The best books that transport you to a new place in your life and introduces you to characters to fall in love with

Who am I?

I spent most of my youth playing sports, and so was forced into being a closet reader, only sissies read books. I never watched TV as a kid. I was always buried in a book that transported me somewhere. These were the days when I had to read with a flashlight under the covers until I was caught and told to shut my darn book and go to sleep. This led to a degree in creative writing and a first career stint teaching the subject. Then, after retiring from founding a financial planning company, I started writing and hope I can transport others.

I wrote...

The Advocate

By Timothy P. Munkeby,

Book cover of The Advocate

What is my book about?

I honestly believe that if every child was read to and prepared to start school so that they feel they belong, it would end or, at least greatly reduce, crime, hate, violence, intolerance, divisiveness, and many of the ills that are a result of poverty and poor parenting in all social categories.

The Advocate transports the reader into the lives of Wanda, a single mother, and her son, Marshawn, and their culture. Ryan, a middleclass widower advocates for Wanda and Marshawn. His task is to ensure Marshawn is ready for school. Naturally all does not go smoothly, but where there is a will, there is a way.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Shipping News

Timothy P. Munkeby Why did I love this book?

I felt like I was transported to Newfoundland. It is now on my bucket list. The personal growth of the main character, Quoyle, is profound. At first you almost despise him for his failings, but the reader ends up loving him. The cast of characters is quirky but extremely entertaining. When the house was dragged across the ice and cabled to the rocks, I could tangibly feel the cables quiver. Beautifully written.

By Annie Proulx,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Shipping News as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Irish Times International Fiction Award and America's National Book Award, this story features Quoyle, a failed journalist, a failed husband and a born loser who heads for a remote corner of Newfoundland with his two daughters and eccentric aunt.

Book cover of The Poisonwood Bible

Timothy P. Munkeby Why did I love this book?

Having never been to Africa and probably will never get there, what I loved about this book is that, after reading it, I felt like I had lived in the Congo. The swarm of ants driving the people to the river to save their lives is, to this day, the most frightful experience I’ve ever had. The story being told from the point of view of each character was done marvelously.

By Barbara Kingsolver,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked The Poisonwood Bible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



An international bestseller and a modern classic, this suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and their remarkable reconstruction has been read, adored and shared by millions around the world.

'Breathtaking.' Sunday Times
'Exquisite.' The Times
'Beautiful.' Independent
'Powerful.' New York Times

This story is told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959.

They carry with them everything they believe they will…

Book cover of The Painted Bird

Timothy P. Munkeby Why did I love this book?

A comment in The Washington Star reads: “No one who reads it will forget it.” That is true. I went through every emotion imaginable from stark horror to utter innocence. The boy, escaping the Holocaust, travels on his own through the Slavic countryside where he discovers the best in people and the horrifying worst. I traveled with him. 

By Jerzy Kosinksi,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Painted Bird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jerzy Kosinski's mythic, master-work of a shattered post-War Europe.

Originally published in 1965, The Painted Bird established Jerzy Kosinski as a major literary figure. Kosinski's story follows a dark-haired, olive-skinned boy, abandoned by his parents during World War II, as he wanders alone from one village to another, sometimes hounded and tortured, only rarely sheltered and cared for. Through the juxtaposition of adolescence and the most brutal of adult experiences, Kosinski sums up a Bosch-like world of harrowing excess where senseless violence and untempered hatred are the norm. Through sparse prose and vivid imagery, Kosinski's novel is a story of…

Book cover of The Graveyard Book

Timothy P. Munkeby Why did I love this book?

Although I, personally, love to be transported to a place I’ve never been and live there through the experience of reading, to be remarkably transported to a fictional place, a graveyard no less, was quite the wonderful experience. To fall in love with dead people, and want to know them is very unusual. Gaiman has an imagination where you just let him take you along and befriend the dead. 

By Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked The Graveyard Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing his entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him - after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. A stunningly original novel deftly constructed over eight chapters, featuring every second year of Bod's life, from babyhood to adolescence. Will Bod survive to be a man?

Book cover of Dandelion Wine

Timothy P. Munkeby Why did I love this book?

Although most known as an imaginative science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury uses his imagination to take you to a simple little town to live the fun, homespun life of the child in all of us. When Tom was in the attic looking down on his neighborhood, I was there with him. When he would write in his journal about the “first times” of doing things, I not only was with him for the first time walking barefoot in the grass in the spring, but I still try to notice all my first times. This book totally transports the reader to all the happy, mysterious days of our childhood.

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Dandelion Wine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dandelion Wine is a 1957 semi-autobiographical novel by Ray Bradbury, taking place in the summer of 1928 in the fictional town of Green Town, Illinois — a pseudonym for Bradbury's childhood home of Waukegan, Illinois. The novel developed from the short story "Dandelion Wine" which appeared in the June 1953 issue of Gourmet magazine.

You might also like...

What Leora Never Knew: A Granddaughter's Quest for Answers

By Joy Neal Kidney,

Book cover of What Leora Never Knew: A Granddaughter's Quest for Answers

Joy Neal Kidney Author Of What Leora Never Knew: A Granddaughter's Quest for Answers

New book alert!

Who am I?

I'm the oldest granddaughter of Leora, who lost three sons during WWII. To learn what happened to them, I studied casualty and missing aircraft reports, missions reports, and read unit histories. I’ve corresponded with veterans who knew one of the brothers, who witnessed the bomber hit the water off New Guinea, and who accompanied one brother’s body home. I’m still in contact with the family members of two crew members on the bomber. The companion book, Leora’s Letters, is the family story of the five Wilson brothers who served, but only two came home.

Joy's book list on research of World War II casualties

What is my book about?

After helping her grandmother leave flowers at the graves of her three sons lost during WWII every Memorial Day, decades later, the author learned that only one is buried at home in Iowa. One is buried overseas. The other has never been found. Joy Neal Kidney had to find out what happened to the three young pilots who never came home.

What Leora Never Knew is Joy Neal Kidney’s journey of research and remembrance, and the companion book to Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II. Five brothers served. Only two came home.

What Leora Never Knew: A Granddaughter's Quest for Answers

By Joy Neal Kidney,

  • Coming soon!

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