House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski
House of Leaves saved my life in the midst of a super-depressive episode during the start of my Australian semester abroad. I skipped orientation to sit in one spot for 72 hours and read the entire thing in one fell swoop…it’s that engaging.
Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
Cat’s Cradle is the first book that blew my mind open to the possibilities of literature. I read it in the bathtub as a formative college freshman home on fall break, and it remains my favorite Vonnegut to this day.
Donald Hall telling the story of his wife’s diagnosis, treatment, and eventual death from cancer saved my relationship with my husband when it needed the most help. Nothing makes you appreciate what you have like seeing someone in a far worse situation than yourself being grateful nonetheless.
The Mist – Stephen King
Ok, this is totally cheating, this one is a novella. But The Mist is the piece of writing that first made me want to be a writer, that made me want to tell a story, so on this list it goes.
Bear v Shark – Chris Bachelder
Bear v Shark was the first piece of satire I read, next to “A Modest Proposal”, and thus was hugely influential to me. Plus, is there a better line than, “The old televisions had an ‘off’ switch”?
Shannon Frost Greenstein resides in Philadelphia with her children and soulmate. She is a former Ph.D. candidate in Continental Philosophy and a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominee. Find her work in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Chaleur Magazine, Crab Fat Magazine, Bone & Ink Lit Zine and elsewhere. Follow her on twitter at @mrsgreenstein or on her website: shannonfrostgreenstein.wordpress.com.