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Like all of you books have played an important role in my life, most importantly that of a friend. I grew up an only child of a single mother and spent a lot of time on my own while she was working multiple jobs to provide for us and reading helped me feel less lonely. Growing up I was also an emotionally sensitive kid and books gave me a way to escape my own mind for a while. In this post I will highlight some reads that always remind me of a particular time in my life and are among my favorites to this day.
Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham: Dr. Seuss was my go-to-guy as a kid. I was drawn to the whimsical-ness (is that even a word?) of the drawings, the fantastic creatures he created and the sing-songy rhythm of the story. Later in life I read about the hidden meaning behind Dr. Seuss’s books which made them that much more special to me. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas will always be my all-time favorite Christmas read.
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women: I would be remiss in not mentioning the book that served as inspiration for my name. My mom’s favorite book is Little Women and you can bet that we always had a copy on hand at our house. Interestingly enough I even resembled the youngest March daughter Amy with my light blond curly hair and blue eyes, but Jo was always my favorite of the girls. She was kind hearted but always got into trouble which sounds a bit like me ! Little Women is one of those books that you can pick up at any age and enjoy all over again!
V.C. Andrews, Dollanganger Series: As a teenager my tastes turned to a tad darker and the Dollanganger series from V. C. Andrews was totally different than anything I had ever read before. The Dollanganger series includes the books Flowers in the Attic, Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday and Garden of Shadows. Once I had finished the first book I immediately begged my mom to purchase the rest and was very happily ensconced in the Dollanganger family drama for days!
Danielle Steel, Family Album: While I was in high school I picked up my first Danielle Steel book and was instantly hooked!! I then proceeded to pick up as many as I could and read almost all of them over one summer. The one Steel book I still think about is Family Album. I have always been fascinated by family dynamics and drama and this book has it in abundance! My daughter likes to think I named her after the author, and though I didn’t on purpose maybe having a whole bookshelf full of her novels somehow subconsciously entered my brain!
Dean Koontz, Strangers: I’ve got one word to describe author Dean Koontz…fabulicious! There is not one Koontz book that I’ve read and didn’t like. He is just amazing! After my infatuation with Danielle Steel faded my bookshelves were transformed into the Dean Koontz shrine. The one book that I could re-read a million times is Strangers, which tells the story of six strangers that are inexplicably drawn to a motel in Nevada, where they will eventually recall that they’ve met before and the event they have all forgotten. It’s got mystery, the supernatural and a little science fiction that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the novel. Ha, now that I’m talking about it I really want to break it out and re-read it for the 5th time!
Anne Rice, The Witching Hour (Lives of the Mayfair Witches): When I was approached about writing this post the first book that came to mind was The Witching Hour by Anne Rice. I have read this book more times that I can count and definitely more than any other book before or after. I finally had to pick up a new copy because the old one was falling apart from so much use! The Witching Hour is about a family of witches and the spirit who controls them all. It is a perfect conglomeration of the supernatural, gothic mystery, witchcraft and even love.
Sharon Kay Penman, The Welsh Trilogy: Penman’s Welsh Trilogy is pure perfection! Historical Fiction just doesn’t get any better than this!! Here Be Dragons, Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning are the books that started my fascination with Wales and I still think about Llewelyn and Joanna even years later. Penman’s exquisite writing, meticulous research and memorable characters are what make her such a fierce author!
Ken Follett, Fall of Giants (Book One, The Century Trilogy): Fall of Giants is my most recent read and boy was it PHE-NOM-E-NAL!! I am a big fan of Follett’s other HF books, Pillars of the Earth and World Without End and I was so excited when I found it on sale at a store the day before it was supposed to be released. It’s a gargantuan book but so super good that I breezed right through it…even though I have carpal tunnel in both wrists I carried that thing with me everywhere! I cannot wait for the next two books in the trilogy but I must practice patience.