Sunday, March 11, 2007
I've always been a voracious reader. I remember being in third grade and being upset because I wasn't placed in the group for advanced readers. I spoke to my teacher who wasn't so sure she wanted me in the advanced group. I don't remember why she felt that way now, but I do remember coming into the classroom one day and seeing the set of orange advanced reader books on my desk. It was a great day in my life. Yes, I was a geek even back then!
Throughout my school years and into my adult life, reading has remained a favorite activity and over the years I've come across several books that have affected me in various ways. Here are the best books I've ever read and why:
Silent Witness by Richard North Patterson: I was on vacation in 1997 and I needed a book to read on the airplane trip back home. I went into the hotel gift shop and picked this book. It looked relatively interesting and it was long so I figured it would keep me occupied for the trip. It did more than keep me occupied. It kept me RIVETED. I didn't finish it on that airplane ride. As mentioned, it was quite long.
I was in my last year of college when I found this book. I read it on the bus trip into school every morning, between classes, and on the bus ride home at night. It was that good. The book centers around an attorney called back to his hometown to defend an old school friend of his. The friend is now a coach at the high school and is accused of killing a student. It's an excellent book and one that will keep you wanting to read until your eyes dry out completely and fall out of their sockets.
Open House by Elizabeth Berg: This is a book about a woman going through a divorce. It chronicles her journey from someone's wife to her own woman. It's an excellent fictional work about the feelings you go through when you separate from someone with whom you've interwoven your identity and every piece of your life. It shows that you can not only survive a divorce, but thrive afterwards.
A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson: I read this when my first marriage was starting to fray at the seams, which means it came at just the right time. This book is a non-fiction account of Anderson's year by the sea when she separated from her husband and went to live in their beach cottage alone. It recounts her struggles to make her own money and find herself by the sea.
JonBenet by Steve Thomas: Another non-fiction work, this is the story of the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. Thomas was a detective on the Boulder Police Force who worked this case. This was another airplane read for me. A co-worker lent it to me and I took it on a trip to San Antonio, Texas, in 2000. It kept me on the edge of my seat. Interestingly, I had a layover in Denver, Colorado and was reading like mad in the airport there. Felt odd to be reading a book in the state in which it took place.
Me Times Three by Alex Witchel: I read this book during Christmas break after my first semester in law school. I went to my hometown in Oregon for Christmas and I found this book on the shelves in the public library there. I wasn't looking for it, but it jumped out at me. It's an excellent book about friendship, love and loyalty.
The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney: A book about the bonds women form and how friendship can support you through life, love, death, and everything in-between. An excellent book that explores being there and standing with your friends even when you don't agree with their choices and even when it's so difficult to see them suffering. This is a great book that will make you want to call your best friend and thank her...for being her and for being there.
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult: A fantastic book about family bonds, how far you are willing to go to save a family member, and your reason for being. This is an absolute page turner that will keep you guessing.
The Dive From Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer: I wrote a blog about this book awhile back. You can read it here. This book had a profound effect on me. It's a wonderful study in finding yourself and what you really want when your life has been going in the same direction forever...and you're no longer happy with that.
Those are the best of the best from the last few years. I highly recommend these books and I would love to hear from anyone reading about your favorite books. I'm always adding to my "TBR" (To Be Read) Pile.