The Children of Hurin by JRR Tolkien. This book was based on the mythos and legend of very early Middle Earth, especially expounding on the legend of Hurin's children, Turin Turambar and his sister Nienor, and the curse they would bear in their fathers stead. The book is a breathtakingly tragic and beautiful all in one. I think I read if four times straight after picking it up that first time, crying like a madwoman.
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. Okay, this is leading somewhere isn't it? I have a distinct obsession with series', especially epic ones. This one is as classic as they get and describes the journey/adventure of unassuming Bilbo Baggins with a company of Dwarves and Gandalf the Grey in search of the lost treasure taken by Smaug the dragon. By far the simplest read of all Tolkien's works, it also gives us the epic lead to number 3.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien. Saw this coming did ya? I know, it's a trilogy, three books, but viewed as one on my part because my battered, well read copy is a single book with all three inside like a nest of jewels. What can I say but ...brilliant? Epic? I literally read the entire trilogy about once every other month or so. The depth of all of Tolkien's works is inspirational.
Remembrance by Jude Devereaux. This is where I admit that I love romance novels. I have a lot of them. As in 3 tall bookshelves with them double and triple stacked. Remembrance itself is about a middle aged female writer on a personal journey to find herself by looking into her past via a psychic. She is whisked into her past lives and experiences them for herself, including a curse laid by one of her oldest past life selves, which to her present day haunts her. It is a hauntingly beautiful, vivid story. Love, loss, pain...all woven into an ageless story. Like the Tolkien novels, I tend to reread this one. A lot.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. This was the book that began it all for me years and years ago. I not only was Meg Murry, a part of me still is her. Frumpy, bushy haired, glasses,stubborn, smart but not smart enough to know when to open or not open my mouth...she inspired me to look beyond the "bad" sides of me and look up at the stars and just be okay with myself. I think I carried that book in my school backpack all through high school, when high school was at its worst. I figured if Meg Murry could survive an adventure in another realm, I could survive high school.
The list of books is nearly endless really...I could go on forever! Note, however, than none of these examples are put in a number order? I still can't decide the best of the best, so all are best to me I guess. These are the books that inspired me to write, to be me, that it was okay to think outside the box and imagine!
What about you? What started you on your path? What is your inspiration?