Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Books That Transport Us



Not Rhys and Hank

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:
HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

 Too soon?

 Okay, no. It isn't.  And today, for two very good reasons.

 One, our darling Rhys Bowen will be talking about her brand new God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen tonight at Murder By The Book, and I’ll be interviewing her! You will join us, right? 7CT 8ET  Here’s the link. 

And the second reason--the marvelous and brilliant Julie Cantrell and her pals have also concocted a glorious holiday book of novellas (such a great idea!) called It’s a Wonderful Christmas. 

(I will pause now while you add both books to your gift list.)

And this lovely collection of novellas grew out of the need for….positivity. The desire for the safe space of a story, as Julie puts it.

We all need our spirits lifted, whether it’s via the hilarity of Lady Georgie’s adventures or the very special stories in this brand news collection.

Here’s Julie to tell you all about it. And I wonder, too, what you all will answer to her question at the end.



Turning to Story When Reality Becomes a Little. Too. Much.


By Julie Cantrell


When life starts to feel heavy, as it has in recent years, there’s no better place to seek refuge than the quiet, safe space of a story.

Like most of you, I’ve always been an avid reader. From the earliest of days my mother read stories to me, letting me turn the pages with my tiny fingers as she held me in her lap and showered me with fairytales, Dr. Seuss rhymes, and parables. Story became my primary language.

My dad, a stage actor, countered these tales by spinning bedtime sagas rich with ghosts, UFOs, and Louisiana folklore. I’d grip the covers with both hands when he howled in imitation of the Cajun werewolf known as the Rougarou or flicked the lights to prove the aliens had landed.

As I grew to elementary years, I turned to Pippi Longstocking. With her quirky red braids and face full of freckles, she led me on countless adventures. And all the while, I dreamed of being her—spunky and carefree, exploring the world bareback on my pet horse (who slept in the kitchen) and accompanied by my lively best friend (a monkey named Mr. Nillson). During these years, my parents owned an independent bookstore, and I’d spend many hours perusing the shelves, reading everything I could squeeze into a day.

Through my tween years, Judy Blume’s characters spoke truths we weren’t supposed to talk about, and by my early teens, Stephen King was launching me into the treacherous realm of goth and gore.

By high school, I was diving deep into Southern literature, enjoying emotionally complex tales by the likes of Harper Lee, Kate Chopin, and Zora Neale Hurston, three authors who inspired me to explore fiction as a writer.

And now, as an adult, I read a wide range of genres—everything from Jesmyn Ward’s haunting memoirs to Marilynne Robinson’s lyrical novels to Hank Phillippi Ryan’s keep-the-lights-on thrillers! Whether fiction or nonfiction, memoirs or inspirational guidebooks, story remains a huge part of my life.

From Reading to Writing

As you can see, literature has always offered me a safe escape from the madness, especially when reality is not a place I care to dwell. Whether writing, reading, or listening to the words of others, I much prefer to ride a story out into the great beyond than to deal with all the stress and anxiety of “the real world.”


That’s one reason I joined forces with four other bestselling author friends to help lift spirits for the holiday season. When Lynne Gentry, Allison Pittman, Kelli Stuart, and Janyre Tromp decided to write a collection of Christmas novellas with me, we were simply looking for a positive place to focus our energy through the turbulence of 2021. Little did we know we’d end up with a set of stories that are now delivering hope, peace, and joy to early readers. And it's called: It's A Wonderful Christmas.


“I grew up in a rural community where neighbors help neighbors. Always,” says USA TODAY bestselling author Lynne Gentry. “In my novella, Miracle on Main Street, the characters don’t always see eye to eye, but when they see a neighbor struggling, they roll up their sleeves and offer aid. To me, Christmas is the most important story of unconditional love ever told and it cannot be told enough. Like the message in the film Miracle on 34th Street, that’s the spirit I tried to capture with this story.


Award-winning editor and author Janyre Tromp also tapped into something positive to inspire readers, letting her story flow from the feelings evoked when she watches her favorite holiday film White Christmas. “Writing Lovely Life gave me a chance to play with two things I’ve always loved—music and castles. And by castles I mean a real-life castle that’s in Northern Michigan. Can you say fabulous research trip? 

One of my favorite lines from the novella is ‘Together is a wonderful place to be.’ Sometimes together requires a bit of sacrifice and creativity, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that relationships are the key to a lovely life and they’re worth the sacrifice every single time. I hope my story makes readers feel less alone as they enter this holiday season.”


Allison Pittman’s light-hearted novella was sparked by the 1940 classic film Remember the Night. As a literature teacher in San Antonio, she based her story in small town Texas. “A story with good bones can come to life and hold together in any setting,” she says. “I’m hoping readers will enjoy this romantic comedy and laugh out loud as they turn the pages.”


To add a little magic to the mix, Kelli Stuart was inspired by The Nutcracker. "Unpacking the story of the Sugar Plum Fairy was a delight. She’s the most beloved character of Tchaikovsky's ballet, but ironically doesn't appear in either of the original stories that inspired the ballet. 

Her pas de deux with the mystery man in the second act is often the very thing audiences come to see! Writing her story, and the love that was born from adversity and hardship, filled me with such joy, and I hope it inspires others during this challenging holiday season."

While I’d intended to stem my novella from It’s a Wonderful Life, the muse steered me toward the most unexpected of choices—National Lampoon’s Family Vacation! My novella doesn’t parallel the classic John Hughes’ film, but it does explore similar themes by focusing on a quirky family with all sorts of differences and modern-day complexities. Then we see what happens when they dare to come together for the holidays. I wrote this story in response to the many divides we’ve faced recently as a nation, and it’s my hope that this family’s journey will remind us all to find the good, focus on the commonalities, and love one another.

While I’ll never have the ability to solve all the world’s problems, and while I certainly can’t take away everyone’s pain and suffering, worries and woes (oh, how I wish I could!), I’m grateful that my lifelong love of story has given me a tool to process my emotions in healthy ways, and I’m honored to play a small role in transferring that happiness to readers.

Perhaps Stuart sums it up best
, saying, “Amidst the continued uncertainty of the world, we’re all looking for comforting, healthy ways to escape. Nothing works better than a story.”

Have you ever read a story that was good for your soul? Do you ever turn to writing to help you deal with a difficult situation? How do stories transport you to a happier place?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, I cannot wait to read these!  My fave holiday movie right now is The Man Who Invented Christmas--such a great writer-movie!
And I love the idea of riffing of holiday films.
Reds and readers, tell us a book that was good for your soul!
(and happy holidays!)




Julie Cantrell
is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author whose work has earned literary awards across multiple genres. Connect with all five authors (and more) at HER NOVEL COLLECTIVE and check out their novella collection, It’s a Wonderful Christmas. Also subscribe for a free monthly dose of joy and positivity at www.juliecantrell.com.

90 comments:

  1. Oh, Julie, your book sounds like a true treasure . . . I can’t wait to read those stories.

    Books that are good for my soul? “To Kill a Mockingbird” . . . “Schindler’s List” . . . “Miracle on 34th Street . . . “Charlotte’s Web” . . .”The Chronicles of Narnia” . . . .

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    1. Hi Joan, What wonderful books you've listed here. I definitely credit To Kill a Mockingbird for launching my love for fiction writing. I had a fabulous literature teacher in ninth grade who assigned that book and told us to journal from the point of view of one of the characters. I chose Scout, and writing from her perspective taught me how to get into another character's head when building stories. I was addicted with that fun escape, and I've been spinning stories on the page ever since. I love your list!

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    2. I read Schindler’s list in high school (way back in the late 90s) and it changed how I viewed history. Such a powerful story. And of course I love returning to Charlotte’s Web and Narnia. I just introduced my youngest to the live action movies! 😍

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    3. Books that change your soul stick with you for a long time. Giver of Stars did that for me. I loved the loyal friendships formed among those women.

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  2. Oh, what absolutely wonderful choices!

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  3. These sounds like wonderful stories. And yes, reading stories is a wonderful way to escape the madness of the world around us. At least most of the time. (It's why I react like I do to authors who try to lecture us in their stories.)

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    1. Oh yes, there is a fine line between theme and sledgehammer, right? Xxx

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    2. Hi Mark, so true about the sermons. I hope I avoid that. It can be tricky sometimes, especially when writing about real life issues (but in a fictional form). I love the way you've worded that issue Hank. Theme... sledgehammer. Excellent way of putting it.

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    3. I do love a good book to escape, but the ones I like tend to be mysteries. The best lesson there is don’t stand in a dark alley with a stranger 😉 Do you have a favorite genre for escaping?

