Win a SONY Reader. It’s as easy as sharing your emotions.

Digital Influence Group contacted me recently on behalf of SONY. Would I be interested in giving away a SONY Reader Pocket Edition™ valued at $199.99 on Writer Unboxed? If I agreed, I would also receive a reader, as compensation for our participation. Win-win!

The reason for the promo is to introduce SONY’s Words Move Me website to a larger readership. The site’s goal, according to SONY is “to celebrate the words that move us and to share our reading experiences with others.” Visit the Words Move Me site and you’ll have the opportunity to create an account, then insert moments or memories you have about books that touched you. What emotions did they evoke?

Digital Influence Group asked me to participate, so I registered at Words Move Me, then considered which books have touched me and why. I chose five to share–some tried-and-true, some new–and mentioned a range of emotions, which you can see for yourself here.

So how can YOU win a SONY Reader? No purchase necessary to enter or win. Odds of winning are not increased by a purchase. Instead, you just have to share with us here in comments three literary memories and how they made you feel. Be sure you mention books’ titles and authors. One winner will be chosen from all valid comments left between now and Friday, November 20th, and will be announced next Monday.

Once you’ve submitted your comments, why not check out the Words Move Me website for yourself? Read through others’ comments or add your own. The site really is a great way to share literary experiences with others who love to read. And SONY didn’t even ask me to say that.

Good luck, everyone!


About Therese Walsh

Therese Walsh co-founded Writer Unboxed in 2006. Her second novel, The Moon Sisters, was named a Best Book of 2014 by Library Journal and BookRiot. Her debut, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, sold to Random House in a two-book deal in 2008, was named one of January Magazine’s Best Books, and was a Target Breakout Book. She's never been published with a lit magazine, but LOST's Carlton Cuse liked her Twitter haiku best and that made her pretty happy.


  1. BenM says

    Well, that was rather nice of them now, wasn’t it?

    Some literary experiences eh? Well, one of the most profound was pulling Thomas Keneally’s ‘Schindler’s Ark’ from my dad’s bookshelf twenty or so years ago, when I was thirteen years old. I devoured the book, and although it had its challenges, found it, in the end, immensely uplifting.

    Most recently was Fyodor Dostoevsky’s ‘The Brothers Karamazov’. Being the eldest of three boys, having lost my father many years ago and having sons of my own, I found this to be an immensely moving story.

    And lastly is Douglas Adams’ ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. As a teenager I adored it, but it’s only in recent years I’ve come to fully appreciate his ironic criticism of contemporary culture. I guess some things do get better with age.

  2. says

    Guy Gavriel Kay is far too good at making me cry when I read his books, but there was a moment in The Last Light of the Sun that forced me to put the book down and bawl. The exact words are a little odd–they constitute a sentence fragment: “Marion’s response.”

    Marion is a milkmaid whose sister was murdered the previous year by a passing Viking. At the beginning of the scene, you (the reader) have never met Marion; she hasn’t been part of the story. But then Kay paints her into life. She’s a young woman tied in knots of grief and rage, living in a society where women can’t act on such emotions. For a year, she has strangled emotions that refuse to go away.

    But then Kay gives Marion a chance to strike back. She overhears a group of Viking raiders passing her father’s farm. “Marion’s response” ends up making a concrete difference to the fight and gives her the beginnings of closure on her sister’s death.

    At the beginning of that scene, you’d never met her. By the end, Kay has you caring so intensely for Marion that her relief becomes yours–and undoes you completely.


    The moments that affect you most in fiction are those when you get a shock of insight that illuminates the whole book. The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, contains a powerful example of this.

    In the novel, a deeply religious man recounts an amazing story: When he was a child, he survived a shipwreck by floating away on a life raft that also held a live Bengal tiger. Through courage and cleverness, the boy (and tiger) live.

    But as you read The Life of Pi, certain things don’t add up. The man telling the story is timid and emotionally fragile, yet the boy he describes is plucky and dauntless. How are they the same person?

    I won’t spoil the ending for you, but there comes a moment when the title character says, “And so it is with God”, and then begins crying.

    And that moment is the key that unlocks the puzzle. At that point, you abruptly realize how these two characters are the same person, and what really happened on the life raft–which is much grimmer than what the man described.

    That revelation not only shocked me when I read the book, it stuck with me for years afterward.


    Writers get told to “show, don’t tell”. Terry Pratchett’s book The Light Fantastic contains an instance of this which made me laugh like a lunatic.

    The wizard Rincewind, notable mostly for his extreme cowardice, is being bullied into going on a mission to a dangerous locale. He is resisting strenuously. Part of of his defence is to launch into an imaginative and morbid description of all the monsters and horrors he will meet. This description ends with the words, “…and walruses wif teef nike niff.”

    Can’t you picture the man with his fingers stuck in his mouth mimicking huge tusks? Pratchett doesn’t say that’s what Rincewind is doing–he only implies it. Implies it with spelling, no less. Now that is a subtle and effective use of “show, don’t tell.”
    .-= jjdebenedictis´s last blog ..Meaty Monday: SiWC 2009; Psych 101 For Fiction, Eileen Cook =-.

  3. says

    My three literary memories come from important turning point in my life:

    “Tiger” by William Blake – The opening lines, “Tiger, tiger, burning bright /In the forests of the night” were among the first words I ever read on my own. The memory these words conjure of bedtime reading lessons with my mother always fill me with both the warmth of nostalgia and a gratitude for the love of reading they gave me.

    “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne – I chose to read this novel for a choose-your-own-book book report assignment in the fourth grade. Of course as a fourth grader I was utterly ignorant of what adultery even was and yet, despite not understanding this major plot point, still identified with the main character’s alienation. It was the book that, over time, has taught me how much re-reading a book at different points in your life allows you to grasp new meanings.

    “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut – I remember being only a few chapters into this book when I suddenly realized: “Oh my goodness, you can *do* that in a novel?” My love for experimentation with plot and character can be traced back to this book, and for that I am extremely grateful.

  4. says

    I’ve been wanting a Sony Reader since they 1st came out but haven’t been able to get one, so here is a great opportunity. I read A LOT! Now to just pick 3 books and actually talk about emotions is a tough one for me hehe
    First off I will pick The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh. I knew this book would be phenomenal because I had read the original manuscript for it, called Unbounded and completely fell in love with Teri’s writing style. This book was incredible, like nothing I had ever read before and Last Will was even better which I didn’t think was possible. I have 2 sisters so it brings you back to your memories of childhood, good and bad. Every scene in the book captured me perfect details. I couldn’t put it down.
    Second book would be, Jemima Jay by Jane Green One of my favorite books. It makes you empathize with Jemima Jay as she struggles to be comfortable in her own skin and to trust the people around her. I have had the same issues and they aren’t easy to overcome. You really root for her to get everything she wants and to be treated well.
    Third book would be Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts. This was one of the first books I read that just grabbed me and made me WANT to read. Since then I haven’t put books down. I truly was never a reader, never read one book in school honestly, so this has to have something spectacular to have had such a profound change on me. In this book you go through every emotion which is what keeps a reader hooked. It ended happily which I love also. At times you want to enter the book and beat the father and hug Americas and her mom.
    I recommend all of these books and look forward to all of the books that have moved you for inspiration.
    .-= Tina Hendrickson´s last blog ..TinaMH824: RT @scoutmasterson: RT @NOH8Campaign: Official #NOH8 T-Shirts R now 4 sale at pls help supprt #equality =-.

