Seven days of books that influenced me: Day 7!
It's no secret to anyone that read Eragon when they were in 5th or 6th grade, like me, that the book doesn't hold up to a critical eye a decade later. The plot is meandering, Paolini often gets bogged down in extraneous detail, and he falls into cliche time after time again. But in 5th grade, we don't know any of that. All we know is that there's a hapless farm boy who found a dragon egg, and an evil king wants to kill him for it. That's good enough to keep us turning pages--perhaps more pages than we've ever turned in a single book up to that point--and to even get us asking "Is there another?" when we're done. Eragon is the first true piece of "sword and sorcerer" fantasy I ever read. For that reason, it's the final book on my list -- because I have a lifelong obsession and dedication to the genre, and this is the book that lit the fire. It's far from perfect, but it's good enough to have sold a couple million copies. Not too shabby. Let's never talk about the movie.