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Eclectics' Authors Top 5 Favorite Books!

Have you ever wondered what your favorite authors like to read and why? Wonder no longer! Below is a list of authors and their Top Five Favorite Books (for some of us, it was difficult to narrow it down to five!). You may want to pick up a couple to add to your collection.

Happy Reading!

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Denise Dietz | Gail Eastwood | Cheryl Cooke Harrington
Lori Handeland | Candace McCarthy | Ana Leigh | Erin Lynn
Hailey North | Laura Joh Rowland
|Regina Scott | Rebecca Sinclair

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Denise Dietz

1. Boys and Girls Together
William Goldman

The book that made me want to be an author! I still remember the characters; they were so vivid. Therefore, my own books tend to be character-driven.

2. East of Eden
John Steinbeck

Like Oprah, I think this book is Steinbeck's best (and I've read them all).
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3. The Stand
Stephen King

What can I say? Good vs. Evil. I get caught up in this book every time I open it.

4. Almost Paradise
Susan Isaacs

I get goose bumps every time I think about this book.

5. The Specialist
Gordon Aalborg

One of the best beginnings [and endings] I've ever read!

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Gail Eastwood

1. Pride & Prejudice
Jane Austen

The characters and the author's delicious sense of irony would be enough reason to make this one a favorite, but this is the novel that first introduced me to the wonderful era of the English Regency. I stumbled upon the book in the public library as a seventh grader and didn't understand half of it, but that didn't stop me from falling in love with it!

2. An Infamous Army
Georgette Heyer

The first Heyer book I ever read. Need I say more? It combined some fascinating, offbeat characters with the Regency setting I loved and a detailed, thoroughly researched and readable dose of history few authors could get away with in a popular novel. (It moves from the ballrooms of Brussels to the battlefields of Waterloo and on to London...) While I loved that as a reader, it also inspired me as a writer!

3. Bewitching
Jill Barnett

This charming, funny novel, about an irrepressible, mistake-prone witch and a stuck-up duke, might be a contender anyway, but it includes my favorite love scene of all-time. It works on every level, thanks to the wonderful characters and the skills of the author. I don't want to say more in case someone hasn't read it, since the element of surprise plays an integral part in that scene's success.

4. Earthfasts
William Mayne

dragon with book - cartoonishMayne wrote young adult books in the 60's that surpassed anything I'd ever read. In Earthfasts, set in the Yorkshire Dales, he blends past and present, legend and supernatural, in a way that might be terrifying except that he keeps things so grounded with a superb talent for detail and language. I can't pick up this book without getting sucked into its pages time and again, and I've read it a million times!


5. True Blue
Luanne Rice

Can we only pick five favorites? (Whine.) This is so hard! Okay, Luanne Rice is one of my newer reading addictions and True Blue is my favorite among her books that I've read so far. As a reader I enjoy her warm, contemporary stories and very real, appealing characters. I like her mix of romance with family issues and a dash of mystery, magic or suspense, and I admire her grasp of the volatile dynamics of human relationships! As a writer I adore her style and —here it is again— talent for detail and language. Not fast-paced, her prose is rich and offers pleasure to be savored in and of itself.

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Cheryl Cooke Harrington

1. Anne of Green Gables
Lucy Maud Montgomery

How to choose just five from a lifetime of favorites? They'd have to be those books I've read that left me wanting *more*...*now*! That's why Anne of Green Gables tops the list. As a child and teenager, I couldn't get enough of Anne's adventures in Avonlea and devoured the entire series more than once. A true kindred spirit was Anne. Of course, I've watched the CBC television 'Avonlea' series many times and have even seen Green Gables performed in musical theatre. I'd say that definitely qualifies as wanting more! It was truly difficult, though, to choose my favorite childhood book. Others running neck-and-neck include 'Swallows & Amazons' by Arthur Ransome; Cue for Treason by Geoffrey Trease; and 'Black Beauty' by Anna Sewell. I loved them all.