  5. says

    O.k., narrowing it down to three, I’ll choose reading ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST in college, discovering crime fiction through Robert Crais and L.A. REQUIEM, and one of my all time favorites that I’ve read many, many times PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

    When reading ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST in college I was simply astounded that someone could create such characters and atmosphere. Dealing with an unreliable narrator – with schizophrenia? And the level of symbolism and social commentary were astounding as well. I was absolutely giddy discussing it in our class. It was the book that made me decide to pursue my degree in English litearture.

    The vast majority of what I read now, and what my blog focuses on is crime fiction. Robert Crais is a big factor in my discovering and loving the genre. And anyone who believes that crime fiction isn’t literary has not read it. L.A. REQUIEM was a courage book for Crais to read. He disregarded traditional “rules” for the genre and the result is simply spine tingling. He developed characters that I to this day carry around in my head, as close to real friends as book characters can be. And not having been to Los Angeles before reading his books, I came to know and love the city. Crais blends a dark plot with amazing, intelligent humor. This book not only entertains, it challenges the reader to become a part, to interact with the book. For me that was a fulfilling reading experience.

    And finally, a life-long favorite is PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. One of the books that really secured my love of reading. I cheered for Elizabeth and her gumption. I related to her and her feelings about love and marriage and family even though we’re in two different times and cultures. The beauty of the language pulled me into a world I literally luxuriated in. What more can you ask for?
    .-= Jen Forbus´s last blog ..Watch this space… =-.

  6. says

    Candide by Voltaire. Satire never goes out of style. This book made me realize that classics can be funny. I’ve read it several times. Voltaire’s commentary on the human condition and certain philosophies really grab the attention due to the way he presents it.

    House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. This book really brought this period of history alive to me. Lily Bart’s downfall is tragic. My favorite quote from the book, “Don’t you ever mind,” she asked suddenly, “not being rich enough to buy all the books you want?”

    The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank. To me, this is one of those books that everyone should read. World War II was very big. This book brings the focus down to a single family so it is easy to relate. Read it, lest we forget.

  7. says

    My favorite literary memory — not a book but college classes — was the brilliant idea of me taking TWO literature classes in the same semester! I had to read at least two complete books every week that semester on top of my regular college reading. Thanks to those classes, I discovered many classics in a short time: Heart of Darkness, Billy Budd, As I Lay Dying, Love in the Time of Cholera and more. Some I hated, some I thought were middle of the road and some I enjoyed. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but I’m grateful I took the classes otherwise I would have never had time to read these classics — I just wish they were not at the same time.

    “Julius Caesar” — We had to memorize the “Friends, Romans and countrymen” speech. I hated memorizing, but I am grateful to my English teacher for giving me an appreciation for Shakespeare’s stuff — something I didn’t get the year before reading Romeo and Juliet with a bad English teacher.

    “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe — I read this twice in college for two different literature classes. I don’t know what it was about it, but I remember the novel affected me. Maybe it was the exploration of a different culture and a different time. Maybe it was because it was very different from anything I had read up to that point. The author also visited my college campus — I didn’t meet him.
    .-= Meryl K Evans´s last blog ..Developing Your Fiction Platform =-.

  8. says

    I first read Madeline L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” as a young teenager. I remember the instant kinship I felt with Meg and her temper and frustration at life. It was the first time I realized that it was okay to feel negative emotions. If this wonderful heroine could be less than perfect, than I could be, too. I have since read that book many times, most recently when my youngest read it a few years ago and it hasn’t lost the power it had for me when I was a child.

    I discovered Patricia McKillip’s “The Riddle Master” trilogy when I was in college and while I had read many, many fantasy books before (and since) I have never read a book that moved me as much. The writing was like reading poetry–lush and lyrical. The characters were people who I felt deeply about. And it was one of the first fantasy books I’d ever read where the female characters were strong, primary characters and not an afterthought. Even 25 years ago, before I had ever thought to write anything but bad angsty poetry, reading this book made me want to write something worthy of it.

    When I was in 6th or 7th grade, one of my teachers had a copy of Frank Herbert’s “Dune” that had many of its pages ripped. He said if I wanted, I could keep it. I remember painstakingly taping all the ripped pages and then devouring the book over the course of a week. I was probably too young to really understand or appreciate even half of its complexity, but I was blown away by the reality of this desert world and its culture. I had memorized the ‘fear is the mind killer’ litany and for many years afterward, recited it when I was afraid.

    This isn’t a specific literary memory, but one of the strongest images of my childhood is of me climbing a tree in front of my house with a satchel of books. This was where I spent many of my summer days–reading in the shelter of a maple tree.

  9. says

    “Where the Red Fern Grows,” by Wilson Rawls: This was the first book to ever make me cry. It was a powerful lesson in terms of how much a book or story could move me. Big Dan and Little Ann. Sniff.

    “The Fountainhead,” by Ayn Rand: I read this in high school and, man, what a story. Rand gets knocked quite a bit for the quality of her writing and her philosophy, but that woman could sure tell a story. The love and passionate scenes between Howard Roark and Dominique Francon, besides being totally hot, amazed me — it was remarkable, really, how much I rooted for and wanted two fictional characters to be together.

    “Self Help,” by Lorrie Moore: I read her first collection of short stories during the first semester of my freshman year in college. I knew going into college that I wanted to be a writer, but this book sealed the deal for me.

  10. Rita says

    Oh! Oh! Michael Connelly’s Scarecrow. I won’t tell all cause it’s a spoiler. But the protagonist is searching for a sock and finds something. ewwww! Reading that in bed at eleven thirty at night gave me the heebee jeebies. HA!
    Dear goodness, Steven King’s Cujo. I still have concerns about St Bernards. And sometimes Chihuahuas.
    Linda Howard’s Cry No More touched my heart. What a young woman goes through to find a baby taken from her only to give him up again. A mother’s love! I was so into the story I was sad when I read the end.
    I read for pure entertainment. To be pulled into a story in a time and place I wouldn’t go normally. There are gillions, okay maybe dozens, more stories that do the same.
    Thanks to you Therese and Sony for reminding us why we like to read.

  11. says

    1. Reading the Grapes of Wrath for the first time pushing 40 – I had never read Steinbeck before and a friend said I needed to read it. I’ve had mixed success reading classic American Lit. so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I loved it. It was a revelation to read engaging direct prose.

    2. Reading Annie Dillard’s The Living – I read this in my 20’s. Dillard transported me to this Northwest Coast settlement and pulled me through generations of people there, sharing their hardships and their fleeting joy.

    3. Reading The Lord of the Rings for the second time. I tried reading Tolkien’s epic fantasy as a young teenager, but, finding it utterly different than The Hobbit, I put it down. I read it in its entirety in my early twenties than again before the movies started rolling out. The depth of Tolkien’s world inspired me to tell a friend, “I want to become a Middle Earth historian!”

    Thanks for the contest and the great posts here at Writer Unboxed!
    .-= Jonathan´s last blog ..Writer Identity, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Process =-.

  12. says

    1) Elizabeth Gilbert’s EAT, PRAY, LOVE struck me at a time when I really needed to be struck. Her tales of her year spent abroad — most specifically, her time in Bali — resonated with me so much that I could NOT stop talking about her book, including quoting bits daily on my blog. Just hearing from someone who had lived through similar experiences made my situation seem survivable.

