My friend Helen was saying her daughter had put a copy of Jitterbug Perfume in her hands and said, “Stop whatever you’re reading and read this.”
I interrupted. Jitterbug Perfume is my second favorite Tom Robbins book, one of my favorite fiction writers. Robbins is not universally beloved. One reviewer said that Robbins writes like Dolly Parton dresses.
Friday is National Book Lovers Day.
My name is Brent and I’m a book lover.
And on occasion an over-excitable interrupter.
I figured I’d try to shut up a bit. I asked my Facebook friends to tell me about their favorite books.
Dale D. started with some classics “Treasure Island, Little Women, and East of Eden” before giving a current bestselling novelist a shout out: “but one of my favorite books is Face of Deception by Iris Johansen. A fictional suspense, that got me hooked on that genre!”
Shelby said: “To Kill a Mockingbird is always the first I think of.”
Kathy agreed: “Ditto. There are parts in the book not in the movie- such as Mrs. Dubose’s addiction to narcotics that she was taking for bad arthritis. She knew she was going to die in the end but she wanted to do it drug free. It said something like courage is when you show up and fight your best fight, even if you know you will not win in the end.”
Kelly too: “Mockingbird for all the reasons above, AND the scene where Atticus shoots the rabid dog. Perfect. Also,” Kelly adds, “anything by Nick Bantock. (His books are) like being dropped into a modern day illuminated manuscript.”
One of Judy’s current favorites is: A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White
Ricky digs the thrillers of Robert Ludlum: “My favorite is The Holcroft Covenant. Just when you think you’re comfortable with the story-BAMM- he throws in a twist you’d never expect. Couldn’t put it down. Very exciting. Great story line and characters. I think-“
Fiction. For me it’s The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, and every word Elmore Leonard has ever written.
Dale L. wanted to know: “Does Green Eggs and Ham count?”
Shelby favors “Horton Hears a Who.”
Kathy said her favorite childhood book was the original Boxcar Children book.”…I remember every word practically. Another favorite is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.”
To which Shelby responded: “Funny Kathy, the second I always think of is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Sounds like we both had great childhoods.”
Terri loves autobiographies most:”…to hear the stories of someone’s life as they lived it is special-“
I love biographies of rock stars and founding fathers.
Bill Bryson writes amazing non-fiction books about topics as wide-ranging as his house, the Appalachian Trail, and A Short History of Nearly Everything.
John Gardner’s On Becoming a Novelist, Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm–
Marcus interrupts:”The Heart of the Sea. True survival. Story of the whaling ship Essex that was stove in by an 80 foot whale. This true story inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick..There are so many great books out there. Wish I could read them all.”
Marlene loves a novel based on a true story “Follow the River…..about Indian captured women and their escape….so good.”
Carine enjoys memoir: ”This is How by Augusten Burroughs is a hilarious self help book, its required reading for anybody breathing. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a page-turner; it makes you realize every family is just as fu-”
The Colt’s Baltimore and The Last Headbangers are my favorite sports books.
Ruthie loves the writing of Hemingway “for the high sea adventure & struggles of humanity.”
I love Mark Twain.
Melanie and Robin L. are exploring deep questions. Robin likes Michael Newton’s Journey of Souls and Melanie said: ”The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. It ties present day to Bible prophesy and includes the founding fathers original idea of how our country should be governed. A most thought provoking political, religious quick read. It’s one of those books that change your mind and heart.”
Sharlene brought up rereading books: ”I love all kinds of books, but I think my favorite that comes to mine is The Mitford Series….I have all the books. I have saved them to read again and I never reread a book.”
Steve has just talked himself into reading The Summer of ’42 “for the umpteenth time! It’s a timeless coming of age story, with laugh out loud humor and a deep sense of nostalgia.”
My daughter, Nicole, always ready to chat about books, said: “The Hobbit. “
Cathy agreed: “Mainly because it started “The Trilogy” and inspired Led Zeppelin to write fabulous lyrics to their songs.”
Nicole continued, “It’s a book about the wonder and joy of discovering yourself and experiencing the world around you for the first time. There are brave and curious characters, adventures, and mysteries. And at the end of the day you and Bilbo decide whether or not venturing beyond the known was worth the risk and loss, as well as the joy and reward. Every time I read it, I’m eight years old and finding the magical world of Tolkien all over again and-“
I rarely ever reread fiction, but there’s a series written by George Macdonald Fraser about Victorian-era “arch-rogue” Harry Flashman that I read every few years.
Carine’s a lifetime fan of ”The Magic Mystery Swan by Mary Wood. It was given to me for Christmas in 1974 and it hasn’t left my nightstand since. Fun mystery for kids set in Centreville. She also wrote My Darling Alice which is a great book based on letters and legends of the Emory/Wilmer/Wood farms in Centreville. The letters in it, which are real, will take your breath away. It’s also filled with lots of local history. “
Candy answered: “ Nonfiction: David McCullough and Stephen Ambrose. And Brent Lewis books too, of course!”
Do go on.
“Fiction: The Help!! And anything by Kate Morton.”
My friend and fellow writer Robin M. has good tastes, too. “The Help…touched my heart……Brent Lewis’ books…fascinating and a wonderful writer.”
“…and of course my book, because it made me proud of my family!”
As well it should:
Robin has such passion for her family’s story her book is one of my favorites, too.
And my all-time favorite Tom Robbins book is Skinny Legs and All.
I can be patient.
Just remembered my old friend, “A Walk in the Woods” — hysterical. As is, “Confederates in the Attic”. Let’s not forget “Beautiful Swimmers” which made Mr. Lester famous 🙂 I could go on and on and on… so many books!
me too Candy! we looooooooooooooooooove books. thanks for commenting here and on the original post!
Brent, the structure of this piece was just wonderfully creative. Good job you! Although you asked, I’ll never tell my favorite for fear of breaking the hearts of all the books to whom I whispered, “I love you, never leave.”
Thank you, Mary Ann! That is a very nice sentiment for you to post. The piece was a fun challenge to write.