Top Ten Favorite Children’s Books

TOP TEN FAVORITE CHILDRENS BOOKS

By Debby Lee

            As the month of September draws to a close, I see leaves beginning to change colors, I feel the air turning cooler, and the loud engines of the school buses resounds through the air as they ferry kids to and from school. So, in honor of kids going back to school, and hopefully receiving a good education, I thought I’d compile a list of my favorite children’s books.  

10. ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS by Scott O’Dell: The courage it took for this lone girl to survive the elements, all alone, has always fascinated me. The inner strength of the character, Karana, was palpable. She kept waiting for a ship to come save her, and I kept turning pages, longing to see her rescued as well. This is a story of hope, when it seems all hope is lost.   

9. GOODNIGHT MOON by Margaret Wise Brown: This is one of the first books I began reading to my kids when they were just babies. This short and sweet story is perfect for short attention spans that toddlers are notorious for.   

8. GREEN EGGS AND HAM by Dr. Seuss: I like this one because it teaches kids to be brave and try something new, even if that something new looks daunting and unappetizing. There’s also an underlying message that we shouldn’t judge someone or something on appearance alone, something that doesn’t look good can turn out to be a real treasure.   

7. THE LITTLE RED HEN by This is another one I read to my kids all the time. I like how it teaches kids good work ethics and the value of teamwork. I like to see my kids working together to accomplish tasks that seem huge to them.   

6. RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI by Rudyard Kipling: I loved this one as a kid because it introduced me to an animal I’d never heard of before, the mongoose. It also taught me the value of standing up for someone you love, and being willing to face danger to protect that certain someone.

5. BLACK BEAUTY by Anna Sewell: As much as I love animals, how could I not include this one? A long standing classic, I found myself reading it time and again as I grew up. I felt so bad for Beauty when she wasn’t properly cared for and got sick as a result. I always did want a horse of my own, but never did get one. L

4. WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE by Ellen Emerson White: A wonderful hippie story, this was the first Dear America book I read. I’ve always been fascinated with the 1960’s and this book captured the times with realism and authenticity. After reading this book, I searched out others volumes in the series.  

3. THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD by Watty Piper: Not only did I read this one as a kid, but I read it to my own kids countless times. I love how the message gives the kids the courage to keep trying, even when exhaustion sets in and the track ahead is teeming with obstacles. Personally, I think that’s a lesson for folks of all ages. 

2. THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein: This book came to me as a baby shower gift when my oldest son was born and I cried the first time I read it to him. That was more than twenty years ago, and throughout the years, it became the one book I read to my kids the most often. Kudos to Mr. Silverstein for giving kids a resource that teaches them the meaning of self sacrifice, the value of giving to others and serving those you love.  

1. CHARLOTTE’S WED by E. B. White: I watched this story on television before I read the book. Okay, so I haven’t read the entire book from cover to cover, yet, but I loved the story and how it teaches kids the meaning of loyalty. I love how Charlotte gives so much of herself to save her friend. It’s a story about growing up, letting go, and never forgetting those you love. It’s been countless years since I’ve first seen the movie, and I’ve watched it countless times since them. It still makes me cry.   

So, blog readers, are any of these books your favorites? Or are your favorites not on this list, if so feel free to list them in the comments section. And, as always, thank you for taking a moment to read through my blog.

This entry was posted on September 30, 2013. 2 Comments

Top Ten Favorite Civil War Books

Top Ten Favorite Civil War Books

10. WALKING TO COLD MOUNTAIN by Carl Zebrowski: Inspired by the novel, Cold Mountain this non-fiction coffee table book takes a close look at real people who lived during the Civil War. Filled with pictures of actual photographs, maps, and interesting quotes of those famous in that day and age, this book is a great resource for those wanting to learn more about everyday life in the early 1860’s.  

9. THE KILLER ANGELS by Micheal Sharra: This is part of a three book series with parts one and three written by Michael Shaara’s son Jeff. The book gives a realistic look at the Battle of Gettysburg. Told from a soldier’s point of view, it describes the day to day routines of those living in an army camp. Although this book isn’t dripping with romance, there are still plenty dramatic story lines and characters.    