    2) I read Khaled Hosseini’s A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS a year ago and it STILL touches me. The hope that his characters find through even the most desolate situations, again made my situation more bearable. Yes, there’s a theme here. I strive to write prose as elegant and as touching as his, and hope that someday I can touch readers in the same way he has.

    3) Audrey Niffenegger’s THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE struck me on an even more personal level. I’m from Chicago and would love to live there for the rest of my life, but I haven’t lived there since the beginning 2007. Her book takes place in my old neighborhood — the female MC even gets takeout at one of our favorite restaurants, the place we ate our last night in the US — and it was like I was time traveling back to my past. The love story at the heart of the book gave me hope that you can overcome obstacles, no matter how daunting, if you just have a little faith in yourself.

    Now I realize these are all personal reasons and may not hold true for anyone else, but these books have stayed with me long after I read them. While I admire that skill as a fellow writer, I’m grateful for that skill as an individual who’s needed something to hang on to.
    .-= Melanie´s last blog ..‘Tis the Season =-.

  13. says

    As a girl growing up in the Philippines, books were my window to a fascinating world. Here are three that moved me:

    On my typewriter, I copied passages from Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” that (a) made me look forward to first love [Laurie’s unrequited love for Jo] and (b) made me aspire to become a novelist.

    Okay, I was only 12 when I discovered Charlotte Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” but I swooned over the Heathcliff and Catherine’s passionate romance.

    Daphne du Maurier’s amazing short stories (like “The Birds”) SCARED the heck out of me, but her novel “Frenchman’s Creek” made me a rabid fan. I remember feeling conflicted that I was rooting for a pirate! :-)
    .-= Jewel/Pink Ink´s last blog ..Looking Out My Window =-.

  14. says

    Oh, fun!

    1) When I read Anne Frank’s diary at age 11, I felt like I was looking in a mirror (at my own angst, it turned out). I had always kept journals that were happy little books full of cute stories, but I was scared to be honest about my darker feelings. After reading Anne Frank’s diary, I started writing a journal to my own “Kitty” (er, “Meg”). When I look back at it now, I’m struck by the fact that my dark feelings were things like “my brother teases me about boys,” but at the time the honesty was revolutionary for me.

    2) When I was in high school, I fell in love with PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK by Annie Dillard. I could taste her words. She made me want to go outside on my family’s farm and listen to dirt, smell trees. I wrote her a long, poetic fan letter and was amazed to get a letter back… the fact that she opened it up by saying “How well you write!” still sticks with me and warms me when I start to doubt myself! I was amazed that a real author took the time to write back to me (on paper, no less). If I’m ever anywhere close to Dillard’s position, I hope I respond to fan letters too!

    3) It’s funny to put this book in the same class, but Jennifer Wiener’s book GOOD IN BED really changed me when I was about 21. Through my childhood and college years, I loved the classics and never really (bothered to) connect with modern commercial fiction. I didn’t think the feelings I got from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE existed in modern books. GOOD IN BED was written beautifully and literally made me laugh and cry. It destroyed my book-snobbishness and opened my eyes to the potential of chick lit and modern writing.
    .-= Maya´s last blog ..New Haveil Havelim! =-.

  15. says

    Wow, thanks to Digital Influence Group/Sony and Therese/Writer Unboxed for this opportunity!!

    1. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery – I’m sure I’m not alone in loving Anne Shirley or the world of Green Gables and Avonlea. She is of course the original and ultimate kindred spirit, and her adventures captivated my imagination and my heart. I felt like I was strolling alongside her down the lanes of Prince Edward Island. I was taken in by Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. And Gilbert Blythe was probably my first love. Anne is a classic, and her noble but still flawed spirit definitely played a part in shaping me as a reader and as a person.

    2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – I distinctly remember reading this book in 8th grade because it taught me that reading for school was not mutually exclusive of reading for pleasure. I began to understand that “serious literature” did not have to be boring, stiff, or impossible to understand. This book awakened a more mature reader in me, and for that I am eternally grateful.

    3. Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan – Growing up in a half-Asian household, I watched the movie version of Amy Tan’s book countless times. But it wasn’t until I read the book, and experienced Tan’s nuanced language for myself, that I realized just how much the story and the characters resonated with me. It’s a really powerful thing to see yourself reflected in literature, and that’s what Joy Luck Club did for me. It was my first literary soulmate.

    Ah, haha, is it any wonder that I want to be a writer? I could probably go on with other books that impacted me, but I think these are my top 3.
    .-= Kristan´s last blog ..A random thought about love (hearts and keys) =-.

  16. Margay says

    When I was younger, the book that moved me the most was The Diary of Anne Frank (by Anne Frank). I read it a number of times in a short period of time the year I was the same age as Anne. I just could not believe that someone my age could possibly be going through something so horrible. And I guess I was hoping for a different outcome each time I read it. I was touched by her spirit and mourned her loss like she was my own sister.

    On a more light hearted note, I absolutely adore the book According to Jane by Marilyn Brant. It is an interesting modern take on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that had me racing through the pages to see what happened next and thinking about the book and the characters when I wasn’t reading it and long after I finished it. It’s a fun comfort read for me.

    The third book that moved me was Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. My first real introduction to this book was through my younger daughter, who’d borrowed it from a friend. She had such fun with this book, laughing throughout it (this was amazing to me because, up until that point, all she wanted to read was manga), that she finished it in three days. I knew then that I had to read it, but before I could, my older daughter scoffed the copy I picked up to read it herself. She also finished it in three days and told me that I HAD to read it. So I was the last in my family to read it, but I am so glad I did. Twilight reminded me of what it was like to be a seventeen-year old. It brought back all of the awkwardness and gawkiness and uncertainty of my place in the world. But it also brought back the hope I had that it would be okay. And it was really nice to be able to share the experience with my daughters. It’s probably the only book we’ve all read and loved.


  17. says

    Gor blimey! Where to start? So many books have sucked me in and I didn’t want them to let go. The book I most wanted to climb inside of the pages and become the heroine is A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR by Jude Deveraux. I would’ve given anything for Nicholas Stafford, the earl of Thornwyck to come alive in my world. A girl’s got to have dreams; this was mine.

    I’ll never visit Bridgton, Maine, and I avoid the fog at all costs. Stephen King’s THE MIST scared the crap out of me. I had nightmares for years after reading it. Why did I read it? Because it was the cool thing to do at the time. All my friends were reading it and I didn’t want to be thought a pansy. I freely admit now I’m a lily-livered chicken!

    My current favorite dream worlds have been created by Karen Marie Moning. I loved every single story in her Highlander series. Who wouldn’t want to be seduced by Adam Black? The Fever series is pretty awesome in the compelling paranormal world she’s built around Dublin, Ireland, and the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. I really hope a movie or t.v. series comes out so I can meet these characters “face-to-face.”

    Thank you for giving me this venue to post those books that will forever remain etched in my memory. There are hundreds more I could name, but these are the absolute stand-outs for me. :)


  18. says

    1. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott. My first literary memory is of reading Little Women and feeling so angry at Amy when she destroys Jo’s manuscript for such a petty offense (not being able to go to a party with Jo and Meg). I loved reading and writing (and still do!) so I really emphasized with Jo when she swore she would never forgive Amy for such a horrible deed.

    2. My Antonia, Willa Cather. I read My Antonia in my tenth grade English class, and it was the first assigned book that I really loved. I’d liked assigned books before, like To Kill a Mockingbird, but I’d never really loved them or felt so strongly with the characters in them until reading My Antonia. That book just took me away and I couldn’t put it down.

