The most inspiring books that have a special meaning to me as an author and reader

Why am I passionate about this?

My literary interest began in childhood when my love for rhyme encouraged me to write limericks and poems. In 2009, my first novel, An Ordinary Life was published, which I considered to be a therapeutic exercise to see where it would lead, and here I am, much wiser, but still learning. Becoming an author has greatly enhanced my appreciation of the written word and how powerful it can be, hence, my book choices – a personal literary journey.  

I wrote...

The Healing

By Karen E. Stokes,

Book cover of The Healing

What is my book about?

I have always been drawn to ghosts and the paranormal, and wanted to write a story that would reach out to those who may not believe in the afterlife, but are open to the possibility. Set within an ordinary suburban household where a single mother lives with her young son, The Healing is a heart-warming, yet rebellious mystery.  

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Rachel Papers

Karen E. Stokes Why did I love this book?

Martin Amis’s first novel, published in 1973, was the first book that I read from cover to cover. 

I was only eighteen at the time and even though my memory of the story is vague, I remember being drawn in by the unique and compelling way it was told.

I went on to read other works by the same author, but The Rachel Papers has a particular poignancy, in that it has lingered in my psyche for over forty years. Even in adolescence, I came to realise that books are as individual as the person reading them.  

By Martin Amis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rachel Papers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his uproarious first novel Martin Amis, author of the bestselling London Fields, gave us one of the most noxiously believable -- and curiously touching -- adolescents ever to sniffle and lust his way through the pages of contemporary fiction. On the brink of twenty, Charles High-way preps desultorily for Oxford, cheerfully loathes his father, and meticulously plots the seduction of a girl named Rachel -- a girl who sorely tests the mettle of his cynicism when he finds himself falling in love with her.

Book cover of Puffball

Karen E. Stokes Why did I love this book?

Reading Fay Weldon for the first time played on my imagination with her unconventional style and interpretation.

I was always a daydreamer at school and remember being able to relate to the innocence of the main character. She led you on a journey where you didn’t quite know what to believe and for this reason, I fell in love with her work. 

By Fay Weldon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Puffball as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A novel of urban deceit and rural passion, of doctors, witches, birth and death.

'Many people dream of country cottages. Liffey dreamed for many years, and saw her dream come true one hot Sunday afternoon, in Somerset, in September... A trap closed around her. The getting of the country cottage, not the wanting - that was the trap.'

Richard and Liffey, a young married couple, follow their dream of moving out of London to a country cottage in the middle of Somerset. Richard continues to live and work in London, coming to stay with Liffey only on weekends.

Pregnant Liffey…

Book cover of Anatomy of Errors: A Self Help Course in Problem Solving

Karen E. Stokes Why did I love this book?

There are literally thousands of life-coaching books on the market right now, but I found this particular title in a charity shop many years ago.

It gets to the point, offering concise solutions to combat irrational thinking. I love a psychological ‘life dictionary’ and although it was published in 1993, I believe that the given solutions would be much the same if it were re-written today. 

By Alex Howard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anatomy of Errors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

Book cover of The Cry of the Lake

Karen E. Stokes Why did I love this book?

The Cry of the Lake was published in 2020, the same year as my book, and around that time, I had gotten to know many authors, including Charlie.

From the first line, I was drawn into the story which is told with impeccable detail, its characters clearly defined to create the dark and mysterious tale.  

By Charlie Tyler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cry of the Lake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

Book cover of Alice and the Fly

Karen E. Stokes Why did I love this book?

This book inspired me as an author and how to write with conviction.

The mental health element of the story was totally relatable, being a former worker in such a setting. I understood the hostility surrounding schizophrenia and the thoughts and feelings of the main character, a young boy who had the condition. 

Skewed thinking and phobias can be isolating, where the sufferer can feel truly alone and this is the overwhelming sense throughout. 

By James Rice,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alice and the Fly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Powerful' Closer

'A darkly quirky story of love, obsession and fear . . . a beautiful story hung around the enchanting and heartbreaking voice of teenager Greg' Anna James

Miss Hayes has a new theory. She thinks my condition's caused by some traumatic incident from my past I keep deep-rooted in my mind. As soon as I come clean I'll flood out all these tears and it'll all be ok and I won't be scared of Them anymore.

The truth is I can't think of any single traumatic childhood incident to tell her. I mean, there are plenty of bad…

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Book cover of Dulcinea

Ana Veciana-Suarez Author Of Dulcinea

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated with 16th-century and 17th-century Europe after reading Don Quixote many years ago. Since then, every novel or nonfiction book about that era has felt both ancient and contemporary. I’m always struck by how much our environment has changed—transportation, communication, housing, government—but also how little we as people have changed when it comes to ambition, love, grief, and greed. I doubled down my reading on that time period when I researched my novel, Dulcinea. Many people read in the eras of the Renaissance, World War II, or ancient Greece, so I’m hoping to introduce them to the Baroque Age. 

Ana's book list on bringing to life the forgotten Baroque Age

What is my book about?

Dolça Llull Prat, a wealthy Barcelona woman, is only 15 when she falls in love with an impoverished poet-solder. Theirs is a forbidden relationship, one that overcomes many obstacles until the fledgling writer renders her as the lowly Dulcinea in his bestseller.

By doing so, he unwittingly exposes his muse to gossip. But when Dolça receives his deathbed note asking to see her, she races across Spain with the intention of unburdening herself of an old secret.

On the journey, she encounters bandits, the Inquisition, illness, and the choices she's made. At its heart, Dulcinea is about how we betray the people we love, what happens when we succumb to convention, and why we squander the few chances we get to change our lives.

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