10 books that changed my life

(i’m a sucker for book memes, and this one’s a particularly good one.)

01.  jane eyre, charlotte brontë, for being the first book i truly, thoroughly loved.

02.  anna karenina, leo tolstoy, for introducing me to the awesomeness that is 19th century russian literature.

03.  atonement, ian mcewan, for getting me out of a bad reading slump and back into literature.

04.  never let me go, kazuo ishiguro, for … never letting me go.  (har.)  (okay, seriously, though, i read this book at least once a year, and it never ceases to get me right in the gut.)

05.  the unabridged journals, sylvia plath, for just getting me.

06.  man walks into a room, nicole krauss — or nicole krauss in general for being brilliant and thoughtful and amazing.

07.  please take care of mom, shin kyung-sook, for making me appreciate motherhood and womanhood in post-war korean culture, which is all very relevant to me because my grandmother, my mother, even i have emerged from it.

08.  nothing to envy, barbara demick, for humanizing north koreans.

09.  the corrections, jonathan franzen, for getting me started on contemporary fiction and an awareness of the industry as a whole, although, okay, maybe it’s more accurate to cite freedom here because it really was all the media frenzy around freedom that got me reading the corrections (i read freedom six months after i’d read the corrections).

10.  the english patient, michael ondaatje, for being so fucking exquisitely written in language that breaks my heart and gives me hope.