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Chapter 11 - Life With Father

As we were walking the beach this morning Dave asked me who made the biggest impact on my reading life. My answer was quick and unfaltering - my father. My day, who passed away over eight years ago, always had a book he was reading. Sometimes they were westerns, other times detective stories or popular fiction. Often he would be reading a biography or a sports book, but he always read. After dinner he would retire to the den where he would be head down for at least an hour reading, longer if there wasn't anything good on TV that night.

When my sister and I were little he would read to us at night before we went to bed. He plowed through Uncle Wiggily, fairy tales, The Bobbsey Twins, and of course, Nancy Drew - clearly not his favorites! As I got older the latest biography or sports book made an easy Christmas or Fathers' Day present for him. It was especially sweet because he would usually give them back to me insisting that I read them too.

So, in honor of my dad, who would have been 96 this week, here are a few of my favorite autobiographies/memoirs.

The Necklace by Cheryl Jarvis - I love this book. The story is about 13 women who share a $37,000 diamond necklace. After seeing the necklace at a jewelry store Jonell McLain questioned why personal luxuries are plentiful yet accessible to so few. Several weeks, many phone calls, and some great negotiating later, McLain and 12 other women bought the necklace together. What started as sort of a social experiment developed into a memorable experience for all.

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe - When Schwalbe's mother (an amazing women on her own - read the book) was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he often would be the one taking her to chemo and radiation therapies. During this time they started a book club together sharing with each other books they loved. The book really makes you think about what books have made an impact on you and why. It also has a great reading list in the back!

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - Being a World War II veteran my dad would probably have liked this book. A hard and powerful tale of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner, captured by the Japanese during WWII after surviving 47 days on a raft in the Pacific after his bomber crashed. The movie, while good, only told part of the story.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway - Think of Paris in the early 1930's.The people, the city, the fashion, the glamour, and here is Hemingway right in the middle of it soaking it all up. Mostly autobiographical, Hemingway tells of the greatness, inspiration, and excitement of the days when he was a young, struggling writer.

Write and let me know who has made the biggest impact on your reading life.

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