Kathleen McCleary, author of House and Home, picks five books most influential and important to her:
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. I must have read this book at least fifty times, and that's not an exaggeration. Something about the way this family related to each other, about Jo's rebellion and creativity, just captured my imagination. I turn to it again and again.
A River Runs Through It, by Norman Maclean. The writing in this book was so spare and so simple yet so moving and eloquent that it's become the gold standard for me. And it addresses one of the universal questions: How do you help someone you love when they don't want to be helped?
Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurty. I devoured this book in two days. Nobody writes dialogue better than Larry McMurtry, and in this book he also has unforgettable characters and a compelling plot. It's the book he was born to write, and I'm so glad he wrote it!
Return to Thrush Green, by Miss Read. I found this book in a giveaway pile at my office years ago, and took it home. I was captivated by the lush descriptions of the setting, in England's Cotswolds, and by the sweet explanations and acceptance of life's many cycles. The characters are quirky, the plot meanders along, and the book weasels its way into your heart.
The Plague and I, by Betty MacDonald, and A Walk Through the Woods by Bill Bryson. Because every once in a while we all need to laugh out loud while reading. Betty MacDonald manages to make a forced nine-month stay in a tuberculosis sanitarium funny, and Bryson's tale of hiking the Appalachias with his chubby companion is so hysterical that flight attendants will regard you suspiciously if you read this on a plane.
I was lucky enough to have Kathleen guest post on my blog last year during a blog tour of House and Home. You can also check out my review of the book at that same link. She recently celebrated the paperback release of her book.
Before House and Home, which is her first novel, Kathleen wrote for several newspapers and magazines as a freelance journalist. She is currently working on her next novel, which we are all very much looking forward to!