Posts Tagged With: writers

Best Books Ever, At Least for This Week

Someone asked me for a list of my favorite books. Or maybe it was, “If you were stranded on a desert island with only three books…” I don’t know. They demanded a quick answer and I had none.

Happy Children Playing Kids

(Photo credit:

May as well ask a mother to pick a favorite child.

Apparently, I’m just a fraud, masquerading as a literary aficionado.

And yet if someone knew nothing else about me they’d need to know that I. Love. Books.

When we pack up to move, the book boxes outnumber the kitchen boxes. Surely I have a shelf of favorites. Actually, I have categories of favorites. And not just genres. Books are favorite reads because of character development, or amazing descriptive writing, or a compelling storyline. Books are favorites because I recognized myself and my quirks in a particular character, or because the writing felt familiar and comfortable. Favorites find their way into my heart through no reasoning whatsoever. Some are such masterworks of genius I read them just to remind myself that such art and perfection exists.

My yearly goal is to read twenty-five books. (That’s two a month plus one for we math illiterates.) That’s been going on for upwards of thirty years. And some years I read much more than that. Being conservative, that’s 750 books I’ve read as an adult. As a kid and a teen I read like most people breath and I didn’t keep track of them. A book a day during the summer, perhaps? Given that impossible to estimate number, lets round it up to a thousand books I’ve read. Narrowing that down to ten favorites seems impossible.

Just as a sort of point of honor, I read all of these before they became movies, or musicals, or whatever else they’ve morphed into.

Yet, in the spirit of answering last night’s book club question, here is a list of a few of my favorite books, in no particular order. (If they have a star, it’d be in my “deserted island” backpack.)

  • To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee*
  • The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield
  • Les Miserables – Victor Hugo*
  • The Book Thief  -Markus Zusak* (Surprising narrator)
  • Last of the Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper*
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife  – Audrey Niffenegger
  • Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White
  • The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon (The best first lines of a novel ever!)
  • Out of Africa – Isak Dinesen*
  • Ender’s Game  – Orson Scott Card
  • Matilda – Roald Dahl*
  • The Whistling Season – Ivan Doig* (Stunning!)
  • The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck (Yup Mr. Beck, your favorite author made the list, aren’t you a proud teacher!)
  • Ella Minnow Pea – Mark Dunn
  • Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • A River Runs Through It – Norman McLean* (Better than a hike in the woods)
  • A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens*
  • Banner in the Sky – James Ramsey Ullman
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  • Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  • Caleb’s Crossing – Geraldine Brooks
  • The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Talk Before Sleep – Elizabeth Berg (Beautifully heartbreaking)
  • Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
  • A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe – Fannie Flagg (Towanda!)
library shelves

(Photo credit: jvoss)

I feel like I’ve left hundreds of my beloved children behind. I also realize after reviewing my list that it’s all fiction. I do read non-fiction, they just don’t fall into my favorites lists apparently.

Simply reading the synopsis of each book will entertain you, I’m certain of it. Pick one or two that you haven’t ever read then get back to me about what you thought. I’d love a dialogue like that.

I ramped up my reading goal this year to thirty-six books. That seems reasonable. Three great reads a month. Okay, maybe they won’t all be great. But the more I read, I figure, the more likely I’ll find some real gems to cherish. I’ve read eighteen so far, so given that it’s the beginning of July, I’m right on track.

If you have a favorite you think I need to read or you don’t see here, I’d love to know about it. Please leave a comment so I can enjoy  and share the treasures you’ve found among the world of reading.

I’m always looking for another favorite.

Categories: Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Proof That Humans Can Work Magic

I used to try to wiggle my nose to make something magical happen. I couldn’t wiggle my nose, so naturally, no magic. Then I tried holding my arms folded in front of me and blinking my eyes to make magic. Didn’t have much luck with that one either.

Magic words like “Alakazam!” and “Open Sesame!” and “Bibbity Bobbity Boo” didn’t have any effect, much to my chagrin.

I resorted to mind control. Thinking until it hurt my brain, I’d try to move a spoon, or make the salt shaker float. I’d stare at a pitcher of water and will it with my eyes to pour. No luck.

No magic.


Then I discovered books.

“A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.”

Carl Sagan

January 10, 2013 - Antique Books

(Photo credit: eric.langhorst)

Carl Sagan always intrigued me with his “billions and billions” talk. And now I find, with this quote that he was magical too, talking to me across time, from his past to my present. Letting me know that I, too, am a magician after all.

After discovering books I decided I could make that kind of magic if I practiced enough.

So now, I write. That’s my magic.

It might not always be magical, but it’s working right now.

Categories: Books, Communication | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Getting to Know Me. A Trifecta Challenge of Sorts.

As a new blogger I’ve explored other blogs, blogging ideas, blog challenges and blogging prompts. What a surprise huh?  Ran across this one called Trifecta with a different twist that I want to keep following.  The questions and answers below are part of my participation in Trifecta. So without further ado, fan fare, annoyances, or advertising, here are my answers to ten fascinating questions.

Size comparison between the famous ceratopsian...

Size comparison between the famous ceratopsian Triceratops and a human (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. What is your name (real or otherwise)?

 Kami Tilby.  It’s real. Really. Otherwise, I’d make up something like Hortense Decrepit.

2.Describe your writing style in three words. 

Fluent, Fluid, Funny-ish.

3.How long have you been writing online?

Two months and 6 days as a blogger.   Overly long status updates on Facebook for 2 years. Snarky comments on Facebook for 3 years.

4.Which, if any, other writing challenges do you participate in? 

I rocked NaBloPoMo in November.  I’m a dabbler in the Daily Post, meaning I post daily, but don’t often respond to specific topic challenges on WordPress.

5.Describe one way in which you could improve your writing.  

Be less timid; write like I’m a rock star with a million followers who hang on my every word.

6.What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?

A)  Keep your butt in the chair and write!  B) Limit adjectives and adverbs. C) Read great literature.  And D) a twist on the Kindergarten classic, “show, don’t tell.”

7.Who is your favorite author?  

I love Anne Lamott. I swoon over Geraldine Brooks! Ivan Doig‘s descriptions leave me breathless. Anna Quindlan and Anne Tyler are exquisite.  Elizabeth Berg reads minds and hearts. Richard Ford, Barbara Kingsolver, Marilyn Robinson, write with rich, evocative, flowing prose. Leif Enger, oh my, you have to read his books. Ann Tyler, covers it all. Thomas Hardy, is all pain and stark beauty.

8.How do you make time to write?

I give up two hours of sleep every morning.  Sometimes I give up  bedtime too.  Depends.  My best writing seems to happen when I’m only partially coherent. Which, come to think of it, is most of the time. I must be a brilliant writer. Or delusional.  Or very sleep deprived.

9.Give us one word we should consider using as a prompt. Remember–it must have a third definition.  Incandescent. Then, I could write about myself, on a good day, slightly delirious and self-aggrandized, and with a bit of a God complex. Or not.

10. Direct us to one blog post of yours that we shouldn’t miss reading.

What happened to the trifecta idea?  Fine, if you’re going to limit me to just one post.  It would  have to be “The Good, The Bad, The Not So Pretty of Parenting Moments.” Although, be assured this is not a mommy blog.

There you have it.  Me in a Meme.

I’m not usually so me, me, me.  But I couldn’t help myself. Embarrassing.

(Seriously, you should check out one of those writers I mentioned in number 7.  You can’t go wrong with any of them. Sure, you can wait until after Christmas, but no longer.)

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: