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Favorite Books

We asked a few notable Kentuckians to tell us about
their favorite books. Here they are.

And you might remember last month we asked our readers
to tell us about their favorite books. If you haven’t sent yours in yet, unfortunately
you missed the deadline. But you can watch for a selection of those readers’
favorite books in the May issue of Kentucky Living.

We also asked visitors to our Web page for their
favorite books. To see you can fire up your computer and travel the Internet
Then, click on the “Question of the Month.”

Tori Murden McClure, Louisville

First woman and first American to row across the Atlantic Ocean

Favorite Book: Gift from the Sea by Ann Morrow Lindbergh

In Gift from the Sea Ann Morrow Lindbergh
wrote, “The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too
impatient.” Fortunately for her, she did not have to spend 163 days on the open
ocean in rowing boats to figure that out. Ann Morrow was a graduate of Smith
College. I met her when I attended Smith in the early 1980s. Her intelligence
and vitality were striking. Both of these qualities come through in her book.
While the book is an easy read, it has many layers of meaning. Like the sea
itself, one can enjoy just the surface or one can venture into its depths.

Congresswoman Anne M. Northup, Louisville

Favorite book: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Coming from a family of 11 children, you quickly
learn the value of sharing. One of our favorite shared moments was when my mother
would read to us. She loved books, and she imparted that love for reading to
all of her children. One vacation, she read one chapter every night from The
Secret Garden
. Instantly, I was captured by this magical book about friendship.

Thomas D. Clark, Lexington

Professor emeritus, University of Kentucky–

Indiana University, teacher and author

Favorite Book: Time of Man by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

Elizabeth Madox Roberts was a native of Springfield.
She was a pioneer in the writing of fiction pertaining to the human destiny.
This book intimately relates the course of the lives of the people who live
on and are of the rudimentary conditions of human hope, of social bondage and
the class bondage, which was almost impossible to loosen. The literary quality
is superb.

Al Smith, Lexington

Veteran journalist and host of KET’s Comment on Kentucky, now in its
28th year

Favorite Book: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain (pen name
for Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

My copy of Tom Sawyer, which I still own,
was given to me for Christmas in 1934 when I was 7. A deluxe edition, with black-and-white
drawings, including Tom doing a handstand and pretending not to notice that
young Becky Thatcher is watching, it is inscribed “To my dear Albert, with best
wishes” from an uncle who later passed along his copies of The New Yorker,
Broadway theater programs, and old classical records. This uncle, who grew up
on a farm, educated himself largely by reading, and became a stockbroker. In
Mark Twain’s vivid account of Tom Sawyer’s boyhood I first discovered humor
and irony in telling a story. It is the book that made me want to be a writer.

Lalie Dick, North Middletown

Mother, wife, author

Favorite Book(s): The Kentuckians, Hannah Fowler, and The Believers
by Janice Holt Giles

As a descendant of 18th-century Kentuckians, the
reading of these three inspiring books—this trilogy, if you will—by Janice Holt
Giles has given me a deep appreciation for all our ancestors’ strength and courage.
Ms. Giles’ powerful yet easy-flowing, narrative style brings to life many historical
figures, fictional and nonfictional, who carved out this land of wonder called
Kentucky. These books began my quest for knowledge of my Kentucky beginnings
and were the catalyst for much of what I enjoy discovering and reading today.
Read them and her other fine books. You’ll never think of Kentucky or Kentuckians
in the same manner again.

David Dick, North Middletown


Favorite Book: The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor

Although I’ve many favorite books, Jaimie McPheeters
must go to the top of my list. A Kentucky youth growing up in Louisville, he
is destined for maturity as he accompanies his father on the way to California
during the desperate scramble for gold. Jaimie’s richest discoveries are about
the Indians along the way, ’49ers struggling to stay alive, his father’s alcoholism,
and more importantly Jaimie’s understanding of self. Robert Lewis Taylor breaks
a huge barrier of Native American stereotypes, and the book overflows with honest
humor, fallible humanity, and surprising events. A joy to read!

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