A Few Of My Favorite Things…

ImageIt’s October 1st!!! Only 85 more days until Christmas!! If you’re like me then you probably didn’t need that reminder. However, today marks the first day of a series I’d like to call, “A Few of My Favorite Things.”

The first Monday, of each month I will pick a theme for one of my favorite things to share with you. Thus, forcing me to write. Comment about your theme related favorite thing and you will be entered to win a $15 gift card. Now I got you writing too. 

So, you might be wondering just what will be this month’s theme? Drumroll please….BOOKS!!! Of course, as a writer, books are one of my most favorite things. Don’t you hate when you get that question, “What’s your favorite book?” There’s really no way I can narrow it down to just one so I’d thought I would share with you about the book I most recently read…and loved.

The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett. Wow! Now some of you lucky souls may have been fortunate enough to read this in your youth (Sound of Music song just popped in my head-Maria and the Captain on that star-filled night exclaiming their luck to have found each other…sorry-I digress), or as a beginning writer. But I only just happened to find out about this great book after reading several writing books that talked about what a great book it was. Whew! 

I purchased my copy of The Maltese Falcon electronically and have enjoyed this feature on my device that highlights words, or passages and I can either look up the definition or make notes. I highlighted 114 words/passages in my book that only had 182 pages total. I couldn’t get enough of Mr. Hammett’s descriptive sentences, visual cuing, and imagery. It inspired me tremendously in my own writing. Here are a few of the passages I loved:

“Anxiety looked through her smile, and she held her breath.”

“He talked in a steady matter-of-fact voice that was devoid of emphasis or pauses,…”

“His eyes, though the throttling pressure on his throat made them bulge, were cold and menacing.”

“She wrinkled her forehead, studying him with eyes that perplexity clouded.”

“Spade, not moving the domineering stare of his yellow-grey eyes from her face,…”

“His clothes had the limp unfreshness of too many hours’ consecutive wear.”

“Happiness had gone out of his face, though he continued to smile, and caution had come into his eyes. His face was a watchful-eyed smiling mask held up between his thoughts and Spade.”

“Spade lighted his cigarette, removed it from his lips, emptied his lungs of smoke, and spoke as if puzzled:…”

“Spade ran his tongue over his lips and pulled his lips back over his teeth in an ugly grin. His eyes glittered under pulled-down brows.”

Can you picture it? The faces? The feelings? Writing is difficult and even more so when you have to describe someone’s faces and their feelings. I can write, “She smiled.” And you can imagine what her smile might look like. But if I write, “Her eyes grew wide and as her cheeks pulled high up into her face exposing a perfect set of teeth, she clapped her hands together,” how much more can you visualize the excitement? 

Reading Dashiell Hammett’s novel, The Maltese Falcon, has inspired me to play with my words in way that will bring excitement to the story and draw the reader into the world I’m creating. And for this reason, The Maltese Falcon has become one of my favorite things!


Have you read an interesting book lately? One that has inspired you? Challenged you? Or one that you just couldn’t put down? Leave a comment and tell me about it. You could be the lucky winner of a $15 gift card!**

Happy Reading!!


**The contest concludes at the end of the month and the winner announced on the first Monday of November (11/5/12).


8 thoughts on “A Few Of My Favorite Things…

  1. HAVE I EVER! Natalie, like you, I am a seriously avid reader. (Um, 27 books over 4 months of evacuation? Yup, that’s me!) And I have hemmed and hawed over which book is my favorite to no avail. However, I can always go back to David Baldacci’s Wish You Well. I borrowed it from my dad when I was in middle school and tore through it. Baldacci is a fantastic story teller (just bought another book by him on that premise) and, after asking my dad to leave it to me in his will, my father actually gave it to me for my birthday instead. I don’t know why, but the thought of him dying and leaving me things wasn’t so pleasant to him… hmmm. The book is a bit worn from travel and love but I think it can secure itself a solid spot in my ever changing top ten list.

    • What a sweet gift from your father, Maia! I just recently came across David Baldacci when I read his most recent one, The Innocent. It was a suspenseful, page-turner. I’m excited to read Wish You Well. Sounds like you read books like I read books…nothing gets done when my nose is in a book (and that includes feeding the kids!).

  2. Hmm. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This was a beautiful book, and I’m not just talking about its cover. The prose was beautiful and so were the characters and the settings. I really fell in love with the author’s descriptions of everything, to the point where I wished I could be part of her book. I really love when books do that to me. =]

    • Oh, I’m excited to check that book out. The best part of a book, I believe, is the transforming power of the words drawing you deep into the story. I feel like I’ve lived a thousand lives when I think back on all of my favorite books. Thanks for commenting!

  3. I am reading a book called “Biohazard” about a soviet union scientist who defected and wrote a tell-all about them making biological weapons in the 1940’s-early 90’s. pretty interesting.

  4. Gone to Ground is my current favorite. I can’t put Brandilyn Collins’ books down when I start them. And I usually don’t want to be home alone.
    I’m headed to Amazon to look up David Baldacci.
    This was a great idea. Hope you all have a good week!

    • I’ve never heard of Brandilyn Collins, but I always love finding a new author! I love the books you just can’t put down-not even when it’s time to feed the kids; or eat; or shower; or sleep. My husband knows that if there’s a book in my hands he’s lost me for a while. Lucky for him (and our kids) I read fast. : )

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