32 Mind-Bending Books and a Troupe of Poets

“We are what we read,” wrote Alberto Manguel in A History of Reading. It’s in the nature of books and reading that what we read becomes part of us. We interiorize books. But every book doesn’t have the same impact. In my case, it’s like I hit the delete key, and the poor title wanders away, adrift in the ocean of my memory. That hasn’t happened with my 32 Mind Benders. These titles have staying power. Some appeared early and started me on a lifelong reading path; others became my bedrock, cemented my love for tales, or were instrumental in changes. Others yet, I happened upon, or a teacher taught me. Check the poets at the bottom of the infographic. Poetry is my daily bread.

Adelaida Lucena de Lower's reading list. Mind-bending books and favorite poets mind-bending books and inspirational poets.

I’m attached to these books for different reasons. For example, I bought two childhood favorites with hard-earned babysitting money, waiting months for them. Thais—the story of the hermit monk and the beautiful courtesan—I picked up at a second-hand bookstore, a 1931 edition illustrated by Raphael Frieda. The dark illustrations captivated me. When I read it, the novel’s flip-flop structure flabbergasted me. It’s impossible to forget where I devoured Freya Stark’s book, a selection of her travel writings: the beach in Spain. There’s still sand between the pages. And Mary Renault’s novel drove me to read her entire work, one after the other. Stories behind those stories. Essentially, the books are in me, and I’m in them.

Interesting Reading Lists:

Find here: Jorge Luis Borges, Donald Barthelme, Joan Didion, and Patti Smith. Find more book lists from a variety of sources in this BookRiot post. Goodreads compiles by genres, such as historical fiction. The Library of Congress also has lists galore, the books that shaped America among them. And, finally, because reading exclusively in one language is like observing the world through colored glasses, a post of fiction in translation from the Huffington Post.

About Adelaida

Adelaida Lucena de Lower is a writer and avid reader. She has just finished THE RED RIBBON, a novel about prejudice and love set in 15th century Spain. She is writing and researching the next. Think Moorish invasion, Goths, treason, mayhem, and brother against sister.