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I JUST CAN’T STOP !

I JUST CAN’T STOP !

Do you remember the first book that you just couldn’t put down?  Like it’s 2 AM and you KNOW that you have to get up at 7 AM but you just can’t stop reading.  You HAVE to find out how things end up before you can even think about sleeping regardless of how tired you may be.  For me, that book was And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, and I was in eighth grade.

The book’s synopsis from Amazon.com says, “Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious U. N. Owen. At dinner a recorded message accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead. Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one . . . as one by one . . . they begin to die. Which among them is the killer and will any of them survive?”  As the guests continued to be killed, I had to keep reading to find out who would be next and – most importantly – who was the murderer.  As I grew older and read more and more books, I discovered that this plot was classic Christie and has since been reworked by many mystery authors.  At the time I was enthralled.  I continue to be so many years later.  If you have read this book, you know Christie continues to surprise you right through the last chapter of the book.

The only other book that I remember not being able to put down and having to read until I lost consciousness or finished was Stephen King’s first book Carrie.  Once upon a time, King was an unknown and picking up his first book was stepping into uncharted waters.  I really had no idea what I was getting into.  Amazon.com says of this book, “Stephen King’s legendary debut is  about a teenage outcast and the revenge she enacts on her classmates.  Carrie White may be picked on by her classmates, but she has a gift. She can move things with her mind. Doors lock. Candles fall. This is her power and her problem. Then, an act of kindness, as spontaneous as the vicious taunts of her classmates, offers Carrie a chance to be a normal…until an unexpected cruelty turns her gift into a weapon of horror and destruction that no one will ever forget.”  And how !  As the plotline played out, as Carrie went to the prom of her dreams, as her mother began acting crazier and crazier….this is not something you want to put aside and continue with the next day when you might have some spare time.  Holy mackerel !   What is going to happen next ????

And so….what was YOUR first book where you said, “ I JUST CAN’T STOP ! “ ?

 

10 Books That Stayed With Me (That Maybe You Haven’t Read)

Recently I noticed a social media post making the rounds in which you are supposed to list ten books that have stayed with you in some way.  The goal is not to overthink it, but simply take a few minutes and answer.  They don’t have to be great books or the “right” books, just books that have stayed with you, impacting you in some way.  So, in no particular order, here are ten books that have stayed with me:

1.     Nine Stories~ JD Salinger:  A collection of stories that is sometimes disturbing, but always full of melancholy.  My favorites are “For Esme–With Love and Squalor”, “Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes”, and “De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period”.
2.    Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret~ Judy Blume:  This emotionally intense and angst-filled novel has a storyline that is issue-oriented and character-driven.  It grabbed my attention in the 4th grade, and has stuck with me ever since!
3.    Big Russ & Me~ Tim Russert:  This biography is truly heartwarming and quite candid.  The beloved television journalist writes about the relationship between him and his father and offers valuable lessons in life.
4.    The Catcher in the Rye~ J.D. Salinger:  If I was stranded on an island and could only take one book, this is the one I would take! Salinger’s classic coming-of-age story is darkly humorous, reflective, and moving.
5.    The Body in the Library~ Agatha Christie:  This is the first Agatha Christie book I ever read, and it had me at the title!  Christie’s writing style is engaging and the storyline is intricately plotted in this Miss Marple case.
6.    Ethan Frome~ Edith Wharton: Admittedly, the tone is quite bleak and melancholic, but Wharton’s writing style is so descriptive and lyrical that I was sucked in on the first page and never put it down until I finished.  I shan’t spoil the story for you!
7.    On Writing: a Memoir of the Craft~ Stephen King:  A practical view of the writer’s craft, King‘s advice is grounded in memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer.  The style is conversational, and the tone is reflective and darkly humorous.
8.    The Murder of Roger Ackroyd~ Agatha Christie:  Not your conventional Agatha Christie story!  It is one of her best known and most controversial novels, with an innovative twist ending, and is considered her masterpiece.
9.    The Notebook~ Nicholas Sparks:  This was Nicholas Sparks’ first published novel, and I think it’s his best work.  The poignant love story was inspired by his wife’s grandparents and is told through scenes from the past and a collection of intensely personal letters.
10.  Wrecked~ Maria Padian:  I just read this YA novel recently.  It’s a multi-faceted interpretation of a sexual assault on a college campus that will leave you thinking how memory and identity, what’s at stake, and who sits in judgment, all shape what we believe.
It’s always nice to see people celebrating books, but my favorite part of book lists is learning about books that I haven’t heard of before or that I haven’t read yet. So with that in mind, what books have stayed with you?