Sunday, July 19, 2009

Favorite Books

What are YOUR favorite books? What books impacted you as a child or continue to draw your interest?

When I was young, The Chronicles of Narnia were my favorite books. I probably read the entire series at least a hundred times. When The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was first announced, I got chills every time I watched the trailer. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Horse and His Boy I adored the most. I look forward to the release of Dawn Treader the winter of 2010!

I'd definitely list Watership Down as an all-time favorite. Adams used the plight of a group of rabbits to tell a very touching and human story of survival and friendship. Those who've not read this book are really missing out on a classic.

When I was a teen, I discovered Anne McCaffrey's world of Pern. I loved The Dragonriders of Pern series. And while science fiction in nature, her books are relationship-driven. I credit The White Dragon as my inspiration for becoming an author. Considering the state of special effects, I think now would be a good time to turn these books into movies, too.

I've always been a fast reader, but I read Jurassic Park in a record two days. It was the ultimate page-turner, and I think they did a fabulous job with the movie.

Last on my list is a non-fiction book, The Five Love Languages. Chapman's creation is the ultimate relationship book and a must-read. We have several copies on our shelf that we loan out, and this book is always included with wedding gifts.

So what are some of your favorite books and why?


Anonymous said...

(1) I was raised as an Air Force brat, exposed to WW II and Korean War tales, and connected instantly with Joseph Heller's darkly hilarious Catch-22 in high school (maybe a year or so after its initial publication). After I read it, I passed it on to my Dad (an AF electronic warfare officer) who loved it. My mom tried it but was horrified at the rawness of the imagery and language.

After becoming an AF pilot, I reread it and enjoyed it even more.

Catch-22 is now embedded in our language (and dictionaries), with many who use it probably having no idea where it came from or what it really means.

(2) Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land took me by surprise. I read it at 14 when it first came out. My mom knew only about Heinlein's space operas that had transfixed me for years. If she'd known what Stranger was all about (sex, doncha know), she would have taken it away forthwith.

A few years ago, I reread it and found it puerile and not all that well written. Nothing Heinlein wrote from that point forward was worth much, in my opinion. He began trying to be so hep that he lost his way.

But it also added a word to the vocabulary of youth -- grok, which is also in the dictionary.

(3) Among my many treasured books is Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff. As an AF pilot and wannabe astronaut (from all the way back in grade school), I devoured the book. I knew a lot of test pilots, with various connections to the space program, and the book's psychological insights were on target.

On top of which, Wolfe's style showed me that, despite all the grammatical and punctuation rules drilled into me by English teachers, the "rules" for writing are really just guidelines meant to be broken by writers with the skill to do so...and do it well. did ask, didn't you?

Walt Shiel
View From the Publishing Trenches

Karen Walker said...

What a great post idea, Diane. As a child,I couldn't get enough of Nancy Drew mysteries and the Hardy Boys. Nancy was strong,independent, and feisty while I was shy and had little or no self-esteem. As an adolescent, I fell in love with Holden Caulfield in "Catcher in the Rye." And Jo in "Little Women." I think that's where my dream of writing began.
Now I am a voracious reader and love romance, mystery, memoir, historical fiction, and nonfiction metaphysical and inspirational works.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Walt, I did ask! Thank you so much for sharing.

Marvin D Wilson said...

As a youngster the books of Mark Twain fascinated me and drew me into the wonderful world of imaginitive literature. Most memorable reads of my adult life? I also remember the passion I had for reading Jurasic Park, Shogun held me non-stop with no sleep for 24 straight hours, and The Shining did the same thing. Awesome reads.

The Old Silly

Bob Sanchez said...

My childhood home had plenty of Reader's Digest Condensed Books and magazines, and I read some not-very-memorable material. I cannot remember reading a single classic as a child. Jane Eyre came as a shock to my system in the 9th grade, and the first classic I remember actually enjoying was A Tale of Two Cities in 9th grade. As an adult, I went back and voluntarily read all the work I should have read in school. Jane Eyre and David Copperfield turned out to be much better than I'd thought in school.

It's hard to pick out all-time favorites, since I rarely read any book twice (Huckleberry Finn being one exception). Some I've greatly enjoyed, though, include Don Quixote, To Kill a Mockingbird, Michener's The Covenant, and The Hunt for Red October. Those books will stay with me for a long time.

But I'm disappointed to think how few classics I read as a child.

Bob Sanchez

Jenners said...

I couldn't even begin to list my favorites ... but I did love Narnia when I was a child. I've never read Watership Down, but it keeps coming up so I plan on checking it out sometime soon.

One book that really affected me was "Bridge of Terabithia." First book I read that dealth with death. And "Sasha My Friend" was one I read over and over and over.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Sad to say when I was a child the choices for children were not as great. Possibly they were more aking to classics, though. I loved The Secret Garden and Little Women but I also read adult books. No questions asked.

Award-winning author of This Is the Place.