Books That Linger

Recently, I was thinking about books I read as a kid. I remember so many of them so clearly… In first grade, I discovered the Oz books. Then Nancy Drew, then Bobbsey Twins. In third grade, the Little House books, and the Orpheline series. Fourth grade was Zilpha Keatley Snyder, the Mushroom Planet books, the Alvin Fernald books, the Three Investigators. (My older brother definitely influenced my reading.)

By sixth grade, there was Lord of the Rings, and Lloyd Alexander, Joan Aiken, Edward Eager, Mary Norton, Louisa May Alcott, and Noel Streatfeild. I never stopped loving and reading “children’s books,” so by the end of high school I had added Susan Cooper, Diana Wynne Jones, Doris Orgel, Edward Ormondroyd, Ruth Nichols, Paula Danziger, and E. Nesbit.

My first college roommate turned out to be another fan of children’s & young adult fantasy fiction, and she introduced me to Robin McKinley and (more recently) Vivian Vande Velde. (She also gave me my first Regency — truly an influential roommate!)

All these authors and their books linger in my memory, even those I haven’t read anything by in years. I know that this is largely because I was young when I read them: I had less in my brain, and knew less about the world, so these stories took up root because I felt they were all so important, so new, so wonderful….and my limited brain capacity was still mostly unfilled. But perhaps…perhaps there was more to it than that. Some of these books surely linger for other reasons as well.

So…is there anything we writers of adult books can do to make our books linger in the memory? To make them take up root in people’s brains?

Writers: Do you do anything in particular to try to make your books lingering books? To make them last in the memory?

Readers (which is all of us): Have you read any books as an adult that made a big impression on you, that stayed with you long after the last page was read? What books were those? Do you know why they made such an impression on you?

All opinions welcome!

Cara
Cara King — MY LADY GAMESTER, out now!

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