My List of Most Influential Literature

Childhood

* Asterix and Obelix (they taught me to read, and planted a love for Ancient Rome culture and Latin)

* Though I was not read the Bible, the nuns told us stories, and we illustrated them. So, orally, the Bible stories, or accounts -that’s how we call them these days-.

* Las aventuras de Vania el forzudo (Russian boy coming of age book. A tale of courage and love. The first book I remember finishing).

* Platero y yo, by Juan Ramón Jiménez. I hated this book. Since we are children, they all want you to read it, and it does not appeal in the least to children. Read as an adult, it brought me to tears. Juan Ramón Jiménez is my favorite poet, it speaks to my soul with his tenderness.

* Art collection book. I had a book with the pictures in the Prado Museum, Madrid, and I always read the scripts about the pictures and painters. This taught me that painters and their paintings have a story, and that they present to us their views, and the world.

Early Teens

* Juan Ramón Jiménez poems anthology. Because when we feel alone in our teen years, poetry can be healing. I remember memorizing some of his poems and reciting them in front of a mirror.

* Enyd Blyton in the summer. Other books I remember nothing about, I just read a lot without knowing what, to escape my reality.

Late Teens

* Lord of the Flies. First book we read together in high school. The teacher was impressed with our answers to his book discussion questions. It was very saddening and scary too.

* Rimas y leyendas, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer. Nothing communicates and heals better than poetry, specially Bécquer, for adolescence. He gave me a nostalgic view of love and romance.

* El Quijote. -Are you kidding me? Finally, I could read this classic that was always pushed down our throats, from beginning to end… and I laughed and cried!

* Alicia en el país de las maravillas. -I love reading this book from time to time. This book fills my longing to rationalize the absurd, or to absurdize the rational.

Early Twenties

* I, Claudius, by Robert Graves, and *Caligula. My love for Ancient Rome and biographies started here. In a capsule, I would have loved history if it had been taught to me with living books.

* Nefertiti, and a whole host of books about Egypt of uneven quality. Egypt became another obsession to me.

* El príncipe destronado. A novel about how children feel when other children are born in the family. This book showed me that we share an idea of childhood in our collective conscience. It was fun to “hear” a child talk in a book.

* El nombre de la rosa, Umberto Ecco. It taught me to love historical fiction books and books that raise philosophical questions.

* Niebla, Miguel de Unamuno, represents the discovery that writers can do amazing things, like a book in which the main character has a conversation with his author, and that was sort of a conversation we, created, have with our Creator. We have good writers in Spain, we do, 🙂 And this is a novel that uses the story of Cain and Abel to explore envy, -Wikipedia says, and different to your everyday book.

* Los renglones torcidos de Dios, Torcuato Luca de Tena. Mystery, insanity, psychoanalysis, and life meet the pages of this novel. (I also enjoyed his Edad Prohibida).

Late Twenties

* The Golden Bough. -because I bought this book in English when I lived in London, and I could not understand half a thing, but I kept reading and re-reading the first pages in the underground, looking, -or so I thought-, well educated, but holding to the hope that, one day, I will be able to read in English and understand.

* Crime and Punishment. Russians have always taught me morality and conscience. To read a Russian master writer, is to experience a slice of the world.

* Metamorphosis, by Kafka. The thought that I’m not alone, that many have difficult adolescences, no matter the nationality or time.

* La montaña mágica, Thomas Mann. -I am scared about re reading this book. It meant a lot to me: the philosphy in the novel, the dialogues between opposing views of life, and the reflections about time, death, health, sickness, etc.

* Rayuela, by Cortázar. (Entitled Hopscotch in English). Cortázar and Ernesto Sábato, are my favorite Latin American authors. I devoured Sábato’s The Tunnel, and his On Heroes and Tombs.

Early Thirties

* The Bible, most specially Psalms and Proverbs. -In my thirties I was reading the Bible in English and Spanish, and able to find comfort and truth in it.

* Volume 1 of Charlotte Mason. Lots of books on education, specially the John combo, -John Holt, and John Taylor Gatto.

