Here's the meme:
"The challenge is to list 15 books you've loved and been transformed by, right off the top of your head."
So, off the top of my head (no fiddling, deep thought, attempts at cleverness or editing allowed!)
1. The Faraway Tree books, Enid Blyton
2. My Second Big Story Book (a collection of fairytales from all around the world in their non-sanitised form).
3. Charmed Life, Diana Wynne Jones
4. Memory and Dream, Charles de Lint
5. Cloven Hooves, Megan Lindholm
6. The Go-between, L.P. Hartley
7. The Castle of the Dark, Tanith Lee
8. The Dark is Rising, Susan Cooper
9. Dragonquest, Anne McCaffrey
10. The Book of Atrix Wolfe, Patricia McKillip
11. Medea, Miranda Seymour
12. Faeries, Brian Froud and Alan Lee
13. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
14. The Wood Wife, Terri Windling
15. Kushiel's Dart, Jacqueline Carey
Hmmm. Which is all very interesting, as an 'off-the-top-of-my-head' list. The meme says, 'books you've been transformed by', and the books that were truly transformative for me were primarily those I read in my childhood and formative years. In fact, there are only five books on the list which I read after I left my teens.
What also strikes me is that, while I don't think of myself as purely a fantasy reader or writer, those books I adored during my formative years, and which have shaped me as a reader and writer are largely from the broad fantasy stable. Everything from high fantasy with the McCaffrey to early urban fantasy with the de Lint, to mythology-inspired fantasy with the Zimmer Bradley, Cooper and Seymour. I've cheated a bit with 'Faeries', as it's primarily an art book. That said, it is a book I've loved since I was seven years old, and which has certainly been transformative for my imagination.
Also, while all of the books on the list remain treasured members of my library, there are many of them I won't read again. They were important for me at particular stages of my life, but they're not novels I feel any desire to read again now.
Looking back over the list, I can see that most of the books were ones that not only shaped my imagination, but which also taught me lessons in the art of writing; what is possible, and how it can be achieved.
Who'd have thought a quick meme could end up revealing so much about me?
Anybody else want to play?