2.The Cat Who Saw Red
Lilian Jackson Braun

cat knocking books off shelf - cartoonishOr maybe I should say 'The Cat Who Went Bananas' ... or 'Knew Shakespeare' or 'Played Post Office' or... sorry, but I can't pick just one ' Cat Who' book!

These cozy, old-fashioned mysteries feature smart cat Koko the sleuthing Siamese, his companion Yum Yum, and their human, the accidentally wealthy newsman and perpetual bachelor, James (Qwill) Qwilleran. I'm midway through Braun's 28-book series and enjoying every minute spent with the people and places of Moose County "400 miles north of everywhere". Currently my choice for bedtime reading, this series is a great way to unwind at the end of a busy day.

3. The Harry Potter Series
J. K. Rowling

No doubt about it, Rowling is a masterful story-teller. My son and I never tire of listening to the Jim Dale audio renditions of Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, and Half-Blood Prince. They've opened a world of reading and imagination for my son and that's a bit of Potter 'magic' in itself.

4.Crocodile on the Sandbank
Elizabeth Peters

This is book one of another series favorite, the Amelia Peabody Mysteries. Step back to early 1900's... Amelia and her husband Emmerson are archaeologists in Egypt where mystery and danger abound ...think Carter's cursed discovery of King Tut's tomb. I've always wanted to visit the pyramids. With Amelia, I do.

5. Dragonflight
Anne McCaffrey

Book one of the 'Dragon Riders of Pern' series, this was my introduction to the world of science fiction/fantasy. Here there be dragons!

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Lori Handeland

1. Lord of Scoundrels
Loretta Chase

The best tortured hero ever and the funniest, no nonsense heroine.  This is one of the only books I'll read parts of over and over again, year after year.

2. Heaven, Texas
Susan Elizabeth Philips

This is one of the first of the author's Chicago Stars books and I love them all.  But I have a serious Brett Favre crush and Bobby Tom Denton just reminds me of him.

3. Outlander
Diana Gabaldon

When this came out it was so new, so different, just spectacular.  Check out the last line—one of the best ever written.

4. Redeeming Love
Francine Rivers

A powerful, emotional re-telling of the story of Hosea.  Just brilliant.

5. One For the Money
Janet Evanovich

books on scale - cartoonishFrom the beginning, I've been a Stephanie fan.  Evanovich has continued to deliver hysterical stories book after book.  I've gone back and re-read this one countless times to try and figure out how she did it.  I can't because I just keep enjoying the ride.  A series I can share with my niece—just great fun.


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Ana Leigh

1. Atlas Shrugged
Ayn Rand

This was one of the most "food for thought" books I have ever read. Despite its length, I couldn't put it aside. Only thing I didn't like was the ending. I would have preferred Dagney to end up still "in love" with Hank Reardon (I adored him) rather than John Gault. I guess that's because I'm a romance writer.

2. The DiVinci Code
Dan Brown

The second book that really tapped into my mind. Although, I don't buy everything Brown said, he sure writes what I consider to be a "page-turning, can't put it down to the end" kind of book.

3. Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen

Do I even have to explain. Jane Austen at her best. Darcy and Elizabeth the perfect protagonists, plus a cadre of great supporting characters whom I envy as a writer.

4. Breath of Scandal
Sandra Brown

First Sandra book I'd ever read. Not the greatest romance plot, but a heck of a good story. I bought whatever I could find of hers from that time on.

5. The Hepburn
Jan Westcottblue book w glasses

The book that turned me onto romance novels. No big, hot sex scenes, but the superb writing carried the book. And keep in mind that at the time she wrote it, a romance in a novel was not pigeon-holed as a "trashy novel".

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Candace McCarthy

1. Touch not the Cat
Mary Stewart

Read the book when I was younger. It still stays with me. And it is still in print: last printing December 1, 2005!

2. Love Once in Passing
Jo Ann Simon

The first book I read for RWA's Golden Medallion contest — many, many years ago. Was released again by Imaginn books in 2002....still available.

