Rules: In a text post, list ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you. Tag [some] friends, including me, so I’ll see your list. Make sure you let your friends know you’ve tagged them.

  1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Read it first for English class, grade 11. That’s when I realised “great” literature doesn’t have to be epic.)

  2. Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (Read it first in a bus station in Thunder Bay, on my way home after crossing the country on Greyhound by myself at 19.)

  3. Paterson by William Carlos Williams (Read it first during the summer semester when I took advantage of the university library and read everything by and about Williams. One day, I’ll tattoo his line–Look, there lies the city!–on my arm.)

  4. The Leaving by Budge Wilson (Read it first soon after I received it as a gift for Easter when I was 9. The girls in these stories were my Anne Shirleys, pulled into the (almost) modern day.)

  5. The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton (Read it first probably soon after I learned how to read. Three siblings find a magic tree which leads to different worlds. Then I started making up my own stories about different worlds.)

  6. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (Read it first in grade 10, and then we saw the Baz Luhrmann film in the theatre on a field trip. Cemented these words in my 14-year-old brain.)

  7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Read it first, grudgingly, in a university course where it was paired with Bridget Jones’s Diary. Read it again, enthusiastically, last year. It’s all about timing.)

  8. Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock (Read it first, I think, Christmas ‘91. I would’ve been turning 10. My delight for that multi-media love story was definitely a sign of what was coming.)

  9. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (Read it first in Halifax, two years ago, deep in the despair of trying to finish my first novel. After years of reading this book’s praises, I finally gave in. And I finished the novel.)

  10. Sleepover Friends by Susan Saunders (Read it first during those days when your fiction series of choice said everything about you. I read Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins and Bad News Ballet, too, but these girls were most me.)