To be honest, I'm thankful for all the books I've ever read, ever will read, ever will want to read, ever published, and all the authors and editors and publishers and translators who work so hard to make the books. But that's rather more than ten, so here's the short list:
1. The Bible: I'm thankful that God inspired people to write stuff down for us rather than leaving us to our own doomed devices.
2. C. S. Lewis: Let's see, he wrote the Chronicles of Narnia, the Space Trilogy, the Four Loves, more essays than I can count. Essentially, the man was brilliant.
3. Jasper Fforde: I think Fforde is the only author about whom I can say "I've read everything he's ever had published." Or at least I can say that until his next book comes out, which I will request from my library three to six months early so I can get one of the first copies. Seriously, Jasper Fforde is funny, witty, genius, and totally worth reading if you like absurdist sci-fi/fantasy alternate history meta-fiction.
4. I Capture the Castle: Written by Dodie Smith of 101 Dalmatians fame, this is one of my absolute favorite books
5. The Lord of the Rings: I first read LotR in fifth grade, and I've been rather obsessed ever since.
6. Arthur Conan Doyle: I read TONS of mysteries as a kid (Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Boxcar Children, Encyclopedia Brown), but I credit Sherlock Holmes with my life-long mystery novel and TV crime show obsession.
7. Connie Willis: Four words: Time-travelling Oxford historians.
8. M. F. K. Fisher: Brilliant American food writer who spent much of her life in France. This quote from one of her essays more or less defines my theory of hospitality and cooking:
... but I still think that one of the pleasantest of all emotions is to know that I, I with brain and my hands, have nourished my beloved few, that I have concocted a stew or a story, a rarity or plain dish, to sustain them truly against the hungers of the world.9. Julian of Norwich: "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well"
10. Dorothy L. Sayers: I love Lord Peter and that's all there is to it. (It does help that he's wealthy and has excellent taste in books.)