What five books most are most important or influential to you?
Here are her answers:
The Top Five Books of My Life
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
My grandmother handed me this book when I was thirteen and said, "This is what good writing is like." Stegner is everything. He writes beautifully about people who will break your heart and make you laugh and nod your head in recognition. He writes non-fiction and fiction both, and I love what he writes about the land. Later, in college, I took my senior course on Wallace Stegner and read almost everything he has written (and loved it all). But it is this book, the first I encountered, that remains my favorite.
Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler
Another high school discovery. This story of redemption and imperfection and love is told as only Anne Tyler can do it, with beautiful detail and flawed but lovely characters and the gentle passing of years. Ian Bedloe is one of my favorite heroes in literature.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
I read this thirty-three times in third grade and have loved it ever since. I wanted to be Anne.
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
This was the first book that made me sob so hard I couldn't breathe. The story and story-telling are heartbreakingly beautiful.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
A recent discovery--and another book that made me weep. I don't know what it was about this lovely little story that touched me to the core--the wonderful writing, the fantastic main character, the themes of storytelling and friendship and hope woven throughout. It is absolutely exquisite. And so intriguing and interesting that my seven-year-old boy picked it up and couldn't stop reading it, devouring the whole thing in a day. A classic for all ages.
Ally Condie is one of my well-loved local authors, actually living just a few blocks away from me! Her much buzzed about book, Matched, will be released on November 30. She's written several other books including Freshman for President, Being Sixteen, Yearbook, First Day and Reunion. Besides writing books, she is also mom to three kids.