Reading Challenge

booksNatasha Fondren is having a meme to generate a list of great books, and I thought I’d play along. Here are the questions:

•What book(s) made you a better writer?
•What book(s) made you cry?
•What book(s) made you laugh until you were in tears?
•What book(s) made you feel like you could conquer the world?
•What book(s) have you read three times or more?
•What book(s) kept you up all night reading?
•What book(s) do you want to read again?
•Any other recommendations?

So here I go:

•What book(s) made you a better writer? – I’m tempted to say every book I’ve ever read has made me a better writer. Specifically, I’d say books like CJ Sansom’s Shardlake series. The fine balance of historical details, immediacy and action, and character development are a classic, in my book. Iain M. Banks makes me want to strive to be better, because he is so often pitch-perfect.

•What book(s) made you cry? – My Dearest Enemey by Connie Brockway. There have been many, many, others, but the one scene stands out in that book for me as one where I had a good old howl. Also, The Little Matchgirl. I can sob, when I read that one. Not a pretty sight.

•What book(s) made you laugh until you were in tears? – Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett. The Stephanie Plum series. And many, many more, too numerous to count.

•What book(s) made you feel like you could conquer the world? – Gosh, this is hard. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. Plenty of others, too numerous to mention.

•What book(s) have you read three times or more? – The Danger by Dick Francis, The Lord of the Rings trilogy by C.S. Lewis, and most of Jayne Ann Krentz. And yes, I know Dick Francis and JAK write the same characters over and over, just with slightly different settings and plots, I 100% know that. And still, I read them again. I’ve pondered why and I think its my fascination with the ability to do just that, yet still make me nervous about the outcome, still grip me, still make me feel everything a reader should feel.

•What book(s) kept you up all night reading? – The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Books by Karen Rose. Books by Deborah Crombie. Books by Elizabeth George. Books by Tami Hoag.

•What book(s) do you want to read again? – Mmmmm. I’d like to re-read Sweet Fortune by JAK, but I’ve lost my copy and I can’t find it at the library. I wouldn’t mind re-reading Dark Paradise by Tami Hoag.

•Any other recommendations? – Anne Perry’s series set in Victorian England with Hester and William Monk. Excellent. Truly excellent.

Would you like to add a few books to this, or, if you tackle this on your own blog, link your post in the comments?

About Michelle Diener

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction and fantasy. To find out more about her and her novels, you can visit her website.
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16 Responses to Reading Challenge

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Better writer: Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase, Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie.

    Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans. A real tear-jerker. Marley & Me. Another big crying book at the end.

    Three times or more — too many to put down here. The first 3 I listed. Pride & Prejudice and Little Women. Proof by Dick Francis. Like you, many JAK books.

    While looking through my bookshelves to see which Dick Francis title was my fav, I picked up The Clairvoyant Countess by Dorothy Gilman to read again. I think I mailed you one of Zenna Henderson’s books. Her books about The People are wonderful. And The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber. She’s our guest blogger tomorrow. I read an ARC and LOVED it! I’ll read that more than three times.

  2. Kath Calarco says:

    I’ll play along (and I linked you at my blog). Here’s my answers:
    # What book(s) made you a better writer? Writing True, The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction, by Sondra Perl and Mimi Schwartz.
    # What book(s) made you cry? Wow, that’s a tough one. Gotta go with Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper and of course, Little Women (need I mention the author?).
    # What book(s) made you laugh until you were in tears? All of Christopher Moore’s books. Every stinkin’ one of them.
    # What book(s) made you feel like you could conquer the world? The Artists’ Way by Julia Cameron.
    # What book(s) have you read three times or more? None. Twice, yes, but three times, never.
    # What book(s) kept you up all night reading? Back when I could read at night, it was Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin and (blush) Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls.
    # What book(s) do you want to read again? Nicole Galland’s Fool’s Tale.
    # Any other recommendations? Women of the Silk by Gail Tsukiyama.

  3. spyscribbler says:

    What a great list, Michelle! And Edie and Kath! This is fantastic. I’m going to have a fabulous year!

  4. spyscribbler says:

    PS: The only ones I’ve read on your list are The Road, the Lord of the Rings, and the Stephanie Plum series. Wow, do I have a lot of books to explore!

    Thank you!