3. The Conqueror
Judith E. French

Loved this book by Judith French along with the books in the series that followed — The Barbarian and The Warrior. Great characters, riveting stories!

4. Sugar Dragon
Victoria Gordon

butterflies and book - cartoonishA Harlequin Romance written released in 1981. This book made me laugh out loud. It was an amusing book that I haven't forgotten.

5. Survivor in Death
J.D. Robb

I love all the "In Death" books by J.D. Robb aka Nora Roberts. I also love all Nora Roberts books.

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Erin Lynn

1. Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen

Elizabeth Bennett is a wonderful, intelligent heroine, very easy to relate to, with an embarrassing family (don't we all have at least one relative who makes us wince?). And she has great taste in men.

2. Three Fates
Nora Roberts

book - cartoonishI love the complexity of this book. There are three romances running simultaneously along with a suspense element and a tie-in to a historical event.


3.Jane Eyre
Charlotte Bronte

Jane is plain yet smart ... the perfect heroine to cheer on. Love the gothic setting and tone.

Lori Foster

This hero is the perfect man. Kind, loyal, brimming with integrity... the kind of guy you could actually live with for forty years and still love.

5. Bridget Jones' Diary
Helen Fielding

Isn't there a little bit of bumbling Bridget in all of us? At least there is in me. ;-)

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Hailey North

1. Confederacy of Dunces
John Kennedy O'Toole

I fell in love with this book even before I moved to New Orleans. Now that I've lived here going on fourteen years, I laugh even harder. And sometimes it makes me cry, too. Especially now.

2. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4
Sue Townsend

There may be a theme developing here ...books that make me laugh when they are not making me cry! Try it, you'll see!

3. Harriet the Spy
Louise Fitzhugh

book and quill pen - cartoonishThis "children's book" is probably the most instrumental influence in my becoming a writer. After I read this novel in fourth or fifth grade, I began keeping my own "spy notebooks." I've continued to do so, and I've almost, but not quite, reached "That Birthday"!


4. Mars and Venus on a Date
John Gray

Seriously, folks, want to get married again? Married for the first time? Married, one hopes, for the last time? Try it. It works!

5. Spiritual Law of Success
Depak Chopra

A friend gave this book to me for Christmas three years ago. He told me he'd been taught to read one chapter, or law, each morning, following a seven day cycle. I began reading this tiny gem that Sunday. I am thankful that this gift came into my life and by sharing this book as one of my favorites, I hope to pass on that gift to others.

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Laura Joh Rowland

1. The Makioka Sisters
Junichiro Tanizaki

This is a wonderful story of family life and society in pre World War II Japan. It centers around the difficulties of marrying off Yukiko, the shy, old fashioned, but strong willed third of the four sisters. The author has been dubbed “The Japanese Jane Austen.” Attention writers: I bet you can’t top the last sentence.


2. 36 Views of Mount Fuji
Cathy N. Davidson

traditional Japanese lady readingThe American author recounts the experiences she had while teaching in Japan. It’s beautifully written and contains many astute observations on Japanese society and places. Read this, and you’ll want to head for Tokyo.


3. The Road Through Miyama
Leila Philip

Another American in Japan memoir. The author worked as an apprentice to a master Japanese potter, a rare opportunity for a foreigner. This book increased my appreciation and understanding of Japanese art, and it was a fun read, too.

4. Video Night in Kathmandu
Pico Iyer

A classic, informative, entertaining account of the journalist author’s travels in Asia, including Japan. I wish I had his job.

5. All She Was Worth
Miyuki Miyabe

The author is one of Japan’s top mystery authors. This novel is an eye opening look at contemporary Japan, as well as a fascinating mystery.


