Monday, October 11, 2010

The First Novel That Moved Me


I signed up for Brad Jaeger’s blogfest, The First Novel That Moved Me, and almost forgot! Hey, a lot's happening this month for me! Fortunately, I did remember, and it takes me back a few years… (Okay, more than a few!)

Ever have one of those questions that took all your brainpower to plumb the depths of memory in search of a valid answer? That's not the case with this particular question. I was an avid reader as a kid (mostly Science Fiction) but most of it zipped by like scenery during a long car trip.

That is until I read the epic fantasy work "The Sword of Shannara" by Terry Brooks. It was the summer of 1977 and I was in search of something to occupy my brain when I ran across a book that had nothing to do with alien races and space battles. Instead, I was swept away to a world filled with elves, dwarves and magic. This was a classic high fantasy that helped re-ignite the genre. I had no idea that the novel was homage to "The Lord of the Rings" and even though I now see the book as slightly derivative, it doesn't lessen the impact that this novel had on a young boy.

I have re-read the book several times (one of the only books that I have ever re-read) and it always transports me back to the summer of ‘77. The storyline has been copied a billion times since its initial publishing but I hold this book as the pinnacle that all fantasy novels aspire to achieve.

So, what novel moved YOU?

BIG announcement tomorrow, too!

65 comments:

Misha said...

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas - the unabridged version.

When I was nine or ten I loved the TV stories and so decided to go read the book instead. I remember that the librarian was dubious that I would be able to finish the book at all, so imagine her surprise when I brought it back a week or so later.

That book made me want to fence. It took almost a decade before I could start doing it, but when I did, I loved it. But I know I would never have been as interested if D'Artagnan wasn't as good as he was...

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's a good book, although I've only read it once.
Good choice!
Can't wait to see what others in the bloghop selected. My pick was The White Dragon.

The Old Silly said...

Great topic. For me, it was all of Mark Twain's classics, Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer ... It's been a long time since I've read them, but they got me so pulled into this fantasy (yet real for the time setting) it turned me on to reading and the idea of being able to write like that.

Copyboy said...

Oooh sounds good. I know what you mean about being blown away by good science fiction. I felt the same way after reading Midnight at the Well of Souls.

Vicki Rocho said...

I read a lot of fluff when I was younger. I read all the fairy tale / folk tale books my library had. Then I read all the dinosaur books. I remember the first YA romance I read (not the title, but I remember the plot). That *moved* me into a whole new genre.

The first book I read that influenced how I think about things, though, was Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. Read in secret in the closet because it was my sister's book and I was only 12.

DEZMOND said...

what do you mean summer '77? Weren't you younger than me?????? I wasn't even born in '77.

SHANNARA will be made into a film some time in the future, but you know that, I remember you commented on that story over in HOLLYWOOD SPY earlier this year.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Misha, that's cool you took fencing lessons!

Diane, go back and read it again.

Copyboy, it's been a while since I read any of Chalker's books.

Vicki, you rebel!

Dezz, don't make me feel older than I already do!
And yes, I am awaiting progress of the Shannara movie.

Hart Johnson said...

Great when a book can do that! I wish someone had pointed me at fantasy when i was younger--I think I might have fallen in love with reading much younger. (and I think derivative is fine--sounds more approachable than Tolkein, who really needs nearly adult comprehension to plod through)

The first book to deeply move me was Where the Red Fern Grows, I think because it was my first deep emotional engagement while reading.

Jules said...

I read a lot of criminal mysteries and autobiographies. I feel the need to think while reading, multitasking you know :) First book to move me, "The Exorcist," moved me right down stairs to a crowded room :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

KK Brees said...

The Four Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright. (Going back to the 40s here). I was an only child and this book gave me brothers and sisters and a peek into what living in the country might be like. Today, it's still my favorite.

aspiring_x said...

you know, i've heard of this book... quite alot, but i've never read it...
to kill a mockingbird might have been the first book that moved me... i think i was seven or eight when my sister and i read it together, and it just opened my eyes, and pulled at my heart.

J.L. Stratton said...

I'm with Hart on this one. I remember having to read "Where the Red Fern Grows" in school. I cannot be sure as memory is failing me, but I think I cried.

Shortly after that though, I started reading Heavy Metal magazine, and my life changed forever.

The Golden Eagle said...

I've never heard of this book before! I must be really missing out. I'll have to find out more about The Sword of Shannara!

Falen (Sarah Ahiers) said...

you know, i've actually never read Sword of Shannara. Though i may have a copy somewhere...

Haleine said...

I have The Sword of Shannara on my night stand but I've never cracked it open. Weird, considering how much I love epic fantasy. Maybe some day soon.

A novel that's moved me in the more recent past was Laurie Halse Anderson's novel Speak. But Where The Red Fern Grows had a definite impact on my youth.

Summer said...

I first read Sword of Shannara when I was about 8 or 9, and quickly devoured the rest of the series. I really liked the Heritage books, especially Scions of Shannara. I've read that one many times.

I didn't know about a Shannara movie! I hope it'll be good.

Sangu said...