    3. Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling. During and after high school, I fell away from reading for pleasure, being distracted by dating and drama and everything else whirling around in my teenage world. One day I decided to pick up the first Harry Potter book, which my younger brothers had read, and see what it was all about. What I found was such a vivid, real, whimsical world with characters I loved and cared about. I credit the Harry Potter books with bringing me back to reading for fun and enjoyment.
    .-= christina´s last blog ..What I’m Reading: Wings =-.

  19. says

    Wow! What a neat contest.

    Ahh, literary moments. I have many!

    I was reading Rosalind Laker’s “The Smuggler’s Bride” on a rainy, cloudy afternoon after school. I was in the sixth grade. As I read, the thought popped into my head: “I can write a book, can’t I?” And thus, a dream – and a career – was born.

    I picked up a copy of Markus Zusak’s “The Book Thief” in a bookshop in Witney, England, while on vacation. I took it with me during the rest of my journey, reading here and there. But it wasn’t until the plane ride home (after a bout with food poisoning in my London hotel) that the story completely captured me. I denied myself sleep to keep reading and it made the hours-long plane ride go much faster.

    My husband gave me a copy of Dean Koontz’s The Watchers. Being a stay-at-home mother of two little boys and a newborn, I think I put it down for perhaps twenty minutes that entire day, reading it as I cooked macaroni and cheese for the kids, reading it while I fed my daughter her bottle, and even reading it while I rocked her to sleep. I finished that book in a day and a night and the story is still alive in my head nine years later.
    .-= Melissa Marsh´s last blog ..Do You Write What You Want to Read? =-.

  20. says

    It’s great reading about the books that have made big impacts in the lives of your readers.

    My three:
    1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Read this in school and was totally captured without quite knowing why. Must have read it six or seven times in a row and memorized big chunks of it. Now I realize it was because I became totally invested in the lives of Scout and Atticus and Cal and Boo and Jem.

    2. Collected poems of Robert Frost
    I was in my early twenties, first year in US and had just attended my first poetry reading ever (by a professor at the Princeton Theological Seminary.) I told a good friend about the evening and he started reciting Nothing Gold Can Stay. And something strange and powerful and heart-breaking happened. This friend and I were very different yet there was something unique that we shared and the poem seemed to be at the heart of it. I still can’t read the poem without having that little spot in my heart being tugged.

    3. The Sea by John Banville
    This was recommended by a blog friend recently. I don’t think I would have come across it on my own. It’s a meandering, ruminating kind of a novel and there is a passage that again, did something to my heart:
    “…that at some unspecified future moment the continuous rehearsal which is my life, with its so many misreadings, its slips and fluffs, will be done with…what I am looking forward to is a moment of earthly expression…I shall be expressed, totally. I shall be delivered, like a noble closing speech. I shall be, in a word, said.”
    .-= Yat-Yee´s last blog ..Interview with a contest director, part II =-.

  21. says

    Little Women by Louisa Mae Alcott moved me because I couldn’t get enough of it. I reread this story at least ten times before I graduated from high school. Even as an adult, I’ve enjoyed it, and as my life has progressed, I’ve found at some point that I relate to each sister–or at least understand her better–on some level.

    Native Son by James Baldwin moved me to anger when we read it in high school. I couldn’t get past the fact that I wanted to talk about why it made me angry–and the larger social/racial climate–while my teacher simply wanted to talk about its literary merits.

    Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion (and a host of other books I read when I was young) moved me because I discovered that reading was pure fun.
    .-= PatriciaW´s last blog ..Reader/Writer Tidbits — November 14, 2009 =-.

  22. says

    My first favorite book was Dean Koontz’s Sole Survivor. It captured my imagination and deliciously terrified me from start to finish. While not a huge fan of the rest of his works or the genre, I always remember it fondly and still have the battered copy my aunt gave me. I even recited the poem from the Book of Counted Sorrows at the front of it in a high school talent show and still know it by heart.

    The second book has to be the Hitchhikers Guide trilogy by Douglas Adams. I bought the omnibus and read all five books in a matter of hours. For me, it was the dawn of laughter in books. Not all writing had to be serious (I had begun to write horrible and horribly depressing poetry) and from there I went on to enjoy Terry Prachett’s work and loved ever syllable.

    The most recent book to pull on my emotions is Gayle Forman’s If I Stay. If there was ever a book I have wished I had written, this one would be it. I felt acquainted with every single word and the book quickly became my best friend.
    .-= Cassandra´s last blog ..Why getting published is like a baby squirrel trying to jump on a wall =-.

  23. says

    My three literary moments:
    The Holiest of All by Andrew Murray: He gave such a distinct and multi-dimensional exposition on the blood of Jesus; it changed my entire outlook on life (about 8 years ago), removing any restlessness I felt and filled any voids in my heart, leaving me fully content.

    Christy by Catherine Marshall
    Remembering how she almost gave up being the teacher at the Mission of Cutter Gap, but allowed the needs of her students to come before her own; then Miss Alice congratulated her by responding with: “Thee will do.” That scene never fails to bring tears to my eyes.

    Pretense by Lori Wick
    I was amazed by all the twists and turns in the story arc as each daughter responded to the loss of each of their parents and becoming the woman each were meant to be. Left a distinct impression on me of how our choices and responses to changes in life determine our destiny.
    .-= Dawn Herring´s last blog ..A Mult-Dimensional View: Gratitude =-.

  24. says

    Wow, now that’s cool!

    A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, read to us every Christmas by my father, and as soon as possible read by me. It was my first taste of feeling profound emotions from words on the page.

    Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum, ignited a desire to write a story that everyone (that being all kids) would want to read again and again. Create total fantasy.

    Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder Not only couldn’t I wait for the next one to come out, I read and reread the ones I had. Reminds me of the Harry Potter phenom.

    I knew I had to write…after reading these and of course many many others.

  25. says

    Great questions! I’m with the others who said The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank. I was a young teenager when I read it, and was struck by her bravery, her love of life, her ordinariness and her insights. She was such an extraordinary girl. Knowing she died in a concentration camp made it all so much more important and poignant. Even now, my throat aches as I think of her short but vibrant life.

    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I read this when I was a pre-teen. I wanted to be Jo — except I always thought she should have married Laurie. But no one is perfect, and it’s Jo’s imperfections and strengths that made me care for her. The whole March family was wonderful.

    Last is Marley and by John Grogan — the book, which is much better than the movie. We’ve shared our home with dogs, but nothing like Marley. I laughed, I sobbed and then I laughed again at the ending. Any book that can take me through the gamut of emotions is wonderful, and this did it more than any book I’ve read.

  26. Kari Wainwright says

    Only three literary moments. Sigh.

    Little Women by Alcott struck several chords with me as a young girl. I admired Jo’s independence and loved the sisterly bonds shown in the book.

    Then there was The Secret Garden, a place overgrown with weeds and neglect, much like the lives of the children in the house. The book made me long for such a secret place to turn to and nurture, while it returned the favor to me.

    As an adult, an “instant” classic comes to mind–The Poisonwood Bible by Kingsolver. I was amazed at her ability to create five distinct points of view for her storytelling. Her writing captures my soul and makes it soar.

  27. Barb Dyess says

    When I was a lonely twelve year-old, transplanted from Colorado to the alien world of the Northeast, I discovered Charles Dickens and David Copperfield. The world of that time, its language and characters, seemed to wake something up inside of me — that has yet to die.

