Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Take Home Tuesday Hosted by Katherine Garbera

UPDATE: The two winners of Katherine Garbera's SONS OF PRIVILEGE series are Veronica and Mona. Congrats! Please email your physical addresses to contests(at)knightagency(dot)net -- insert an @ sign and period where indicated. Also, Margay (A DROP OF RED by Chris Marie Green) and Lisa F. (WICKED HOT by Charlene Teglia) have not claimed their Take Home Tuesday prizes. If the addresses are not emailed by midnight, March 18, 2008, we will redraw names.
Thanks to everyone who participated. Check back next Tuesday for another fantastic book giveaway!
The novelist's task is not merely the accumulation but the illumination of details.—J. D. McClatchy
There are books that I have turned to time and again throughout the course of my life. Books that continue to illuminate for me some human characteristic that keeps me intrigued. It’s a thing that keeps me questioning and questing toward answers. For me it is rooted in family and individuality. I grew up in a family with two sisters. The three of us girls were very close in age (only three years between me--the oldest--and the youngest) and were often treated as a group entity. In some of my earliest memories I was referred to simply as a Smith Girl.
While I liked that feeling of belonging that having my sisters gave me I struggled to figure out who I was by myself. As a pre-teen I found the books of Madeleine L'Engle and immediately identified myself with Meg. I could feel the same stress she did about her responsibility to her family and her siblings. But also she was lost in the family. Just her birth-order place made her who she was.

Another book that I loved was FROM THE MIXED UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER by E.L. Koningsburg. I really loved this story because it talked of escape from the daily routine. Claudia takes her younger brother with her and they run away to the city. Something I always longed to do and then they discover the truth behind a donated piece of art.

This books illuminated for me that I wasn't the only one who was lost as a child. And because I'm such a book worm, I found the same sense of self in the books I read as a young woman. I drowned in romance novels which inspired me to be a strong, independent woman and to wait for a man who loves me. Those books made me believe that happily ever after isn't just for fairy tales but for women who want it. And I did.

Some of my favorite authors back then were Johanna Lindsey, Anne Stuart and Rebecca Flanders. But while romance helping me to figure out the details of what I wanted in a relationship the books of Margaret Atwood were helping me answer questions about myself. About my individuality, which is something I continuously struggle with. The book that did this for me was THE EDIBLE WOMAN.

That book is still one of my favorites for two reasons: the first and most obvious is that the heroine goes through a transformation in the book that I could identify with. She goes from being this woman who is bumping along on her expected path (the one that everyone expects of her and the one she herself has come to accept for herself) when she is changed. And that change comes in how she views herself. This book is fiction but I got a lot more from it than just a good read.

The second reason I love this book is that it made me aware of point of view. And that was one of the things I needed to figure out to become a writer. In THE EDIBLE WOMAN the story starts in first person. The heroine is thinking about herself in first person as we should. As we do in real life. Then as the heroine is coming to the change in herself the narrative switches to third person. The heroine no longer is a part of herself but viewing her life from the outside. Then once she is back to herself she switches again to first person.

I love that. I love the way that Margaret Atwood makes storytelling part of the story. How effortlessly she weaves that story and the heroine's journey together.

There are other books that have affected me as a woman and a writer but I could go on for days if I talked about them all.

What about you? Have you read a book that changed something inside you? Or made you feel not so alone?

I will give away two prizes today to randomly drawn participants of this blog. The prize is my Sons of Privilege series from Silhouette Desire.

Happy Reading!



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Blogger Kara said...

Gosh...how to pick one book that changed something inside me - there are so many that come to mind.

What I do when I read a book - if there is a quote or section of a book that really speaks to me - helps me change something about myself or reflects where I am at the moment - I open One Note and I keep a journal of all those quotes. There are sections in my One Note journal that are "Self-disocovery" "Relationships" "Book Quotes" "Family" etc.

One book that does come to mind is Never Change by Elizabeth Berg - the main character in story - the way she sees herself is so like me. I loved watching her transformation.

