Thursday, March 1, 2012

Favorite Books Are Hard to Select

I was recently asked to list my all-time favorite book. After a lot of thinking I realized I couldn’t do that. I have so many that have touched my life and my writing it would be impossible to choose one. The Lord of the Ring series has influenced me through my love of dragons and mythical creatures, world and language creation as well as how people treat one another. My current WIP series is heavily influenced by JRR Tolkien’s vision.

Then there’s The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck which I read as a teen. Scenes from that book have haunted me since. I learned so much about Chinese culture and history from that book. I’ve even adopted a Vietnamese child.

1984 by George Orwell is one I’ve read several times over the decades. It is timeless and meaningful in any society at any given moment. I love its dark nature and the struggle for freedoms that we take for granted; the right to love whomever we choose, the right to READ.

Along those same lines I love The Giver by Lois Lowry. Again it is dark with spears of light and warmth. The reader grows along with the main character and you find yourself crying, rejoicing or mourning whenever he does. Few stories have moved me the way that one did.

And of course I adore ALL of the Harry Potter books. The characters are lovable, quirky, fun to read about and the darkness of the story is heavily punctuated with light-hearted moments. I only wish my own writing could be as universally read and my characters as universally loved.

Thirty years ago I picked up a new novel by an author new to me at the time. The novel was the first of The Sword of Shannara trilogy. Those books blew my socks off. It was while reading Terry Brooks’ stuff as well as David Eddings’s Belgariad series I conceived my own series. And then there was the Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander—awesome MG Fantasy. These lead me to Susan Coopers’s series of The Dark is Rising series and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. While writing I kept all of these wonderful books in my head to draw from.

So, do you think you could choose ONE book that has inspired you? If so, what would it be? It not, what are the top few books you would list and why?

Rebecca Ryals Russell
MG/YA Dark Fantasy Author
aka Yellow Hat Writer

Harpies, Book 2 in the Seraphym Wars Series, follows fifteen-year-old Griffen as he discovers why he has been transported from his home on the Outer Banks of South Carolina on Earth to a desolate beach somewhere on a foreign planet. Accompanied by a talking bird, Griffen begins a quest to fulfill his role in a prophecy and find his way home. Joined by twelve-year-old Seth, a strange fire-bug, and fourteen-year-old Mercy, a runaway with Empathic skills, Griffen learns to control his new ability to pull lightning from the sky at will—especially while battling demon-dragons and sea monsters who want them all dead. Following mere intuition, the three, accompanied by an oddball Burrowing Elf, transport downriver toward an island Griffen keeps seeing in visions. Narciss has other plans for the three intrepid Vigorios, however, and Griffen discovers a brave side he never suspected he had—unless he was playing video games. But this turns out to be no game.

Under the Hat
Tween Word Quest
Teen Word Factory
Flyte Publishing
Author Page
Vigorios of the Seraphym Wars and Stardust Warriors






  1. Like you, I am will come up with a list before I can narrow it down to one book. Are there actually people who can do that?? Growing up, I thrived on The Melendy Family books by Elizabeth Enright. I moved right on to The Three Musketeers, Robin Hood, Stalky and Co., The Lord of the Rings, The Once and Future King, and then as an adult, nearly everything by Richard Peck and K.M Peyton. Recent books include Harry Potter and books by Lee Child, Preston and Child, David Morrell, James Rollins, Steve Barry, er... was I really supposed to stop at 1??

  2. I guess my favorite book is Gone With the Wind. There are other modern day books, but my favorite of those is a lot. Just finished Replication by Jill Williamson and it was fabulous.