10 Books and why.

Facebook challenge: List 10 books that have left a lasting impression on you. I’m not one to do challenges, especially those that I have to tag 10 people to do it also, but when I thought about what I would list I also found the need to explain why.

1) The Ghost of Dibble Hollow – May Nickerson Wallace

Back in grade school, third or fourth grade, we students received a flyer with listings of books for sale—age group appropriate. These flyers came out at regular intervals and I couldn’t wait to get the next one. I read each book’s “back cover” blurb and marked about a dozen as “must have”. I then had to turn it over to my mom so she could make up the order and, even more importantly, pay for them. She would always hand it back to me with orders to pick one or two. Well folks, and especially fellow writers, here is where the power of the back cover blurb comes into play. As an eight-year-old, or thereabouts, I didn’t get recommendations from other friends. I didn’t run to Amazon to check if it had five stars (Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet). All I had were these few sentences to make my choice:

Out of the graveyard comes a ghost – the ghost of ten-year-old Miles Dibble. “I’ve been waiting a long time for you to come to Dibble Hollow, Cousin,” he tells Pug. “Now you must help me find that lost money.” From that moment on, the ghostly Miles leads Pug from one spooky adventure to another. Pug gets used to chairs that rock by themselves, shutters that bang mysteriously, and hair that stands on end. And all the while he follows the clues to the weirdest treasure hunt with the ghost of Dibble Hollow.

What child wouldn’t want to buy it after reading that? I remember loving the characters and reading it multiple times. It also started a need for more books to read. Now, as an adult, I would never want to read this book again. Why? Because the magic came from an eight-year-old’s point of view. To read it again would kill the memory of a great book.

2) The Happy Hollisters (series) – Jerry West

This entry is from wikipedia:

The Happy Hollisters is a series of books about a family who loves to solve mysteries. The series was created by the Stratemeyer Syndicate and entirely written by Andrew E Svenson under the pseudonym Jerry West. Helen S. Hamilton illustrated the books.

My mom started feeding my need to read by enrolling me in The Happy Hollisters book club. Every month I would get one or two books about a family of five children ages 4-12 who always found themselves in the middle of a mystery. Realistic? I think not. The four-year-old never had a day where she was over-tired and cranky. The twelve-year-old brother never teased and made his little sisters cry.

The mysteries and adventures were fun and I read each book in a day, maybe two. I read these and others up until the time I starting spending my summers with my cousins who lived in a Delaware beach town. At that time, it was pointed out to me by my very wise relatives, that I spent way too much time with my nose in a book.

I stopped reading—unless it was required for school. You don’t figure it out, until you are much older, that listening to others sometimes isn’t the wisest course of action.

3) The Stand – Stephen King

When I was twenty, I dated a guy who liked Stephen King. So I read Stephen King. I’m not much of a fan of horror, but I did like Stevie’s books. I read quite a few of the early ones, but The Stand was a story that stuck with me over the years. I categorize it as EPIC. After writing this blog, I need to grab my copy off the keeper shelf and read it again.

4) The Lord of the Rings trilogy – JRR Tolkien

EPIC. I’ve read other books by Tolkien The guy is tough to read and these three are the only ones I would read again. The movies aren’t bad but don’t hold a candle to the books. I borrowed them and now I think I need to go buy a copy and read them again.

5) Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (series) – Douglas Adams.

I found out the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything in these books.

6) Storm Front (Dresden Files series) – Jim Butcher

This book represents my jump back into the world of reading. Seriously, items 3 – 5 are about the only books I read after the Hollisters. We’re talking a thirty-five year gap in reading that was filled with, maybe, thirty books.

Why did I start reading again? It wasn’t some great revelation that brought me back to books—I bought a travel trailer. Yup, that’s it. I spend many weekends competing in dog agility and I bought a trailer to camp on site. No TV led me to Barnes & Noble with the express purpose of finding a book to read before going to bed.

The back cover of Storm Front grabbed me and my, now nine-year, love affair with Harry Dresden began. This book also opened the floodgates for me. I now read 2-3 books a week.

I’m a romance writer and if you notice, not one of the above is in the romance genre. The last four on my list are romances.

7) Acheron (Dark Hunter series) – Sherrilyn Kenyon

8) Styxx (Dark Hunter series) – Sherrilyn Kenyon

Acheron and Styxx are twins. I have read the Dark Hunter series multiple times. Kenyon has taught me a great deal about world building. Someday, I hope to build a fantasy world with as much detail and complicated plots as Kenyon.

9) Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood series) – JR Ward

Just when I thought no one could equal Kenyon, I pick up the first of JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood books. Blown away. They are urban, edgy, and Ward doesn’t have any issue with killing off major characters. The books are a different vibe from Sherrilyn Kenyon and I would be hard-pressed to pick one author over the other.

10) Outlander (series) – Diana Gabaldon

EPIC. Jamie and Claire take you on a historical journey. This is a romance that spans across time.

What are the books that have left a lasting impression on you?