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    4. It's the stories that come through the back door quietly that seem to have the greatest impact for sure.

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  4. Julie, It's a Wonderful Christmas sounds like just what we all need for the holiday, a book to read in December for me.

    Books that have been good for my soul. Hmm. Well, like Joan, I'll start off with To Kill a Mockingbird. It's far from a complete list, but others include The Girls by Lori Lansens, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, Whirligig by Paul Fleischman, State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, Hold Fast by Blue Balliett, Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, The Sleeping Dictionary by Sujata Massey, Love and Other Prizes by Jamie Ford, and The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams.

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    1. Someday we will have to talk about Ethan Frome, Kathy. :-)

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    2. Oh my goodness, Kathy. You're speaking my heart! I'd definitely agree with all of these I've read, and I'm adding the others to my TBR list. I'm also thrilled to see you listed my friend Jamie Ford. His words are golden and his soul is too. And State of Wonder ... Things Fall Apart ... Spoon River Anthology ... Oh the magic is all here!! Thank you!

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    3. Hank, I think I recall you not being a fan of Ethan Frome. We will indeed have to talk about this book. I will say now that I think rather than the mess of what happens between Ethan and Mattie and Zeena, it was one of the early books that showed me the power of literature, its words. Even Mattie Silver's name is a deliberate choice of the author to convey more than just a name. OK, enough now.

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    4. Julie, I have loved every one of Jamie Ford's books. I heard him speak a few years ago and have met him twice now. He's such a lovely person, but no push-over, with his passion for different issues. I think you nailed it with what you said about him. One of the books I so wish would be on everyone's list to read or have read is The Girls by Lori Lansens. The main characters are conjoined twins, and they're writing their story in alternating chapters. I have to admit that when I first picked up the book years ago, I didn't think a story about conjoined twins was going to be for me. I have never been more wrong in my life. That's the thing about books. We learn that so many things touch us that we didn't think would. Here's the essence of The Girls. The ordinary can be extraordinary, and the extraordinary can be the ordinary.

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    5. Such a great list, Kathy! I just adore Ann Patchett. There something so powerful in her characters.

      And like Julie, I’m over here scribbling titles on my TBR list!

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    6. Kathy, I'll pass your kind words to Jamie. He's a sweet soul. And I'm looking up The Girls right now. Adding it to my list! Thank you! XO j

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    7. Well, I just ordered The Girls... Thanks, Kathy! I'd been confused b/c I thought you meant the more recent book by that title, by Emma Cline. I'm so glad you told me more details. Have a fab day,j

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  5. That's why I write - and read - cozy mysteries, Julie. I don't want my readers to feel worse about the world when they finish one of my books.

    Other feel-good books? Stuart Little and Charlotte's web are high on the list. And I'm terrible about coming up with names so I'll let others do that (as they already have). Congratulations on your anthology!

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    1. It’s funny, my memory of Charlotte‘s Web is just crying for three weeks. :-)

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    2. Hi Edith, yes! I do tend to make my readers cry in my novels (not the novella, no fear)... but my goal is always to leave them feeling better about the world by the time they're through with the story. I hope I manage that. As for Charlotte's Web, I'm with Hank. That story wrecked me as a kid!! :) But I do love it.

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    3. Oh! I love this discussion. There’s something good about a good cry when there’s hope in it. I just finished reading I Am. I Am. I Am. by Maggie O’Farrell and it totally wrecked me but in a strangely good way.

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  6. I don’t like the commercial side of Christmas and that’s why I love Christmas stories. After reading this post, I’m sure I’ll love It’s a Wonderful Christmas Julie.
    With Christmas in mind, the first book that came to mind is a good story good for my soul : The Christmas Box by
    Richard Paul Evans.

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    1. Oh, I have a vague memory of that… What is it again?

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    2. Hi Danielle, I read that one a while back but I need to go back and revisit it. Thanks for the suggestion! I love to rediscover a story at different phases in life. Enjoy a very merry Christmas!

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    3. Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year…and not for the commercial things either. But the family and soft lights and, if I’m honest the treats. I love to bake and December gives me permission to go crazy 😍

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    4. You're right, we sure can get caught up in the "Christmas frenzy." I guess that's why we're so drawn to stories that drop us into the emotions of caring for each other.

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  7. This sounds like a wonderful collection. And yes, I've used writing to escape quite a bit over the last two years.