I enjoy going back and reading those things that I quoted - they mean so much to me. I also keep a journal in One Note and it is something to go back and read what I thought about myself a year ago and how far I've come.

I really want to read your favorite book by Margaret Atwood - I haven't read her before. Sounds like something I would enjoy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 10:27:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Kathy said...

I've never heard of One Note what is that? I keep journals but not usually about books. I have a couple of books by Elizabeth Berg on my bookshelf but I haven't read them yet.

I'll have to check them out!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 11:00:00 AM EDT  
Blogger ~ Veronica ~ said...

Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier is one of my long time favorites. The main character has spent most of her life unnoticed, until she meets & marries the man of her dreams and must face the ghost of his dead wife, Rebecca, and the wrath of Rebecca's devoted housekeeper. I identify with having to put the ghosts of the past to rest - whether real or imaginary - over coming personal insecurity and finding the inner strength to become the woman you are destined to be and share a life filled with the love -

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 1:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger CrystalGB said...

One book that really touched me was The Bridges of Madison County. Even though the story involved adultery, I found Robert and Francesca's love story to be touching. It made me think how deep and enduring love can be even if the relationship is for a short time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 4:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Karen in TN said...

I think we are ultimately changed by everything we read, sometimes in ways we are not even aware of.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 4:47:00 PM EDT  
Blogger tetewa said...

This would be a new author for me, count me in!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 6:00:00 PM EDT  
Blogger macbeaner said...

OMG. You are so taking me back to the days. ahhh....

And my book would be Stand By Me

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 6:16:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Karin said...

It is so hard to pick a book, or books, that have changed something in my life because there have been so many that had tiny little impacts.

However, if I were to choose, I'd have to go with the Anne of Green Gables series. My mom and I started reading this series together when I was about 9 and it was such a powerful book in that Anne has to figure out who she is. I always loved her comments about how she would've preferred the name Cordelia to plain old Anne, though the 'e' made it better than Ann. It was her acceptance of herself as she grew older than really had an impact as I grew older as well and re-read the books over and over. I still love to pick them up and read, or skim, them when I have a chance.

While I have read some Margaret Atwood before, I haven't yet read Edible Woman. I think I may have to pick it up now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 6:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Raven99 said...

Many books have touched me or made me really think about their subject matter. One that stands out is Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

Man's Search For Meaning is a beautiful story about a man who searched for a meaning to his life despite living in a concentration camp. The man lived through hellish circumstances, but he still held on to hope, love, and his values. It is very inspiring and really helps put life in perspective. The book's main theme is that a life with a purpose is a life worth living. I read the book years ago, but I remember that it made me realize how important courage and love are when facing day to day life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 6:51:00 PM EDT  
Blogger whateverfor said...

A book that really changed me with one of those "huh" moments was Toni Morrison's "Beloved". It brought about great questions about what acceptable sacrifices for our loved ones and when is it okay to exact a sacrifice and when is it okay to make a sacrifice. But it was also very dark - and most don't feel comfortable talking about it.

On a lighter side, my first foray into the romance genre of fiction was Gena Showalter's "The Nymph King". I loved Shay's character - I loved how she could be uber feminine but so jaded she could blind you with her sharp tongue. It was empowering, and humorous, and of course reminded me of the intricacies of the human condition.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 8:36:00 PM EDT  
Blogger whateverfor said...

Oh, and I *LOVE* Margaret Atwood!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 8:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nikki said...

Ok, so someone else already said Anne of Green Gables, I'll have to go with the Hobbit. I loved that big simply for the fact that my dad loved it and he gave it to me. After I read it, I felt like we truly had something in common.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 9:47:00 PM EDT  
Blogger donnas said...

I have not had one particular book affect me like that but I have had bits and pieces of many do that. Whether is was just a word or a phrase or a whole section.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 11:47:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Mona said...

Hope I'm not too late. Please, count me in :-)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 1:20:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not really but i belive in hea

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 1:44:00 AM EDT  

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