8. GREAT GAMBLES OF THE CIVIL WAR by Phillip Katcher: A great non-fiction book that gives accurate historical details and looks at famous battles from both sides. I was surprised at how much thought Sherman put into planning his infamous March to the Sea. It was interesting to read about lesser known skirmishes such as the Battle of Port Gibson which took place right before the siege at Vicksburg. What this book lacks in romance, it makes up for with a plethora of statistics and detailed maps of battles and towns.   

7. LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott: This book is about the four March sisters and their mother, whom they call Marme. The March sister’s father is away fighting in the Civil War. It gives an accurate account of how the war became part of the everyday lives of women of the North and how hard it was for the families left behind. A classic I read as a young teenager and reread many times since.

6. THORNS OF EDEN by Diana Ballew: With many unexpected twists and turns in the plot, this book is rich in accurate historical detail. Set in Virginia is contains many vivid descriptions of the countryside that took my breath away. Sit back and enjoy the story of the passionate romance between Major Rayce Hampton and Eden Blair.

5. SAVANNAH, A GIFT FOR MR. LINCOLN by John Jakes: I loved this book, historically accurate it details the lives of Savannah’s common residents and how they coped with the invasion of Sherman’s Army. It didn’t paint the all Yankee’s in such dreadful light which I think is accurate, but harder to stomach.

4. A BLUE AND GRAY CHRISTMAS by Lauralee Bliss, Vickie McDonough, Tamela Hancock Murray and Carrie Turansky: This book is actually four novellas in one anthology. The characters are both Union and Confederates who are forced to deal with each other in strenuous circumstances. I liked that the hero’s weren’t all soldiers for one side or the other, and most of the characters didn’t have stereo-typical view points.

3. GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell: A wonderful sweeping drama set during the war the romantic narrative draws in the reader in. Much as I love the romance between Rhett and Scarlett, I ranked this one at number three for how it glossed over the inhumanity of slavery and how it portrayed the Yankee’s as a mass of heathens. In spite of these inaccuracies the book is very descriptive, and brimming with emotion. 

2. ROOTS by Alex Haley: Another wonderful sweeping drama with characters that come alive on the pages. Told from the point of view of the slaves, and drawn from Haley’s family history this book makes the reader care for the characters. Rich with emotion and poignancy, this book is an inspiration to read. I was a teenager when I first picked up this book that inspired a television mini-series, and I was captivated, unable to put it down.       

1. THE NORTH AND SOUTH TRILOGY by John Jakes: The three books in this series are NORTH AND SOUTH, set during the antebellum era, LOVE AND WAR, which takes place during the war itself, and HEAVEN AND HELL set during Reconstruction.

I love the characters. The Main’s are rice plantation owners from South Carolina and the Hazzard family owns an iron foundry in Pennsylvania. Beginning with Orry Main and George Hazzard’s friendship from West Point through the Mexican War and after, it goes on to paint a vivid narrative of the families as they become fast friends, and eventually fall in love and marry. Not to say everyone gets along well, especially during the four years of the war itself. There are moments of great tension and strife, even amongst Orry and George, but they all find a way to stay connected and remain close until the last page in turned and the reader is reaching for the tissue box.

I love how Mr. Jakes gives an accurate account of how most folks really felt during that time. The historical accuracy is so great I’m amazed at how much I learned about living in that time just by reading the books. I learned more than just 1800’s vocabulary and ways of life, but all about the motivations of those who fought and died in the war, about the thoughts and feelings of those who lived at that time.

I’ve read the series at least three times and I pick up on something new every time. The plot and story lines literally sucked me in, captivated me, enthralled me to the point where I paid a good sum of money for the DVD set. What can I say, I love books that stretch me, make me think, learn, and grow as a person. This series comes highly recommended by me to anyone who has a hunger for knowledge about the Civil War.     

