare for me) that I was going to love this book.

The world is something that blew me away. The descriptions and the feeling of the world Renee Ahdieh created are impossibly good and the world is so rich. I can’t really explain it, but everything about it was so perfect. The aura and feeling of the book was EXACTLY what I wanted. The story that she told was what I’d been waiting for!

This book inspired me to want to create a world that lovely and that rich and to strive for such lovely, beautiful writing on each page. (To make that more clear–I want to write like this!!!)

WHEWWW! This was hard, guys!!! I feel like I have so many books that have influenced me and formed me in different ways. But I think I picked the ones that were most indicative of that. I hope so anyway.

All right, to end this post, I’m going to tag a few other writers/friends to join in on the fun!! Sooo, I’m going to pick Janella!! Although anyone who wants should join in!!


14 thoughts on “Top 10 Books That Influenced Me!!

  1. Amanda says:

    ahhh these are good posts! I wish I had more time to do something similar! Taping up boxes tonight – I can’t believe we load the truck tomorrow, eeeeeeep!!!


    • erinkbay says:

      Aaaah!!! Good luck with moving!!! I would have tagged you too, but I didn’t want you to get bogged down with these posts, but you should definitely do one too once you have more time!! I’d love to see your books!! :))))

      Liked by 1 person

  2. janellaa says:

    Thank youuuuuuu for the tag! Your list is amazing—definitely need to check out more of the first books you listed because they all sound so wonderful 🙂 Also, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN. I will NEVER get over how beautiful it is!!! And I’m not surprised to see our original motivators—Marissa Meyer and Sarah J. Maas aka their livejournal blog posts are why we are here right now 😛


  3. Ella Dyson says:

    Okay I have never met anyone else who’s read/loved ‘Goose Girl’. How amazing is it??? Also ‘Enna Burning’.
    Gah and Inkheart and Graceling and Harry Potter and Hunger Games and Throne of Glass – you are obviously an awesome person 🙂


    • erinkbay says:

      WHAT??? Really?? OMG, Goose Girl is soooo amazing!!! I love it so much!! Ooh, and I love Enna Burning!!! It could possibly be my favorite (I read it the most often!) I still can’t believe I actually met Shannon Hale (twice)!! And haha, clearly YOU’RE awesome because all those books are AMAZING and you love them, too!!! 😀 😀


      • Ella Dyson says:

        Argh I’m so jealous of you USA-dwelling people, with your frequently available authors! Sarah J. Maas will the first great person to come to Australia in ages… What was Shannon Hale like?


      • erinkbay says:

        Haha!!! MOVE HERE, ELLA!!!! Eee! I’m so excited!! SJMaas is coming to my town this fall!!! Oh Shannon Hale is awesome!! She’s hilarious and is so nice and friendly and takes time with her readers!! It was awesome just to be able to talk to her!! And she’s great at talking to crowds and just a genuinely amazing person in general. Oh, and she’s a local author, so I feel special 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ella Dyson says:

        Yeeaahhh with a few exceptions, most of my local authors are ‘literary’ (aka sad social realism about being sad). Not so much fun haha. But I’m glad Shannon hale was nice! It’s always terrible if you find out your favourite authors are terrible people. Looking at you, Cassandra Clare…


      • erinkbay says:

        Haha, I think we’ve got a few of those events here too… Totally not my style!!! 🙂 Aw no, did you have a bad experience with her?? One of my friends really liked her!!

        Liked by 1 person

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