Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Challenge: Books That Influenced My Life

Starting with the usual bit of context: the topic is from the Weekly Blogging Challenge over at Long and Short Reviews. Hit their homepage to see the current week's responses, and add a link to your own if you're so inclined.

This week's challenge is Books that Influenced My Life.

The obvious answer, of course, is "All. Of. Them."

But, okay, there are a couple that I think I've mentioned before, but not recently enough to show up in skimming back through my blogging challenge posts.

So I'm just going to go through them (again).

Starting with a comic book: Grimjack, written by Jon Ostrander and illustrated by a number of talented people across its run. It's a sort of Fantasy Noire, set in a city where dimensions meet. The main character is this cranky old mercenary, the supporting cast is amazing, and... look, I went to college early. A couple of years early. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it was... I'm not entirely sure how to describe it. Part of it was that I don't think I'd have fit in at that University even if I'd been two years older, but part of it was that since I was sixteen most of the time I knew what I was doing and was fine, but when I didn't/it wasn't I was completely at sea. I found Grimjack during my freshman year, and it may actually have saved my life - the right story at the right time.

Shortly after that I discovered Cabal by Clive Barker -- oddly enough, also through the comic book that was built off the movie, Nightbreed. That became the basis for a whole new circle of friends after I switched to another university in my Junior year. In its way, it was just as important to me as Grimjack was.

The last one I'd put on this list, which I know I've mentioned before, is The Callahan Chronicles. These stories (and it is mostly, and originally, a set of short stories) are some of the most fundamentally optimistic weird science fiction that I've ever encountered. They reinforced and catered to my love of puns; they codified the belief that pain shared is lessened while joy shared is increased; and while I don't have them associated so strongly with a particular point in my life, Spider Robinson's writing did an awful lot to shape my thinking on people and what we need from each other.

What books influenced you?


  1. My kid started college at 17 and it was HARD. She struggled with things like not being able to sign contracts or buy her own books at the bookstore (they required a credit card). And socially, also a struggle because she wasn't legally an adult. It's great that reading helped you out!

    1. She has my profound sympathies. It really is hard, sometimes obviously and sometimes more subtly.

  2. Finding the right book at the right time is important. Th for coming by.

  3. I have to agree with the 'all of them' comment. Even if you hated it, even if you don't finish it, I think you still take something away from it.

  4. I'm so curious about all of these books.

    Thanks for the recs and for stopping by my post!


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