Joe Hill, an amazing author (read his novels "Heart-Shaped Box" if you want to be scared to death or "Horns" if you want to look at the devil in a whole new way) who is very active on Twitter, has started a hashtag meme: #fundamentals. He's given several explanations of just what he means by this...I'll paraphrase them here rather than just copying and pasting. A fundamental is something that serves as a foundation for how you understand the world, a touch-stone you go back to over and over, a directional sign on your personal road map. It isn't necessarily your favorite song, but it's the song that defines how you go about understanding all songs. It isn't necessarily your favorite book, but it's the book that serves as a foundation for all books of that type. Etc. I'm very much enjoying reading over the answers other people have given, and also with really looking at my own life and my own fundamentals! It's a good thing to do, I think...to understand how you understand the world.
The answers I've given so far include:
For sci-fi/fantasy novels: "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman; "The Book of the New Sun" series by Gene Wolfe; "The Telling" by Ursula K. LeGuin; "The Orphan's Tales" by Catherynne Valente.
For poetry: "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot; "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" by Wallace Stevens; "Instructions" by Neil Gaiman; "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg.
For caffeinated beverages: English Breakfast tea with sugar and milk; southern-style sweet iced tea; jasmine green tea; French roast coffee, black.
For the simple pleasures in life: A new book; an empty highway in the sunlight; warm fingers; a purring cat; socks hot from the dryer; the first crocus of spring.
For comfort food: Hot, salty miso soup; grilled cheese; mashed potatoes with butter; pasta with cream sauce; chocolate milk shakes.
For desserts: Lemon sorbet; nutella crepes; chocolate chip cookies; apple pie; mochi.