    Not long after, I found The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien, not realizing it was the second of a trilogy. Finally finding the other two books (which I still have in First Edition paperbacks), I devoured them and entered the magical world of High Fantasy. I don’t think I’ve ever left it, in fact.

    Much more recently, it was Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera. Laughing in delight at the derisive parrot of the household, soaking up the elegant sentences paragraphs-long, crying along with the old lovers when they finally have a bittersweet joining.

    These are only three literary moments of so many I’ve been blessed to have!

  28. Suzanne Shell says

    Three Literary Memories and how they moved me.

    First was “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss. At seven, the oldest child and able to read, I was appointed to relieve my mom of the drudgery of reading nighttime stories to the kiddies. Bedtime stories read out loud became my assignment, which degraded into a chore. Chore, because my little brother insisted on the same story every night. “Green Eggs and Ham.” As I was already devouring books written for older readers, I quickly became bored with the same story night after night, and no amount of pleading, bribing or exciting alternative choices could budge my brother away from the mystery unfolding within Dr. Seuss’s captivating cadence. In short order, I had memorized the book. I outraged my little brother by handing it to him to hold as I recited it from memory. His cries triggered the edict from my mom that I must sit next to him and “read” the book to him. Years later, my granddaughter, less than a dozen words in her entire vocabulary, ran up to me and demanded me to “read” as she thrust “Green Eggs and Ham” into my hands. I gathered her up into my lap, memories of the fantastic, strange world that had so enchanted my little brother, a world still brimming with the same promise to enchant my granddaughter. I opened the cover as a familiar friend and turned to the first page, reciting with all my heart, “I am Sam.”

    Second, “Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell was the first adult book I ever read. I was nine. My mother gave it to me in response to my expression of boredom and not having an unread book around. My parents never skimped on books for me, but I was a voracious reader, and it was many years before I knew I was a speed reader. “Gone With the Wind” was a huge book! I opened the first page and recognized it was full of familiar words. Encouraged, I entered antebellum Georgia, and discovered a strange and wonderful world where they spoke with strange accents that were spelled out on the page. “Nawsuh” for “no sir” and “huccome” for “how come” and “ah” for I. I had to slow my reading to a crawl in order to understand the southern drawl. But more than anything, at a very tender age, bold and daring Scarlett captivated my imagination and empowered me to reject the silly corsets of society without forgoing my femininity.

    Third, “The Shining” by Stephen King was my first venture beyond my usual science fiction passion into the scary. Not being a horror fan, I was not comfortable with the genre and the fear this book promised to invoke. But to my delight, the writing enthralled me. I was captivated by King’s art of words and inexorably drawn into a world I had studiously avoided. I could not put the book down. My horizons expanded as I welcomed the risks, the daring forays into the unknown, the terrifying, the forbidden and the darkly secret recesses of human nature. Along with the old science fiction masters, King now occupies significant shelf space in my personal library, and his worlds and characters are equally welcomed as treasured friends.

  29. says

    I haven’t read the words for the competition as I’m on a reading rationing at the moment and have already reached my limit.

    What if I were to take you out for some steak and wine? Could I win the reader then? There’s a lovely place near my house and I have many anecdotes with which to amuse you.

    Holla back.

    .-= Kay Richardson´s last blog ..Holborn & Clerkenwell =-.

  30. says

    My first thick book was Walter Farley’s “The Black Stallion.” I read and re-read it. I never got to the other books in the series because I was too busy play-acting the match race by running it around my house. I went from wanting to grow up to be a cowgirl to wanting to be a jockey, back in the days before Diane Crump and Robyn Smith. Years later (no – I’m not a jockey), as a middle-aged woman when I was battling an autoimmune disorder, I checked a copy of THE BLACK STALLION out of the library. As I read the first lines about “the tramp steamer Drake,” I cried at the return of my old friends and the memory of a time when illness happened to Someone Else.

    Richard Hooker’s M*A*S*H suited my secret subversive side because I was stuck in the rural Bible Belt. I found M*A*S*H laugh-out-loud funny and even today would like to dig up a copy to re-live Hawkeye’s and Trapper’s antics, especially the ones too sacrilegious to make it to film. Even to this day, my husband and I will refer to an imported expert as “the pro from Dover.”

    The third book gave me comfort. While I was with my husband in Jamaica for business, my mother passed away. Traveling from Montego Bay to Cincinnati makes for a very long day. At the airport, I picked up a paperback edition of Tom Clancy’s THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER. Jack Ryan and the grieving sub commander took me out of my grief and guilt (who doesn’t feel guilt if you’re far away when a loved one passes?) and kept me company during the long flights.
    .-= RhondaL´s last blog ..Isaac Greets His Fans =-.

  31. Jeanne says

    OK, you asked for it, so . . .
    Old Bones by Mildred Mastin Pace was a children’s story that taught me (at age 12) that no matter how gifted the individual, community and friendship is a requisite to success as well as happiness. Oh, and yes, this is a book about a very famous horse and a less famous pony.

    Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte established how I would define love for the rest of my life and doomed me to a series of romances based on what I now call a “Rochester Complex.” (I fell for guys who were irascible, brilliant, hard-to-love, and had baggage from their past, but I was sure I would redeem them. Ha ha.)

    100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez for revealing that in any extended family crazy goes hand in hand with capable. This book taught me to cherish (as well as struggle against) my own family’s . . . let’s call them eccentricities.

  32. Kristina Riggle says

    1) I went to the school library looking for CATCHER IN THE RYE, because I knew it had been banned in the past. I got confused, however, and ended up with CATCH-22 (which has also been banned, so, it all worked out). There’s a particular scene in CATCH-22 which I will not specifically relate for fear of spoiling it. But it’s so wrenching, and awful, and so beautifully underplayed by Joseph Heller. I couldn’t have articulated this at the time (I was only 14 years old) but this passage demonstrated to me that less is more in the most dramatic moments of a book. I will never forget what that moment made me feel, by saying so little. (I did eventually read CATCHER IN THE RYE.)

    2) I read Robert Cormier’s I AM THE CHEESE and after the last pages I felt like I had the bends, so disoriented I was coming out of the world he created, back to reality. I was sitting upright on my canopy bed, the book in my lap, my jaw hanging open. I don’t even remember the exact thing about the story that made me feel this way, but the emotion is still real to me, and I remember the moment exactly.

    3) I read the shocking ending of ENDER’S GAME on the campus bus at Michigan State University. Hardly anyone was on the bus, so everyone heard it when I exclaimed: “Oh my God!” out loud. To this day, that’s the only book that’s made me shout in the reading of it.

  33. Paul Hansen says

    My, my, how to choose? I’ve read voraciously since I was a pre-teen, reading thousands of books. Some have been life changing, inspiring, some scary, but few dull. James Patterson’s When The Wind Blows story of children being genetically altered to have flyable feathered wings totally drew me in to ally myself with the kids and their struggles with true evil. It set my mind soaring and left me with shivers at night. His sequel, The Lake House was almost as good.
    Having struggled with traditional theology for years, (I was a pastor for 12 years) Matthew Fox’s Original Blessing (as opposed to the idea of original sin) opened up new vistas for my beliefs and faith. My heart sang with the music. Being in a workshop with Matthew later helped me to keep growing spiritually.
    Col. Philip Corso’s The Day After Roswell, documenting more of what really happened at the Roswell UFO crash and after, totally confirmed for me what I’d heard and believed for many years. UFOs are real. I could almost sigh with relief AND inspiration too. Digging into the scientific fallout from that event, with its impact on our lives…the computer chip,fiber optics,etc., for example, was mind blowing.
    As a writer I read, read, and read. So my life and world are far bigger, richer, and more fulfilling than it would be without books. I owe a big debt of thanks to all those writers, and I’m grateful to join the procession.

