What books left a lasting impression on you? Quick 1, 2, 3!

Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate, Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside.

If you’re a fiction reader and love mystery and suspense, you’re familiar with Lee Child. I’ve learned so much about the art of writing from this contemporary author. I’m always reading something, blogs, books, fiction, non-fiction, Quora, research for my novels, etc. But I rarely remember a plot. The Midnight Line haunted me. Not only for the brilliance of the simple plot and unusual way LC approached a serious problem in society today; but also the empathy and passion of the character that LC created in Jack Reacher.

I have a new book coming out Dec. 25, The Istanbul Conspiracy (don’t tell the censors in TKY because I’m currently living in IST). During the writing of several scenes in this book—Code Raven 7—I found the words coming through me faster than I could type! When I would finish a section I would give thanks to LEE CHILD and The Midnight Line. I never thought I was studying his work. But I am such a fan of his plots, his simplistic yet haunting style, that I absorbed his style. And I am forever grateful.

A reviewer once compared my writing to Lee Child. That was a long time before I’d earned any such reference—and I still don’t. But he inspires and entertains me, and his books remain a source of motivation every time I sit down at the computer.

There have been many books over the years that left a lasting impression in my heart and soul. Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult.

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I have a family member caught up in a world that Lee Child explores the Midnight Line. The book helped me understand addiction in a way I could never fathom before.

This story will be forever embedded in my soul.

Because we all love a good story! Especially if it’s true.

In no particular order, here are some books I’ve put together that I found intriguing. Some I have read, some not. Those that I haven’t have been added to my TBR. Anything you’d like to add to our list, drop it in the comments. Enjoy this selection.

Promise Me Dad: A year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose  by Joe Biden
Joe Biden, former Vice President, and possible future presidential candidate lost his son Beau to brain cancer after a momentous struggle. When Beau was in the midst of his fight against the disease, he made his father promise that he would be all right. Over the next year, Joe Biden served his country as Vice President while his son slowly lost his battle. In this remarkable memoir, Biden opens up about that period of his life, discussing with disarming intimacy the personal and political struggles he endured while working to make the world a safer place and trying to decide if he would run for president in 2016. Biden’s wisdom and advice for anyone who has lost someone close to them is powerful, and his insights into life’s problems come from someone who has dealt with some of the most difficult challenges in modern times

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It’s Not Yet Dark: A Memoir by Simon Fitzmaurice
A doctor gave filmmaker Fitzmaurice four years to live following an ALS diagnosis in 2008. By 2010, he was at death’s door and given little hope, but nevertheless chose to take extraordinary measures to stay alive. In the years since he’s fathered twins and continued to work as a documentarian. Fitzmaurice talks candidly about his daily struggles, but also about the family that sustains him in a life that’s radically different from the one he’d planned for.

 

Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
Isaacson begins with the presumption that Leonardo da Vinci was perhaps the most creative genius in human history and proceeds from there, digesting more than 7,000 pages of notes da Vinci left behind and producing this biography. Unlike anything else you’ve ever read about the most famous artist of the 15th and 16th centuries, Isaacson paints a portrait of a restless mind that exhibited unusual curiosity and made magical connections between disciplines that had never been made before. At the same time, he shows da Vinci as a man whose always-churning mind could leave many projects unfinished as he dashed from idea to idea. When one of our best modern writers tackles one of the most famous minds in history, it’s time to pay attention.

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The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir, by Ariel Levy
Celebrated writer Levy tells her life story with verve and gusto, exploring as a central theme the way the universe laughs at our plans. As a young child Levy was taught she could do anything, but also warned not to depend on a man for support. As her star rose as a writer for New York Magazine and elsewhere in the 1990s her life began taking unscheduled detours: she married an older woman with substance abuse problems, she conceived a child using a sperm donor but suffered a miscarriage, and she never lost a burning desire to seek adventure and new experiences. The end result is a compelling and compulsively readable memoir.

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Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II, by Liza Mundy
Stories of World War II often focus on the heroic deeds of male soldiers, but newly declassified documents reveal a shadow army of women who also did their part—the codebreakers. Recruited from colleges and secretarial pools for their math skills, these women were set to the task of breaking enemy codes, but their efforts and achievements were top secret, and their stories largely unknown—until now. Battling the expected sexism and hostile attitudes of their male counterparts and supervisors, tens of thousands of women helped to end the war much more quickly than it would have otherwise, and Mundy rescues their stories from obscurity and gives them the credit they deserve. In fact, she makes a solid case that without these women, we might not have won World War II at all.

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The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story, by Douglas Preston
Preston, also known as one half of the team writing the Agent Pendergrast series of thrillers, details his involvement with a team seeking to prove the existence of a lost city in the Honduran wilderness. Legends tell of a city destroyed by a series of natural cataclysms, abandoned as cursed, and forbidden for centuries. Using a combination of cutting-edge technology and boots on the ground, Preston and his team locate two large sites and a wealth of archaeological treasures to prove that a lost civilization once existed in an area of the world where no human being has set foot in centuries. Preston’s skill as a novelist makes the deep-dive into the past at once entertaining, gripping, and informative.

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We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True, by Gabrielle Union
Actress Union tells her story with wit and sensitivity, a story that includes her struggles as one of a few black students in a predominantly white high school, the devastating rape at gunpoint that almost broke her, and her recovery and pursuit of a high-octane Hollywood career. Union addresses topics including parenting, raising black kids in a culture often perceived as steeped in racism, and teen sexuality—always with disarming humor and perceptive insights that mark this as much more than a typical Hollywood vanity memoir. Without much of a filter, Union comes across as a nuanced survivor who has managed to keep both her sense of humor and her ability to love despite her experiences.

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