Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Favorite Books

Favorite books from childhood to today:

1. The Poky Little Puppy – I loved this book, especially the illustrations. It was such a cute puppy.

2. Barney Beagle - This one was a favorite with all the kids in my family. The page which shows Barney sitting up with his paws crossed like he's praying as the boy who wants him begs the pet store owner to let him go for less money was so freaking cute!!!

3. The Peculiar Miss Picket – She was a babysitter who could do strange and wonderful things with her eyeglasses. Unfortunately, there is not one good link out there, but if you google her you come up with some hits. Still I remember LOVING that book and read it over and over and over again.

4. The Boxcar Children – I actually read the original Boxcar Car children book six times in one week. I LOVED IT!!! Violet was my favorite character and I so wanted to learn the play the violin just like she did.

5. All Nancy Drew Mystery books – the original stories not the new ones (The Nancy Drew Files) where people actually get murdered which was not allowed in my day. I think my favorite was The Password to Larkspur Lane, although I read all of them except two multiple times – and I mean MULTIPLE!!! My sister and I bought the original ones (in the yellow hardcover that I remember from my youth) for my niece a few years back, so I might have to go over and borrow them. It's not as though I have many books awaiting my attention at home, or anything, but there's something very cool about re-reading books that I loved as a kid.

6. I loved English books as a kid – and I don't mean the Classics, but books that were written the years I was in school. I remember this one book and literally the only things I remember about it is where it was located in my grade school library and the word "scree." I remember some kid caught on the side of a hill in England how he fell because there was a scree, and it sounded incredibly painful.

Once again, high school and college (studying and working) get in the way and I can't remember any particularly memorable books from that time of my life. Sure I read some classics in college: Edgar Allan Poe's short stories, Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, Hard Times by Charles Dickens, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. All for the same class, along with Moll Flanders by Daniel Dafoe which I tried like hell to read, but it was incredibly horribly boring that I never finished it, and The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron which we didn't read in class as the professor's father died mid-term and she had to go home for a week. I read it a couple of years ago, finally, and it bums me out that we didn't get a chance to read it.

7. Into Thin Air started my obsession with READING about people who like to climb mountains. I'm not sure it's my favorite mountaineering book, but it was the one that started it all (for me). Hmm, although now that I think about it, I realise that I read The Climb by Anatoly Bourkeev, which had a different view of the same story. If I were to recommend ONE mountaineering book to people though, it'd be Touching The Void by Joe Simpson.

8. The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. I found this book fascinating and un-put-down-able. I highly recommend it.

9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. That link takes you to the movie page, but I'm talking about the book here. It is my favorite book of the series so far, although I loved all of them. The third is the best, IMHO, because it gives you hope that he'll get away from the Dursleys at some point. I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of book six on July 16th.

10. And my all-time favorite book is The Eight by Katherine Neville. I had been lent a number of books around ten years ago and this was in the bag. I read the back of the book and didn't think I'd find it the least bit interesting as chess is a main character in the book and I find chess to be a tad boring. But this particular Monday night I was bored enough (not that I don't at all times have unread books in my house) that I started it, figuring that I was going to hate it and I could return to the friend the next night at the bar. Well, I got sucked in right away and couldn't wait to get home from work every evening so that I could read it. And then when I got close to the end, I'd find something else to do other than read, because it was so good I didn't want it to end. Since I returned the book to my friend I have bought numerous copies of the book and lent them out myself. I told myself that I was never going to lend out my hardcover copy ever again, but of course, I did, and now I can't remember who has it. So, if you're reading this, please let me know that you have it. I re-read the book within the past couple of years just to see if it was as good as I remembered it being and I have to say that it stood up well.

And that, dear loyal readers, are today's list of my favorite books. I have favorite authors as well, writers whom I'll buy everything they write no matter what. They are Martin Cruz Smith, Jack Higgins, Dick Francis, Helen MacInnes (she died quite a while back), John Sandford, Thomas Perry, Karen Kijewski (not that she's written anything in a while), Sue Grafton, Joe Simpson, Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Armistead Maupin, Brian Jacques, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, and of course, J.K. Rowling (not that she's written anything other than Harry Potter, but I'd be willing to give anything else she does a shot).


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