I'm not part of the blogfest, but I'll chip in anyway! (Haven't read Sword of Shannara, but I've heard great things about it and it's on my enormous to-read list)

Hmm. So many novels have moved me! I think one of the early ones was Wuthering Heights. It always gets me teary.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've never read these books. I always worried about whether I'd appreciate the humor that is supposed to be in them. One very early book I remember that impacted me was Desert Dog by Kjelgaard. I was very young when I read taht one.

Old Kitty said...

Oooh thanks for the intro to this book - sounds fab!!

My choice is SE Hinton's The Outsiders. What a classic!

:-)

Take care
x

Chris Phillips said...

A Wizzard of Earthsea.

j.leigh.bailey said...

The first book that got me hooked into Fantasy was Robert Jordan's The Eye of the World (the Wheel of Time series). I haven't read the Sword of Shannara yet. I've considered it, but I don't read a lot of fantasy...usually just a few times a year. Maybe I'll have to make it this year's pick. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hart, Brooks is much more accessible than Tolkien.

Jules, that's funny!!

Aspiring, needs to be on your list then.

JL, that is quite a jump!!!!

Golden, Brooks is one of the biggest fantasy writers out there. You need to read it.

Summer, good for you! And yeah, a movie worries me, too. Better be good. I don't want to do a "Stupid Shannara Movie" review.

I see a pattern ladies - you girls like to cry!

Charles, there's no humor outside of what's in the context of the story - it's straight, high fantasy. Now, it's not the descriptive level of Tolkien - it's descriptive but accessible.

Chris, I remember Wizard of Earthsea!

Colene Murphy said...

ashamed to say I had never heard of this one, but if it's that good I will def add to TBR list!

Pat Tillett said...

The book that did that for me was "a rumor of war: by philip caputo. Strangely, it also came out in 1977.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Hmm. Lots of books moved me, but the first novel that really got me was Before I die, by Jenny Downham. It's about a girl who has cancer and makes a list of things to do before she dies. I cried like a baby!
The one I re-read every year that moved me is Pride and Prejudice. Every time with that book is like reading it the first time. :)

Kelly Dexter said...

Being an epic fantasy writer, I'm ashamed to say that I've never read any Terry Brooks. I suspect this problem will soon be remedied.

Gail said...

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

Laura Eno said...

Interesting...mine is the same as Vicki's: Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein.

Stephen Tremp said...

I'm sold. I'll check the library today for a copy of The Sword of Shannara.

Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child was what turned on the switch for me. I knew right then and there I wanted to be a writer.

Stephen Tremp

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Pat, must've been a good year for books.

Kelly - the horror!!!

Stephen, you would dig it. And The Relic is their best book. Awful movie, awesome book.

Christina Bunton said...

For me it was the Power of One by Bryce Courtney. I can't remember why but it was the first book that seriously stuck with me.Haven't read it in years though :(

Marieke said...

I do think hommage is a slight understatement, but I loved the Shannara series.

My part of the bloghop is on my blog! (Obvious statement is obvious :))

Lydia Kang said...

Oh there are so many! Charlotte Bronte's books Villette and Jane Eyre have always moved me so much because I love to identify with the smart but poor and not-so-pretty heroine. They kill me every time I read them.

Nicki Elson said...

This is very cool to see the novel that first sparked the author who's big debut comes out later this month! Nice that you kept your love for the book alive.

Hmm, I think you've helped me think back in time far enough to the first novel that moved me. Perhaps you'll find me on this hop later.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Marieke, I will check it out!

Nicki, thanks! You should join the blogfest.

Matthew Rush said...

Hey, I was born in '77, awesome! I loved that book but it will always be LOTR that moved me more than anything.

Carol Kilgore said...

I'm not sure of the first novel that moved me. I'm sure it wasn't anything from the assigned reading list. Most likely it was one of my dad's detective novels because I kept sneaking more.

Arlee Bird said...

I can't remember the title of the first book that moved me--maybe someone else can tell me--but in about 1959 I read a Robert Heinlein book about a reptile man on another planet. I remember getting the book from the library and the book looked old to me so maybe it was a book from the early 50s. I just recall really visualizing what I was reading and the end of the book really sticking with me.
A book I do remember was in about 1960 I read Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard and it really moved me.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Eleri Stone said...

The Sword of Shannara - I loved that book! LOTR would be my first tho'.

Holly Ruggiero said...

You find the most interesting blogfests. I don’t remember the first book that moved me. My brain is all jumblely right now.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Matthew - you young pup!

Carol - crafty girl!

Lee, I've read several of his books, but that storyline doesn't ring a bell.

Holly, I hope you unjumble soon!

Kelley said...

I see your name everywhere. I saw your name on my blog when you hopped over to read Cheeseboy's guest post. I had to check yours out myself. I'm liking it! I am a little intimidated by all the 0's and 1's, but I totally get it. (I have nightmares about being attacked by 0's and 1's, so you'll have to excuse my irrational fear). Ummm...what novel moved me? There are just so many! I think of many different books and what I learned from them all the time. For some reason what comes to mind now is Anna Karenina, My Bondage & My Freedom and The Hiding Place. Okay, gotta go. Need to follow you via GFC now.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

The novel "PS I LOVE YOU", I saw the author being interviewed at a tv recording I was attending.
The book hit home alot because it was a real weepie about a husband who had brain cancer but before he died left messages all over the house.

