Faeries was the most important book of my teenagerhood.
I couldn't see that at the time, despite the fact that I carried the book with me everywhere, to school and back, until the covers came clean off. In art class I drew creatures from the book; in English class I tried to write about them. I tried to hurry through math so I could get back to my fantasies.
When asked which books were important or influential in my life, I mumbled, threw up my hands, and blurted out the names of whatever I had most recently read.
When you're deep in the forest, it's difficult to tell which tree is the tallest.
That was back in the days before online bookstores and ubiquitous, constant internet. I had heard, vaguely, from some source--likely the back of a magazine or the pages of some other book--about this book full of wonderful pictures of fairies. A book I clearly had to have. It took two years to find that book, and a good deal of begging to convince my parents to buy it for me. (They objected to the artistic nakedness.)
I've moved often since the end of highschool, and unfortunately, books are heavy. I've had to make many strategic purges of my collection--some wise, some I regret, though they were probably necessary. Today I borrow far more books from the library than I used to--feeding my love of the printed page while protecting my future back.
But I still have that battered, worn, taped-up copy of Faeries. It's not going anywhere.