Monday, September 13, 2010

A Writer's Favorite Books to Read

As a writer, I am often asked by readers what are my favorite books, own not included.

This is actually a question I enjoy answering as I have long been an avid reader and have found my life and writings shaped over the years by wonderful, inspirational, educational, and otherwise meaningful books.

I will list my all time top five books in no particular order...

THE FATAL SHORE: The Epic of Australia's Founding by Robert Hughes tells the history of Australia's colonization with British convicts bearing the brunt and Aborigines being the most affected adversely as a consequence. Having always had an interest in Australia and its similarities to America, including its colonization by the British and uprooting of Native Americans, I found this book to be fascinating and enlightening.

FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD by Thomas Hardy is a true classic. From published in 1874, it tells the story of beautiful farm owner, Bathsheba Everdene, and three suitors, dishonest and unrequited love, and tragedy. Highly recommended. For honorable mention, I also enjoyed Hardy's absorbing 1891 novel, TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES.

84 CHARING CROSS ROAD by Helene Hanff is a great read from a different era when correspondence (or snail mail) was still in vogue. It is the true story of a twenty year transatlantic pen friendship between a New York writer and a London bookseller. Having always enjoying the art of personal correspondence (though admittedly this has taken a bit hit in the digital age), I found this book to be thoroughly entertaining, funny, and poignant at times. The book was later made into a movie, starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins, as well as a play.

CELEBRITY by Thomas Thompson tells the tale of three high school seniors, a terrible crime committed and covered up, and the reuniting of the three former friends twenty-five years later as the price for past sins must be paid. I found this novel of how secrets can catch up to you no matter how long it takes and what paths your life has taken quite engrossing. Similar novels that captured my fancy include THE LAST CONVERTIBLE by Anton Myrer and CLASS REUNION by Rona Jaffe.

REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier is a wonderful gothic novel that kept me captivated with its passion, suspense, and engaging characters. I also enjoyed the author's mystery novel, MURDER ON THE CLIFFS.

I admit that I have yet to embrace ebooks, having not read a single book on my computer, Kindle, Nook, etc. Though I expect it is only a matter of time before I begin to make the transition, I still enjoy the old fashioned way of reading a good hardcover book while sitting comfortably in my favorite chair or a paperback while waiting for hours at the airport or enduring hours on a plane.

What are your favorite books?

Do you prefer print books or ebooks in today's times?


Charles Gramlich said...

I like print books best but have been enjoying plenty of ereads on my kindle.

My favorite books are different than yours. "THe Snow Leopard," "The Sowers of the Thunder," "To Tame a Land," "THe Old Man and the Sea" And many others of course.

Devon Vaughn Archer said...

I certainly welcome the ebook platform as an author in wanting to have my books available for readers in any form. But as a reader, I find myself still enjoying the turning of pages when reading a book. Old habits die hard...

Anonymous said...

I like both print and ebooks.
Thanks for sharing your favourite five books, there are some interesting choices in this list.

Devon Vaughn Archer said...

As a male romance novelist, I have also enjoyed a number of romances penned by other male authors, including HORSE WHISPERER by Nicholas Evans, BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY by Robert Waller, MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE by Nicholas Sparks, and LOVE STORY by Erich Segal, among others.

Jewel Amethyst said...

I, like you, have never read an ebook. I love the smell of a new paperback. I have so many favorite books, and they change constantly. "To Kill a Mockingbird" was my latest favorite until I read "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot. That is likely to change as soon as I read another really good book, fiction or otherwise.

Jewel Amethyst said...

...oooh, and anything by James Patterson and Dan Brown, make it to my favorites list almost instantaneously

Phyllis Bourne said...

I prefer reading on the Kindle. Nowadays, I rarely buy paper books.

My favorite books are "God on a Harley" by Joan Brady and "A Knight in Shining Armor" by Jude Deveraux.