My good friend Rebecca Syme wrote a post on her blog about her top five favorite books. I love to see what other books authors love and why. Its interesting to see that many of our favorite books are ones that we read years and years ago–may even be stories that introduced us to a new genre, or that resonated within us at a life changing moment or how much connecting with a character helped us to make a decision, or just the escape value of it.

Reading is for entertainment, absolutely, but it can also change us as people. I know for myself, if I’m reading a great romance, I walk away with a smile. I’m softer to the people around me, smile more. If I’m reading something dark, I tend to brood. To think about it, try to reason it out. Books, while fictional, do affect us–if we connect.

I love to talk about books that people are loving and to hear their answers. So I’ll share mine, and then you share yours!

So here they are in no particular order and my reasoning behind loving each one:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  I first read this book in high school as an assignment, but it wasn’t work to me. I fell fast and hard into this book. Connecting with Jane, the heroine, wishing for her to find love and happiness after a tortured childhood–only to want to punch that damnable handsome, charismatic heart-breaker, Mr. Rochester. He was an intense hero and I tend to be drawn to intensity. Their relationship was a whirlwind, love-swept fairytale, all to come crashing down. In the end, there was an HEA, which I loved most of all!

Spring Moon by Bette Boa Lord. As shocking as this may be, because I completely saw this as a romance novel, this book was also assigned to me in high school by my history teacher–not English class. She gave us each a copy. I’ve always been a fan of history and the Asian culture. I loved this book for its emotional impact, and its tortured heroine/hero. Fighting one’s destiny, trying to change the way the world is perceived and what is expected, heart breaking turmoil and trying to decide whether you are bound by duty, culture or heart… It shook me. It changed me.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. My father gave me this book when I was 14. A pretty heavy book for a young teen, but I devoured it. I’ve since read it, about every five years–and the book is different EVERY time I read it. I think because, each time I read it, I’m at a different place in my life and so I connect on a different level each time. I loved this book for the history of it. Although I didn’t appreciate the architectural beauty of it until I was older. I loved the human interaction–not just of the privileged, but the trod upon. The very humanness of this book is what draws me to it each time.

The Bride by Julie Garwood. I sneaked this book out of my grandmother’s bookcase at age 14 also, and was introduced to a whole new world of romance. Highlanders, lady’s, hot, tender, sensual romance. I devoured every one of her books after reading THE BRIDE, and however unrealistic, I based ‘real life’ romance on her books. I measured every guy I dated against Alec. Every kiss and more against the love scenes. And I’m glad I did because every woman deserves pleasure and happiness. Ultimately, Julie Garwood is one of the reasons that I write Highlander romance.

A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Devereux. I read this romance later in life, and completely fell in love with the idea of time travel–Highlander’s meeting heroine’s of today, strong-willed, modern thinking women. A man, lost, who needs the help of a woman to ground himself. What I love most about this book, when I think about it though is the raw sensuality of it, the historical details and a love so intense it breaks the bonds of time.

So share! What are your top 5? Why?