I've been tagged in more Facebook memes than there are overfed squirrels, yet I've managed to ignore most of them completely. I either haven't been interested or haven't felt confident that all 300 of my friends, acquaintances, friends' acquaintances, and friends' mothers' friends' acquaintances really care whom I had a crush on in 5th grade.
Readers of my blog merit no such consideration. (It was the nerdy one!) If you've signed onto the site, you've signed away your right to informational continence. Forthwith, the 15 books meme!
You know the one. "List 15 books that have stuck with you. Go fast. Don't think too much." What interests me is the concept of the sticky book; back when the meme was "list 15 books that have made a difference in your life," I couldn't have cared less. Expecting a book to make a difference is your life is asking both too much and too little of books. It assumes a book's duty is to serve you rather than transport you, to be of practical utility rather than impractical loveliness.
Why must we insist a book step into our lives rather than the other way around? Why should we privilege our own world over the world within the book? I much prefer to list sticky books. Sticky books may not be the best books you've read. They may not be your favorites; they may not be the most useful. Still, one way or another, they've stained you. They color you; they've scraped out a life -uneasy or peaceful or lusty- alongside your heart.
1. A Passage to India, E.M. Forster
2. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
3. Rabbit, Run, John Updike
4. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
5. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
6. Never Let me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
7. Searoad, Ursula Le Guin
8. Deerskin, Robin McKinley
9. Portrait of a Lady, Henry James
10. Amy and Isabelle, Elizabeth Strout
11. Scientific Progress Goes Boink, Bill Watterson
12. Back When we were Grownups, Anne Tyler
13. The Language Instinct, Steven Pinker
14. Fair and Tender Ladies, Lee Smith
15. Greenwitch, Susan Cooper
Feel free to leave a list of your own in the comments. I'm curious to see what stuck.