Books at The Little House


My mother wasn’t just a reader, I came to believe that books, more than even food, sustained her. It wasn’t uncommon for her to read 3-5 books a week.As her illness made her weaker, her pace slowed, but she still read. And even when she was in the hospital for the last time, she had a book with her. It was Barack Obama’s “Audacity of Hope.” I had given it to her for Christmas just a month before her last illness set in. My mother was interested in politics of all kinds. The book still marks the spot to where she could read no more.

My mom taught me to read even before I started Kindergarten. The first “big” book I ever read was “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.”

When I started school, I couldn’t wait for library day. I wanted a coon dog so badly after reading “Where the Red Fern Grows,” was transported to WWII through Anne Frank’s Diary and started my love affair with true crime reading the copy of “Helter Skelter” that came as my mother’s Book of the Month Club. I entered puberty reading Judy Blume, was captivated (pun intended) by “Sweet Hostage” and slept with the light on for a week after reading “Carrie” and “The Shining.”

Those original copies of “Jonathon Livingston Seagull,” “Sweet Hostage” and “Helter Skelter” are still on my bookshelves today.

From comments I’ve received here, books seem to be the space sucker for most of us. I go through my books periodically, deciding which ones I can take to the used book store in return for more (I’ll be doing this again next time I go to town).

I also borrow some from the library, as well as get them from fellow book club members.

Winter is the time I usually catch up on some reading. Although I joined the local book club when I moved here, I just haven’t gotten much reading done, even in the winter. Life has just been too crazy. This year, I’ve made it my goal to get through more books. A friend inspired me when she came within 1 book of making her goal of 52 for last year. My goal is a bit more modest, I’m hoping for 26, one every other week of the year. I began with our book club pick for this month: “The Help,” by Kathryn Stockett, which was an excellent read and I’ve added it to my shelves.

I’m now moving on to a Dean Koontz book I recently picked up, “The Longest Evening of the Year.”

Let me know if you would like to follow our book club picks and I will post them here each month. For February, it is “The Book Thief,” by Markus Zusak. If I make it through all of these, I’ll be three books into my goal by the end of January!

I’ve posted some of my all-time favorites that will never leave my bookshelves. You can scan my list and if you have any to add, I’m always open to suggestions, though I will run out of room soon!

Fiction by Stephen King

“The Shining”

“Pet Semetary”

“Bag of Bones”


“Duma Key” (newer one set in Florida, great departure for him)

General Fiction

“Sweet Hostage,” by Nathaniel Benchley

“Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” by Richard Bach

“Sybil,” by Flora Rheta Schreiber

“Jaws,” by Peter Benchley

“The Celestine Prophesy,” by James Redfield

“P.S. I Love You,” by Cecelia Ahern (the movie was forgettable)

“Where the Red Fern Grows,” by Wilson Rawls

“The Help,” by Kathryn Stockett

General Non-Fiction – I’m a big true crime reader, so anything by Anne Rule.

“No Immediate Threat: The story of an American Veteran,” by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell (you really didn’t think I would leave my own book out, do you?)

“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” by Dee Brown

“Helter Skelter,” by Vincent Bugliosi

“In Cold Blood,” by Truman Capote

“The Audacity of Hope,” by Barack Obama

“Remembering Mother, Finding Myself,” by Patricia Commins

“Nobody’s Child Anymore,” by Barbara Bartocci (These two books are great for adults who have lost their parents)

“The Green Year,” by Jodi Helmer

“Riding in Cars with Boys,” by Beverly Donofrio

“Still Life with Chickens,” by Catherine Goldhammer (she starts life over in a tiny house).

“The Diary of Anne Frank.” (Possibly the most important book of the 20th century).

Books for Writers and Business

“Writing Down the Bones,” by Natalie Goldberg

“Bird by Bird,” by Anne Lamott

“On Writing,” by Stephen King

“Crazy Bosses,” by Stanley Bing (this book really helped me deal with the lunatic bosses I had in the corporate world, as well as manage some relationships outside of work. Excellent book!)
”Query Letters that Rock,” by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell

“NO: The Only Negotiating System You Need for Work and Home,” by Jim Camp

“Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days,” by Jay Conrad Levinson and Al Lautenslager (this is particularly of use if you’re marketing a book).

What are your favorites?

