August 3, 2015

what's on my bookshelf? from alcott to christie

Blogger's Note: After years of sharing my thoughts on books through book releases and #bookselfies, throughout the month of August I'll be giving you a closer look at what books are in my home library.

My first bookshelf is kind of badass when you get down to it. Though it only encompasses about 20 books from authors that fall between Louisa May Alcott and Agatha Christie, you get a good taste of what the rest of my collection will hold.

There's a nice mix of historic and contemporary classics; cozy mysteries and anything but cozy mysteries; chick lit and romance; local and international; traditional and independent; young adult to stories I'd prefer my future kids wait until they're mature enough to handle. Another common theme this shelf shares with many others we'll explore in the weeks ahead of us: there's a mixture of books I've never read, stories I've read once, and ones I go back to over and over again.

This shelf has a lot of power when it comes to stories that I go back to over and over again. Stories that have changed my life.

A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich is one of them. I read this book for the first time in fifth grade when my homeroom teacher learned about my love for the Little House book series. She wrote me a note in my reading journal suggesting I check out Bess Streeter Aldrich, who also wrote historical fiction based on her life and she was practically local, coming from nearby Elmwood, Nebraska. I read the book and I loved it. I went on to do a major book report and presentation on it--complete with me wearing my grandma's dress and bonnet from the Nebraska centennial celebration--and I earned a Girl Scouts patch for studying a local women's author.

(Sidebar thought: Does the Nebraska Girl Scouts organization still feature a different women's author/writer each year for girls to research and learn about? I sure hope so, because what an amazing idea!)

There's a ton of power contained in the Complete Novels of Jane Austen. This heavy volume contains dozens of characters and lines that inspire and thrill me each time I read them. Though I'd read Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility in other volumes, this specific copy was the one I used to read Persuasion for the first time. I later studied the story going back to review it again and again when I was plotting and writing The Marrying Type.

I recently (and finally) read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I figured it was about time after watching Michael Fassbender play Mr. Rochester dozens of times. Though it kind of took me forever to read it, I'm glad I did. While the movie was amazing, there were so many lines, so many little asides that weren't included, but that I immensely enjoyed.

This will also be our first, but not last, sighting of Agatha Christie books. (I'll save the story about those later.) But along the lines of mysteries, I have the first three Body Movers by Stephanie Bond. I actually reviewed the second book in the series for my college newspaper, and I had a chance to attend a day-long writing seminar led by Stephanie. While many of the stories on this shelf inspired me to become a writer, I would say that the day I spent listening to Stephanie talk about her method for plotting and her tips for maintaining steady writing was probably one of the most influential moments in my writing career. I still think about her advice often when I write, and I've carried those lessons with me and made them my own.

The Complete List of Books Featured on This Shelf:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
SECRET by L. Marie Adeline
A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
The Ideal Wife by Mary Balogh
In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister
Body Movers by Stephanie Bond
2 Bodies for the Price of 1 by Stephanie Bond
3 Men and a Body by Stephanie Bond
Daydreamer by Brea Brown
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Big Boned by Meg Cabot
The Elite by Kiera Cass
The One by Kiera Cass
The Selection by Kiera Cass
My Antonio by Willa Cather
13 for Luck by Agatha Christie
The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie
Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie
The Big Four by Agatha Christie

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