Booking Through Thursday ~ Flavor

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Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you lovethem 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?

I tend to favor books that have a voice that I like to “listen to”.  I love “Cal” in Middlesex as well as “Suyuri” in Memoirs of a Geisha.  The story telling that these two characters seem to be capable of draws me in and keeps me reading with hopes that the story will never end.  The authors ability to create a character and a story with such a strong voice and influence is truly magical in my eyes.   I think that the times in which I read a book is important too.  I read Memoirs of a Geisha when we found out we were moving to Okinawa three years ago.  I had put off reading this book for over three years for no good reason and now the time had arrived where I wanted to learn more about Japan (though the book is a work of fiction).  I couldn’t put it down and loved every syllable I formed in my head while reading it.  In the spring of 2007 I had an opportunity to visit Kyoto with a spouse’s club.  I went back to re-read some passages in Memoirs of a Geisha to help prepare for it.  Once there, I went to Gion, where the geisha originated from and still perform to this day.  If this book hadn’t been as memorable as it was for me I don’t know if I would have enjoyed my visit to Kyoto as much and even visited again this past February with the hubby. 

Not many books impress themselves on my brain as well as Memoirs of a Geisha, Middlesex and the book I am reading now.  Where The Red Fern Grows is a book I was required to read in the fourth grade and am now re-reading for the first time since then.  As I read I remember what’s coming next and the fourth grade happened twenty-four years ago.  I can remember the passages almost to the t and am amazed.  I also haven’t been able to read it without crying at least once a reading session and hugging my dog as if I was a little girl again, realizing that he wasn’t going to live forever.  Books are very very powerful!

My New Hobby

As you may know, I have an iPod and I can’t live with out it.  I download free Podcasts on iTunes (by the way, you DO NOT have to have an iPod to utilize the free downloaded iTunes software and listen on your computer) and listen to them in the car or when I’m getting ready for bed.  Recently I discovered the box in the bottom right hand corner of the iTunes Store Podcast page titled “Topics In Focus”.  One of the topics is “Book Lovers” so of course I clicked on that immediately.  There I found Podcasts about books and authors.  There are thirty-eight different Podcasts to subscribe to (for free) so I narrowed it down and selected “Amazon Wire”, “iTunes: Meet The Author”, “Book Lust With Nancy Pearl” and “B&N Meet the Writers Audio Interviews”.  So far I have listened to interviews with James Patterson, Stephenie Meyer, Henry Winkler, Michael Connelly and Judy Bloom.  Listening to these interviews is so interesting because I am reminded that these people have goals, self-doubt, and lives just like anybody else.  Did you know that Stephenie Meyer didn’t even plan on publishing the TWILIGHT books until her sister suggested that she do it?  She had written the first book, TWILIGHT, in just three months and her husband didn’t even know she was doing it.  She wrote it to entertain herself and the idea for the story came from a dream she had had one night. 

Another great place to find interviews with authors is B&N Studio and Borders Media.  Personally I think that Barnes & Noble has a better system for this and has much more selection on their site.  These interviews are viewed through the web site.  So, if you would like to get to know some of your favorite authors a little better, I highly recommend checking out these great resources.

Tagged: A Little Something About Me

Traci over at “Traci’s Book Blog” tagged me with this meme this morning, so here goes:

1. Who’s your all-time favorite author, and why?

I think I would have to say that L. Frank Baum is my all-time favorite author.  “The Wizard of Oz” is my all-time favorite movie and when I was little my folks would read the book to me.  Later my dad bought my sister and me some of the books from the OZ series.  I have a couple of them still but haven’t revisited them in forever.  Maybe I’ll put them on my TBR shelf. 
I love how Baum created a world of friends and places I can visit as easily as opening the book.  Dorothy has been a life long friend of mine and I feel that I know her as well as myself.  The Scarecrow, Tim Man and Cowardly Lion are some of the most loved characters on my shelves and who can forget Toto.  Dorothy’s relationship with her dog is what initially inspired me to beg my parents insesintly for a dog when I was a toddler.  They gave in after three years or so when I was five and we got Maxwell, my first Cocker Spaniel.  The Wicked Witch of the West will forever strike fear in my heart.  To me she is the most powerful and evil villain in American literature. 

2. Who was your favorite first author?  Do you still consider them among your favorites? 

You may think that I’m going to say L. Frank Baum again but actually the most influential author on my adolescent years, starting in the fifth grade, was Francine Pascal’s hit series, “Sweet Valley High”.  I know now that Pascal was the creator and had a team of ghost writers actually writing the books but man, did I love Elizabeth and Jessica and all their friends.  I remember being so addicted to those books that I would ask my mom to leave the light on in the hallway and my bedroom door open so I could hang over the side of my bed and read with the help of the hallway light.  In book #3 (I can’t remember the name of it) Jessica was swimming in the lake with the popular boy in school and he felt her up!  Well, that kick started my boy crazy period (that finally came to a wonderful conclusion on my wedding day).  I loved these books and though I also loved such titles as “A Wrinkle In Time”, “Where The Red Fern Grows” and the Sunfire Romance book series, it is the SVH books that hold a very special place in my heart.  In the end I think I had at least thirty starting with #1. 

3. Who’s the most recent addition to your list of favorite authors, and why?

When I look at my shelves and think about this question, my first answer is Tom Perrotta.  The two books of his that I have read and thoroughly enjoyed were “Little Children” and “The Abstinence Teacher”.  These books engulfed me and took me into the next neighborhood, filled with drama and great characters.  Perrotta writes about everyday America and what lays under the surface but easily surfaces and makes life interesting and challenging.  In “Little Children” he asks us to think about the kiddie play park and what can happen when a parent is away from their spouse and realizes they have more fun and more in common with someone else than with their own wife/husband.  Also, we are witnesses to child predator living among the community and the hatred that is seething from those in it who just want to protect the children.  “The Abstinence Teacher” brings us the huge church in the strip mall with the overbearing congregation and church leaders who think they have the answers and the people who aren’t them who think for themselves and know there is a better way though it may be controversial. 

4. If someone asked you who your favorite authors were right now, which ones would be the first to pop out of your mouth?  Are there any you would add on a moment of reflection?

OK!  Tom Perrotta, Jennifer Weiner, Jeffrey Eugenides, Arthur Golden & Elizabeth Noble.  After thinking about it for a moment I would have to add Jodi Picoult (Change of Heart), Michael Connelly, Margaret George, Caleb Carr, Dan Brown, Tracy Chevalier, Elizabeth Kostova, Koji Suzuki, Richard Preston & Lauren Weisberger. 

Now, I guess I get to tag someone!   


You’re IT!!