    Feel good books: Harry Potter, Narnia, anything Agatha Christie, Pride & Prejudice, recently Rhys's The Venice Sketchbook. I could go on, but I won't.

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    1. How about… Finley Donovan is killing it? Have you read that? Honestly it is adorable.

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    2. Hi Liz, such fab choices! The Harry Potter series ruled my daughter's entire childhood, so we were the family at the midnight book release parties, etc. So many fun memories! The Venice Sketchbook is new to me. I'll look it up. Thanks for the tip!

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    3. Liz, how could I have left out Harry Potter? I share a wonderful bond with my son over these books.

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    4. Harry Potter! I got to re-read it with each of my kids, and we still watch the movies as a family…well, minus my hubby. As a non-reader, he doesn’t write get the hype!

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  8. Love the idea of these stories! I've definitely been reading this way over the past two years. I'm putting this on my Christmas list!

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    1. It’s a perfect gift, isn’t it? Even for yourself :-)

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    2. Thank you so much Lucy and Hank! I hope these stories make your heart smile. XOXO

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    3. I hope you love it as much as we loved putting it together!

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    4. Thanks! Hope these stories bring a smile to your day.

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  9. The books that stay on my shelves are the ones that have touched my soul the most. And many times my soul needed laughter and release and retreat and so those books are there too. Shakespeare's comedies are there, the Canterbury Tales, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Bird by Bird, the poetry of Neruda and Vallejo, William Stafford, Robert Frost, Kenneth Patchen--because sometimes a single poem can do as much as a novel. And Harry Potter and Agatha Christie and Dorothy Gilman and Ellis Peters. Charlotte MacLeod.

    The Christmas novella collection will be a special treat for the holidays this year!

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    1. Sometimes a single poem, that is so true! Or a song. Xx
      And I am a big fan of motorcycle maintenance, too…

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    2. I echo every word you said, Hank. Funny b/c I was writing that exact message and about to publish and then saw your reply. Great minds ... :) Flora, I definitely believe in the power of a poem. I start every morning with a poem. It's a great way to ease my way into the morning. Here's a beautiful poem I shared recently with my newsletter subscribers. I hope it brings you a lovely exhale:

      The Thing Is

      BY ELLEN BASS



      to love life, to love it even

      when you have no stomach for it

      and everything you’ve held dear

      crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,

      your throat filled with the silt of it.

      When grief sits with you, its tropical heat

      thickening the air, heavy as water

      more fit for gills than lungs;

      when grief weights you down like your own flesh

      only more of it, an obesity of grief,

      you think, How can a body withstand this?

      Then you hold life like a face

      between your palms, a plain face,

      no charming smile, no violet eyes,

      and you say, yes, I will take you

      I will love you, again.

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    3. Julie, thanks for sharing the poem!

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    4. This poem is amazing, Julie! Have you all ever read Rilke? He’s an Austrian poet from the early 20th century. His poetry has given words to how I feel so many times.

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  10. Kenneth Patchen, goodness I haven’t heard that name in years but he is on my special shelf. My special shelf is small and holds books by authors who are close to heart. C. S. Lewis, A. A. Milne, Mary Oliver, David Whyte who was the person who really introduced me to poetry, Rilke, Anthony Doerr’s Four Seasons in Rome which I highly recommend, my Grandfathers New Testament, and another recommendation, Alan Bennettt’s The Uncommon Reader. Arthur Ransome’s books got me through my childhood and J. R. R. Tolkien through adolescence along with many more lighter novels like Georgette Heyer. I found Jan Karon’s books a real comfort at one time. Who wouldn’t want to live in Fathet Tim’s village?

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    1. And I remember the first time I read Out of the silent planet.. I was transported.

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    2. Hi Celia, Lovely list! I'm a big Jan Karon fan too. I love her way of capturing the heart and complexities of a community. And Mary Oliver... every last word! Thanks for joining the chat.

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    3. Hank, I read Out of the Silent Planet as a kid and it launched me into a whole exploration of other worlds. I love CS Lewis.

      Celia, I just recommended Rilke in another thread. He was new to me this past year and his poetry was a godsend.

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    4. Those are some great reads. Devoured Jan Karon's books.

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  11. Julie Cantrell, welcome to Jungle Reds! It is a coincidence that you have the same name as a friend. She is from a Deaf family - everyone in her family are Deaf - parents, siblings and herself.

