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Thursday, July 23, 2009

My most influential book when I was a teen

By the time I reached middle school I had exhausted the “teen” selections in our small local library. In order to find new titles—I could only read Nancy Drew so many times—I moved up to adult books. And nearly 100% of the adult books I read belonged to my mother and grandmother. Luckily for me, they loved to read as much as I do, but I was limited by the titles they owned or traded.

Keeping that in mind, here are a few of the books and authors I loved as a teen.

The first one I remember is THOMASINA: THE CAT WHO THOUGHT SHE WAS GOD by Paul Gallico. I was and am a cat lover, and this story of a cat that was wrongly euthanized and came back to life—thinking she was an Egyptian goddess—was one of my favorites. Shortly before I read it, my beloved cat, Old Tom, found his way home two years after my parents gave him away to a farmer. Inspired by THOMASINA, I wrote several stories about Old Tom’s adventures on the road.

Mom and Grandmother were mystery lovers, which is why I grew up on mysteries. I adored Daphne Du Mauier, especially her classic REBECCA with its dark, spooky secrets. And I pored through Phyllis Whitney’s books where young women thrown into exotic surroundings found the courage to face danger and death—and find the love of their lives. Sigh.

One of the few books I read more than once as a teen was GONE WITH THE WIND, even though Scarlett O’Hara annoyed the crap out of me. What woman in her right mind turns down Rhett Butler? Not me. Although I suspect Rhett’s at least partly to blame for my infatuation with bad boys that lasted through my 20s.

Those are my choices. Now that they’re on my mind, I may sit down and read them all again.


Stephanie Kuehnert said...

I have never read Thomasina but as a cat lover I think I must find it!

And dude, I have been trying to track the root of the bad boy love thing and Rhett Butler for sure is one of the early culprits!

Jan Blazanin said...

It takes a strong woman to resist that bad boy combination of charm, good looks, and danger.