 

Honorable Mentions: ASHES IN THE WIND by Kathleen Woodiwiss, NO GREATER GLORY by Cindy Nord, and THE CIVIL WAR, A NARRATIVE written by famous historian, Shelby Foote. I haven’t had the chance to read these books yet but I’d sure love to do so.

Ten WWII Books I’d Love To Read

TEN BOOKS SET IN WWII I’D LOVE TO READ

 

            In honor of Memorial Day I’d like to take a moment to say thank you to all the people in the armed forces who serve our country. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, past and present, God bless you for the sacrifices you made and your dedication to this country’s freedom.

This month I looked for ten books set during WW I and II that I’ve read and planned on listing them here. I soon ran into a problem, I haven’t read many books set in that era. You’d think after running this blog for several months now I’d figure out a thing or two about maintaining it.  

In spite of my lack of preparation, I did some research and found an abundance of books I wanted to read and decided to list those instead. The reasons I’d like to read these books are many and varied. Some are set in exotic locations, many have gorgeous covers, all of them sound interesting, educational and romantic. Since I haven’t read these books yet I can’t exactly pick a favorite, so I listed them alphabetically.

A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin

Bridge of Scarlett Leaves by Kristina McMorris

The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene

Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris

Love Finds You in Victory Heights Washington by Tricia Goyer and Oceanna Fleiss

Night Crossing by Robert Ryan

Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

The White Rose by Mary Ann Cook

The Victory Club by Robin Lee Hatcher

Have you read any of these? If so, do you recommend them? Do you see any you’d like to read or any you can add to the list? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear your opinion and/or suggestions.  Thanks for taking the time to read this month’s post, and hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day.

This entry was posted on May 28, 2013. 5 Comments

Top Ten Favorite Poets

 

To celebrate April being the National Poetry month, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite poets and the poems they wrote that I enjoy most. I learned so much from writing this post, I included a few interesting tidbits of trivia about some famous poets. I hope you not only enjoy the list, but learn something new, too.

TOP TEN FAVORITE POETS AND POEMS

By Debby Lee

10. EMILY DICKINSON: Emily Dickinson wrote more than 1,700 poems although fewer than a dozen were ever published before her death. Many of her works contain Gospel themes, and garden and flower themes. With a record of penning that much poetry she wins a slot on my list of favorite poets.

9. ROBERT FROST: A Late Walk, and A Prayer in Spring. If you even slightly know me, you’ll know how much I love nature and outdoor themes, especially if lots of sunshine is involved. Okay, go ahead and roll your eyes, but I find sunshine, flowers, green grassy fields and cute little birds wonderfully romantic. And of course love was a strong theme in these and many of Mr. Frost’s other poems.  

8. JOHN KEATS: He wrote a deep and poignant sonnet titled “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer” which I found stirring. A poem titled A Thing of Beauty, and several Odes are other great works by this artist. One of Mr. Keats most famous poems is a sonnet titled Bright Star. Rumored to have been written for the woman he loved, Fanny Brawne, it describes a longing for eternal and constant love. A movie was made of John life with Fanny, aptly titled, Bright Star. Tragically, John Keats died of tuberculosis at the age of 25.   

7. D.H. LAWRENCE: Some of my favorites by this man include, In a Boat and Irony. In a Boat is a piece that rhymes but the lines that rhyme aren’t so predictable. I found this take on poetry rather refreshing. Irony is a poem I loved because it was flowery and yet brimming with passion. Let’s not forget another poem by Mr. Lawrence, as quoted by Viggo Mortensen in G.I. Jane, “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself, a bird will fall frozen dead from a bough, without ever having felt sorry for itself.”  

6. SHEL SILVERSTEIN: In 1981 Mr. Silverstein published a children’s poetry book titled A Light in the Attic, but long before this book hit store shelves, another famous title of his had been published. The Giving Tree, published in 1965 is one of my favorite children’s books. I read it to my kids countless times. With all the books I acquired as a kid, I often wonder how this one escaped my own little collection. But this man’s talent isn’t just limited to children’s work, he wrote songs as well, some of which were sung by famous musicians like Loretta Lynn, One’s on the Way, and Johnny Cash, A Boy Named Sue.      

5. ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING: Sonnets of the Portuguese, “How do I love thee, let me count the ways.” I’ll never forget the first time I heard this poem. Quoted by Nina Courtland on the soap opera, All My Children, it made the hair on the back of my neck tingle. All I could say was “Wow!” It really had a powerful effect on me. I can still hear the words in my head to this day.

4. JULIA WARD HOWE: Ms. Howe was a suffragette and a staunch abolitionist. She wrote the lyrics to the Battle Hymn of the Republic during the Civil War and it was first published in 1862. It’s said that some of Martin Luther King’s speeches were drawn from this song. This inspiring piece has indeed stood the test of time, and still popular to this day due to its bold and powerful lyrics.    

3. SHAKESPEARE: The 116th Sonnet, “Love is not love which alters when its alteration finds, nor bends with the remover to remove. O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken.” This is an incredibly romantic piece of poetry, I think, for the honest portrait of love it paints. I’m in awe of Shakespeare and how he captured all the grittiness, pain, and strength that true love often brings. It’s been referred to, and quoted numerous times throughout history. My favorite reference to it is in the movie “Sense and Sensibility.”  

2. FANNY J. CROSY: This incredible woman, who had been blinded since infancy, wrote more than 1,000 poems. She went on to publish four books of poetry and two autobiographies. She is perhaps most famous for the hymn’s she wrote, specifically Blessed Assurance, To God be the Glory, and Jesus is Tenderly Calling You Home. She was also a skilled piano, harp, guitar, and organ player. To have been a blind woman in the 1800’s and still have accomplished feats of this magnitude, she has earned some well-deserved respect, and the number two spot on my list.  

1. MAYA ANGELOU: This lady is my favorite poet for several reasons. I love her style of poetry, how she isn’t afraid to delve into social issues and speak her mind about them. And let’s not forget the terribly difficult childhood she rose from. Sexually assaulted at the age of eight, she was mute for more than four years after the attack. There were many dark years in this woman’s life but she did manage to become the first black female street car conductor in San Francisco.

Maya later went on to write the acclaimed best-seller, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.  A few of her famous poems and some of my favorites include Africa, and A Brave and Startling Truth. Published in 1995, here are a few lines from that poem. “It is possible and imperative that we learn a brave and startling truth, when we come to it, to the day of peace making, when we release our fingers from fists of hostility and allow the pure air to cool our palms,” I can’t help but find this piece motivating and thought provoking. Ms. Angelou’s talent isn’t just limited to the written word, she also gave a powerful performance as Kunta Kinte’s grandmother in the epic saga, Roots. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

This woman is an inspiration to me. I respect and admire her tremendously.

Here are a few facts you might find interesting. One of Louisa May Alcott’s writing mentor’s was none other than famed poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson. In October, 2012, some papers were found in an old trunk in Denmark. It was a story called The Tallow Candle and turned out to be the first fairy tale ever penned by Hans Christian Andersen. The eccentric poet, Walt Whitman served as a Union Army nurse during the Civil War.

Well, there you have it. Probably one of the longest posts I’ve ever written for my blog, I know it took me longer to write it than any of my other posts. I hope you enjoyed it. Are any of your favorites on the list? If not who are they, and why are they your favorites?

NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP

 

 

Fellow author Darlene Panzera recently tagged me in a blog. She sent me a list of questions that I’m to answer regarding my newest release and post them to my blog. Here goes,  

WHAT’S THE WORKING TITLE OF YOUR BOOK?

A Dream of Harmony was released the end of December 2012.

WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM FOR YOUR BOOK?

Back in the 1950’s Native American children were removed from their homes at an alarming rate. Most of these cases were completely unjustified. Having experienced this in my family I wanted to shed light on the issue, and make people aware of how damaging this has been to the Native American culture.  

With such a weighty issue at hand, doing a decent job of writing it was very important to me. So, I actually took some time to plot this story out before I wrote it, and did a more in-depth character sketch than I normally do. Too bad that didn’t make it easy to write the story. 

