I first encountered the “My Personal Canon” idea via this post from Melissa of The Bookbinder’s Daughter. Then Jillian tagged me on Twitter saying she would like to see my list. Well, how could I resist such an invitation? Here is my very personal take on the topic.
As I understand it, these are lists of books that have had a significant impact on us, and that we also consider “great” or of lasting value for others, whether they’re part of the traditional canon or not. That helped to narrow down my list, because as I looked back I found that I was wanting to include books that I’d read more than once, until they made a sort of imprint on my soul. (Every book on this list has been read so many times I’ve lost count.) The result may not be very highbrow, but these are books that have truly shaped me and my reading life.
After some deliberation, I have not included any non-fiction, including biographies and memoirs, on the list. That would involve a somewhat different set of parameters, and might be a project for another time.
So, here you go … and please, tell me, what would be in your personal canon?
- The Oz books by L. Frank Baum
- Greek Myths and Norse Gods and Giants by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
- The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald
- Complete set of “rainbow” Fairy Books edited by Andrew Lang
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. LeGuin
- Watership Down by Richard Adams
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
- We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
- Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
- Right Ho, Jeeves by PG Wodehouse
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers
- Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- What’s Bred in the Bone by Robertson Davies
- Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare