Good day, my dear readers! And just in case you're wondering what I ended up doing for April Fool's Day...I toilet papered the inside of our house. Cleanup was surprisingly easy. My parents were not angry. I highly recommend this prank.
Enough about pranks. Onto the serious stuff.
Someone on Quora recently asked me who my favorite author was, and why. This got me to thinking. I've been reading for a long time--since before I got my first actual bike, let alone was able to ride without training wheels--and I read a lot. A trip to the library was basically a guarantee that no one would see me for the rest of the day. But I found a few books or series that I really loved, and a few authors that I genuinely appreciate.
The first is definitely Laura Ingalls Wilder. When I was three years old, my mom would sit me in a big red armchair and read Little House in the Big Woods to me. I finished the series by the time I was 7 or 8 and probably read each book multiple times. Laura Ingalls Wilder has done much more than shape my writing style. She's shaped my worldview. She taught me the value of hard work and family, and gave me a love for the simpler things in life. So many virtues like financial responsibility, honesty, ingenuity, thrift, and work ethic were so common back in the 1800s but are rather lost today. But I appreciate them more than the average person, probably because of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Similarly, we have Gertrude Chandler Warner and her famous Boxcar Children series. This, along with the Geronimo Stilton series, gave me a love for a good mystery. But Warner's books also taught me how to buckle down and make do. There's a spark of creativity that can turn the drabbest of situations into a feast. Who else remembers Henry's 'magic spoon' that turns into a butterknife when you turn it around? Or the cracked vase from the dump that always holds flowers? The simple boards turned into a shelf, or a waterfall that keeps food cool? And I've always loved how the family stuck together during tough times.
C.S. Lewis might not have taught me much in the way of morals, but he certainly sparked my imagination. Fauns and centaurs and animals that talk! For Narnia! For Aslan! I'm not sure when I first picked up the Chronicles of Narnia, but by the time I'd finished it, I had a new respect for what could exist--even if it was only in my own imagination.
More recently, I've fallen in love with the works of Ellis Peters. I know I've mentioned the Cadfael Chronicles in previous blog posts. But I know that this series is one of the best series I've ever set my hands on. Cadfael might not teach much in the way of morals. He's a monk who exemplifies religious devotion. But he's also a rather worldly ex-crusader who knows how to hide a body. He tends to bend the lines of morality. For example, is something truly sin if, given the choice to undo it, you'd do the same thing over again? But the world Ellis Peters portrays is stunning, full of real life and real characters and, despite the vows of chastity most of the characters are under, romance.
As I was making out my list for Quora, I realized one thing about most of my favorite authors: with the exception, possibly, of Geronimo Stilton (the pen name of several authors who worked on the series including Elisabetta Dami), all of them are dead.
So, for my list, I decided to pick one living author to put on it. And that author was Creston Mapes. He wrote the Crittendon Files, which is the best action trilogy I've ever read. The first one, Fear Has a Name, is my favorite. The characters are great, the tension is perfect, and the ending wraps everything up pretty well. And although the books are all connected, they read like standalones. So if you want to read Sky Zone first, go ahead. It's just better if you go in order.
Who's your favorite author? (I don't want a welfare shoutout. Be honest.) Who's your favorite Narnia character? Mine is Reepicheep! Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to Like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.