WHAT GENRE DOES YOUR BOOK FALL UNDER?

Sweet, Rated G, Romance

WHICH ACTORS WOULD YOU CHOSE TO PLAY YOUR CHARACTERS IN A MOVIE RENDIDTION?

That’s easy, Gregg Rainwater. (played Buck Cross in the television series, The Young Riders) I had Gregg mind when I developed the male lead character. Having a leading male of American Indian ancestry was important to me. I wanted him to understand the female lead in ways that most people could not. Gregg has done a fabulous job of portraying Native characters with authentic detail and gritty honesty, so naturally he came to mind.

The female lead wasn’t so easy. I did an Internet search for leading female actresses of Native American decent, whom I thought might fit the bill, but none really clicked with me. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to post their names in the comments section. 

WHAT IS THE ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS OF YOUR BOOK?

Set in 1968, Sharon Lackner, an American Indian, searches for the sister ripped from her life in years earlier, aided considerable by her childhood friend Robert Mitchell who also has Native blood.

IS YOUR BOOK SELF PUBLISHED OR REPRESENTED BY AN AGENCY?

 I’m waffling on where I want to go with my short digital books, so I just self published this one.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THE FIRST DRAFT?

It took a few weeks to get my plot ironed out, but once I did that, it took about two months to write. I couldn’t write it all at once since the issues hit so close to home. I had to write a few scenes, and then walk away for a few days or a week. The first draft was raw emotion. I didn’t envy by critique partners and beta readers. The editing process took a long time, but then again, it always does with me.

WHAT OTHER BOOKS WOULD YOU COMPARE YOUR STORY TO WITHIN YOUR GENRE?

This is a tough one. I don’t know of any books in the romance genre set in the sixties that are family friendly. The Mod Squad, a television show from the late sixties, early seventies, comes to mind. They were an unlikely trio who sought justice in that day and age, but that isn’t really a romance story. If any books dealing with these issues come to mind, let me know.

WHO OR WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS STORY?

I felt led to write a story around the events in my Mom’s childhood, where she and her siblings were separated from their parents, my grandparents at a young age. She spent years in a foster home with her remaining two siblings but eventually they too were removed and adopted out. It was a miracle they were able to reconnect eight years after being torn apart. 

Most of my story is fiction but I based it on real details. I had some ill feelings towards social worker who handled the case for the cruel and heartless separation of my family members. I thought, hoped, and prayed that writing this story would help me work through some of those feelings. I chose to extend forgiveness, but the hurt still lingers.

WHAT ELSE ABOUT YOUR BOOK MIGHT PIQUE THE READERS INTERESTS?

It’s set in 1968, which makes it difficult to slate as a historical or contemporary, but I hope readers enjoy the forgiving and healing qualities I tried to weave into the story.

AND NOW TAG THREE TO FIVE AWESOME AUTHORS TO SEND THESE QUESTIONS TO. They in turn will answer them, post them to their blogs, and “tag” several other authors.

Darlene Panzera, Michelle Echols, Katy Lee, are you ladies up for the challenge?

This entry was posted on February 22, 2013. 1 Comment

Top Ten Favorite Books by John Grisham

Top Ten Favorite Books by John Grisham

10. THE BROKER: This is one of the first John Grisham books I read. I liked it because a good portion of it was set in Italy, a country I’m aching to see. Joel Backman, after spending years in Federal prison, is given a pardon and whisked away to Northern Italy where he’s given a new identity. Joel tries to resume a normal life and visits many of the romantic tourist attractions. It almost sounds like a dream vacation were it not for the people out to kill him. Lots of action, drama and suspense, a very worthwhile read.  

9. THE TESTAMENT: The main character in this book, a lawyer named Nate O’Riley searches to find a woman named Rachel Lane. Rachel is heiress to a large fortune and a missionary deep in the jungles of Brazil, where phones and computers are non-existent. Time is of the essence as scores of people are lined up to claim the fortune if Rachel can’t be found. In the end Nate, the character, really grew as a person. This book had a happy ending that brought me to tears. I love books like that.   