    Paul Hansen

  34. says

    What a nice contest!

    I could sit here all day, but I’m going with the first three books I thought of that made me cry for one reason or another.

    1) East of Eden by John Steinbeck: This epic feast of a book was never dull, but always intellectually and emotionally exhausting. The end made it all worthwhile, summed up in this brief paragraph:

    “But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’”

    For the full scene click the link.

    2. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt: I alternated between crying from laughter and crying from despair throughout this memoir. The worst parts for me, as the mother of three, were reading about the deaths of the McCourt children–particularly the twins, Ollie, and Eugene.

    3. A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines: In this book, a black man in the deep south is on trial for crimes he didn’t commit against a white woman. His lawyer’s defense is that, being black, he is part “animal”, and therefore, didn’t know what he was doing. A black teacher and acquaintance of the man on trial makes it his mission to convince the condemned that he is a man before his execution. This book is easily one of the most moving books I’ve ever read.

    Whew, I’m getting teary just thinking of those.
    .-= Erika Robuck´s last blog ..Reader Survey: Prologue–Yes or No? =-.

  35. says

    It by Stephen King. Up until I read this book, I considered myself an SK fan. I loved The Stand. But after being scared out of my wits, resulting in a completely sleepless night and paranoia around every noise in the house where as a single woman I lived alone, it was many years before I read another SK book. Even now, I won’t read the really scary ones.

    Pretense by Lori Wick because I believe it was the first Christian fiction book I ever read. Didn’t know the genre existed and this opened up a whole new reading world for me.

    Awakening Mercy by Angela Benson. The first Christian romance I read that featured African-American central characters, and the one that inspired me to want to write in a similar vein.
    .-= PatriciaW´s last blog ..NaNo Groovin’ =-.

  36. Jamie says

    Great contest!

    First would have to be OLD YELLER by Fred Gipson. This story had it all: drama, action, love and loss. The friendship between Travis and Old Yeller is timeless – and the reason I love dogs so much today.

    Second is TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. Perhaps the greatest book ever written, TKAM draws you into the lives of real people (they’re fiction…but they felt real!) and you find yourself speaking as if Boo and Atticus live next door to you!

    Perhaps my favorite is FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley. Wow. This book was magical to me. Beautifully written with deep, longing love from all characters and just enough scare to keep me fearfully flipping pages.

  37. Michelle Gagnon says

    So three literary memories…
    My first is not a single book but a series. When I was nine years old, we spent a summer living in a beach shack while waiting for our new house to be completed. The local library was down the street- a tiny one, I probably read every book in it by the end of the summer since we had no television. But the ones that stuck with me where the Chronicles of Narnia series. They were probably the first longer more “adult” novels I’d ever read on my own, and the first series I ever got hooked on.

    The next would have to be “To The Lighthouse” by Virginia Wolff in college. It was the first time I ever read a book and thought, “I want to write like that,” and then was horribly depressed because I knew I’d probably never be able to.

    Last one is a recent read, “The Book Thief” by Marcus Zusak. I wasn’t initially excited to read yet another book about WW II, but it was so gorgeously, poetically written I tore through it in a day. The first book that made me cry in a very, very long time.

  38. says

    The single biggest book to move me was “I Heard the Owl Call My Name” by Margaret Craven. I was still in my early teens and the book opened my eyes to another culture and the value of living well versus living richly.

    The second book to move me was “HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams. I remember very clearly being in a very dark place personally and the humor and irreverence of the story pulled me back into the light. I’ve made a habit of re-reading it every year since to keep my feet firmly planted on stable ground.

    The third book would have to be “Never Cry Wolf” by Farley Mowat. Just as in my first choice, I was introduced to a world I hadn’t seen through the eyes of someone actively living in it. I learned the value of living with nature instead of struggling against it.

  39. says

    This is such a fun contest!

    First, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. When Sara Crewe comes back to her little attic garret, expecting another night of hunger and cold but finds a veritable feast instead? I probably checked that book out of my school library a dozen times and that scene was always magical.

    Next, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I’ve probably read Little Women two dozen times since I was a child. I sob every time I read Beth’s death scene Like Edie above, I always thought that Jo should have ended up with Laurie, but as I got older (and found a Fredrich of my own) my mind changed a little.

    Finally, Voyager, by Diana Gabaldon. I cry every single time I read the scene where Claire and Jamie reunite. I’ve been known to tear up even talking about it with friends.

    Reading this over, it sounds like my favorite literary memories are soggy ones.
    .-= Eliza Evans´s last blog ..This picture thing I’m doing. =-.

  40. Aileen says

    I can’t remember a time when I didn’t read for pleasure. I’ve started to downsize and give away or donate most of my books. Sometimes, late at night, I start remembering old favourites and search the web for downloadable copies, just for the pleasure of the prose.

    Alice Munro is a master of short stories. In ‘Open Secrets,’ each of the stories is so layered, they could be novels. The title story of a missing girl in a small town, is rather dark and tense and the story seeps out through flashbacks, bits of poetry and seemingly random bits of dialogue, until the main character has a vision of the wrongdoer being punished for the crime.

    One of my favourite writers of women’s fiction is Jennifer Crusie. I love bright, fast dialogue that moves a story forward, and quirky, smart, memorable characters. In ‘Welcome to Temptation,’ Sophie and Amy Dempsey travel to Temptation, Ohio to shoot the comeback video of a B-actress. Most of the Dempsey clan are con artists, the town has an ordinance on pornography, the mayor is up for re-election, and there is sex, murders and mysteries happening in Temptation. Fun and Quirky!

    Although it’s a child’s book, I love ‘Charlotte’s Web’ by E.B. White and have read it several times as an adult. It’s a testament to friendship, and courage. I tear up when Charlotte dies alone in the deserted fair grounds after saving Wilbur. He fights to save her magnum-opus (egg-sac). Fortunately, a few of her children, then their children, stay on the farm each year to keep him company.

    I’ve enjoyed reading other favourites and I share many of them. Thanks for the opportunity to add mine.

  41. says

    How fun! Everyone keeps swearing by their readers, but I can’t decide if I would love one enough to justify the expensive purchase. I think I would LOVE it for non-fiction, but for fiction… the jury’s still out. I’m curious to see if it would win me over in the end.

    Let’s see, three literary moments? I feel bad mentioning them since they’re spoilery! So I’ll just say **SPOILER ALERT** and hope that appeases the spoiler gods. ;-) Here goes:

    There’s a moment in BREATHING ROOM by Susan Elizabeth Phillips where the straight-laced heroine arrives at a party decked out in fiery attire and a matching attitude. Watching her journey unfold to that point–with humor and compassion–was such fun, but that moment? I wanted to raise my fists in the air and shout “You go, Isabelle!” I love that moment when a character finally breaks out of his or her shell.

    In THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS by Ann Brashares, there is a moment when Bailey, a friend of one of the main characters (Tibby), is dying after a long illness. Tibby can’t force herself to go and face Bailey because she can’t face the truth of what’s happening. It is one of the most heart-breaking scenes I’ve ever read… both for the Tibby and for Bailey.

    And finally, in THE PRINCESS DIARIES 10 (can you tell I’m a YA author? *g*), Mia finally stands up and does what she should’ve done for love eons ago. But I think that helped make the final scene SO much more impactful because, as readers, we had so much emotionally invested in their romance over the course of 10 books. There’s definitely something to be said for anticipation. :-)

  42. Kristine says

    After reading novels for more than 37 years (since the age of 8), it’s hard to pick just 3, but I’ll try.

    1. From childhood, it would be Judy Blume’s ‘Are you there God, It’s Me, Margaret” as I believe it my first realization that an author was using a voice that was not talking down to me, but was making a beautiful connection to me. Judy Blume has a gift for keeping her prose contemporary and comforting.

    2. In college I read ‘Mrs. Dalloway’ by Virgina Woolf. I had some trepidation at tackling a modern writer, but this book introduced me to the powerful pen and imaginative, creative force of this brilliant writer. One of her easier novels to follow, and I loved the parallel lives she portrayed of post WWI England.

    3. Michael Cunninghan, who took Mrs. Dalloway and ran with it in his novel ‘The Hours’ created a modern version of the story which has real staying power both stylistically and in terms of plot. Mr. Cunningham is a fabulous crafter with words, a storyteller with powerful intent.

  43. says

    Such a difficult thing to recall which books moved me and how. I read Max Lucado’s latest, FEARLESS, at a time when the stresses of life were about to overwhelm me. As I read it and afterward, I felt a significant peace. Great book.

    I can lose myself in any of the books by Robert B. Parker, especially the SPENSER series. When my first wife was in the ICU during her two-week fight for life, those books helped me occupy my mind. For the brief period during which I red them each day, they offered me escape.

    Lawrence Block’s book, TELLING LIES FOR FUN AND PROFIT, is not only a fun read, it provides information and inspiration for the would-be writer. I enjoy Block’s fiction, but this book helped me come to grips with my role as a “Sunday writer.” As I transitioned from medicine to full-time writing, this book helped give me direction.

    There you have it: peace, escape, direction. Not your typical answer, I guess, but then again, perhaps I’m not your typical reader. Thanks for the opportunity.

  44. says

    Hmm – three literary memories and how they made me feel:

    1). THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett – I was in shock and awe that these circumstances took place in my county and in my lifetime and I wasn’t even aware of them. Granted I was only 10 in the mid 60s and I lived in Ohio, not Mississippi, but still the idea that the people of these great United States allowed these injustices against blacks to occur is mind boggling.

    2). THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein – I am a dog lover – some might even say a dog fanatic so reading this book told in the dog’s voice was a wonderful experience. It was very sad, you knew from the outset that Enzo was dying, but to hear him talk of his emotions and his relationship to his person moved me to both tears and laughter. Bravo Mr. Stein

    3). BEAUTIFUL BOY and TWEAK – by David and Nic Sheff, respectively. These books put total fear into my heart. The true story about his son’s addiction to meth anphetamines, BEAUTIFUL BOY is told from the father’s perspective. As is that wasn’t terrifying enough, TWEAK was told by his son as he lived with his addiction. A horrific but necessary read for any parent who thinks this could never happen to their family.

  45. says

    As a little girl, I fell in love with “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott. I chose to read it based on its thickness during a phase of grade school when all of my classmates were trying to outdo each other by reading increasingly higher-page-count books. I may not have won the page-count competition, but I discovered a book so full of unapologetic sincerity that I was forever smitten. I still cry when I read Jo’s tribute to Beth. It may be sappy and politically incorrect in many ways, but it gets to the heart of how we feel about the normal trajectory of life. I have shared this special book with special little girls in my life—nieces, godchildren, friends—who all discovered the same inspiration and magic in a well told tale that I found so long ago. I can’t wait until my own daughters are old enough to appreciate this classic.

    In high school, my Journalism class studied “All the President’s Men” by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in excruciating detail. Too young to understand Watergate while it was happening (I only knew that the news coverage interrupted my favorite cartoons), I found myself completely intrigued by the complexity of the affair and the dedication of the authors to solving the puzzle. It forever changed the way I view the political system and made me both more likely to scrutinize leadership and more convinced of the power of truth. It was the best published mystery story of all time…and it really happened!

    So many other books could fill the third spot, but I have to say that the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is the most enjoyable literary work I’ve ever read. I first started reading it while I was lacking mental energy and focus for anything more substantial while I was going through a difficult pregnancy. Not immediately smitten, I was just interested enough in the story to wonder how it would turn out. By the time I reached book 5, I was completely hooked. HP takes me to my happy place, a place where chocolate heals ills, relationships are everything, people have courage to do what they imagine, crazy things have logical explanations, and good always conquers evil. It is ultimate escapist literature and continues to nudge me hopefully through my most difficult challenges.
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Eleven, eleven, eleven, and one more eleven =-.

  46. says

    Gack, I hate talking about feelings. But here goes.

    THE MEMORY OF RUNNING, by Ron McLarty – an absolutely amazing book that made me feel every emotion the main character did: confusion, despair, hurt, hope, joy.

    NOTES FROM THE UNDERWIRE, by Quinn Cummings – made me laugh, made me cry, made me feel I was the wrongly dressed kid hiding in the closet at the party, that I was the girl keeping the secret that my mother had cancer and I might just become an orphan.

    DUST OF 100 DOGS, by A.S. King – excitement that I haven’t felt since I was a preteen reading the Narnia series. Could not put it down.

  47. Kathy Crowley says

    Really enjoyed reading everyone’s “moments” above — It is hard to pick three. Here are three books that opened my eyes about something — I posted these on the words move me site also.
    1. M.K. Anderson’s FEED. Amazing book and it opened my eyes about the kind of YA literature that was out there.
    2. Robert Coles “The Call of Stories”. I read this because RC is a physician (as am I) but it made me realize the importance of telling one’s own story in one’s own words.
    3. John Barth “The Tidewater Tales”. I loved this book. It is a story about stories, and how important they are to all of us.
    Thanks for running the contest and getting all of us to write about some literary “moments”.

  48. says

    What a great contest!

    One of my earliest book moments is the first time I read Matilda by Roald Dahl. That book ended up influencing my entire career because it’s literally why I started writing. After reading the chapter where Matilda learns about limericks, I thought, “I’d like to try that.” So I did, and it all grew from there.

    Another childhood moment was the first time I read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I’d had surgery so was temporarily being home schooled, and it was my assigned reading. My teacher brought me the abridged, illustrated version for kids and I loved it so much I had to read the original version after. It was kind of a nice treat, to get so much more book!

    More recently, I read Keeping the House by Ellen Baker. I have this great memory of reading it on a Friday night when I was alone in my apartment because my husband was working till 3 a.m. on a film production. I felt like a kid again: alone, in a good way, in my room, with no other plans but to read. It’s the ultimate indulgence for me to get lost in a good book, lose track of time and read until the early morning.

  49. Michaele Stoughton says

    I didn’t like to read when I was in high school. I struggled through every reading assignment. But the The first book that I remember getting emotionally involved in, was OF MICE AND MEN. I remember feeling so sad for Lenny. I really like him, and didn’t want to believe the worst.

    Next I would have to say DROWNING RUTH by Christina Schwarz. It was a story that stayed with me for a long time. I felt so many different emotions for the character Amanda.

