10 Books That Still Resonate With Me

Recently on Facebook I was challenged by a friend to complete a challenge of “10 Books That Have Stuck With You”.  Well, that’s a long list, made longer by the fact that for most readers I think, 10 books isn’t going to be nearly enough!

I thought it’d be fun to post my response.  I challenge ALL OF YOU to post in comments with your top picks!  I look forward to reading your responses. 🙂

Briar Rose. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Briar Rose. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

1. Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
Probably one of my earliest introductions to the power of a fairy tale mixed in a historical setting, this is the story of “Sleeping Beauty” set in the holocaust. Haunting.

In the same vein…

2. “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson
Technically a short story, I fell in love with this story from the first time I read it. Beyond shock value, what makes this story awesome is how well it’s written: tight writing, suspense, and a growing sense of unease as you realize something is terribly wrong. Must-read.

anne of green gables3. The Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery (and) Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Anne Shirley is in my top 3 favorite heroines in literature. She’s irrepressible, imaginative, super-intelligent, a writer, gets into scrapes without meaning to, a best friend, loyal to a fault, loving, and unfortunately, she’s slow to forgive. Like, seriously, Anne, you’re the one who smashed the slate over a boy’s head. I think he got the raw end of the deal there.

Oh, and I have to thank Montgomery for introducing me to the works of Tennyson, and countless other poets. Thank you.

Blue Castle was the first (maybe only?) book Montgomery wrote targeted for adults. I always like the idea of spinsters going off for a hurrah and their life ends up changing for the better. It’s charming.

mason & dixon4. Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon

Thus far, the only Pynchon book I’ve ever been able to finish, I was introduced to Pynchon’s books by a great teacher and chose this one because it was the longest and it was able Ben Franklin. Ben Franklin rocks. Even today, I still question whether he was really that dynamic of a character. If he was, people would read history more.

neverwhere5. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
This rocked my world the first time I read it. I loved this dark fantasy set beneath London’s streets and the adventures of Richard and Door. I also recommend Gaiman’s “Stardust”.

if I ran the circus6. If I Ran the Circus by Dr. Seuss
I love Dr. Seuss’ imagination and this children’s book makes me smile every time I read about Morris McGurk’s dreams for taking an empty lot and transforming it into the world’s greatest circus.

beauty_robin_mckinley7. Beauty by Robin McKinley
This was probably the earliest novelization of a fairy tale I was exposed to and I was hooked for life. McKinley has a love affair with Beauty & the Beast (I think), she’s written two books about the character, but I love how this ‘Beauty’ isn’t beautiful.

Honorable mentions: Patricia C. Wrede’s Snow White and Rose Red; The Snow White, Blood Red Anthology Series

8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
If you know me well, you might be surprised to find this so far down the list. This is my favorite romantic comedy formula and it hits all the right emotional marks every time, making this a favorite whether it’s a play, a film, the book, whatever.

velveteen rabbit9. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
I cry every time I read this book. This book made me hope that all well-loved stuffed toys have a happy ending. It also tore my heart out. It’s such a beautiful and sad story.

christy10. Christy by Catherine Marshall
The book is way better than the TV movies, trust me on that. Marshall may be the pioneer of the trope – “schoolteacher leaves comfort of the known to venture into the unknown and find purpose, adventure and love”.

voice in the wind11. A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers
Really difficult book to read, but Rivers has a gift for telling a book from multiple perspectives and a great eye for detail. I think it was probably Francine Rivers’ work on this series that made me want to write historical fiction. A great foray into Christian historical fiction.

… and so many more books!


10 Books on My Fall 2013 TBR List

The idea for this post came from: The Broke and the Bookish

This fall I am making more of an attempt to read outside of my genre embracing some horror and mysteries as well as start to try and keep up with my husband’s extensive reading list.

Since my husband is reading some of the classics, I will be too! (I hope…) So this fall has a bit of a mishmash of genres that goes all over the place.  Check out the list below and let me know what your fall must-reads list is.

I’ll be grabbing a cuppa before I start.

Ready? Okay!

1.) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I just saw the gorgeous reinterpretation by Baz Luhrmann starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan.  Lovely, lovely, lovely.  I’ve read The Great Gatsby waaaay back in high school but since it’s on my husband’s list for the fall, and it’s been well over 10 years since I’ve read it (cough), I guess it’s time again.

I’ll never forget the narrator, Nick Carraway who introduced me to East Egg and the tragic romance between Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan.

clare_city-of-bones2.) City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments #1)

I’ve been seeing the previews for this for months now and I regret that I still haven’t sat down and read this YA paranormal/horror blockbuster hit yet.  From what the GoodReads comments say, it’s better to read it afterwards because the film diverges so much from the book.