    Christmas is my favorite holiday besides Halloween. I love "hygge" and exchanging books. Wearing cozy sweaters. Eating yummy Christmas cookies.

    What story was good for my soul? There are many. I have several favorite movies, including MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET and IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. The Hallmark Channel has many wonderful movies, including the Evergreen series.

    Since I am always looking for more Christmas books, I look forward to reading your book.

    Hank, I loved The Nab Who Invented Christmas movie with the actor from Downton Abbey.

    There may be a new movie coming this Christmas based on the novel by Matt Haig?

    Diana

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    1. Oh my goodness, the midnight library for Christmas? Is that what you’re hearing?

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    2. Matt Haig is my imaginary BFF. I truly love his spirit. Have you read his latest drop of sweetness, The Comfort Book? Just a little dance of light on every page. And how fun that I share a name with your friend. I'm actually a certified speech-language pathologist who has done some work with patients who had received cochlear implants. The deaf community can be such a wonderfully fun and supportive circle. Happy Holidays! J

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    3. HANK, the children's book is titled THE BOY WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS and it will be a movie on Netflix this Christmas ?

      JULIE, it is funny that you are a certificated SP and you share a name with a deaf friend. There is a big debate in the Deaf community about Cochlear Implants. Some people are against it and some support it. Personally, I believe it depends on many factors: Will the family have the time and money for auditory training with a young child? Will the young child be receptive? (Some children learn visually, not auditory). I got two Cochlear Implants and I spend an hour every morning listening to books on tape with my cochlear implants. It takes time and patience to do this and I am an adult. I also learned to listen for different beats.

      Look forward to reading your book and I feel the same way about Matt Haig. He is so humble.

      Diana

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    4. Hi Diana,
      I was just talking to my husband about “hygge” the other day. I’ve wanted to be purposeful in bringing it into our home this winter. Any tips for me?

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    5. Check out the hygge books by Meik Wiking.

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  12. Oh, what a lovely story collection. I've pre-ordered and joined the mailing list. Positivity is always appreciated.

    Books that get me/got me through life. Wow. Desiderata, The Little Prince, Little Women, Nobel House, Robert Frost, Winnie the Pooh, Paddington Bear. Others I'm sure, but can't call them to mind.

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    1. Hi Kait, I agree there's something wonderfully tender about the Winnie the Pooh stories. I used to read those to my children and loved them. Also the Franklin series was so kindhearted. And I have a Paddington Bear from my childhood. My grandmother gave him to me and he was my favorite stuffed animal. I love children's stories. I'm glad you mentioned these.

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    2. I find myself being drawn to my childhood favorites too. There’s an enduring quality to them that makes me trust in the consistency of time. You know?

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    3. Why is it that those childhood books stick with us? I remember how much Laura Ingalls Wilder transported me to another time.

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  13. Kait, Noble House affected me, too, for years.

    The stories that have called to me most over the years are those that open my eyes to a culture or way of life that I'd never imagined, or stories of triumph. The Poisonwood Bible, My Name is Asher Lev (and the other titles from Potok), Marjorie Morningstar, Snow Falling on Cedars, My Antonia, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Their stories stayed with me and profoundly changed my view of the world.

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    1. Snow falling on Cedars! Yes yes yes. Sorry for the capitalization, I am dictating :-)

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    2. Hi Kait, Barbara Kingsolver is one of my all-time favorite authors, and The Poisonwood Bible is beyond exceptional. It's definitely on my special shelf. The others on your list are fabulous too. Great choices!

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    3. Karen, Snow Falling on Cedars is a favorite of mine, too. Such an amazing story!

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    4. Chaim Potok is such a beautiful writer. My Name Is Asher Lev is one of my favorites that no one else has read. I feel like we’re kindred spirits now!

      And of course the rest of the list is spot on as well.

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  14. Hi Julie! What a wonderful idea for a novella collection! I love Christmas stories and the more heartwarming, the better. Books have been my lifelong solace--I often wonder how non-readers cope with the difficulties in life. My list would be pages, but along with many of the titles others have listed I'd add James Herriot's stories, and the novels of Dick Francis.