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47 Responses

  1. Hey, interesting article. We are bigtime fans of Rand and Atlas Shrugged as well – so much, in fact, that we made the chain link bracelet that Hank Rearden tried to give to his wife. It’s named the Liberty Bracelet – check it out at Proceeds will go to the Campaign For Liberty so we had a feeling you might like it.

    If you’d like to write about it or let us post an entry for you, we’d be happy to give you the “Friends and Family” discount on them! Please send us an e-mail if you’d be down, we’d really appreciate it.

    Anyhow… nice blog – we’re subscribed to your feed now so we’ll be checking in regularly!

  2. MarthaandMe says:

    Kindle has become a great way to save space for me. Also, years ago I decided that I had to learn to let books go. So I read them and donate them. I remind myself that if I ever want to read or look at a book again, I can get it from the library. By doing this, I don’t feel guilty about buying more books.

  3. Rae says:

    I read every day and usually finish several books a week since I read pretty fast. I wouldn’t mind living in a small house as long as I could line the walls with bookshelves. If I could have had a career as a reader that would have been tied easily with being a painter. I think the Little House series should be required reading in high school-there are great lessons for adults as well as kids. I love the books Laurie Colwin wrote, as well as the Jane Marple series by Agatha Christie. There are a few books on the BBC list I haven’t read so I’ll have to try them. Love Jane Austin,Atlas Shrugged, The Shining,The Glass Castle, The Shell Seekers,and read a lot of non-fiction history and art books as well. Loved Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, The Little Princess and books by Enid Blyton as a child still like to re-read them every once in a while. I think a good children’s book can entertain an adult as well- or maybe I just like to regress once in a while!

    • kerri says:

      I have a good friend who reads children books regularly. She says it’s because of her grandson, but I think she just enjoys them! 😉

  4. Joanne Mason says:

    I love reading about people’s tastes in books. Two of my favorites by Barbara Kingsolver are “Animal Vegetable Miracle” and “Small Wonder.” I keep meaning to try some of the recipes in the first one…so glad I visited this blog and the reminder popped into my head! 🙂

    I still have many of my childhood favorites – The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden (a concept I ripped off for my first series of short stories in fifth grade), Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume, “I Can’t” said the Ant by Polly Cameron, among others.

    I also still have this book I loved that seems comical now – I don’t even know where we got this one, but it’s called “Lost Race of Mars” by Robert Silverberg, published in 1960. It’s about a family that goes to live on Mars for a year in 2017. “There was a city up there, founded in 1991 – a city of three thousand people living under an enormous plastic dome.”

    Sorry for the ramble…I’ve been enjoying this trip down memory lane. Many thanks!

  5. Kevin says:

    Some recent reads are some great Non -fiction adventures, Mutiny on the Bounty, Coldest March (Scotts South pole disaster)The last Ranch and in the last few weeks some Sci-fi by Jack McDevitt..

    A friend sent me this list from the BBC..Quite interesting compilation.

    BBC believes the majority of people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.
    Go to your profile, choose notes, post a new note – copy and edit.

    1) Look at the list and put an ‘x’ after those you have read.
    2) Add a ‘+’ to the ones you LOVE.
    3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
    4) Tally your total at the bottom.

    1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
    2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
    3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte X
    4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
    5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
    6 The Bible
    7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
    8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
    9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
    10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
    11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
    12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
    13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
    14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
    15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
    16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
    17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
    18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
    19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger –
    20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
    21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell –
    22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
    23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
    24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy –
    25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
    26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
    27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
    29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
    30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
    31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
    32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
    33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
    34 Emma – Jane Austen
    35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
    36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
    37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
    38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
    39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
    40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
    41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
    42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown X
    43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
    45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
    46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
    47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
    48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
    49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
    50 Atonement – Ian McEwan *
    51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
    52 Dune – Frank Herbert
    53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
    54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
    55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
    56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
    58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
    59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
    60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
    62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
    63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
    64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
    65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas ?
    66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
    67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
    68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
    69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
    70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
    71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
    72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
    73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
    74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
    75 Ulysses – James Joyce ? I think so…
    76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
    77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
    78 Germinal – Emile Zola
    79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
    80 Possession – AS Byatt
    81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens X
    82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchel
    83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
    84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
    85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
    86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
    87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
    88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
    89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
    91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
    92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
    93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
    94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
    95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
    96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
    97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
    98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
    99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
    100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

    Total Read:

  6. Amy Rea says:

    Hey Kerri,
    Since Anne Frank is on your “forever” shelf, you might want to check out Francine Prose’s new book, Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife. It’s wonderful. She examines the diaries from a literary perspective, then takes a detailed look at the effect the diaries have had in the world since publication. I got it from the library, but loved it so much I bought a copy.