We're into the final countdown for your "Big day" Good luck.

Also thanks for the visit and comment. much appreciated,
Yvonne.

Jackee said...

Very cool!

At about nine, it was Anne of Green Gables then on into 11-13 yo it had to be Little Women. I read and reread those books. It wasn't until college I found fantasy, and like you, I was hooked. :o)

Thanks for sharing, Alex!

Helen Ginger said...

The first books I read, I believe, were The Bobbysey Twins, handed down and handed down until they finally came into my hands. The first thing I remember really catching me were poems by Sylvia Plath.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kelley, welcome and thanks for following! I am the master of the Matrix - I won't let the X's and O's get you.

Yvonne, that's awesome you saw the author! Yes, big day is coming. And guess what? Amazon UK has my book!!!

Jackee, fantasy sneaks in and grabs you like that.

Helen, do you still have those books?

BryStearns said...

I've never actually read that book before. For me it was most definitely Lord of the Rings. I still absolutely love it, and can always read it.

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

Uncle Tom's Cabin (Harriet Beecher Stowe)
Cheers,
xoRobyn

Raquel Byrnes said...

There was a couple...Shutter Bugs and Car Thieves really sent me over the edge into suspense...and The Girl with the Silver Eyes. Paranormal for kiddies at its best.
=)

Edge of Your Seat Romance

Amity said...

The first novel that moved me? Oh it is of Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns which I only read last summer...

It moved me for reason that the setting in Afghanistan, a gripping tale of two women, so heartbreaking, portraying full range of human emotions, from smoldering rage of an abused wife to the early flutters of maternal love and to the brutality these women suffered in the hands of an evil husband in a war-torn Afghanistan...

too poignant a novel this is Alex! i even cried and thanked God i don't live in Afghanistan, I am no Afghanistan and I don't live in a war-torn country...

but I live in the Philippines where these kinds of human sufferings do not exist! not totally but not as brutal and morbid as in Afghanistan which is daily sight there, or rather a common sight there...

Carolyn V. said...

I think that book is in our basement shelf. I'll have to take a look.

Alice in Wonderland was one of the first books that moved me. It was weird and interesting all at the same time.

Hannah Kincade said...

There are too many to list. I've been sitting here for five minutes staring at the comment box and I can't think of just one.

Stephen Tremp said...

Thanks for the recommendation for Sword of Shannara Alex. I called he library. Its out, but I'm next in line. They'll call me when its in. Looking forward to reading it.

Stephen Tremp

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

It’s been years, but for some reason a Tale of Two Cities was the first book that jumped into my head when I read your question.

Jen Daiker said...

I've really enjoyed the blog fest entries today! I've come across books I've never heard of before and added to my TBR list to read these life changing novels!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Amity, now that's powerful! You need an entire blog post.

Palin, speechless!

Stephen, you won't regret it!

Ellie said...

I love it when books transport us~
Many books have moved me, but the first one that stands out was
"Great Expectations".

Summer of 77, oh, yeah, I want to go back for a couple of weeks ;-D

Cruella Collett said...

I'm not entirely sure it is true - because I read a great many books a great many times as a kid, so the order of them is blurry - but the book I'd pick for this is "The Secret Garden". I read it a million times as a kid, and I still read it every spring. It never fails to move me, and it has inspired so much creativity on my part, both when I was younger and now. I still count it as my favourite book :)

Brad Jaeger said...

I haven't read this series yet! :( I really need to, I know.

Thanks again for joining, Alex!

Karen Peterson said...

I had two, and discovered both around 4th or 5th grade: "The Seeing Summer" and "A Taste of Blackberries." I haven't read either one in years, but they've always stayed with me.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Ellie, not sure if I want to go back...

Cruella, I'v enever read The Secret Garden, but the movie was excellent!

Thanks for hosting the blogfest, Brad!

Karen, you need to pick them up again.

RaShelle said...

Oh my gosh, I'm such a doofus. I signed up for this blogfest too and this was the book I picked!!! LOL I'm totally serious. The Sword of Shannara was THE book for me. =D

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

RaShelle, that's awesome! Great minds (that ROCK!) think alike.

Okie said...

Sword of Shannara was also a big influence on me as a reader. I'd been a reader since Kindergarten and read a wide variety of work...but when I received Sword of Shannara as a Christmas present in junior high, I was immediately hooked and sucked into the fantasy world. The Shannara world has had a special place in my personal library ever since. I'm not sure it would affect me the same way if I went back and read it today...but I absolutely love the character interactions and the thoughtfulness of the adventures that Brooks has created. Sword was a fabulous start to a great legacy of writing from Brooks. :)

Jamie Gibbs said...

Excellent choice :D I've got 2 Brooks books on my shelf that I still need to read.

I'm surprised that you chose a fantasy as the first book though, I was all geared up for you to have picked a scifi :P