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    1. Hi Deborah... I agree. I wonder too how people manage to deal with all the hurts of life if they don't have a creative outlet. I think the creative arts are our tool to process the pain and convert it all into something beautiful again. I'm so glad you've found comfort in stories. Thanks for joining our conversation today. j

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    2. Deborah, I completely agree! I often say that story is a “safe” place to work through life’s most difficult issues.

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  15. I am terrible about remembering books and titles so I'll just stick to some recent ones I've read and enjoyed. The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews is lovely. Appears frothy at first but there's a lot to it. The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman. Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall. All of these revolve around new friends, family and community.
    I have to tell you Julie, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is my must see Christmas movie. I never miss it and it still brings on the belly laughs!

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    1. Pat, I LOVED Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake!!!! Rosaline's daughter was just the best fictional kid ever!

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    2. I can never come up with titles either unless other people start! And National Lampoon is an annual event at my house too.

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    3. I loved your "appears frothy" but there's a lot to it description, Pat. I think that's why Christmas stories get to us.

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    4. Hi Pat, Oh yay! I'm so glad to find another Griswold fan! I hope you'll enjoy these stories and that you'll discover laughs, smiles, and sentimental doses of holiday cheer between the pages. Happy Reading!

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  16. I love the sound of all of these. And I've always been fond of works which interact with an earlier, classic novel, whether serious, like A THOUSAND ACRES/King Lear or light-hearted, like Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series/the Sherlock Holmes canon. You get all the pleasure of looking back and referencing the older piece, while enjoying something different and new.

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    1. Yes, I so agree! And it makes you feel smart, too...xoxo

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    2. Julia, you are speaking my language! I have Sherlock Holmes books from the early 20th century and they’re one of my prized possessions. And then digging into Laurie King’s books are so much fun.

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  17. Sounds wonderful, I’ve pre-ordered it.
    Books are gifts to be opened over and over, and I have many, many favorites. Any of Christe’s Poirot novels suit, and all of William Kent Krueger’s Cork O’Connor novels. I still love and reread Tolkein, Sherlock Holmes, Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, Arthur Clarke’s Childhood’s End, the A. A. Milne Pooh books, Raymond Chandler, Shogun, Willa Cather, P. G. Wodehouse. The list goes on forever.

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    1. SUCH a great list! Thank you, Rick!

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    2. I’ve read William Kent Krueger’s stand alone books, but haven’t tried the series. Are they similar, Rick?

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    3. Hi Rick, Thanks so much for giving our book a try. I love picturing it in your home by the literary greats you've named here. Some powerhouse talents on your shelves! Happy Holidays!

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  18. My novella is based on the film "Remember the Night," and one of my favorite scenes is when the family is sitting around, enjoying each other, and they begin singing "The End of a Perfect Day." And, I must say, I have to end every day with reading. I love a bit of transport before going to sleep. It keeps my mind from churning and churning. Such a great escape! Whether it's for an hour, or just a few pages...

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    1. Definitely a way to ease our way out of a day.XO

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  19. Hank, I haven’t heard of The Man Who Invented Christmas. I’m going to need to check it out!

    And for books that were good for my soul. There are so many. I love the power of story to transport me into someone else’s world. It gives me empathy for people who see the world differently and let’s me travel to places and times I can’t or haven’t visited. I pretty much find something good for me in every book I read. So I’ll pick a few from the last year!

    The Girl with a Louding Voice was not an easy read, but reminded me of the importance of words and the power of me compassion and voice.

    I Am. I Am. I Am. gave me space to grieve my daughter’s brushes with death and yet gives voice to the hope and power inside her (and me).

    Everything Sad Is Untrue is narrative nonfiction but it is easily my favorite book of this year. It’s about an Iranian refugee who miraculously escapes his country with his mom only to find difficulties in the States. Daniel is a storyteller of the highest order who manages to make you laugh until you cry even as he opens his heart and makes you mourn.

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    1. How in the world do you have time to read this much. :)

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    2. Everything Sad is Untrue was one of my favorite reads this year too. Such a fabulous, authentic, and honest voice. Powerful storytelling.

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    3. Lynne, I read a lot by audio . . . and then I try to read a little during all my work breaks. I have to remind myself what a good, fully edited book sounds like so that I can reproduce it :)

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    4. Also, I have no idea why that comment came through as unknown...

      I am definitely not a techy.

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  20. Will the anthology be coming out in paper??

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    1. Hi Meg, YES! Thank you for asking. The paperback is releasing October 12 and should be listed online soon. Happy reading!

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