The problem was that, on the Facebook challenge, I wasn't supposed to explain why. Nope. Having picked out my ten, I couldn't let them go without saying why they were special to me.
These books are more than a collection of words by an author. They are particular editions of those words - taped-up, egg-stained, dust-jacketless and battered - which have come into my life, been carried around to different homes, and become part of who I am.
How to Be a Domestic Goddess
Well, every woman needs an instruction manual, doesn't she?
Nigella's recipes mean lazy Saturday mornings eating pancakes, comforting crumbles on a rainy night, Christmas cakes, savoury onion pies and mounds of bread dough. If you avoid the occasional extravagance (20 mini Bundt tins and a kilo of pistachios? Skip that one...) her recipes pretty much always work, and work well. My life, and my cooking, have definitely been shaped by this book.
This is the sort of cake that people label 'very rich' but then go on to have three slices with languorous ease.
The Dark is RisingTrefeddian Hotel even exists (and, moreover, has excellent facilities for children) so now, of course, I want to go there and "be on the beach at sunrise"...
And in a great blaze of yellow-white light, the sun rose over Hunter's Combe and the valley of the Thames.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Humanity's search for an easier life released immense forces of change that transformed the world in ways nobody wanted or envisioned.
"I didn't think," said the little girl drowsily to herself, as she began to feel sleepy again, "that things would ever happen to me like they do in books - but they are!"
A Severe Mercy
We met angrily in the dead of winter. I wanted my money back. Her job was to keep me from getting it.
"You have the scholarly mind and you'd always feel uncomfortable knowing it was wrong, even if nobody else knew."
The Piano Shop on the Left Bank
It seemed unimaginable to me that adults would conceive of an entire contraption, at once huge and respectable, whose sole function was to make noise.
The Periodic Table
They are indeed so inert, so satisfied with their condition, that they do not interfere in any chemical reaction, do not combine with any other element, and for precisely this reason have gone undetected for centuries.
The Bible (Revised Standard Version)
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary
faint a. Also (now only Comm. in sense 6b, formerly also in sense 1) feint. ME. [OFr. faint, feint pa. pple of faindre, feindre FEIGN.] 1 Feigned, simulated. Now rare. ... 6 Making a slight or feeble impression on the senses; hardly perceptible, dim, indistinct.