Writer Thessaly La Force and artist Jane Mount have put together My Ideal Bookshelf, a book (gift idea!) where 100 leading cultural figures like chef Hugh Acheson, filmmaker Judd Apatow and designer Pamela Love discuss the books that have inspired them. Here’s Twilight author Stephenie Meyer in an excerpt from The Guardian:
Of all the heroines I was invested in throughout my childhood, Jane Eyre was the one I most identified with, despite my having a happy and supportive family. I liked heroines who weren’t perfectly beautiful. I liked that everyone wasn’t swept away and captivated by her. Jane Eyre has this huge stubborn streak, which I have, too. I have my ideals, and I really don’t diverge from them – it’s probably off-putting to a lot of people. Jane is like that, too; she sticks to things even when she’s uncomfortable and unhappy and making other people feel the same way. Of course, she’s pushed to deeper extremes than I’ve ever been forced to go to, but I always felt we would see eye to eye. When I think about the books that were formative to me as a writer, I can see how much I was influenced by Anne of Green Gables. When the series starts, Anne is a young girl, and we follow her as she becomes a teenager, an adult, a mother, and finally almost a grandmother. It’s so rare that we get to grow up with a character. When I was first imagining my novels, I skipped from Twilight to Breaking Dawn because I was eager to see Bella as an adult.
I was inspired by nonfiction writers like Susan Orlean (The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup), Joan Didion (Slouching Towards Bethlehem, and the melancholy fiction Play It As It Lays), humor writers like David Sedaris (mostly Me Talk Pretty One Day), and stream of conscious writers like Virginia Woolf (To The Lighthouse). I also read every book in The Boxcar Children series in grade school—for some reason, I identified with the idea of abandoned children solving mysteries together.