BTT ~ Stickin’ it to ya!


saw this over at Shelley’s, and thought it sounded like a great question for all of you:

“This can be a quick one. Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.”

Fifteen books that will always stick with me, right off the top of my head….  K, here goes:

  1. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
  2. Matrimony by Joshua Henkin
  3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  5. Lisey’s Story by Stephen King
  6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  7. The Pearl by John Steinbeck
  8. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  9. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  10. Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  11. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
  12. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
  13. Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
  14. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  15. A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo

Now, not all are on my top 10 list, oddly enough, and not all of them are what I’d call “great novels.”  Of course, there are many others that will also stick with me, but I’ve written this post while Gwen and Maggie are fighting and tattling, my friend came over to chat and The Departed is playing on the TV, so we’re all lucky Dick and Jane wasn’t the only book title I could think of.


Booking Through Thursday -Flavor

btt button

Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you love them above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not?

What sets an author apart for me is the style and imagitnation with which they write.  Whether it’s King or Evanovich, the author’s ability to convey the books events in a unique, verbally savory way makes or breaks my pleasure of the books I read.   What’s more, an author’s ability to paint word pictures on the back of my mind will always make me come back for more. 

Here are a few of my favorites and why I like them:

Stephen King   If you look at my LibraryThing catalog you’ll find I have 14 Stephen King books, making him my top author.  King is probably one of the most successful and prolific authors of our time, perhaps ever.  He is second only to J.K. Rowling on LibraryThing’s most popular author by number of copies found on Zeitgeist. (In fairness to King, she has only written 9 books, all relating to a single series.)  What I love about King is he is highly imagintative, writes on the edge of the accepted norm, and challenges people’s perception of what is real and “normal”.  His concepts are usually things I relate to as I mentioned  in my review of Lisey’s Story.  I particularly love the suprenatural flavor of most of his books.  I’m not very fond, however, of his books-to-movies.  Because so much of King takes place in the minds of his characters, the stories do not translate well to the film.  My 5 favorite King books are: Lisey’s Story (you guessed that, I’m sure),  Dead Zone, Hearts in Atlantis (probably THE worst film version of any King book), The Shining, and Pet Cemetary.

Bentley Little  I’ve actually only read one book of his so far, BUT he is one of Stephen King’s favorite authors, and what’s good for Sir Stevie is good for me!  The Store was a bizarre and terrifying story of Wal-mart’s effect on small towns… Oh, no… wait, it wasn’t called Wal-mart… it was just called “The Store”. In my very brief LT review I said this about it: “Think: Scientology-run Wal-mart from Hell owned by Howard Hughes and Satan’s love child! and Bentley Little reads like a mixture of Orwell, Bradbury, King and Brothers Grimm!” How can you not love an author like that?!

Janet Evanovich I am new to the Stephanie Plum novels, having started with Plum Lucky. I was an instant fan of Evanovich somewhere between Lula’s boob falling out on top and her thong disappearing out of sight into the dark crevice below while she bent over to pick up her spilled bucket of nickels, and the “Leprechaun” believing if he stripped naked he’d be invisible (The rottweiller told him so!). It is an absolutely crazy/fun/impossible/hilarious series, and I’m dying to read more! My favorite characters are: Grandma Mazur (When she shoots a chicken in the gumpy with Stephanie’s gun in book one, you know you’re in for a hilarious treat. I want a Grandma Mazur!), Lula (retired prostitute, files papers in Vincent’s office and is the Cagney to Stephanie’s Lacey… or the Lacey to her Cagney, did they ever solve that argument?) and Diesel (y’all can have Ranger, I’ll take Diesel).

Harlan Coben How could I not include Coben as one of my favorite authors? If it wasn’t for The Woods I’d still only be reading the classics, terrified to try anything contemporary. I’ve read three of his books so far, and have 5 others on Mt. TBR right now (more on the way from BookMooch). Hold Tight, his newest and best book so far, is a harrowing book for any parent to read. The thought of not being able to find your child, fearing his involvement in something dangerous and bad, was gut-wrenching for me. Coben’s writing is fluff-free, without the need to show off with an overload of details, and his language is easy to read and understand. He makes pop-culture references, I.E. McMansions, use of the word “ginormous”, and others, makes him a pleasure to read. He has a great balance of schtick and levity, which makes for a great coaster-ride of reading.

Other favorites include: Jane Austen (she made being a woman author a little more acceptable), William Shakespeare (one of the biggest Booya Moon pool drinkers), Lois Lowry (she made my kids think, and brought our family around the table to read The Giver) and so many more. 

Lisey’s Story by Stephen King

Lisey\'s Story cover

Lisey’s Story is a love story, King-style.  It is a love story on many levels: Lisey’s love for her husband, Scott’s love for his brother, first, and later his wife, the sister thing of the Debusher girls, Scott’s love of writing, and people’s love of storytelling.

It is the story of fictional author, Scott Landon, and his surviving wife, Lisey (rhymes with “CeeCee”).  Even though Scott has passed, he will still have his say, and directs Lisey on his final “bool”, or a treasure hunt.  Through the process of discovering each clue, she is guided by Scott behind the purple curtain to the memories too dificult to be remembered.  It is through this process that the nature and origin of Scott’s writing genius is revealed, and the connection Scott had had with Lisey’s manic-depressive sister Amanda Debusher who has a penchant for self mutilation and slipping into periods of catatonia.

While I don’t believe this is one of King’s best, it is, however, my favorite.  There is so much in Lisey’s Story that resonates with my own life experiences and writing process. 

First of all, as a recovering cutter, the explanations of why Scott’s dad, Scott himself, and Amanda do it are true to the emotions and reasoning that go on in the mind of a cutter.  The cocept it is a way to “get the bad-gunky out” is one that crossed my mind often before doing it; I had to relieve the pressure valve.  That Manda covers hers because they are her treasures and not for others to see is another truth, as they serve as medals and trophies to my enduring life, trials and suffering.  Cutting is a flight-or-fight response gone sideways, as shown by Scott’s gift of a blood bool to Lisey when they were dating.  You are forced into a spot where you can’t run becuase where can you go to escape yourself? and you can’t fight back against the person who’s confronting you.  The tension must go somewhere, and it is allowed to bleed out.  That Amanda felt no pain and only ecstacy when doing it is spot on, as it releases the brain’s natural opiates.

Second, I have often pondered and been amazed at how different people in different places from different background come up with the same thoughts, stories and discoveries.  Jung called this “collective consciousness”.  King describes this mystery as “the language-pool, the myth-pool, where we all go down to drink” and cast our nets, where the bravest, the Austens, Tolstoys and Doskievskys sail out into the deepest waters to catch the biggest fish.

Third, it is this “pool” that is the centerpiece of “Boo-Ya Moon,” Scott’s version of the parallel dimensional place that we retreat to when life becomes more than we can handle.  King proposes that each person’s place is different and specific to them, but is the same thing.  It is to this place many of the “gorks” in the psych ward have slipped away.  It is in Amanda’s place, the dock by the S.S. Hollyhocks, that Lisey has to go to retrieve her “big sissa Manda bunny.”

The book is woven throughout in the Stephen King fashion with a monster sighted in reflections, a crazed lunatic hell-bent-for-leather to torture Lisey, and a dead cat in a mailbox.  It is a journey into an abusive past with a psuchotic father, the survival and victory over a monster, the acceptance of the death of the love of her life, and collecting the prize at the end of the bool, for all treasure hunts end with the discovery of something precious.