8. BLEACHERS: This book was all about football. How could I not like it? There were still legal matters in it. The main character, Neely Crenshaw, was a star quarterback in high school with some grievances against his old coach, Eddie Rake. Nate went on to become a lawyer, but old secrets come to light years later as Coach Rake lies dying. I wasn’t impressed with Mr. Rake, he made some mistakes that make me question the methods purportedly used by some athletic coaches. As disturbing as the allegations Neely had against Mr. Rake, I was glad to be made aware of this type of thing.

7. THE FIRM: This is the second book John Grisham wrote, and it’s every bit as fascinating as his first. Mitch McDeere gets hired on at the law firm of Bendini, Lambert and Locke, a company that heaps lavish perks upon its new hires. Perks like cars, new homes, and exotic vacations, but the firm has a secret. Many of their clients are in the mafia. Mitch finds this out. Then the FBI finds their way to Mitch, and asks him to testify against the crooked lawyers in the firm. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. Lots of heart pounding suspense, a great book. 

6.  THE CLIENT: This book really pulled on my heartstrings as a mother. The main character, Mark Sway was forced to listen to a confession of a lawyer who worked for the mafia. Then the lawyer committed suicide in front of the poor kid, who was only eleven years old. The FBI wants Mark to testify against the mafia, and the mafia wants him dead, because he may know too much, and thus put them away. Mark Sway was one tough kid who gave them all a run for their money, including his lawyer Regina Love. I cheered as Mark managed to get justice for himself, and his family. Another great book.

5. A PAINTED HOUSE: This book isn’t a legal thriller, but it still contained elements of mystery and suspense. It’s a little slower-paced than the usual action packed, edge-of-your-seat kind of story that Grisham is famous for. Told from a child’s perspective, and set during cotton picking season in Arkansas, a young Luke Chandler deals with growing up poor and coming of age.  It’s also set in the south, so of course it’s going to make my list of favorites.    

4. THE PELICAN BRIEF: I like this one so much because it deals with a fight to save an endangered species of pelicans. And I’m a sucker for endangered animals. It begins with the murders of two Supreme Court justices and kept me on the edge of my seat. The suspense was palpable and I couldn’t wait to find out who-done-it! Darby Shaw, had it right from the beginning, but her struggle to bring the truth to light endangers not just her, but everyone around her. The book had more twists and turns than a Bavarian pretzel. It also has a surprising and satisfying ending. 

3. A TIME TO KILL: This is Mr. Grisham’s first book. Complex issues wind their way through the narrative and forces the spotlight on just how gray, as opposed to black and white, justice can really be. It says just how far a parent will go to protect their child, and shows in dramatic detail the consequences of those actions. Mr. Grisham puts the reader in the shoes of a man whose ten-year-old daughter is brutally beaten, repeatedly raped, and thrown off a bridge to die in muddy, bacteria infested water. It also takes the reader on a journey with Jake Brigance, a lawyer determined to find justice in spite of the chaos surrounding the case. This book made me think, and re-examine my morals and values.  

2. THE STREET LAWYER: I love how this book deals with the plight of the homeless. Michael Brock has it all, a nice boat house, expensive cars and a cushy job at the law firm of Drake and Sweeney. He’s about to make partner, and worked very hard to get there. Things change dramatically when a homeless person enters the law offices with a shot gun and fires away. On the outside, this looked like a vagrant on a crazy, random, rampage, but the law firm had some secrets. When Michael discovered those secrets he realized the homeless man had good reason to target the law firm of Drake and Sweeney. One of my favorites by Grisham, I’ve read it at least four times, and it still makes me cry.

