T10T: Unexpected Levels of Impact

July 24, 2018


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s prompt was to list ten books with Sensory Memories, and I decided to take it a bit further.

These are ten books that impacted me on an unexpected level, in a good way. Some of them are books I expected to impact me at least a little, but not as much as they did in the end.

These are sorted in order from oldest memories to newest. 🙂

So, uh… let’s get personal?


1. Eragon — Christopher Paolini
year of impact: 2002

When Eragon was released, Chris was 19 years old. He started writing it when he was 15. That was so inspiring to me as a kid and it got me into writing, which in turn led me to roleplay forums. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s where 2+ people write interactive stories together. I did this until I was in my very early 20s. I struggled with terrible mental health from a very young age, and roleplaying literally saved my life. There were days as a kid where I only fought through because I needed to see what would happen next in my story. I don’t think I ever would have found my love for it, and for writing as an outlet in general, without Chris inspiring me.

2. Fruits Basket, Vol. 1 — Natsuki Takaya
year of impact: 2003
While Fruits Basket was not my first manga (that was Hikaru no Go), it was the first one that I loved. I used to obsessively read/watch manga/anime as a kid, and I miss that.
While we’re on the topic, drop me an anime or manga recommendation in the comments if you have them! ♥

3. The Truth About Forever — Sarah Dessen
year of impact: 2005
I forever credit Sarah Dessen for getting me into YA contemporary, and this book is the one she did it with. I remember picking this up on a whim at the library, not thinking I’d really like it—until that point, I only read horror and fantasy—but end up falling totally in love.


4. The Nature of Jade — Deb Caletti
year of impact: 2008
The first book I ever read with blatant, on-page mental health rep: the main character suffers from extreme anxiety, and though I was still at an age where I had no clue what was going on in my head or what caused those feelings, I knew I saw myself in Jade, big time.

5. Cold, Thin Air, Vol. 1 — C. K. Walker
year of impact: 2016
This wasn’t the book itself so much as its timing: I’d been rating books on Goodreads since I joined in 2012, but this was the first review I ever wrote (it’s literally, like, a sentence, but still), and it was also the first book I posted to bookstagram! (Those photos are long since deleted. They were… not good.)

6. A Court of Thorns and Roses — Sarah J. Maas
year of impact: 2016

I actually have an entire discussion post about this here, but ACOTAR was the first book in over a decade that sucked me into a bookish fandom and made me remember what it was like to 100% geek out over a book/series. It also kick-started my return as a consistent reader, after years of not prioritizing what had always been my favorite hobby.


7. How to Make a Wish — Ashley Herring Blake
year of impact: 2017

I’ve talked about this so many times, so I’ll keep it short: this was the first book I ever saw on-page bisexual rep, and it meant so much to me. ♥

8. Strange Weather — Joe Hill
year of impact: 2017
This wasn’t my first Joe Hill read, and if you’re a fan of his work, you already know he’s pretty unapologetically political/liberal, but one story in this collection is about racism and gun violence, and… holy shit. As a life-long horror fan, I’ve grown accustomed to hearing horror fans and writers alike say the genre doesn’t “need” political slants, and this whole collection, but especially that short story, proves that argument SO wrong. The story is called “Loaded”, and it wrecked me in every possible way, but it also raised my standards for current horror authors. Horror isn’t exempt from real world issues, and I want to see that represented more frequently!

9. Beneath the Sugar Sky — Seanan McGuire
year of impact: 2018

Cora, the main character of this story, is fat. Like, shamelessly, no beating around the bush, no “hints”—she’s plus-size, and she’s healthy, and gorgeous, and lovable, and incredible. As a plus-size woman, I’d never before seen a character who was allowed to be fat, and happy, and healthy, and beautiful, and capable, and smart, and… I could go on forever. It was so empowering. ♥

10. Circe — Madeline Miller
year of impact: 2018

I knew this would be a gorgeous story, but this was the first book I’d seen myself in as a mother. Circe has a child in the book, and her thoughts towards him were so perfectly mirrored of my own feelings for my son, and it just made me weep. One thing about reading so much YA and horror is that I don’t get to see the motherhood in my life reflected in the books I read very often, and this meant so much to me.

What are some books that impacted you more than you expected?
Tell me about them!


