Sunday, January 9, 2011


Anyone who knows me knows that I actually have surpassed the moniker “Bookworm” and gone straight on through to “Bookaholic”. Where some people watch TV or movies, or scrapbook, or paint, I read. I read like it’s my job. I wish it was my job, because I’d be richer than Bill Gates if it was. If it was my job, Jeremy probably wouldn’t hate my reading obsession quite so much. He’s gotten to the point where he forbids me to buy books at full price- when you read a 300 page book in a day and a half, it just isn’t worth the 12.99. So I patronize libraries, friends, Ollie’s, and websites such as and

I’ve already written a blog about music that has helped me grow up. So here’s a list of books (in no particular order) that have influenced who I am, why I think the way I do, and my perception of life (whether it’s realistic or not) :

1. Rose in Bloom, by Louisa May Alcott: This is one of the first books I really remember reading and processing. I was too young to understand all of the feminist and transcendentalist undertones, but even now, as an adult, it’s still one of my favorites. It’s a sequel (which I didn’t realize at the age of 8, or I probably wouldn’t have read it first) to the book Eight Cousins, also fantastic. And I’ll never forget how heartbroken I was when I realized that the copy I had read and feasted on was abridged! ABRIDGED! Reading the “real” version, which I got when I was 14, was like reading a whole new book.

2. Pickwick Papers, by Charles Dickens: No one ever forgets their first Dickens. I would say that Pickwick Papers (which I got the inspiration to read from reading Little Women) is Dickens’ lightest book, with a lot more comedy and a lot less twists and turns than his later books.

3. Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers: Please don’t tell me you’ve never read this book. Please. If you haven’t, go buy a copy. It will change you, your perception of God, and of yourself.

4. Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery: There’s a scene in “You’ve Got Mail” where a woman is speaking to Meg Ryan’s character, Kathleen, about the time Kathleen’s mother gave her Anne of Green Gables. “’Read it with a tissue’, she said.” So true. Anne Shirley is an integral part of every little girl’s rite of passage. I first read the book (well, series) when I was 9, and I’ve read it an average of once a year since then. It still- still- makes me cry, and laugh, and sigh, as much as I did as a 9 year old girl.

5. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis: I know that’s actually 7 books, but I can’t just pick one, and I can’t separate them in my mind. This is another series I’ve read so much that the books were literally falling apart in my hands. Narnia really is a whole different world, that you can enter into so completely that’s it’s a shock when you wake up and realize you’re not surrounded by fauns and dwarves and talking animals.

6. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott: Love, love, love this book. And I’m sorry, Lou, but I still say Teddy and Jo should have gotten married. Not that I have anything against the Professor.... just sayin’.

7. Jane Austen: I can’t pick just one of her books. I think Emma was the first one I read, but I can’t even say that for sure. Every year, usually around early summer, I go on a Jane Austen kick where I read all 7 of her books back to back, plus the unfinished ones like Lady Susan and Sandition. I couldn’t get through my whole year without my Austen fix. I love the language, and the chivalry, and even the clever cattiness. I speak Austen in my head, but never out loud... I’m afraid most people wouldn’t understand what I was saying.

8. The Shack, by William P. Young: I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding this book, but for me, it changed the way I view my relationship with God... “Papa”. It was really vivid for me. I read it in less than 12 hours, and I cried probably half of that time. At least. Then when I was done, I closed the book and cried for another half hour. It reached me in places that I had let bitterness and unforgiveness close off, and spoke to me more than 10 years of church could have.

9. Savannah From Savannah, by Denise Hildreth: This is actually the first book in a trilogy, and let me just say, I laughed till I almost peed myself reading these books. I’ve reread them about 3 times since then, and I still laugh out loud every time. They are SO SO funny. And not only that, they’re heartwarming.

10. The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit), by J.R.R. Tolkein: I haven’t read these in probably close to 10 years, but I love them, and they are a staple of the Rothwell family. I’ve forgotten pivotal points in the story, so if anyone wants to buy me a gift...

11. The Wheel of Time series, by Robert Jordan: Keeping in the fantasy genre, this is the series I’m currently reading with half of my family (and the one I mentioned in my previous blog). So. so good. Robert Jordan’s writing style is the reading equivalent of listening to music. I get into the stories so deeply that I don’t even realize that I AM reading... my mind is seeing and hearing what the words say.

12. The Stephanie Plum series, by Janet Evanovich: I hate murder mysteries, suspense, or anything of the kind... but this series hooked me in so fast I read the first 15 of them plus the 4 novellas (laughing the whole time) in about 4 weeks... and I’ve been on the waiting list at the library for book 16 for about 2 months. Stupid slow readers.

13. Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens: There’s a scene in this book, where Bill is being followed by Nancy’s ghost, that creeped. me. out.for weeks. But aside from that, here’s something I love about Dickens: all of his characters’ lives intersect in this serendipitous way that should seem utterly ridiculous. But somehow, when you read them, it makes sense. Even in the midst of your surprised, “A-HA!” moment, you think, “Oh, yeah, I could totally see that happening”, even though you know it would never happen in real life.

14. Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, by Margaret Sidney: Aaahhh love this little book. It’s so innocent and sweet. A Cinderella story for a whole family. This is another one I read every year or so. I don't own a hard copy, I can't find it anywhere. So I've sat in a hard computer chair for hours at a time, squinting at the screen, reading it online. Still worth it.

Ok, ok, there are so many more, but I have to stop sometime. I’m curious, how many of these books have you read? Which books have stuck with you, influenced you, made you smile, laugh, cry, or get angry?

Now I have one more hour until my bedtime... I’m going to spend it reading.


  1. I speak Austen in my head, too, so I would totally understand what you're saying! :)

  2. I love Chronicles of Narnia! And Lord of the Rings!

  3. Taylor-Lynn, we really should have conversations. Sometimes I need to get Austen out of my head. LOL ;)