Alright, so let's begin with The Virginian. Not only do I love this story and the
writing, I love that my grandfather gave me my first copy. He also took me to lunch at the hotel in Medicine Bow and showed me old pictures of the Goose Egg, which was located not far from the ranch my grandmother grew up on. Favorite quote from the book?
"Forgive me asking you to use your mind. It is a thing no novelist should expect of his reader."
And then there's To Kill a Mockingbird. I love it so much, I'm on my third copy and I had my attorney hero read the courtroom scene to the heroine in my first book. I spent half of ninth grade English trying to figure out why it was the left lens of Atticus' glasses that cracked. Favorite quote:
"They've done it before and they did it tonight and they'll do it again and when they do, seems that only children weep."
I considered using Nemesis as it was my first-ever Agatha Christie and the book that hooked me on cozies for life. I was 12 years old, visiting my great-aunt Marcella in Wyoming, when I discovered that little gem. But, my favorite Dame Agatha is, in reality, Murder on the Orient Express. Because, yes, sometimes death is the only solution. Best quote:
“At the small table, sitting very upright, was one of the ugliest old ladies he had ever seen. It was an ugliness of distinction - it fascinated rather than repelled.”
But while we're on the topic of mysteries, my all time favorite is by an author who wrote as both Charlotte MacLeod and Alisa Craig. The world lost a great talent when she went and if I ever have the money, I will buy the rights to her books and keep them in print forever. Of all her books, my most adored is The Curse of the Giant Hogweed. It's a beautiful example of absolutely divine absurdity and I hope I can capture just a hint of it in my own writing. Best quote:
"Peter could only be glad they were at a British university, where it seemed not the done thing to notice eccentric behavior in elderly academics."
And last, but not least -- in fact, probably my absolute favorite, is a little nonfiction volume called The Wish List. Something along the lines of a bucket list, but not quite. The most intriguing part are the blank lines, lines in which you, the liver of your life, get to add in your own things to do. My own copy is more than 15 years old and it's dogeared with use and consideration. I've written in "collect poison rings" and "hike to the top of Stone Mountain."I've checked off "walk across the Brooklyn Bridge" and "throw a pie in someone's face," by not yet "see how jelly beans are made" and "spend a day on a nude beach." My favorite pre-printed item, and one I hope to check off someday is "Look good in hot pants, mules, and a mohair twin set." The one I just added today?
"Show up on someone's top 10 favorite books list."