* Dracula. -I can find philosophical and reflective questions raised in unexpected titles such as this.

* Lots of not so relevant novels. -I CAN READ in ENGLISH more proficiently! From this period, one friend made me remember * Bel Canto. I still remember the characters, much of the plot. I like novels that, like this, bring music and opera to life. It is like My Name is Asher Lev, that has lots of art intertwined in the book.

Late Thirties

* Song of Solomon and Revelation. I read those books of the Bible with more interests and I was led into studies that helped me enjoy and understand them better.

* Poetic Knowledge. It opened up to me the concept of POETIC, and how I am trying to keep it always in my being, to live a poetic life, to homeschool poetically… oh, well, I don’t want to abuse the term.

* Volume 6 of CM. My ultimate source of comfort, inspiration, reproof, when it comes to education.

* The Abolition of Man. -A stupendous book club we had, that taught me I could read “difficult books”, and enjoy them, and live up to their ideas. I had known C.S. Lewis before, but this cemented my passion for his books.

* Great Expectations. Wow. I can read Dickens in the original! This was the beginning of the end, I became an anglophile reader, enamored of Victorian literature.

* Winnie the Pooh, and Wind in the Willows. Because those are grown up books disguised as children books, and they contain so much love -for others, for language, for life, for beauty, and healing. (One can keep nurturing the child in her by reading them).

Forty to now

* Genesis, Exodus, and the book of Acts and Romans. -A new appreciation of the patriarchs, and Paul.

* The Mind of the Maker, by Dorothy Sayers. This opened a new genre, and it is a book alone in its category, like Parables. It taught me how to approach life, but it is not self help or anything like that!

* Life and Death in Shanghai. A view of communism, and the valor of a woman when tried with the hardest trial one can face. -It made me realize how fortunate to live in what we call a christian nation.

* Cancer Ward. -Because there is joy and beauty in pain and sorrow. Like Life and Death in Shanghai, it gives me perspective and appreciation for this country and my freedom to be a christian.

* Pilgrims Progress and Christiana, by Bunyan. An epic allegory of our journey as christians. The names of the characters and the exchanges, as well as the allegories of the places and people Christian encounters are a masterpiece.

* Parables from Nature, by Getty. It is such a unique book, so dear, so well written, quite amazing.

* More poetry. (Thanks to the AO selections we have been now reading for 4 years). I am re-reading favorite poets, and slowly meeting new ones, -which is not difficult since I had never read poetry in English before-.

* Shakespeare and Plutarch. Thanks to Ambleside Online, I am enjoying these two great writers of all times along with my daughters.

This is not one book, but it is my discovery of book genres, and the thought I wanted to always be reading from those different categories, (a travel book, such as After You Marco Polo, biographies, Victorian literature that I have come to love, British books, American writers, women writers, books from writers all over the world, different nationalities and cultures, young adult well written books, dystopias, geography books, natural science and science in general, -for the broad public-, books on education, art, philosophical books and everything Lewis, Chesterton, Sayers, mysteries,  classics…

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16 thoughts on “My List of Most Influential Literature

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  1. Hi Silvia, can you please recommend a good poetry book for a young child (7-10 y/o)? (For reading, copy work, memorization… and enjoy). thanks!

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    1. Hi Shei,
      This page at this Biblioteca my friend and I made, has some great recommendations, http://bibliotecalibrosvivos.weebly.com/poesiacutea.html
      My favorite book for that age doesn’t have an age at the page, it’s Canta Pájaro Lejano.
      Those are links to books that you may find at libraries (maybe), or online, or, I hope, for not much through the online book sellers if you are in the States.

      Thanks for stopping by

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  2. I’m sorry Silvia that I wrote in Spanish, I was thinking about the book and decide to ask you, and I forgot this blog is in English. I saw that you already placed this book in “late teens”, but you mean that you read it at your teens (right). I saw the book in a Charlotte Mason curriculum list, year 1, I think… and that’s why I asking, I want to be sure if is ok for his age.
    Thanks and sorry again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, por favor, no pidas perdón ninguno. Puedes escribir en inglés o español, como prefieras.
      Asi es, lo lei algo mayor que a los 7 años, pero 7 u 8 yo creo es buena edad, como no.