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Regina Scott

1. The Bible

One of the criteria for choosing our favorite books was a book that was on our keeper shelf, a book we turn to again and again, for enjoyment, for comfort. The rest of the books I chose were fiction books, but I couldn't leave this one out. It's there for me, when I'm up, when I'm down, when I need a word to get me back on my feet. I have an older New International Version with study notes, which can be interesting in themselves. If you've never read the Bible, try it. You might like it!

2. The Chronicles of Prydain
Lloyd Alexander

This series of books for young people includes The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King. I first read them when I was in third grade. I've read them again and again over the years, and was delighted to read them to my sons when they were younger. The language is beautiful, it's easy to relate to the characters, and I swear there really is such a land just over the horizon. Celtic mythology has always spoken to me. I hope I can share these with my grandchildren some day.

3. Her Majesty's Wizard
Christopher Stasheff

book and hand -cartoonishIn this fish out of water tale, a starving graduate student is whisked into an epic fantasy world where language has power. Suddenly, because he can quote Shakespeare and Milton, he's the greatest wizard going! Christopher Stasheff said one of the reasons he wrote this book was that so many high fantasies, based on the middle ages, leave out God. That seemed odd to him because the Church was so important in those days. The hero has to deal with issues of heaven and hell, for what he had assumed to be literary is now literal. Great story!

4. The Phantom Lover
Elizabeth Mansfield

This book opened my eyes to the wonders of the Regency period. A spirited young lady is sent to rusticate in the country to live down a recent scandal. However, the castle where she takes refuge is haunted by a very different sort of spirit!

5. The Mad Miss Mathley
Michelle Martin

This is another of my favorite Regency romances. Miss Melinda Mathley is happy to have a logical mind, a decent head of hair, and good teeth. She also has a habit of rescuing those around her. But when she sets out to rescue reforming rake Lord Carleton, she nearly drives him to the brink of disaster! As funny as it is poignant, this story captured my imagination and never let go.

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Rebecca Sinclair

1. The Eight
Katherine Neville

What do chess, Charlemagne, the French Revolution, computers and OPEC have in common? Not much, you'd think. Think again. They have in common THE EIGHT, by Katherine Neville. While this book has had it's share of so-so reviews, it's one I keep coming back to. I love the past/present "Dickenesk" style and the master plot that keeps you really guessing until the very end.

2. The Name of the Rose
Umberto Eco

owl with book - cartoonishWhile I *loved* Eco's Foucaults Pendulum, I have to admit I preferred The Name of the Rose. What can I say? I'm a sucker for historical novels, and not necessary romance ones, which this definitely is not. The book revolves around a murder in a medieval monastery and a Sherlock Holmes-like monk (and his your apprentice) who try to solve the crime while still more murders take place. Wonderfully written; a book you can really sink your teeth in to.


3. Slow Heat in Heaven
Sandra Brown

One of the all-time best contemporary romances I've ever read. Very steamy! Anyone who can read Slow Heat in Heaven and not fall head-over-heels for Cash Beaudreaux is a stronger woman than I. I believe this was Brown's "break out of category romance" book, and she did a "heavenly" job with it. This book generated the first and only fan letter I've ever written.

4. An Instance of the Fingerpost
Iain Pears

Interesting and different. An Instance of the Fingerpost involves four different versions of the exact same event (a murder), each part told from a separate character's very dissimilar view point. With each telling, something new about the original version is learned and more detail is added. It's set duringthe middle ages, and the author really brings the time-period to vivid life. This book withstood my Rubber Band Test (if I reread a book so many times it falls apart and has to be held together with a rubber band, it's Really Good).

5. Phantom
Susan Kay

I'm a huge Phantom of the Opera fan. Phantom was originally released in 1991 (and was re-released (yay!) in 2005). It's a recent addition to my top 5 favorites, bumping off Tom & Sharon Curtis' Lightning that Lingers and their The Windflower. If you are a fan of Phantom of the Opera in any of its many forms, and have ever wondered what Erik's life might have been like before Christine, plunge into Phantom. (I've recently had to buy the hardcover edition of this book because it also passed my Rubber Band Test!)

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