Personally, I think that when you translate a book into a film it always loses something.  It’s an entirely different medium and you cannot please everyone’s expectations of how THEY see it in their imaginations.  But I digress…

3.) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Case in point. We are going to see Peter Jackson’s vision, not necessarily Tolkien’s or even the average Joe’s.  It’s one man’s vision which is why it’s great to see classics remade over time — a fresh perspective for a new audience.

This was bedtime reading for my family and at some point in my childhood I must have read it cover to cover but I’ve forgotten it beyond the retaking of the Lonely Mountain so it’s time for another go.

hill_nos4a24.) Nos4a2 by Joe Hill

Not a film per se but certainly another take on the Nosferatu classic. I’m not a huge Stephen King fan but I’m curious whether his son’s got the gift and this seems like an interesting premise.  Sort of a Once Upon a Time gone horror.  It should be interesting.

james_deathcomes5.) Death Comes To Pemberley by P.D. James

This is supposed to be amazing.  I am a huge fan of all the Jane Austen fan fiction (well, except for the sexquels…) and I’m excited to see what a renowned mystery writer can bring to the characters in Pride and Prejudice.

Last time someone made a grand attempt like this (cough McCullough cough), I couldn’t finish the book I was so disappointed. I’m not sure how a P.D. James mystery will differ from some of the other longstanding books set in Jane Austen’s England, or featuring Jane as the detective.

Any P.D. James followers out there?  What do you think?

baker_longbourn6.) Longbourn by Jo Baker

I’ve heard such great things about this book.  It’s sort of a Downton Abbey (or Upstairs/Downstairs for the older crowd) meets Pride and Prejudice.  It’s a take on the story from the perspectives of the servants and follows the romances below-stairs as much as above-stairs.  If I can get my hands on a copy this fall, this will be a quick read I’ll wager.

Now, from Regency ballrooms to the Golden Age of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table…

tennyson_idylls7.) Idylls of the King by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

This is going to be A-maze-ing. This is another of my husband’s reads for this fall and I’m super-stoked to read the entirety of Idylls for the first time.  I first read “The Lady of Shalott” in Anne of Green Gables and fell in love with Tennyson and the whole pre-Raphaelite movement inspired by Tennyson and Shakespeare.  Can’t wait!!

landon_kelley_tracesof8.)  Traces of Mercy by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley (Mercy Medallion #1)

This is a Civil War era novel, the first in a new series.  ‘Mercy’ called so for the medallion she wears, was found unconscious with amnesia.  Her search to discover her past leads her to a new love and a chance at a future. That future becomes threatened when someone from her past emerges, who knows secrets she herself has forgotten that could undo everything.

This is one of my ARCs that I’ll be reviewing for a fall issue this year so this will be one of the first things I’m reading … which perhaps should have been listed earlier. Oh well.

delacruz_misguided-angel9.) Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz (Blue Bloods #5)

I’ve been reading the Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz for the past few weeks and have gotten through the first four books.  There are still 2 other books left in the series and I’d like to finish them before Christmas.

The Blue Bloods series is an interesting take on vampire mythos (no sparkling vamps). Some of the oldest, richest families in New York are actually vamps and out of one of these families, certainly the poorest of the lot, is young [name] who discovers she is becoming a vampire. Then some of her schoolmates begin winding up dead… and Schuyler begins to wonder, what can kill a vampire?

shinohara_redriver_110.) Red River by Chie Shinohara (Red River #1)

Books from this manga series keep crossing my desk and now I’ve got the bug.

Flipping through the book (right to left), I now want to learn about the college freshman who gets sucked through a puddle into the ancient Hittite empire.

Do I expect this to be in any historically accurate?  Hell no!

Hehe, but it should still be fun.  The graphics are interesting and historical manga series are starting to become a popular sub-genre.  There’s also “The Earl and the Fairy” and “Victorian Mysteries” as manga that I’m also curious to explore.  My introduction to manga was through “Emma” by Kaoru Mori.

They’re such quick reads that I’m tempted to create a new genre category just for Manga. But once you start… On a side note, I am also a fan of the work of Hayao Miyazaki.


There you go my friends. My top 10 reads for the fall 2013 year.  Do any of these titles inspire you to try them out for yourself?  Let me know what you think!

