I am so honored to be the new Monday Fox! I’ve been a fan of this blog for a long time. For those of you who don’t know me, I write sweet romance, both contemporary and historical. Two of my contemporary novels are co-written with the lovely Stephanie Michels. I’m a former elementary school teacher – for fifteen years I taught elementary music, and then I spent thirteen years teaching regular classrooms. I retired in 2005 and since then I’ve been an adjunct professor at GVSU in Allendale, Michigan, teaching future teachers. On days when I’m not teaching, I watch my two youngest grandkids, sew quilts and hats for a couple of charities, scrapbook, make greeting cards, and play oboe in a community orchestra and clarinet in a community band.
When I saw this week’s topic I was relieved. I’d recently been tagged for an activity on Facebook in which I was challenged to choose ten books that have stayed with me. As far as I’m concerned, staying with me is the same as favorite, so I figured my list from facebook would suffice. I’ll just add a little bit of annotation for each.
- The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner: What I loved about this book is that four children survived on their own using their biggest resource—their brains, along with hard work. What better way to teach kids about empowerment?
- The BFG by Roald Dahl: Lots of wonderful humor, and a great lesson on diversity and acceptance.
- The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough: a majestic setting and a swoon-worthy hero. Sigh.
- Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: yeah, it doesn’t end well for the big romance, but Scarlett always manages to land on her feet, and I’m sure she’ll survive without Rhett.
- Bride of My Heart by Rebecca Winters: Rebecca Winters was the first romance author to consistently tug at my heart strings. Bride of My Heart is one of several that made me cry. I want to be like her when I grow up.
- Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder: Simpler times, strong families. ‘Nuff said.
- Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy by Nora Roberts: This is the stuff dreams are made of. I wonder if Nora has something directly connected to her brain so that when she wakes up the dreams are magically written out. I would love to invest in one of those, except I’m afraid the stories that come out may be a bit crazy.
- Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman: a great adventure in the far north. I loved the stoic way the heroine dealt with all her hardships. It was published and promoted as a true story, but lately I’ve read posts that claim this was all made up. Either way, it’s a wonderful tale.
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. Whenever I have a bad day, I call myself Alexander. Nobody seems to get it. Yes, it’s a children’s book. But it’s a great one.
- Love You Forever by Robert Munsch: this book should be gifted to every new parent. It’s got a mother’s love down pat. If you haven’t read it yet, don’t let the repetition make you stop. The ending is a doozy.
So there you have it. My ten favorite books of all time. So far. If you’re wondering about the absence of major literary classics on my list, I apologize. I wasn’t much of a literature student. As a musician, when I hear the word classics I think of classical music. I chose books I enjoyed because they stayed with me. I worked with children, so a few are titles I read aloud to my classes. I’ve always loved romance, so I included some of those. And a few, like #1 and #6, are books I enjoyed when I was young. It’s a strange list, maybe, but it’s all mine.
Romance novels were a way for me to cope as an overwhelmed working mom. I’d pick up a romance, and within a couple of hours, whatever conflict appeared in the book was dealt with, the problems were solved, and all was right with the world. I could relax and go to sleep. And I think that’s why I chose to write them. I’d like to offer this kind of reassurance for others.
How do you choose your favorites?