Reading, Reviews

What Books Become Part of Your Life?

So many people are looking for good novels right about now. We need them in summer to take on vacation, or read by the pool, or just because books are always a part of life. Books can be the best vacation your mind can get. And isn’t it beautiful how there are enough different kinds of books and authors in this world so that every reader can find that book that will be just what they need? Writing a book blog is weird because a book I love may be a book you hate, or visa versa. Books speak to people in different ways and connect uniquely.  But since readers are always on the quest for the next great book, we go on sharing what we like and helping each other along the way the best we can. Novels -stories, settings, characters, themes – can be so powerful. Today I’m featuring some books by one of my favorite authors. Not everyone will like her books, but I will always read everything she puts out. Here’s why: I vividly remember every point in time that I was reading a book by Marisa de los Santos.

Love Walked InI read Loved Walked In at the desk in my hated cubicle a year after I graduated from college, or on the bench in the park where I went on lunch breaks to escape the office.

Belong To Me was my companion as I sat at my kitchen table eating Honey Nut Cheerios at 3:00 a.m. in the early throes of labor, and then later in a hospital bed as I nursed my newborn son. (That book made me cry buckets, but it could have been because of other stuff going on…)

Falling Together was in my hands at the beach on a cooler September day as I sat on the porch and wished the plot would get better already (hint: this one is not my favorite).

Belong to MeAnd just two weeks ago, I read The Precious One in the finally silent house after the children’s bedtime, as I curled up on the couch with a hot wash cloth on my face to ease the sinus pressure from a rare case of summer sickness.

This is how I judge an author’s power: if his or her novel intertwines with your life enough to become part of it. 

As I read The Precious One last week, I finally got an idea of why de los Santos’s books have that power in my life. She always includes a few characters who are good at forgiveness and loving and being a friend just for the sake of being a friend. The characters are not morally perfect and they don’t have easy lives, but they are good at loving the abandoned daughter or lonely neighbor or friend suffering cancer. These are the tough concepts so often thrown on us in modern fiction, but so gently dealt with in de los Santos’s work and by her characters. Her work helps me think harder about the kind of person I want to be in real life. It’s not the Bible, for sure, but if you’re a lover of fiction, I think you’re always looking for pieces of a book that you carry with you after the book is over to inspire you or make you laugh, to bolster your resolve or keep you grounded. I love finding that kind of book and those kinds of writers, and I get so excited to share them here on the blog. There are many, many wonderful non-fiction books that can be called life changing or earth shattering, but in my own experience, it’s novels with artistry and story that stick in my mind the most.

So tell me, which novels have been so powerful that they became a part of your life as you read them?

Children's Books, Reading, Top Ten Tuesday

Favorite Sequels: A Top Ten Tuesday Post

Today is a Top Ten Tuesday on the blog. The great bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish give book bloggers a topic to run wild with each Tuesday. I haven’t had any idea what to write on the last few topics, but I’m jumping back in with Top Ten Sequels. Actually, it will be Top 7 Sequels, because there just aren’t that many sequels worthy of the first book.You know who did not write sequels? Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Mark Twain, and the list goes on and on of the great writers of classics who knew that a great book is best when it has an ending that is perfect in itself.

There are a few great writers who found a way to write great sequels. Many sequels turn into Book 2 in series (especially these days), so those count as sequels in this list as long as there is a plot that begins and ends in Book #2.

1. The sequels to Little Women: Little Men and Jo’s Boys

There are some characters you consider friends and just want more of their stories. Lousia May Alcott created those characters.

Skylark (Sarah, Plain and Tall, #2)2. Sky Lark, the sequel to Sarah, Plain and Tall

3. Prince Caspian, sequel to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

4. Belong to Me, the sequel to Love Walked In

These are books by Marisa de Los Santos I would put in the category of “Books I really liked for some reason I can’t entirely explain.” I wouldn’t expect most people to like them, but I really enjoyed the characters and the way they developed.

5. All sequels written by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Yes, I am an unabashed fan. If you’ve already read the Anne books, try Emily or Pat. Pat is a bit of a neurotic character, but I still love her.

6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I think the first three books in this series are marvelous. I like all of them, but the first three are the best. Also, I think they can stand alone as fun books without the rest of the series, though I wouldn’t recommend reading them that way.

7. The House at Pooh  Corner

That’s about all I can come up with! What are your favorite sequels?

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