I tried to do the ten most influential books meme, I really tried. But I could only find five books on my shelf I counted as “influential enough”, and even a few of those seemed to be pushing it. If I lowered my criteria, all of sudden there were dozens and dozens of books that were equally influential, but none were really that “influential”. I just liked them enough to keep them for 20-30 years.
And I couldn’t help but feel like there were some really, important, influential books from my childhood that I just couldn’t remember. I couldn’t do that meme if I was leaving out really important books that had just slipped into subconciousness over the years. This feeling was quickly substantiated when I read other’s memes and remembered some of the books I’d forgotten. My memory is a sieve; I should be forbidden from doing these memes.
I’m just not the type that can make lists of “favorite” things or “influential” things. My mind doesn’t organize the world in terms of those kind of value judgments. It’s too fluid. My favorite things change every day, my influential things, every year. And at the same time, I am a creature of habit, hanging on to the same sorts of preferences year after year. But that doesn’t mean I would consider those things “favorites”. I’m just used to them and too busy or lazy to seek out alternatives. I do encounter new things all the time, of course, in the random bumblings of daily life. I make new discoveries all the time, and find new things to delight in.