The Amazon Breakout Novel Award is all submitted and now all I have to do is wait. The message boards are all atwitter there about this and that, but the one that tempted me to comment today was “Who are you favorite authors / books and why?” Rather than post there – I thought I would blog here. I’ve been putting my words in too many other places for too long now, and have to get back to my blogging at home. (By the way – novel #2 is going – slowly – but still going. The other novel I was working on is on hold in Chapter 5 and I can’t see getting back to it any time soon.)
In no particular order, my list:
- The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
- The 13th Tale by Diane Setterfield
- The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyers
- The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling
- The Belgariad and Malloreon series by David Eddings
- Watership Down by Richard Adams
- The Number One Ladies Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith
Why these books? Mitch Albom’s book was uplifting, but beyond that, I read the book before I knew who Mitch Albom was: A sports reporter in Detroit. Wha? I don’t much care for sports. But Mitch taught me that one can be more than one’s job. A person is many things in his or her own head. Don’t be pigeonholed into “write about what you know about.” Mitch wrote from the head and the heart in The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and I never cared what his day job was. Something to always remember.
The 13th Tale is about loving books. It’s about character and characters, and bringing them from the page into one’s life. Who are we? Are we stuck with the lot we are born with in life? Are we nature or nurture? We are who we think we are, and who we choose to be. Good to know.
The Twilight, Harry Potter and Eddings books are favorites of mine because they are everything a great series should be. I read these books again and again, and enjoy them more with each reading. When I settle down to read these books, I drift out of my world into another. These worlds are full of adventures, people who care for one another in spite of each others gifts and flaws, and I can tag along when I have the time, or leave them for months or even years. While I am gone, they silently wait for my return. These books have been best sellers for a reason. They are entertaining, thoughtful, effortless and fun.
Watership Down in the odd duck in the list, I think, but it’s the first book I really cared about, wanted to discuss. The novel is about freedom and order. It’s about friendship and loss. And like every other book in the list (save one), and every great story in history, it’s about loneliness. We are never more who we really are than when we are alone – and we are never more unhappy. That indicates, at least to me, we are never meant to be our true selves, for that is misery. Funny – but when I am with the characters of a book, I feel less alone.
The last on my list is The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. I love this series for two reasons. First, the characters solve little mysteries. They don’t change the world. They don’t rule nations, have grand adventures or cure cancer. But, sometimes coming home at the end of a long day and reflecting, “I think I won today,” is good enough. Simple gifts are really nice sometimes.
There are other books I adore, but these are the ones that mean something really special to me today. Notice there is no Steampunk on this list. I’m wondering if this means something. There are also no classics or Shakesprear, nothing that was required reading in high school or college. I guess one can’t really fall in love with words that are assigned quizzed for credit. No thrillers, No romances (although I have two gay lit books that come close to my top 20 – Mexican Heat by Laura Baumbach and Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley). And no Chick Lit. What does this say about me?
My last thought on my favorites list is that these titles are likely to be the roots of my own writings. My style stems from these books, but not the voice. Most of the tellings are in first person, but I prefer to keep the story at arm’s length.
What do YOU think of the list?