Books are amazing. I would hope anyone who would visit me would agree to that fact. Some books are a little more amazing than others are of course. I know some people never reread books, but I reread almost every book. Some stories you hate to have end; you fall in love with the characters or the world, and you never want them to leave. These are the stories you come back to. You don’t choose to read these stories for their literary value, or because they are classics. Just as I would call a good friend in a time of need, these are the books you come back to when times get hard. While they are not necessarily my favorite books, as a favorite book can change with my mood, these are five books I come back to, over and over again.
This is a classic, yes, but more than that this is a part of my childhood. I can’t remember a time in my life when I hadn’t read this book. This story is as much a part of me as my eye color or my love of coffee. The journey of Bilbo Baggins is part of my own journey. Lines from this randomly pop into my head. I come back to this story not only for the classic work of fantasy, but because I love everything about it.
Sometimes I am pretty sure the universe was a bad idea and it may or may not be trying to kill me. Arthur Dent is the only person I have found who truly understands my plight.
This was the book that made me fall in love with Mary Higgins Clark. I have read it at least a dozen times, and loved it more each time. In 2002, she came to the Arizona base where we were stationed for a book signing with the release of Daddy’s Little Girl. It was the closest I have ever been to star struck. My daughter was still a baby, sitting in her stroller in line with me, and she was the first person Mary Higgins Clark spoke to that day. I’m slightly convinced this is why Joanna wants to grow up to be a writer. My autographed copy of this book is one of my prized possessions, even more so now that a box of books, including my battered, used book store copy I had owned for about a decade disappeared in our last move. I cried for the entire afternoon when I realized the box was missing.
Sometimes I need a book that doesn’t make me think too hard. When that happens, the entire romance genre becomes the perfect outlet. Most of the time there will be a happy ending, and along the way it allows you to imagine that life really is going to work out all right. I don’t think all books have to have a happy ending. Sometimes I am thrilled to read an ending that makes me angry or sad, as long as it is true to the book, not forced. When real life is a little hard, it’s nice to go back to a story where you know things are going to work out. One of the best parts about this particular novel is the realistic approach to the main relationship; they are not perfect, things don’t always work how they want, and while they are attracted to each other, they don’t fall in love simply because the other person is so sexy. There is not much in the world that drives me more nuts than a supposed romance where the only element driving two characters together is sexual attraction. That’s not happily ever after, that is a hot weekend before you find someone you can be around when you have clothing on.
All of my older brothers read Stephen King, but as the kid sister, his horror novels were a bit too much for me. I still wanted to be like my brothers, so one of them gave me this book. I read this book for a fourth grade book report, and made Dragon Sand out of colored sugar to put in drinks for the entire class as a visual aide. If I tried to fake poison my classmates now I imagine I would be expelled and sent to therapy. At the time my teacher found it to be incredibly creative. Who knows, maybe he really didn’t and my name is on his list of potential serial killers. Teachers pretend they don’t have one, but trust me, we all do no matter the age of the children there are some names you are certain you are going to hear on the news someday. To this day I love this book for introducing me to such an incredible writer; however I still cannot read most of his books. He writes horror too well and do not function without my sleep. Every now and again I will try some of his darker books, but I never get very far before I wake up screaming.