Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Books That Made A Difference To Me

Have you seen that feature in "O" magazine where celebrities talk about the books they have read that have made a difference in their lives? I read it every month and just CACKLE OUT LOUD at the books and authors they choose. Come on, now. Is one of your absolute favorite books REALLY a book by Ernest Hemingway and another by Philip Roth? Their lists always include classic books, books by authors I have never heard of, books that, frankly, sound extremely boring. Do they REALLY choose these books? They always have these completely deep, insightful things to say about the books also. COME ON. I'm not saying celebrities can't be intelligent, articulate, perceptive...OK, I am.

That's not really fair, since I am sure some are. I mean, some have actually graduated from Yale and other fancy-schmany places. But why don't they ask some average, normal people about books that have made a difference to them? Like ME?

And, now that I have said that, it would be very difficult to come up with a list of books that have made a difference to me. Because every single book I read makes a difference to me. I'm a ruthless reader. If a book does not grab me pretty quickly, I throw it aside and pick up another one. I always have a pile of books available. I visit the library every week and buy books as well. I read voraciously and omnivorously. I am not a slave to genre. Here is my criteria for a good book. It must tell a good story. That's it. It can be a Romance, a Western, a Science Fiction story, a Fantasy, a Mystery, or any combination of those, but it must tell a good story.

There are authors and titles in my head right now clamoring for attention and I am sure as soon as I exit from this post, I will think of more, but let me share just a few of my favorites.

Lightning, by Dean Koontz
Several of his books are trying to make their way onto this list and I would love to list them all because I think he is an author who makes his characters so alive that when you think about them later, you actually have to make an effort to remember if you read about them in a book or met them at a party. But this one is my favorite because I love time travel stories with all the many different outcomes that could result. The central premise of this one is a surprise to the reader, which doesn't often happen to me. I almost always figure that stuff out. Not this time.

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
Another time travel story, but in this one, she travels into the past back to Scotland, though the standing stones. One of the most powerful love stories I have ever read, this is the first in a series and will keep you enthralled from the first page to the last with the story of Jamie and Claire.

Confessions of a Shopaholic, by Sophie Kinsella
Ernest Hemingway? Pah! I'm much rather read something that makes me laugh out loud. Chick Lit has gotten a bum rap from some other bloggers recently, but, like all genres, there is the good and there is the bad. This is the good. You will love Rebecca and all her adventures in shopping, money management and romance in this one and in the sequels to this book.

One For the Money, by Janet Evanovich
If you haven't met Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter and owner of the perfect big hair and hastily applied mascara, you have a treat in store. There's also several in the series, so once you are hooked, you can read them all.

Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
And now one that is a little more serious. I discovered Ayn Rand in college and, although she does get a little wordy at times, I still love her characters and the stories she tells. I still think about events that happened in this book and it's been decades since I read it. And I want to BE Dagny Taggart.

The Stand, by Stephen King
I am faithful to Stephen and always read his new books, even though some of them make me...queasy. But my favorite is this one (although it was a close contest with The Talisman) because I love a story that pits good against evil and has great characters.

The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
This is the first in a trilogy she wrote about the King Arthur legend. I love it because it tells the story of Merlin from the time he was a little boy and makes all the characters we have read about before, seem so very real.

OK, I'm going to stop. I could write and write and write about books, but there's a few you might want to check out. I think I'll just go read instead of writing about more. And so should you.


LizzyBee said...

We want a list of your favorite most life-changing children's books too!
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?
To Kill a Mockingbird?
Harry Potter??
We must know...

PS-luv reading your "reviews" might be a good idea to do a few reviews of books you read...Do you have a copy of The Crystal Cave? Sounds very interesting.

Ortizzle said...

I like your list. I haven't heard anyone mention Ayn Rand in years. I agree with you that a book has to tell a story to keep me going. I had to read A Sentimental Education for grad school last spring. Put me to sleep, and I got so fed up with the useless, wanker protagonist, but I had to slog through the whole thing because... it was "required reading."

Boo said...

Thank you!! I will read all the ones I haven't read yet! So great!

Linda said...

Hey! Don't stop now! More books, please. I've read several of these and will try the others. How about something perfect for a cruise?