Shelf Awareness

I have a few questions for you…

  • What was your favorite book as a child?
  • Who are your top five favorite authors?
  • What book changed your life?

I’ve been asked to be the Book Brahmin, to answer a series of book-related questions, for an upcoming issue of Shelf Awareness. I love books. This should be easy.

But how ever will I choose? The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao! Refuge! Surely I’m overlooking something. Middlesex! I’ll send it off and realize that I’ve forgotten my favorite book of all time. Me Talk Pretty One Day! And then I will ask if it can really be my favorite book of all time if I had completely forgotten it. Sight Hound! These are the questions that keep me awake at night. OMG Cutting for Stone!

How would you answer? Or, how would you answer for me?

For those of you who don’t already know, Shelf Awareness is a newsletter about books and the book industry. They have two issues, one for trade professionals and a new one for readers. In the readers version, they write reviews and provide updates on books that are coming out that week. If you haven’t signed up for Shelf Awareness for Readers, you should. Right now they’re running a contest. You could win free stuff!

And just in case you’ve forgotten there are 55 days until Who in This Room: The Realities of Cancer, Fish and Demolition comes out.

11 thoughts on “Shelf Awareness

  1. peggy

    My favorite book as a ‘child’ is dependent on which era of ‘childhood’ we’re talking about.
    In elementary school, I read every single Black Stallion book many different times. Along with ‘My Friend Flicka’ (and sequels) and a series of books I could only find in my school library chronicaling the culture of the Blackfoot, Crow, Plains Cree and Arapahoe Indians.

    As an adolescent, I graduated to Willa Cather–‘O Pioneers’ and ‘My Antonia;’ not to mention ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,’ ‘The Outsiders,’ and, of course, ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ (just before it was banned by my Texas school . . .

    My top 5 authors–okay, going out on a limb here (and not necessarily in this order and subject to change depending on my mood):
    Tim Winton
    Jeffrey Eugenides
    Willa Cather
    Kent Haruf
    Summer Wood

    The book that most changed my life? Well, this is embarrassing but it was a little book published in 1959 by Jean Craighead George called, ‘My Side of the Mountain.’ Go figure–it was THE book that fostered my curiosity with all things alpine and forever after set my life on a course that has collided with mountains and living outdoors. I would not be who I am without having read that book a million times between the ages of 9 and 13.

  2. Tami

    Hmmm. I loved The Narnia Chronicles as a kid. Loved, loved, loved. And cried and cried when I finished the series.
    In high school I loved Slaughterhouse Five. My all time favorite book… Ooh it’s too hard! David Sedaris enters my mind, too … And Middlesex and Wicked and Jitterbug Perfume and The Red Tent and…
    The book that changed my life… Hmmm. Right now I wish I could say “You’re Four Year Old” had recently changed my life for the better but it was due back at the library before u had a chance to open it.

  3. Sarah Beckon

    For Phyllis Prentice: age 90.
    Favorite book as a child…Little Black Sambo
    daughter: “Did he do fun things?”
    Phyllis: “yes, and I loved him, and when you were little I found Babar.”
    daughter: “Favorite book?”
    Phyllis: “Kristen Lavansdatter” (spelling?) the trilogy.
    daughter: “Favorite author?”
    Phyllis: “I was an English Lit major at the University of Washington and worked in a bookstore. There have been so many favorite authors that I can’t remember them all. ”


  4. Ann

    children’s books….
    Loved Where the sidewalk ends’ by shel Silverstein – being able to memorize poems was very appealing
    Loved “The Great Brain” series as it was the first time the kids knew more than the adults
    Loved the “Little House on the Prarie” series and the Judy Bloom books.
    Loved Island of the Blue Dolphin – had to of re-read it a hundred times
    Loved ‘where the red fern grows’ – and not only because the dog’s name was Sandy Ann
    Roll of thunder hear my cry had a big impact on my
    Loved “the Bridge to Terabithia”
    Favorite authors are a toughon
    David McCoullough for biographies
    Fitzgerald and Hemingway
    Marcel Proust (and to be very pretentious, only in French)
    James Clavell (to be less protentious, cause I love historical fiction)

    books that changed my life…. interesting question….
    have to get back to you on that one

  5. Elizabeth

    Um… Didn’t everyone read every single Trixie Belden book? How about the Sweet Valley High books (I hear they are coming back in some form).

    But, more seriously… Gone With the Wind. Over and over. I still have my old dog eared copy. You know, the small ones that they used to sell for $4.99 at the grocery store?

    Oh – or Herman Wouk. Marjorie Morningstar was so fabulous. But, the Winds of War and all that came after. I do love a good epic!

    Just finished Cutting for Stone. LOVED (thanks mom!)

    But, sometimes the best “book” is the latest version of People Magazine, right?

  6. Anne Malmo

    As a child I really loved a fantasy book about an electric elephant that was hollow. The kids got inside and went under water and around the world. Very NOT PC on some subjects. “The Wonderful Electric Elephant”. I was scared to death of all of the Wizard of Oz books. I still have them all, probably the whole collection. But those monkey things could come get you.
    No single book changed my life, but big strong stories, trilogies, epics are my favorites. Not fond of bodice rippers, violence etc. Delicious sentence structure, words that flow in beautiful sequence are truly captivating.
    Michener epics, The Red Tent, Poisonwood Bible, The Thronbirds, Middlesex, Wrecker.
    Most moving, best written, most “stick to it-ness”, most memorable; “Who in this Room” by Katherine Malmo.

  7. Patricia

    Well, It took me a while to even think of any “favorites.” Because I love so many books!
    As a girl: Little Women. I wanted to be Jo. I felt sorry for Meg.
    To Kill a Mockingbird. And Salinger, and Heller–Catch-22. LOVED it. The Tolkien trilogy. Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Heinlein, Edward Abbey, Annie Dillard. See? Too many to mention.
    Okay, the ones that showed me what is possible, in writing and in life:
    Snow (Pamuk)
    The Brothers Karamazoff
    And tip-top: Annals of the Former World

  8. Jack

    Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
    HATCHET by Gary Paulsen
    Anything by Shel Silverstein
    Mark Twain – any book

    Lately, my favorite author’s have been:
    William P. Young wrote THE SHACK
    Katherine Malmo wrote Who In This Room

    Okay, here are some of my other favorite authors; Beverly Cleary, Jean Craighead George, Astrid Lindgren, Jack Prelutsky and many more.

    Oh, what’s that you say. these are authors of children’s books? Yes, I was a second and thrid grade teacher and I LOVED children’s books. I was very proud of my Caldecott Award book collection.

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