Winter is a time of forced indoor activities, or at least, that’s my excuse.
I’ve been culling some of my many books for donation and have come across some of my favorites, probably too tattered to donate. I was thinking about if I could only have ten books to read, maybe on that proverbial deserted island, what would they be? That actually led me to contemplating rereading some of my favorites. Books that may (or probably not) end up in the donation pile.
These are just some of my favorites, most read many times but at least twice…or more. These days I cheat a little and will get the recorded book from the library to listen to while I’m in my studio, but they’re still on my list.
In no particular order:
Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams and The Bean Trees. Plus, just about anything else she has written. I love her observations and narrative. She has introduced me to different ways of life, different ways of living, that I never knew existed.
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women and Little Men. I always thought Laurie was a sap and Amy was a spoiled brat. But I actually like Little Men much better. I haven’t seen any of the recent movie remakes but will probably catch them on TV later. My imagination is always better than the movie.
Robert McCammon, Boy’s Life. This was a gift from my father many years ago and has nothing to do with the magazine of that name. It’s a delightful coming of age tale with so many twists and plot threads that it’s often difficult to keep up with. I’ve read it several times including once aloud to my sons when they were young. One of them recently borrowed it again.
Jean M. Auel, Clan of the Cave Bear and Valley of Horses. I’ve read these several times and recently pulled them off the shelves again. I even read them to the boys, skipping the juicy parts, and they have borrowed them again. I didn’t care for some of the later books in the series but these were still thought-provoking.
Niven and Pournelle, Lucifer’s Hammer. I first read this on vacation in Florida many years ago and it has been a hit with the family since then.
Shel Silverstein, all. Love every book of his and am now reading them to the grandchildren. Just the irreverent attitude and silly poems and puns. And who doesn’t love The Giving Tree?
Raymond Jones, The Alien. First read this back in high school when I was in my aliens and outer space period and a few times since. Might have to reread this again.
Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking. I read this when I was very young and I think it has an effect on my life ever since. It gave me the idea that with enough effort, I could pretty much be whatever I wanted to be. Looking back now, it seems a little simplistic, but it was a good push at a young age.
Robert Henri, The Art Spirit. A major inspiration for artists and probably on lots of studio bookshelves.
Bayles and Orland, Art and Fear. I reviewed this book not long ago and have read it several times. I find something new in it every single time. Another great inspiration.
David Lynch, Catching the Big Fish. This book has prompted me to look at life with new eyes and an open attitude. Another inspirational book for artists, writers and any creative person.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Flow and Creativity. I particularly liked his research on flow, that feeling of being one with whatever you’re doing, whether that is painting, gardening, biking, whatever. You get so involved with what you’re doing that you just go away in your head for awhile and return to the results a few hours later. This really works for me and other people that I’ve talked to. It might be likened to a creative meditation trance. For me, at least.
Johanna Spyri, Heidi. And her other books. I’ll admit that I read this many times when I was young but when I tried to read it to my granddaughter, it just wasn’t the same. Probably dated, by now.
Anna Sewell, Black Beauty. Another children’s book that is getting pretty dated now, but still, most girls love horses, so there’s that.
Agatha Christie, any, all. I think I have the complete works of Agatha Christie in various book forms. Used to love these books and would reread them endlessly. I loved the England of the era of Miss Marple but those days are gone now. Might be time to donate this collection.
I remember the time when my best friend Mary and I would always have a mystery or sci-fi book tucked into our purses for those moments when we had to wait after school for someone to pick us up, or on road trips or vacations. I wonder if teens still do this? I know my granddaughter is happy to take a bag of reading material with her on vacation. I still do. But I also am as likely to read a book on my phone at the hairdresser or while waiting for a meeting to begin as with a physical books.
What do you think? What favorites have you reread or are still rereading? Are any of these books on your list, too?