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No Comments

  • Reply Carolina @fictionologyst July 24, 2018 at 12:07 am

    It’s so amazing how you could remember all of this! I’m not an emotional person so yeah I have nothing! Hey Fruit Basket is one of my favorite too, if you had the chance please try Parfait Tic, it’s an old manga but they’re good. Tora Dora and Lovely Complex are amazing too, they had both manga and anime, and I love both!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 24, 2018 at 1:53 am

      Thank you! I am such a sap when it comes to books – or anything, really. You should see me watching sad movies! Lol! Oh, I will totally look those up, thank you so much!

  • Reply ChrissiReads July 24, 2018 at 2:52 am

    These books hold such wonderful memories for you! 🙂 I’m glad that a book could bring you back to your love of reading!

  • Reply Brooke Lorren July 24, 2018 at 3:08 am

    It’s wonderful when a book can have such an impact on your life. Twitter was all abuzz today about book piracy, and I’m thinking… if someone can have such a positive impact on your life, why wouldn’t you want to support them financially by buying their books (or checking them out at the library, which also helps authors)?

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 26, 2018 at 12:25 am

      I agree completely! I know that some people who pirate ebooks don’t have access due to living in countries that don’t sell those books, but… I feel like that’s *almost* NONE of the pirates, lol. :/ I just can’t imagine calling myself a huge fan of an author and then pirating their books.

  • Reply Amber July 24, 2018 at 3:58 am

    “I struggled with terrible mental health from a very young age, and roleplaying literally saved my life.”
    Yes yes yes yes yes. I didn’t get this from Eragon, I ended up in Harry Potter forums and eventually into more contemporary ones, always boarding school based. I got so much shit about this from IRL people, but roleplaying forums were there when the world sucked so hard I didn’t want to be in it. I feel you SO HARD.
    <3 <3 <3 <3

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 26, 2018 at 12:34 am

      Oh my gosh, I loved boarding school roleplays, lol! And yeah, I definitely also loved the HP forums, though by the time I reached 14-15, my favorite was to just go into the OC boards and make up my own characters in contemporary settings. I never talked to people IRL about it because the two or three times I did, I got picked on so badly and it mortified me. I just love hearing that you had similar experiences. ♥♥

      • Reply Amber July 28, 2018 at 5:26 pm

        Definitely! You’re not alone! In a funny twist of fate, one of the originals I RP’d with turned out to go to a bluegrass festival with one of my bffs every year and they’re actually *still* really close friends. We put that all together YEARS later. 😛

  • Reply Steph Burton July 24, 2018 at 5:37 am

    I love The Truth About Forever and all of Dessen’s books. Ahh I should have mentioned it in my post xx

  • Reply Poinsettia July 24, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Great post! I get emotional about my favorite books too. I love how books can become part of our journey through life. Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 26, 2018 at 12:35 am

      They truly do become such a big part of our lives, don’t they? 🙂 Thank you! I’ll check yours out as well.

  • Reply RedRocketPanda July 24, 2018 at 8:31 am

    It always makes me so happy that you love the book that gave me my name!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 26, 2018 at 12:35 am

      Wait, elaborate on this? I feel like I should know what you’re referring to but I’m drawing a blank! (Maybe because it’s been a long time since I read most of these lol!)

      • Reply RedRocketPanda July 31, 2018 at 8:39 am

        haha – one of the characters in the book has a baby called Avery and that’s where I got my name from!

  • Reply Barb (boxermommyreads) July 24, 2018 at 8:50 am

    Books really can trigger some great connections. That you for sharing!

  • Reply dbsguidetothegalaxy July 24, 2018 at 9:00 am

    Yes to Eragon!! That’s helped me a lot with my love and passion for writing fantasy.

  • Reply Kaya @ afictionalbookworm July 24, 2018 at 9:59 am

    This is amazing. It’s so incredible that books have made so much impact on your life! Also I only just got into anime so I don’t know anything haha. My friends highly recommend Yona of the Dawn though!

  • Reply Ally Writes Things July 24, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Fruits Baskets is the only manga I’ve ever read, and I remember loving it so much!!! My friends and I would draw the characters during quiet times in elementary school, and it totally convinced me that I was a good artist (I’m not)

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 26, 2018 at 12:55 am

      It’s sooo good! I love that you used to draw them. I used to love drawing as a kid and I always drew manga characters, lol!

  • Reply Laura Beth July 24, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    I love this post! I plan to write something similar soon – Thanks for the inspiration!
    For me, I devoured The Baby-Sitters Club and Baby-Sitters Little Sister books. Then, Harry Potter was a game-changer for me. Once I read Sarah Dessen for the first time, I was absolutely hooked. Here’s a few more that impacted me: A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Looking for Alaska by John Green, and Tornado Warning: A Memoir of Teen Dating Violence and Its Effect on a Woman’s Life by Elin Stebbens Waldal.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 26, 2018 at 12:55 am

      Oh yay, I can’t wait to read it! And thank you ♥
      The Baby-Sitters Club was a favorite when I was a kid, too! And Speak was excellent. I remember reading it over and over.

  • Reply Annemieke July 24, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    I clearly need Beneath the Sugar Sky like now…

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 26, 2018 at 12:58 am

      You totally do! It was so excellent and I just really, really loved it. I hope you do, too ♥

  • Reply Marie July 24, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Oh I’m so, so happy How To Make a Wish meant so much to you and that you loved it so much, I have this one on my wishlist and I can’t wait to finally get around to it 🙂

  • Reply lindseyhabets July 24, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    These are such beautiful stories,so happy to hear they made such an impact on you. I love how books can have such an impact on us in so many ways.

  • Reply Valerie July 24, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    I geeked out over Sarah J Maas too. I don’t know how you can’t! Check out my TTT at Cats Luv Coffee Have a great week!

  • Reply Heather @ Heather's Reading Hideaway July 24, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    How To Make A Wish! Beneath the Sugar Sky! Such amazing booooks! For a manga (and anime, although I haven’t finished it yet it’s really good so far!) I recommend Orange by Ichigo Takano if you haven’t read/watched it yet!! <3
    Heather @ Heather's Reading Hideaway|My Top Ten Tuesday!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 26, 2018 at 1:03 am

      They really are wonderful!
      Oh, I haven’t read Orange yet – thank you so much! I’m adding it to my TBR now!

  • Reply liveforbroadway July 24, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    I’m going to be bouncing between reading your post and commenting it so forgive any errors! First, I want to say, wow: I never knew that the author of Eragon was so young when he wrote it! That being said, I felt the same thing about Roleplay. In so many ways, that saved me as a teen (and I continued to use it into my very early twenties, as well) and more, it brought me one of my very best-friends. I always feel so happy to hear that many people felt the same about Roleplay. Love, love, love that Sarah Dessen got you into YA contemporaries as well. She is such a talent. AND, A Court of Thorns and Roses! Swoon. So many great stories and memories here, I’m so glad you shared in the way that you did!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 26, 2018 at 1:07 am

      Yes, he was just a kid! It’s wild, isn’t it? I love hearing that you feel the same way about roleplaying. I honestly miss it sometimes even now, but I don’t have the time for it because I know that I’m the kind of person who ends up focusing too much time on it every time I go back to it.

  • Reply Kay Wisteria July 24, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    Ahh loved ACOTAR <3 Lovely post <3 <3

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 26, 2018 at 1:06 am

      Thank you so much! <3 It means so much to me. It makes me sad that so many of my friends hate it, but I just remind myself that every book won't be for every reader, of course.

  • Reply Greg July 25, 2018 at 12:34 am

    How cool about Eragon and roleplaying. I think roleplaying has had a phenomenal impact on a lot of people, and that;s so amazing. It’s nice too when a book is a gateway to an awesome fandom!
    Circe looks great, I really want to get that.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 26, 2018 at 1:13 am

      Agreed 100%, Greg! And I hope you get the chance to check out Circe soon. Happy reading!

  • Reply Laura Beth July 25, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Reblogged this on Hot Shot Headlines and commented:
    Thanks to Destiny at Howling Libraries for inspiring this post!
    Here’s my top ten, in roughly chronological order:
    1. Baby-Sitters Little Sister series, Ann M. Martin, circa mid-1990s
    2. American Girl Classic series, Various Authors, circa mid-1990s
    3. Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, J.K. Rowling, circa 1999-2000
    4. A Walk To Remember, Nicholas Sparks, 2003-2004
    5. This Lullaby, Sarah Dessen, 2004-2005
    6. Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson, circa 2006-2007
    7. The Battle of Jericho, Sharon M. Draper, circa 2007
    8. Looking for Alaska, John Green, 2011
    9. Tornado Warning: A Memoir of Teen Dating Violence and Its Effect on a Woman’s Life, Elin Stebbens Waldal, 2015
    10. Prez: A Story of Love, Margaret Garrison, 2018
    Tell me about a book (or two, or five, or ten!) that impacted your life!
    Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

