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Friday, April 18, 2014

Bookshelf ABC - P

The Pearl was on my school's reading list when I was in 7th, 8th and 9th grades. We were assigned by our English teacher to choose a book to read independently and write a book report. In those idealistic days of youth, I chose to read The Pearl because it was short. Very short. I could knock out 96 pages, write the report and get on with adolescent dawdling.

I was such a stupid kid. John Steinbeck plunges the reader to the depths of the ocean and the human soul. By the time I finished the book, I could taste the salt of sea and tears. That was an inspired book report I turned in!

Please me by leaving a P title that wowed you.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bookshelf ABC - O

On Writing by Stephen King is one of the best books he's written in his wildly successful career. He proves that persistent plugging away at a passion pays off, and he shares his wisdom with other writers and the world. You don't need to be a writer to read this book. You don't need to love King's genre to read this book. All you need is curiosity about what goes through the mind of a man who writes novels like Carrie and Amityville Horror and Cujo.

As an added bonus, King includes a list of his favorite books, and they're not all macabre tales of fear and foreboding.

Offer me a suggestion for an O book.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bookshelf ABC - N

The Naked Bus Driver: An evening spent perusing a bookstore's shelves makes me happier than a goose on a golden egg. But I have a weakness for buying books based on title alone. Sometimes I get lucky and pick a winner, but the night I brought home this paperback was not a lucky night. The title is the best thing about the book.

I really hate saying that about another author's work, but I also feel responsible for warning naive readers like myself. There are things that a person shouldn't have to find out on her own.


Surely there's a book that begins with N that I must read. What is it?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bookshelf ABC - M

Memoirs of a Longshot retells the wonderful life of Cot Campbell, owner of the 2013 Belmont Stakes winner, Palace Malice. With grace and humor and honesty, Campbell shares the lows of alcoholism and the highs of Thoroughbred racing and the people and places he has known on his journey.


I had the good fortune of interviewing the illustrious Cot Campbell last Fall for an article I wrote for Aiken Homes and Lifestyles. He was generous with his time and incredibly entertaining.

Share an mmm-mmmm good M title with me, please, especially if you have a personal story behind it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bookshelf ABC - L

The Little Friend by Donna Tartt is mesmerizing. Fans of southern literature will love it. In the book, a young girl and her friend determine to identify the person who killed her older brother when she was just a baby. The humorous logic of children juxtaposed against a family's screen of grief, characters who pose danger and a decaying southern way of life create a spellbinding novel.

The cover of the novel disturbed me, though, and I had to keep it turned face down on my nightstand.

After the April A to Z challenge, I'll make a final list of all the Bookshelf ABC titles I've posted plus the ones suggested by readers. What L title would you like to add?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bookshelf ABC - K

The Kite Runner seems an obvious choice for K. I didn't read the book, but I saw the movie. It tore out my heart, so I rest assured of the powerful prose in the book.

Kick me a K book to add to my collection.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bookshelf ABC - J

The Joy of Family Traditions is chock full of fabulous ideas for adding fun to family life. The repetition of activities whether yearly, monthly, weekly or daily makes children feel secure. Traditions give life predictability. Unfortunately, we adults sometimes get bored doing the same things over and over. So why not infuse your routine with new ideas?

The Joy of Family Traditions gave me the idea of instituting a winter hibernation day at our house. Since the day our fourth child was born, my house has been a hive of constant activity. As the children have grown older the radius of activity has expanded, making us ever more crazy. After many years of never slowing down, I realized what a gift a day off would be. Now we take one winter Saturday a year to wear our pajamas all day, eat popcorn, watch movies, play board games and cards, and chill out.


Okay, your turn. Throw out your best J title to me.

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