Most Influential Books of My Life
Recommended by Amy, one of the library's adult reference librarians.
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I can vividly remember reading this book with my mother when I was a little girl. I loved it because of the sweet story of Miss Suzy and her treehouse, which she temporarily lost to evil squirrels but subsequently regained, with the help of brave toy soldiers. I also loved the illustrations, which are classic of the books written in the 1960s with their swirling lines and earth tone colors.
I was always intrigued with this book when I was a young child, especially after my mother told me that I was named after two of the main characters. When I was old enough to read it myself, I was fascinated with the fact that a 19th century woman wrote a story that depicted women in strong and intelligent roles. The enduring story of the March girls, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, and their struggles both during and after the civil war, is a classic and has stood the test of time.
This was one of the first historical fiction novels that I ever read, and Ive been hooked ever since. The scribe Giraldus Cambrensis tells the story of King John of the Plantagenet family, who reigned in England from 1167 to 1216 a.d., in diary format. Not only is the story interesting with its courtly intrigue and political upheaval, but its also well researched and cleverly crafted.
Working in a library gives me a chance to receive excellent book suggestions both by patrons and by other librarians. The At Home in Mitford series (particularly the audiobooks, narrated by John McDonough) was one of the best suggestions that Ive ever received. The stories of Father Tim, an Episcopalian priest in North Carolina, and the quirky characters in his town of Mitford are warm and inviting. Each time a new book in this series is published, I feel like I go back and visit old friends.
Bernard Cornwell truly did an amazing thing when he wrote this and the subsequent books in the Warlords Chronicles series; he made King Arthur a real person. So real, in fact, that I almost forgot that Arthur is the stuff of legends and myths. Told by Arthurs best friend and advisor, Derfel, the story of post-Roman ruled England comes dramatically to life with all of its gritty details. Cornwell does such a remarkable job developing the characters, I was actually sad when I finished the last book. David Case does an exceptional job narrating these books as well.