  • Reply Flavia July 25, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Ahhhh I like that you added the years when you read each of these!
    Also omg Fruits Basket. I couldn’t get my hands on all of the mangas, but I did watch the anime all the way to the end…and it MESSED ME UP! Gah. And oh my gosh I think I read The Nature of Jade in the same year that you did, and I remember loving it….but I don’t think I even knew what anxiety WAS at the time! Also, I feel the same about ACOTAR as you do! Yay!
    Great post, Destiny! 😀

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 26, 2018 at 1:21 am

      Thank you! <3 Oh man, the ending of the series, I don't remember exactly what happened, I just remember being heartbroken! And I love that you remember The Nature of Jade! I never hear people talk about it but I thought it was such a great read. ♥ Thank you so much, Flavia!

  • Reply Kyra July 25, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    It’s amazing when books change our lives and have such a big impact on us! <3 I'll have to give The Nature of Jade a read. I suffer from anxiety, so I love seeing it represented well in books.
    My TTT post!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 26, 2018 at 1:22 am

      It really is! I hope you enjoy The Nature of Jade. It has been such a long time since I reread it, though, so please don’t hate me if it doesn’t hold up well LOL! I’ll check your list out, too!

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  • Reply Lauren @ Always Me July 25, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    I’ve been told many times to start in on Fruits Basket – one of these days. 🙂
    Check out my TTT and my current giveaway

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 26, 2018 at 1:26 am

      I hope you do – it’s so cute and fun and sweet! Thanks, I will check them both out! 🙂

  • Reply Kelly Brigid July 26, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing all this, Destiny! And wow! It’s amazing how young Chris was when he wrote Eragon! Truly inspiring! ❤️

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 26, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      Thank you, Kelly! ♥ And yeah, he was just a baby! I saw a picture of him from a convention a few weeks ago and was SHOCKED, lol. He’s all grown up now, and for some reason, I was still picturing him as a teenager!

  • Reply Aj @ Read All The Things! July 26, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    I remember those roleplay forums. I was a member of one when I was a teenager, but I never wrote, I just read. I was too embarrassed to share my terrible writing. I still need to read a Joe Hill book. I’ve heard good things about them.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 26, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      Aww, I bet your writing was way better than you gave it credit for! I always thought my writing was really bad, but a few years ago I came across a character intro I had written as a kid, and I was surprised that it wasn’t as bad as I remembered it!
      And yes, Joe Hill is fantastic. 🙂 I hope you get to check his work out soon. If you like graphic novels, his Locke & Key series is great.

  • Reply Theresa Marie July 26, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    I loved The Truth About Forever. I only read it last year, but even at 26 I felt like I was still flailing around like a teenager not knowing what to do. I feel like Sarah Dessen’s books are quite literally saving my life. I just reread Saint Anything, and it was perfect. This is a great list, Destiny!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 30, 2018 at 5:11 pm

      Aww, that makes me so happy! I’m so glad her books are doing so much good in your life. ♥ Thank you!

  • Reply Sarah July 31, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Okay, I also adored Eragon so much!! It wasn’t my introduction to roleplaying, but RPing was also a really positive force in my life when I was younger. 🙂 And I knooow we’ve bonded over Fruits Basket but I still love that you love it.
    Re: the Joe Hill book (one of my favorites, as I think you know), I HATE when people say writers should leave their politics out of their books. It’s ok if someone doesn’t want to read something political, but writing is SO personal and none of their business. There are important yet terrible things going on in the world today and people have a right to write about them and to read about them. This is a criticism I’ve seen a lot of with Stephen King and Joe Hill, and I just don’t understand it. It’s not like the causes they support are doing any harm!
    Anyway, I guess that’s my rant of the day!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries July 31, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      Yesss! ♥♥ I am loving these RP stories haha! It makes me so happy to know it meant so much to you, too.
      And yes, I’m so in agreement with you re: the politics in books! It reminds me of when people say celebs shouldn’t talk about politics (which fucking kills me because HELLO, YOU ELECTED A REALITY TELEVISION STAR) but you know… *sips tea*

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