The Sunday Salon – Great Books

I didn’t finish one book last week (more on that later) so why did I title this post great books?  Well, I get an email newsletter from the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE) and all last week they sponsored Great Books Week.  I didn’t get a chance to participate but I thought it might be fun to take a look at the questions and answer a few.

Day 1What book has had the greatest impact on your life? In what way?

This is a tough question and I don’t think I can answer this with one single book.  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was astounding.  I read it in high school and cried through a good portion of the book.  It made me scared and made me laugh.  I wanted to start it all over as soon as I finished.  It made me love reading.  Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott may seem like an odd choice but I have a soft spot for knights and ladies.  Also, I loved the way everything — and I mean EVERYTHING — was described in this book.  It can be extremely tedious at times but the description of Rowena’s dress as she walked in to a room (the green color and the way it moved as she walked) has stuck with me all these years.

Day 2What makes a book great?

For me, characters make a great book.  I want to care about the people, laugh with them, cry with them, and get frustrated with their actions.  I want to feel their pain, understand their fears, and take a journey with them.  If I don’t, I have trouble with the book.  Yes, a book can be great for many other reasons — setting, plot, foreshadowing, language, etc. — but for me is has to be the characters.

Day 3What childhood book captured your imagination?

This is an easy one — Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I loved the setting and at one point in my very early life I thought being a pioneer would be fun.  That was until I learned the pioneer life included a lot of camping.  Camping is not something I do.  I changed my mind quickly about wanting to be a pioneer but the stories stuck with me.

For Christmas one year my parents bought me the entire collection.  I remember reading them all over Christmas break.  When I finished, I told my mother that we needed to go to the bookstore and she asked me why.  I told her that I finished my Little House on the Prairie books and needed to get more.  I remember this next part very distinctly.  She was standing at the sink in the kitchen, she stopped what she was doing, looked at me and said, “Well, read them again.”  I was about eight years old and it had not occurred to me at this point in my life that you would re-read a book and I was totally fascinated with the idea.  And, being the little dork I was, yes, I did run off and start the books all over again.

Day 4What book or books do you read over and over?

I’ve read Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen several times.  There’s something very lovely about both stories and each make me happy in their own way.  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is another that I’ve taken off the shelf more than once.

Day 5: If you were stranded alone on a deserted island, what five books would you want?

I don’t like narrowing books so I’m going to cheat, slightly, on this question.

The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  There are seven books in this series and each clock in around 700+ pages so they are perfect if a stranding were to occur when you have all seven in your suitcase.  Besides, a Scottish man in a kilt would be great company on a deserted island.

The Complete Works of Jane Austen.  This one is not really cheating as it is a collection of her stories all contained in one book.  I haven’t read all of her books yet but I know they would be great reading.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  I never get tired of this story and know I could easily turn to it and be taken away.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I re-read these books this year and fell in love with them all over again.  I never get tired of this story.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  The language is so wonderful that when I first read it I kept going back to re-read passages.  I took me forever to finish but was so very worth it.

Anything to add to the list/questions above?

Usually at this point I do a wrap-up of my week’s reading.  I don’t have anything to wrap-up since I didn’t finish one book last week.  It was a fairly hectic week for me and I didn’t have much time to spend reading.  I gave up on one book — The Clouds Beneath the Sun by Mackenzie Ford — and still haven’t finished A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer.  I’m enjoying it and I hope to finish it today at some point.  I also have to catch up on The Historian read-along since I fell behind this week.

Since I have a full day planned, I’m stopping here.  Have a good Sunday.

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3 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon – Great Books

  1. These are great questions! I agree with your Day 2 answer – even if the plot of a book isn’t great, if the characters are relatable and interesting, chances are I’ll like the book.

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