  7. S.A.B.L.E. says:

    Morning Kerri, The first book I really remember reading as a kid was Charlotte’s Web. Funny that I was drawn to the book as a child and now in real life I have a farm. I imagine the stories my animals would tell would be rather amusing. I later enjoyed Island of the Blue Dolphins. These days I’m not much of book reader. My favorite books are large format photography books by David Muench. I’ve enjoyed his work since high school. Browsing through them is like taking a mini-vacation and they inspire me for my fiber arts and my hand made Christmas cards.

    Thank for sharing your life in a small house. I love the look and idea of small houses, but realized for me and any time in the near future it’s not realistic. I would need two houses, one to live in and one for a fiber studio. The fiber arts take up too much room, as in fibers, yarns, spinning wheels and looms. But someday, it just may happen. Everyone has to do what is right for them.

    • Thanks for the memory, SABLE, I don’t remember reading Charlotte’s Web, but my parents took me one year for my birthday. We were the only 3 in the theater, which was fun as we felt like we had a private viewing!
      You’re right, everyone must live the life that makes them comfortable. You might consider a small house someday with a separate fiber studio, as we did here with the writer’s studio.
      Thanks for stopping in today!

  8. becky wells says:

    Just finished James Patterson’s “Alex Cross’s Trial”. Really, really good although his chapters tend to be short. I really have enjoyed all of Jon Katz’s books and he’s going back to novels this year so I can’t wait to read them. We read a lot here and have a lot of books (with nowhere to put them YET) but I use the library the most. Becky

  9. Jan Moore says:

    What a walk down memory lane reading about all the different books that everyone has mentioned. As a child my favorite reads were the Little House on the Prairie series and later the Donna Parker mysteries. Looking back I see where the LHoP series were a sign of where my life was going as that is somewhat the lifestyle we have now chosen to embrace….odd how things go around in circles….

  10. Alexandra says:

    My parents also read and wrote books. My husband reads several books at a time. I have taken to ordering new books from the library. If they grab me, I have to own them. This is why I cannot understand the attraction of Kindle … A recent read of mine that you would enjoy, Rachel Dickinson’s Falconer on the Edge: A Man, His Birds, and the Vanishing Landscape of the American West.

    • I’ve tried reading a couple books at a time, but just can’t do it. I like to pick one up and if I like it, savor it without thinking about anything else. I can’t have multiple stories going on in my head. 🙂
      Thanks for the recommendation. I love Rachel and her writing and haven’t gotten to her book yet!

  11. We have walls filled with books – they kind of our theme in some rooms. Here’s some favorites: Shot in the Heart by Mikal Gilmore (amazing); Black, White & Jewish by Rebecca Walker (wow); This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff (sigh); all of Raymond Carver’s stories (love).

  12. Heather says:

    I read Nancy Drew as a tween and now I thoroughly enjoy thrillers. Recently I happened on to an author I love, Linwood Barclay, and can’t wait until his new book comes out this year. Other thriller authors I enjoy include Harlan Coben,Michael Palmer, Lisa Gardner and Greg Iles.

    • Thanks for the post, Heather and stopping in! I like thrillers too and will have to check some of these authors out. Got into the Dean Koontz book last night and I’m a little disappointed with the scene setting.

  13. If I may, I recommend a new historical novel out just this last spring. A great historical romance (so I’m told)& a quick read – The Sacrifice of the Sage Hen, by Susie Schade-Brewer.

    You can read a couple of wonderful reviews @ from Long & Short Romance Reviews, and The Historical Novel Society.

    That link works to order the book as well. (Shameful self-promotion!) I’m always interested in the review from other writers.

  14. Keri says:

    My favorite books are the ones by my all-time favorite authors: Barbara Kingsolver, Wally Lamb and John Irving. There are a few other authors who I particularly love but the ones above are what I have off the top of my head. 😉

  15. Grant Wagner says:

    I don’t read often, and I tend twords sci-fi and fantasy. But, to this day, “The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy” is the only book I ever read that made me laugh out loud, and I did so for the whole series (5 rings series is a tough read, but his love of the art and the setting shows through everywhere. The appendecies are almost a better read than the books themselves. And finally, “Starship Troopers” is a great book. It’s a shame that the movie was linked by title alone.