1. THE CONFESSION: This book “changed” the way I view capital punishment. Travis Boyette has an inoperable brain tumor that’s killing him, and he’s also got a terrible secret. He wanders into the church office of Keith Schroeder and confesses to a horrendous crime. But how can that be? The cops arrested Donte Drum for the crime, and they swear they’ve got the right man. Was Travis Boyette lying? I wasn’t sure, especially the crazy way Boyette acted, disappearing all the time, and the strange things he said, or was that because of the tumor he had? This book walked me straight into a heart-wrenching reality. Sometimes, some cops can behave badly; utilize sloppy procedures, and unethical means of garnering confessions.

I’m not trying to say that all cops are bad. God bless the police officers who put their lives on the line every day for public safety. I just wasn’t aware of how tragic things can turn out when those sworn to protect and to serve use lies, deceit and manipulation as a means to an end. I sobbed and sobbed as I turned page after page, hoping, praying that justice would be found for the innocent victims. The ending wasn’t the happily ever after I thought it would be. If you’re looking for a sappy sweet ending where a heroic lawyer rides into court on a white horse with DNA evidence that sets the innocent free, this book is not for you.

I must admit, I waffled a long time whether or not to rank The Confession as Number 1 or The Street Lawyer. The Street Lawyer had a happy ending in spite of tragedies that unfolded throughout the book, but The Confession “moved” me. I threw the book across the room, I cried, I more than cried, I curled up in a heap and trembled as I wept. Never again will I viewed court cases through rose colored glasses, trusting that all the T’s have been crossed and the i’s ceremoniously dotted. Innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt has taken on a whole new meaning for me.

I figured any book with the power to change a reader that much deserves to be in the Number 1 slot.

This entry was posted on February 19, 2013. 2 Comments

Top Ten Favorites in Classics Literature

TOP TEN FAVORITE CLASSICS IN LITERATURE

 

            I must admit, I had a hard time coming up with this list. I discovered that I haven’t read a lot of classics aimed at adults. I’ve tried reading some, but just couldn’t seem to get into the story. Perhaps it’s due to my lack of patience with the old style of writing. I know I tend lose interest relatively quickly.

            I tried not to include any of my favorites from the Civil War era. I’d planned to list them in July, near the 150th anniversary of The Battle of Gettysburg. Then, as I was getting ready to post the list, I realized I’d listed Little Women. Oh well, maybe that one will get posted to two separate lists.

However, I’ve read a bunch of children’s classics, and thus placed them on the list accordingly. Without further adieu, here’s my Top Ten Favorites in Classic Literature. I do hope you enjoy.   

10.  CENTENNIAL by James A. Michener

This heavy book centers around the making of a town called, aptly, Centennial. With a keen interest in westerns, I had to include this one. The story begins before the town actually exists. I didn’t get much out of this part, but when the story progressed to 1795, it got my attention. A man called Pasquinel, a Scotsman named McKeag and an Indian lady, Clay Basket scratch out a living. Later, a wagon train comes through with Levi Zent. When Levi loses his wife and their baby, I nearly put the book down for good, but sighed and picked it up again. Next is the story about the cattle drive. That was my favorite part but the rest is a worthwhile read, too.

9. ROMEO AND JULIET by William Shakespeare

A classic love story, filled with drama and passion. I liked Mercutio, I consider him a loyal friend to Romeo. The story contains several twists and turns and every time I see the movie, I can’t help but imagine scenario’s that might have saved the ill-fated couple. I think if any one little thing could have gone in their favor, they might still be alive. But there rests the crux of the issue, had they not died, would their parents ever have buried the proverbial hatchet? It’s still so sad they died in the end. I just about cry whenever I watch the movie but since I’m a romance writer I had to include some romance somewhere on the list.

 

8. HEIDI by Johanna Spyri

I read this as a child and really enjoyed it. I thought Heidi had a lot of spunk and rooted for her to be reunited with her Grandfather the moment her Auntie took her away. I must say, though, that I felt for Clara, and was glad when she learned to walk. She’d have probably never done so without the encouragement of Heidi, so some good did come of the situation. I for one would prefer the green rolling hills of the Swiss Alps with farm animals and lots of fresh air to breath, as opposed to the stuffy big city any day. I guess that’s the country girl in me. 

