The Nine Favorite Book Challenge

I was challenged recently to list my nine favorite books, and it was harder than I thought. I have a list of hundreds. I also have had favorites at different points in my life. Here they are by decade/age.

The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone

This was my favorite book as a toddler. I am first generation Sesame Street, and Grover was always my hero. Now that I think about it, this one was a mystery too.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

I checked this book out of the Woodstock Elementary library every two weeks for months in the second grade.

The Crooked Bannister by Carolyn Keene

In the 5th grade, this was my favorite of all the Nancy Drew books. It had a pun and a plot twist that I loved. My friends and I raced through the collection at the public library. Then we read all of the Hardy Boys and Alfred Hitchcock books.

The Ransom of Red Chief and Other Stories by O. Henry

I was introduced to O. Henry in the sixth grade by Mrs. Todd. I have always loved stories with twists at the end. O. Henry is still one of my favorites.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I read this the first of many times in the eighth grade in Mrs. Buffington’s class. I fell in love with Scout, Atticus, Boo, and all the rest.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I read this the first time in the eleventh grade in Mrs. Bates’ class. Then we watched Robert Redford in that pink suit. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this over the years. (Leonardo DiCaprio is good too, but the Robert Redford version is a classic.) Plus, Billy Idol's "Eyes without a Face" came out that year, and I've always linked that song with the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

We read a lot of good books in high school. I loved the mystery in this classic and the symbolism.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Path

I read this in several undergraduate courses, and it resonated with me in my college years. Plath’s tragic ending made it more poignant.

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum

I read this early in my work career, and many of his points were dead on.

I was very fortunate to have parents, grandparents, teachers, and librarians who encouraged reading and suggested great books. What are your favorites?

What Snow Days are Good for...

We got socked with another snow storm. I'm a beach girl. I consider it cold if it drops below sixty-five degrees. These storms that dump six to ten inches of snow are too much. Schools and work are closed, so it's a great day to read, write, and edit.

I'm working on the second round of edits for Virginia is for Mysteries. I also sent out some submissions. Now, the JRTs and I are going to enjoy the white stuff from inside next to the fireplace. I'm reading Ellery Adams' Murder in the Mystery Suite. What are you reading?

What I'm Reading...

The snow is on its way. We're supposed to get 6-12 inches by tomorrow. (Anything below 60 degrees is cold to me.) So, it's a perfect afternoon for my Uggs, books, and hot chocolate.

I finished John Grisham's Gray Mountain. I love John Grisham and his books about Virginia.

This one is about a lawyer who loses her fancy NY job during the Great Recession. When dismissed, she's offered a chance to do pro bono work for a charity with the hope of returning to her job in a year or so. Samantha finds that landing a volunteer job isn't that easy either, and she eventually ends up with a legal aide clinic in Appalachia. The work is hard, and she meets the quirky people of Brady, Virginia.

She works as an unpaid intern at the all-female firm. She's introduced to coal life and all its hazards. She also meets her boss' sexy and dangerous nephews.

The story and setting are great. The crimes are atrocious, and the people are suffering.

My only fault is with some of the characters. They're a little flat, and there were a couple of the main ones that I really didn't care about. Usually, I'm cheering for his main characters, and I want them to win.

Despite a couple of the characters,  Gray Mountain is a good story, and it's worth adding to your winter reading list.


What I've Been Reading Lately

My sister gave me a subscription to Oyster for Christmas. I'm having so much fun. It's like my own personal library.

This week, I've read Writes of Passage, edited by Hank Phillipi Ryan. This is great for writers. It helps to know that others have the same problems and fears.

I also read Susan McBride's To Helen Back. This is a cozy series that she writes about seniors in a small Illinois town. Here character has Miss Marple qualities. This is a fun, quick read. I like McBride's Deb series best.

I hope you're snuggled up with a good book this week! Happy reading.


One of my guilty pleasures is reading Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum mysteries. I don't have to think. I just get to be entertained. It's great for weekend reading.

In Top Secret Twenty-one, all the old favorites are back. I love Grandma Mazur. She and Lula are the comic relief .

This one has a pack of wild Chihuahuas and a little person who's running from the mob. That just makes more sticky situations for our heroine.

My only hope is that Stephanie one day makes a decision about her two love interests. That story line is getting a little old. And I would really like her to learn to shoot her gun.