    • Don’t you hate it when that happens, Grant. Why do they option books into movies if they’re going to change the whole story? They did that with “P.S. I Love You.” Great book, but the movie didn’t resemble it at all!

  16. Reader says:

    Just discovered your blog this morning (through an email from Mother Earth News) and am busy reading (and enjoying very much!) the archives. But I wanted to send you a quick note before I forgot – if you haven’t already, you MUST read Donald Harington’s “Architecture Of The Arkansas Ozarks.” I promise you will love it!

    • Thanks, Reader, I will definitely put that book on my list! Thanks for stopping by, I’m glad you found Living Large. Thanks also for letting me know about the email, I wondered where all of the new visitors were coming from today!

      • Reader says:

        Odd sometimes where the internet can lead us – I am definitely interested in living in a little house (maybe even as little as a boat) and was happy to be introduced to your blog by M.E.N. Now, as I read the archives, I realize how small a world it is. I lived in Branson in 1972, and in Arkansas until 1983. I’ve been living in Hawaii for many years now but still enjoy reading about the Ozarks. Nice to meet you! Aloha.

        (Hopefully your local library will have “Architecture” – it truly is a “must read.” Check out the reviews on Amazon.)

      • Kim says:

        Second here for Donald Harington. Architecture is a perfect starting point for his work… but if you enjoy him, don’t miss “Some other place, the right place” and “the choiring of the trees.” He just died this year, and I’m so sad we’ll have no more of his Ozark novels.

  17. Kathleen Winn says:

    We share many of the same favorites in books Kerri. I love Truman Capote and also fell in love, as a child, with “Where the Red Fern Grows.” I will never forget reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” for the first time and it remains one of my all time favorites. I also as a kid, loved anything by Sterling North, who wrote an account of raising a baby raccoon and then having to release it to the wild in the book “Rascal.”

    Current authors whose books I love include: Cormac McCarthy-The Road, No Country For Old Men. Michael Pollen- The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Botany of Desire. I am currently reading “Nothing to Fear” by Adam Cohen, which details the first hundred days of Franklin Roosevelt’s administration. He came into office facing many of the same catastrophic events as President Obama- war, unemployment, foreclosure and poverty. I also love Doris Kearns Goodwin’s books on political history. She is brilliant.

    So many books- so little time!

  18. theshebearofeleven says:

    I am enjoying your website. I just ordered a book from Amazon that you recommended, “Still Life With Chickens.” We are almost done with a chicken coop in our suburban back yard and I thought it sounded educational and entertaining. I’ll be enjoying reading more of your posts.

    • Hi, She Bear (I love that name!) Welcome and I’m so glad you stopped by Living Large!
      I enjoyed Still Life. Although it was a memoir about starting over after divorce, I think it could apply to any life changing event such as death of a loved one as well.

  19. Susan says:

    I am a bookworm as well. Have read several of the same books. Although I really don’t care to read true crime novels, (have read Helter Skelter and In Cold Blood….) I do enjoy mysteries. Have read all of CJ Box novels, Murder She Wrote series, a lot of Dean Koontz, Stephen King etc. Even have the Little House on the Prairie series which even at my old age of almost 60 I enjoy. Also enjoy books by Helen Hoover who had a series on her and her husband life in Minnesota. Also read Anne LaBastille Woodswoman series… to name a few. Also enjoy Jan Karons the Mitford series. I could go on…can’t forget Walden by Henry David Thoreau.
    Mostly I get my books from the library and when I do buy I usually will donate that book to the library when I’m done. I have kept some books and have several from Dan Anslett on his decluttering…. 😉
    Well I could go on and on…

  20. kerri says:

    Thanks for finding us and stopping by, Catherine! Glad you are finding the site helpful. Hope to see you back here again!

  21. Catherine Cooper says:

    I REALLY admire your efforts! I don’t know that I could do it but always read articles about people who do. I LOVE pictures and enjoyed seeing yours. Good thinking about the insulation and laundry facilities! It was also a good tip about the roof line to make us remember that when we design a home it’s a good idea to think of possible expansion — and I think it would be a good selling point for a buyer if the extensions weren’t done before.
    I wish you both the best of luck, and hope to hear about your efforts in the future!