 

7. OF MICE AND MEN by John Steinbeck

This is a classic I read in one sitting. It’s a well written story about friends, and sticking together in the midst of real tribulation. It deals with two hard working men in the Great Depression, when hard manual labor meant something. The mentally handicapped Lenny loved things that were soft but didn’t know his own strength. George was the epitome of a faithful friend. Often times, Lenny got them into a mess of trouble, unintentionally of course, due to his lack of understanding. In spite of all this, George truly cared for Lenny, and would do anything to protect him. The ending was sad, but that brings realism to the story.  

 

6. THE UGLY DUCKLING by Hans Christian Andersen

A Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, is it any wonder this one made the list? This is an age old story dealing with an age old problem. Bullying. That poor creature was scorned for “not fitting in” with the ducks. I’m sure everyone can relate to how bereft, unwanted and unworthy this humble animal felt. We’ve all felt that way at least once in their lives. I was so glad to see him grow both physically and emotionally and realize his full potential. I hope this story inspires others to do the same. Never allow others to judge you by how different you seem to be. You never know what beauty and wisdom lurks underneath your, so called differences.

 

5. LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott

I love this classic dealing with the March sisters. I never had any sisters so naturally, I latch on to any story that encompasses a plethora of female siblings. I loved everything about them, from their names to what they became in life. When I read this as a kid, I thought Jo was crazy for turning down Teddy’s proposal, but as I got older I saw the wisdom in it. Even though Jo and I are/were both writers, I think the gentle and tender Beth is who I relate to the most. Meg and Amy found their happiness which made for a satisfying ending. And, of course, I love reading about American history, especially those set during the Civil War.

 

4. CHARLOTTE’S WEB by E.B. White

I love this children’s classic about true friendship. Fern stood up for Wilbur the pig, even before he knew she existed. Then Charlotte stood up for him, and used creative methods to save him. Templeton the Rat really cracked me up. He had such wit. The story teaches about things like loss, grief, and moving on. I think we can all relate to losing somebody we love, and I believe everyone should have at least one friend like Charlotte. Call me a romantic sap, but I think the world would be a much better place if we were all willing to make such sacrifices for others.

 

3. THUMBELINA by Hans Christian Andersen

This is such a cute fairy tale, yes, another by Hans Christian Andersen. I admire Thumbelina’s lust for adventure. Although, I’m of a quiet nature, I long to see the world, experience new things and live life to the fullest. One character that help her along the way was a butterfly, and we all know how partial I am to those creatures. Let’s not forget that Thumbelina found romance in the end, after she had matured dramatically. It doesn’t get much better than that, at least for most romance novelists.

 

2. THE LITTLE HOUSE SERIES by Laura Ingalls Wilder

This is a series of books that accurately depicts pioneer life, chronicling the life of Laura Ingalls and her family. In these books she describes the joys and hardships of growing up on the American frontier. Her family faces crop failures, hard winters, and the tragic loss of her sister Mary’s sight. But they also find contentment in working together during the hard times and realized the dream of seeing Mary go off to college. And in no difficulty did their faith ever waiver. I’ve always found that extremely inspiring. It’s no wonder I can’t count the number of times I’ve read these novels, but then again, I do have a passion for stories set in 1800’s America.

 

1. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee

This one gets the number one spot for a few reasons. Not only is it set in American history, but it deals with issues near and dear to my heart. Fighting racial discrimination and standing up for justice, even if it means standing alone or facing danger. Scout has to be one of the spunkiest and wisest kids I’ve ever read about. Jem, Scout’s older brother, did a good job of protecting his little sister and Dill had a sense of adventure I can relate to. I admire and respect the character of Atticus Finch. His integrity and devotion to justice inspire me. This is a masterpiece worthy of reading over and again. To this day I cry when I read it.

Okay, that’s the list for this month. Feel free to comment below and tell me about your favorite classic in literature. Join me next month when I list my Top Ten Favorite’s by John Grisham. It’s a crazy way to celebrate my favorite author’s birthday.   

 

 

 

This entry was posted on January 16, 2013. 4 Comments