  5. LaDonna says:

    Hey Michelle, loved this! 🙂

    Like you, all the books I read make me a better writer in some way. Tear-jerker books..a lot, but Beaches comes to mind. Funny books, Land of a Hundred Wonders, althought this one has so many wonderful elements that make you feel…all. The all-night reading books are usually anything I’m totally into, although it’s been a while since I pulled an all nighter. I’ve read Whitney my Love more than three times; anything Judith McNaught qualifies for that. Conquer the World books would have to be a soul-read, something that connects and teaches me something or awakens me in some way. Love those! Books I want to read again, would have to be, The Help, and The Bronze Horseman. So many others, and since I’m not home I don’t have a bookshelf to guide me on this! 😆

  6. Liz Kreger says:

    Too many books to list. I can’t even refresh my memory with a peek at my library shelves because I’ve been boxing up my books in preparation of revamping my home office.

    However, three books really stand out in my mind. “The Count of Monte Cristo” which I’ve read at least a dozen times, “Message from Absolom” by Susan Anderson and “Down to a Sunless Sea” by an author whose name slips my mind right now.

  7. Alissa says:

    What book(s) made you a better writer?
    Most books I’ve read to be honest. Especially the well-worded ones. I’ve read Harry Potter many times (especially 6 and 7) and I’ve learned a lot of writing skills from JKR.

    What book(s) made you cry?
    Bridge to Terabithia, My Sister’s Keeper, only a few more that I can’t think of right now. I’ve only gotten extremely into books in the past year or two and I’ve just recently gotten interested in “deep” books as my mother calls them. So I haven’t cried much yet.
    What book(s) made you laugh until you were in tears?
    None so far, but I’m not so much for the comedy, even though I’m very humorous in real life!

    What book(s) made you feel like you could conquer the world?
    Hmm… Gosh that’s hard. Other than those Chicken Soup for the Soul books? No idea. Books don’t tend to get laughs from me or give me confidence. I’m more of a read, cry if nesecary, love or hate the book, and move on type of girl. No real lasting feelings except whether I liked it or not and whether it was sad or happy.

    What book(s) have you read three times or more?
    Harry Potter 6 & 7 (I’m too lazy to read 5 again – It’s over 800 pages!) Certain Twilight books in the series back when I was obsessed (but don’t worry I’ve moved on!) A Wrinkle In Time. Lots more I believe but I haven’t really gotten the chance to re-read with all the new/new to me books I want to read.

    What book(s) kept you up all night reading?
    All the Harry Potters by JK Rowling, all the Twilights by Stephenie Meyer, A Wrinkle In Time by Madeliene L’engle, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (still in the process of reading but so far very very good), You Don’t Know Me by David Klass (again still in the middle of it but very good).

    What book(s) do you want to read again?
    Lots, but specifically… The other Wrinkle in Time books in the series, Paperquake by Kathryn Reiss (a truly GREAT book!), My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, Don’t You Know There’s a War On by Avi, Bloomability by Sharon Creech

    Any other recommendations?
    The Notebook and all other books by Nicholas Sparks, all books by Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and Emily Bronte,

    I’ve been dying to read The Road by Cormac McCarthy but I couldn’t find that particular book by that author in the library (there were other books but not that one). And The Time Traveler’s Wife but unfortunately the movie is raising its popularity and making it difficult to get a hold of from the library.

  8. Michelle says:

    I recently read Lord of Scoundrels on your recommendation, Edie, and thought it was fantastic! And yes, I didn’t put it in, but I have read all of Jane Austen more than twice.

  9. Michelle says:

    Thanks, Kath. Fool’s Tale sounds good, I’ll get it.

  10. Michelle says:

    Pleasure, Spy! Hope you enjoy them. I have another recommendation: Q&A by Vikas Swarup. It was made into the movie Slumdog Millionaire, and is an excellent book.

  11. Michelle says:

    LaD, I haven’t read The Bronze Horseman, only Tatiana & Alexander, which is next in the series. Loved T&A, though. What a book!

  12. Michelle says:

    Liz, thanks for the reminder. I’ve read The Count of Montecristo AT LEAST twice, maybe three times. Love it.

  13. Michelle says:

    Hi Alissa, thanks for the Bridge to Terabithia recommendation. I’ve seen the movie on the DVD store’s shelves but it looks too scary for my kids (they are young). I’ll try to get the book. It looks like a story I’d love.

  14. Michelle says:

    And Alissa, sorry, thank you for reminding me about My Side of the Mountain. It was one of my favorite books as a teenager. I loved it. I can still remember it so clearly. What a great story.

  15. Michelle says:

    Thanks, Valerie. And I loved your list. I loved All the Pretty Horses, too. And The Time Traveller’s Wife, which was fantastic.

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