    Lastly, TWILIGHT SAGA. I have never felt such an attachment to characters, before. My heart would race, sometimes I felt like I couldn’t breath. And when he left her in NEW MOON, I couldn’t sleep.

  50. Michelle says

    First, ” A Wrinkle In Time” by Madeleine L’Engle. All of the characters in this exciting and imaginative story spoke to me, but none more so than Charles Wallace. He remains my all-time favorite literary character. L’Engle presented a character that was extraordinary even though everyone else perceived him as less than normal. He was the literary equivalent of Clark Kent to me.

    Second, “A Prayer For Owen Meany” by John Irving. This was the book that had everything. It had substance, meaning, drama, suspense, wonderfully complicated characters, and it made me LAUGH OUT LOUD.

    Third, “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison. I didn’t read this classic until I was an adult, but it is the book that defined for me what the the best stories are — stories that resonate with everyone regardless of race, religion, age or sex.

  51. Alina says

    What an intriguing assignment! After giving it some thought, my top three selections surprised me.
    I am a homeschooling mother of three young children and I look the part: I drive a minivan, I cook everything from scratch, I have long hair and I wear a long denim skirt. We spend our days exploring nature, and playing phonics games. I like peace and I hate war. So imagine my surprise when I realized that the three literary works which have had the greatest impact on me are all war-related!
    On The Beach is a fictitious work by Nevil Shute that chronicles the story of the last few people remaining on earth after a nuclear holocaust. Shute does a delightful job intertwining the stories of several people so that I felt like I knew and could be friends which each one of the characters. His descriptions are vivid and gave me the illusion that I was there in the book, experiencing what his characters were experiencing. The characters all live in Australia. They know that everyone else in the world is dead and the nuclear fallout that will kill them all is heading their way. At one point a military ship’s captain sails to America to inspect what remains there. I felt so depressed as he describes walking through one small town and seeing no one left alive. He looks in houses and sees that people crawled into bed and waited there to die. At one point he turns off a Barber’s neon sign which was left on. America is empty and there is no need for the sign to stay on. This only foreshadows what happens to Australia by the end of the novel. When the nuclear fallout finally reaches Australia it makes people so ill that they either die from radiation or they kill themselves. The ship’s captain drowns himself with the ship. I cried as his beloved watches from the shore and swallows deathly pills as she watches his ship sink. The worst scene for me in the book – both when I read it as a teenager and now as a mother – was reading about a family with a 10 month old baby. The mother and baby are particularly ill from radiation and, not wanting to watch them die and have to live another few days without them, the father helps the mother prepare to die (change her night gown and climb into bed), brings the baby to her and all three swallow the pills together that will end their lives. By the time this happens, I absolutely wanted to throw up. The worst of it is, that throughout the book Shute makes it clear that this is not a natural disaster. This is something that people did to each other, themselves and innocent bystanders through their hatred for each other.
    Rilla of Ingleside is Lucy Maud Montgomery’s final book in the endearing Anne of Green Gables series, but this book is much darker than any of the others. Published in 1921, this is the story of Rilla – Anne’s teenage daughter – during the years of World War One. Incidentally, I heard in a university course that this is the only fictitious book by a Canadian woman to address the issue of the role of Canadian women who remained on the homefront during the war. With the war being so fresh in her own mind when she wrote this book, Montgomery does an incredible job of portraying the torture that mothers, wives and sisters went through not knowing what their loved ones were doing overseas. When Anne’s middle son dies, I was as horrified as if he had been my own neighbor. (After all, I’d followed his childhood through the previous books in the series.) When the youngest son enlists in the army shortly after his brother’s death, I felt as frightened as his mother and sisters that he would be killed in action. As a reader I felt as helpless to prevent him from enlisting as the Canadian women must have felt when they watched their loved ones follow their sense of duty and enlist. Anne’s oldest son goes missing in action and and I suffered as anxious as the parents as the chapters go by with no word from him. And when he finally comes home I was so happy and relieved that I had tears streaming down my cheeks.

    Once Upon A Town by Bob Greene is another story chronicling the response of women on the homefront to war. This is the phenomenal true story of the women who lived in and near North Platte, Nebraska. Coincidentally, I drove through North Platte and even spent the night there a few weeks before coming across this book. It is an uninspiring town in the middle of the prairie. You can drive for hours in any direction without seeing anything phenomenal. Apparently, what is extraordinary in that area of the country is the people! This was one of the most enjoyable, encouraging books I have ever read! The North Platte townsfolk heard a rumor that on the first Christmas after Pearl Harbor the soldiers from their town (coincidentally) would be coming through North Platte on the troop train. The townsfolk excitedly hurry to prepare Christmas gifts for their loved ones and take them to the station to await the troop train and get a glimpse of their husbands, brothers, fathers, for the ten minutes the troop trains will be able to stop in North Platte. I couldn’t help but share their shock and disappointment when it is the Kansas boys… strangers… who get off the train! Then, the most amazing thing happens. The townsfolk begin giving their gifts, which had been so lovingly prepared for their own relatives, to these boys. The town reasons that these boys are soldiers far from home and need the encouragement as badly as their own boys would have needed it. And thus, the North Platte Canteen is born. From then on through the continuation of the war, every soldier on every troop train is met with kindness, gifts and homemade food that the townsfolk sacrifice from their own daily rations. Greene interviews several of the people who worked at the canteen and several soldiers who passed through the canteen on their way to war and were forever touched by the greeting they received there. I could not help but feel warmed throughout this book and convinced that no matter how bad things in the world seem to be, there will always be people somewhere to show kindness, grace, and love.
    Thank you for hosting this contest. Just like we are told never to judge a book by its cover, I am reminded that we should never judge a person by what he or she appears to be. That person may be a young girl who has not come of age yet, (such as in Rilla of Ingleside), average people in an uninteresting little Nebraskan town, or just an ordinary mom… even when that person happens to be myself!

  52. Niveau says

    Three literary memories? Just three? But there are so many! All right, narrowing it down…

    1) R.A. Nelson’s Teach Me – Nelson captured how it feels to have your heart broken for the first time so perfectly. Reading it, I felt like I was in high school again, with all the drama, angst, self-discovery… (though I must say, I was never as sophisticated as any of the characters in the book when I was their age.)

    2) Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice – Lizzy is probably my all-time favourite heroine. I felt like I’d found someone I would want to be friends with in real life, someone who was so real she could jump off the page. I loved Darcy, I hated Darcy, I loved Darcy… it is still my all-time favourite romance.

    3) Gregory Maguire’s Wicked – I sobbed at the ending. The book made me remember why it’s important not to judge others and that everyone has their own story. Plus, most of the time, it was a lot of fun.

  53. Shannyn says

    It’s great of Sony to do this. Picking out only 3 books, near impossible.

    1. To Kill a Mockingbird — I read it in 8th grade, an assigned book. I fell so in love with the words and the characters that I was hugely disappointed in the movie when the teacher showed it in class. It took years for me to see the brilliance of Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch.

    2. The Little Engine That Could — This was a book I read endlessly as a child. The message is pure and simple and it’s a motto that continues to come to mind with every goal I set for myself.

    3. The In Death series by JD Robb (Nora Roberts) — Although I love all of Nora Robert’s books, it was Eve Dallas that I’ve connected most to. I’ve never read a character who is a survivor of horrendous abuse written so perfectly and realistically.