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      1. Otra cosita: Podrias recomendarme un libro (o varios) en Español para usar en la clase de artes del lenguaje de Español para tercer grado. Por fin solte los libros de texto, pues decidi usar libros vivos para copiado/dicatado/narracion/memorizacion y necesito un poco de guia para comenzar, se que luego correremos mejor en este asunto. (A esto se deben todas mis preguntas).
        Te agradezco mucho la ayuda!!
        Un abrazo!
        (computadora nueva= a falta de signos).

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  3. Shei, para copiado y dictado, de los libros que emplees para las demás asignaturas. Para narración, los libros que emplees de historia o ciencias, mitología, geografía, biografías, o literatura. Si ves la lista de Ambleside en inglés, los que veas de tercero que estén disponibles en español, o algo equivalente que os sirva. También en la Biblioteca Libros Vivos hay algunas recomendaciones por materias, y en Ambleside Online hay muchos que están traducidos.

    Nathaniel Hawthorne tiene sus dos libros de mitología para niños traducidos.
    Historia depende el país donde vivas, busca en línea incluso, en las librerías por tema, y encontrarás buenos libros.
    Ciencias y biografías debe haber en las bibliotecas.

    Enhorabuena por soltar libros de texto. Sí se puede, buscando en la biblioteca y en librerías algunas en línea tienen joyas, seguro que das con algunos libros buenos que emplear, y algunos por años. (Los libros de texto antigúos son buenos, me refiero a los de los 50 o 60, suelen estar escritos por una persona, y no tienen todos los extras y preguntas de los nuevos, sino que están bien narrados y se pueden narrar a su vez.

    Un abrazo

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    1. Gracas Silvia, eso es lo que me gustaría hacer, pero uso un currículo que combina estilo clásico con Charlotte Mason para todas esas materias (con el cual me siento muy a gusto y planeo seguir utilizando), también usa libros vivos, pero el currículo completo es en ingles, por eso ando buscando buenos libros en español para ese propósito, el tiene sus lecturas de placer, (en este momento es la Silla de Plata de las Cronicas de Narnia), pero busco libros para ese periodo de español. Según lei en Charlotte Mason Help, no debe ser el mismo que el niño esta leyendo por placer en sus tiempos libres el que use para ese propósito. Compre El mago de Oz, El Robinson Suizo, El Platero y yo, y Alicia en el País de las Maravillas (vienen de camino). Todavía no consigo Canta Pajaro Lejano a un precio accesible. Te preguntaba porque quería escoger un libro apropiado para comenzar a usar para Artes del lenguaje, aparte de su lectura,(la cual quiere leer sin parar), mientras que esta la voy a racionar de dia en dia y hacer las narraciones, copiado, etc.
      Mil gracias por tu tiempo y ayuda.

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      1. Muy buenas ideas.
        Pues yo creo que Robinson Suizo para leerlo despacito y narrarlo. Y Platero y Yo para leerlo y copiado. No te preocupes si no encuentras Canta Pajaro Lejano, quizá encuentres otra antología, si no, no hay problema. Las fábulas de Esopo y Samaniego están gratis online. Puedes también imprimirlas y usarlas para copiado o dictado.
        Y sí, los libros que él lea por placer, no los tiene que narrar ni hacer nada, pero se pueden utilizar para copiado. Mis hijas copian de Alice in Wonderland, y normalmente de los libros de poesía. El dictado se puede hacer en realidad de cualquier libro.
        Tienes buenas ideas y un gran plan. Trabajar lenguaje así es estupendo. Aprenden muy bien sin libros de lenguaje aburridos.

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  4. Silvia, agradezco mucho el tiempo que te has tomado y la ayuda que me has brindado, ciertamente ha sido de bendición!!!! Un abrazo fuertísimo!

    Liked by 1 person

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