You may never have heard of
some of my favorite books. I suppose
I’d love to keep it that way. Keep them
to myself. But as I am a writer known by few, I’ll break open the piggy bank
and let coins fly. Great books are the coinage of the realm!
a novel by Elizabeth von Arnim
Exquisite sensibility and a truly surprising turn of events. Just when you think the four plucky women who’ve escaped dreary England for a month’s stay at an Italian villa will assert their independence from their pasts, they turn and embrace them. Brave acts, indeed.
A Green Journey
a novel by Jon Hassler
How many times have I reread this tale? How many copies given away? I love spending hours with Agatha McGee—the elderly, crabby, exacting heroine—who dares expose herself to travel, spiritual doubt and love, in her ancestral Ireland.
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant
a novel by Anne Tyler
Yes, Tyler is famous, but this family cock-up from 1982 may have slipped beneath your radar. Homesickness, right when you are home, and gallons of good cooking, a hero who loses nearly everything to those he serves, the impossible mother finding her single moment of profound delight. I just read that Anne Tyler considers it her best work. I love it when I’m right!
Muddling Toward Frugality
non-fiction by Warren Johnson
I don’t care if Johnson’s economic theories seem dated. I don’t care if Johnson’s premise that muddling through—a simple coping behavior which keeps us from being the utter tyrants and stupid-heads we set out to be, will in the end save us from ourselves—does not play out in history. His is an ardent and sensible call for frugality. I know he’s right.
children’s novel by Anne H. White, illustrated by Robert McCloskey
The irrepressible Junket, Airedale extraordinaire, never dwells in sorrow. Left behind by his people and adopted by the new city-bred farm owners who banish all of Junket’s friends, the dog rebuilds his busy farm life with a trot and a wink. This book lodged in my heart in fourth grade and hasn’t moved a centimeter since.