10 Books I Would Love to See as a TV Series/Film

The suggestion for this post came from: The Broke and the Bookish

1.) Austenland by Shannon Hale

So this is actually, finally, making its way to the big screen (thanks to Stephanie Meyer) but from what I’ve heard, reviews are mixed.  This hasn’t even opened yet in my corner of the USA but based on the teasers, it looks like they’ve turned it into this girl-fest, completely silly and full of crass, sexual humor.  Can’t a girl have a good time without sexual innuendos?  I don’t remember this being in the original book, which was mostly clean.  I’d go see it for no other reason than Dr. Quinn is in it (oh wait, her name’s actually Jane Seymour, riiighhht.)  Expect my thoughts on the film when it hits theaters.

blue castle2.)  The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery

The Blue Castle is one of the few adult novels that the author of the beloved Anne of Green Gables series, ever penned.  To my knowledge, this has never been made into a movie, ever.  This book is in my top 3 most favorite books ever and I can’t figure out who has the film rights as of September 2013. Kevin Sullivan, are you listening?  Bring me Valancy and Barney’s story already!!

3.) Angelology and Angelopolis by Danielle Trussoni

Fans of Robert Langdon would enjoy this genre-bending series about angels on earth and the religious society devoted to the protection of the secret.  It’s a suspense tale, it’s got great locations from freezing, isolated snow-capped mountains, to serene convents, and Times Square, basically a bit of everything.  I expect this series to cap at three books, minimum so there’s sequel potential.

4.) An Oz reboot (the right way)

To be fair, L. Frank Baum actually produced several films based on his books but to my knowledge, none of them have the exposure that the MGM classic does. Or the “sequel” put out in the 1980’s (shudder) or the newest re-telling (erk) which is not based on the musical, at all.

I’m lumping Gregory Maguire’s Wicked series in here as well.  I’d be happy with them attempting to do this as a musical ala a big budget cast with Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth.  Original Broadway Cast. Don’t skimp Hollywood.

With the amazing things CGI can do now (remember The Fantastic Mr. Fox?), there’s so much potential to see these characters come to life and without live-action actors, you could brand the “look” so it’s consistently the same whether it’s Ozma of Oz or The Lost Princess of Oz.

Have I mentioned that I absolutely adored Wicked?  I think I’ve seen it four times now.  I’ve got issues.

5.) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This book has amazing visuals.  I’d love to see someone tackle this as an artsy film ala Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) but do readers a favor and skip the big-name actors.  They inflate the budget and too often, we’re seeing “BIG NAME ACTOR” not “small name hero/heroine” of the actual book.  This is a beautiful book and someone needs to get a hold of this one and create an exquisite viewing experience. Please?

6.) The Mercedes Thompson series by Patricia Briggs

True Blood exploded into a mass hit on HBO.  Shame it’s got so much gratuitious sex, violence and language. Having read all of the Sookie Stackhouse novels (except I skipped part of book 2 because I hated that season 2…), I can safely say that they’ve veered off the books and gone off in their own direction. (sigh) I hate it when Hollywood does that.

Vampires have been there, done that.  It’s time to give shape-shifters and werewolves more room to run free.  This could make an interesting TV series if slanted for a New Adult audience.

7.) A remake of Daddy Long Legs

There have been at least 3 versions of this that I’m aware of: a black and white “silent” film with Mary Pickford, a musical in the 1950’s(?) with Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron and an animated version more recently that was done anime style.  The closest version to the actual book by Jean Webster (grand-niece of Mark Twain) was probably the Mary Pickford version. So much is lost though without words!  And colored gingham!  This could be made into such a sweet Hallmark-style Sunday special with a traditional story of an orphan who gets a leg up and hits some rough patches as a school girl.

Briar Rose. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Briar Rose. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

8.) Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

One of THE most powerful YA novels I’ve ever read. Right up there with The Giver (in my book).  Part fairy tale, past ghastly tale on the Holocaust, a must-read.

9.) Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede

One of my top 5 favorite fairy tales. A beautiful retelling of the folklore tale about two sisters living near the woods who take pity on a bear in trouble.

10.) The Vesper Holly series by Lloyd Alexander

This could be an awesome animated TV series with a strong female lead.  I think you’d need to change the perspective to be from Vesper’s POV unless you wanted to have each episode to have a moral to it and then it could be narrated over in a “framing” device by her caretaker, Brinnie.  There are far too many great red-headed heroines that don’t get enough press in animation. Anyone out there remember Calamity Jane?  Liberty Kids? I loved those.

So there it is, my first top 10 list here on my blog and plenty of things to mull over.  Are you familiar with any/all of these books? Which ones? What do you think?  Grab a cuppa and let’s chat about it.