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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My Top Seven Favorite Reads of All Time

I'm an avid reader. Not counting the books I read as a freelance copy editor, I still read at least one book a week. When I have a rare week off, I read at least one book a day. I started my love affair with books at an early age, so, over the decades, I've read thousands of books. I wish I had kept count now.

But there are a handful that I read over and over, plus those I have read once that linger and I promise to read again. Soon. With that said, here's my initial list of all-time faves:
  1. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. This was a life changer for me. Maybe it was because I first read it when I was only thirteen going on fourteen as part of the required reading in my ninth grade Honors English class. But it confirmed that, while I may not think like the norm, I belonged somewhere all the same. Even though this novel is 1,074 pages long, I reread it at least once a decade and usually in one engrossing twenty-hour-long sitting. What I've learned is: if you don't fit in, you are in the wrong place.
  2. First Impressions by Nora Roberts. What favorite readings list would be complete without something by Nora Roberts and/or J. D. Robb? Here's one of at least three from my favorite author. Both main characters have secrets and their current actions are at war with their inner wants. I love the premise that what we see is only part of the story.
  3. The Fall of Shane MacKade by Nora Roberts. I'm a collector of great first lines. This is one of them (if you don't count the Prologue): Shane MacKade loved women. He loved the look of them, the smell of them, the sound of them, the taste of them. He loved them, without reservation or prejudice. Tall, short, plump, thin, old, young, their wonderful and exotic femaleness pulled him, drew him in. Now what woman wouldn't love that in a man? The takeaway point here is: love who you are.
  4. Out of Sight by Cherry Adair. Love her T-FLAC series. This one has an unforgettable sex scene. Once you read the book, you'll know exactly which one I'm talking about. It has stayed with me ever since reading it anew. A tip for us authors out there: don't hold back.
  5. Naked in Death + Glory in Death + Immortal in Death all by J. D. Robb. I list these as one entry since it takes these first three In Death books before Eve and Roarke are truly a couple. This series is my addiction. An an author, I'm thinking two things: I lust after creating a lifelike fictional couple that rivals Eve and Roarke, who live on in the readers' imagination, and also I'm searching for my own ongoing series idea that would spawn sixty or so installments.
  6. Innocent in Death by J. D. Robb. This book shows a jealous Eve, a rare event for sure, when one of Roarke's earlier lovers from a serious past relationship returns to the scene. This woman could be a real threat to Eve and Roarke's long-term happiness. Of course, true love wins.
  7. Any Philip Marlowe novel by Raymond Chandler. I have an affinity for tales about 1940s detectives. Especially the way Chandler wrote them. What is it that draws me so? Is it seemingly bad boys with a streak of honor and morals within or just honesty that attracts me?
Since I am forever reading, I'll be updating this list. Watch for later installments. Share your own list with us too.

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra