The other day, I was in Target and I made an impulse purchase. I said it was for my oldest daughter, but truth be told, it was really for me.
I bought her first copy of Charlotte’s Web. I don’t remember the first time I read Charlotte’s Web, though I imagine I was around the age she is now. What I do remember is Charlotte greeting Wilbur with “salutations” and declaring to all the world that he was “Some Pig” and “Radiant.”
Thinking back to some of the earliest books I’ve bought my girls, they were books I remembered loving as a child. Pat the Bunny was the first book I gave to my little one, along with a children’s Bible—I gave them to her for her first Easter, when she was less than two months old. Since then, I’ve given her other favorites of mine, and when books like The Monster at the End of this Book (starring lovable, furry old Grover) become favorites of hers, it makes me smile.
On that same trip to Target, I happened to see a collector’s magazine commemorating the 75th anniversary of the release of Gone with the Wind. Gone with the Wind is my all-time favorite—both book and movie. I saw the movie for the first time in fourth grade and read it for the first time the next year. I’ve probably seen the movie more than 200 times (don’t judge…it was the official background noise of my teen years, and yes, I realize that not many teens from the ‘90s would say that) and I’ve probably read the book more than 20 times.
A good book has the power to change our lives. When we identify with characters and a story so strongly, we can’t help but take the experience with us. That’s why a good writer works so hard to build believable characters, characters which are truly living people, who live in a world populated by descriptions so rich we as readers can literally see, smell, taste, and feel what’s going on.
And when something makes that kind of an impact on us as a reader, it’s part of the human experience to want to share that with others. To create another point of connection. And in my case with Charlotte’s Web, to share a slice of childhood with my own kids. And maybe, just maybe, to be a kid again for a small moment too…
When you read a good book, do you want to read it again? Do you recommend it to friends? Do you write a review? What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
Andrea Cox says
Kristen, when I read a great book, I recommend it to my friends and post reviews and spread the word on Facebook and Twitter.
The best book I’ve ever read? That depends on the day with me. So many wonderful ones to choose from. I’m partial to Dee Henderson’s O’Malley Chronicles, Beth Vogt’s Wish You Were Here, and Kim Sawyer’s My Heart Remembers, among others. A new favorite is Cara Putman’s Shadowed by Grace. I’m not even all the way through it yet, but the writing is so beautiful it calls to my soul.
Merrillee Whren says
When I was a kid, my mother read Old Bones, the Wonder Horse to me. I loved that book. It is a true story about a horse that won the Kentucky Derby. It made me a horse racing fan. I can’t say I have a favorite book. There are so many I like. When I read a good book, I recommend it to friends. Unfortunately, these days I have less time to read.
My daughter was wondering this weekend when she should start her 4-year-old on Little House books! And we’ve both been guilty of buying the little ones books we loved from eras past.
But the best book I ever read…that seems to change frequently. I’ve had many many favorites over the years!
Melissa Finnegan says
I am in total agreement. Gone with the Wind is my all time favorite book and movie. So good :)
I don’t have little ones to buy books for. Not complaining either but I do remember books from my youth. Some I have forgotten parts of or names for characters. It would be might full in my brain if I remembered every one I’ve ever read. My favorites as a child were the Bobsey Twins books. Then as I grew older and a better reader I found the library and checked out many books. I also had a reading mother and grandmother. Mother introduced me to Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot as well as Louis L’Amour and his westerns. She tried to get me interested in other authors she liked but I didn’t take to all of them. One she and my grandmother liked was Grace Livingston Hill. I still like to go back and read some of her stories now. I moved on to Asimov, Heinlein, Bradbury and other science fiction authors. Found Marion Zimmer Bradley and Anne McCaffery later. Introduced Mother to them as well. Some she liked and others she didn’t. What we had in common was our love of reading which lasted her lifetime and I’m sure mine as well. I have found some authors she would have liked since and I love, some are Loree Lough, Mary Connealy, Mesu Andrews, Janice Cantore, DiAnn Mills and so many others I can’t name them all. My favorite books? All of them. Then again, I love Anne McCaffery’s dragonriders series.