A book is not only a friend, it makes friends for you. When you have possessed a book with mind and spirit, you are enriched. But when you pass it on, you are enriched threefold.”–Henry Miller

With Mr. Miller’s words in mind, I thought that instead of listing my New Year’s resolutions (how many times can one lose the same 50 pounds?) I’d share my favorite book with you. My reading tastes are so eclectic, it’s hard to choose just one. But if pressed, I’d have to name THE FAR PAVILIONS by M M Kaye as the book I return to again and again.

If you’re looking for snappy dialogue and a breakneck pace, you’d be disapointed. At over 900 pages, this doorstop of a book is a rich, meaty epic set in Victorian India. It chronicles the life of Ashton Hilary Akbar Pelham-Martyn, from his birth in the shadow of the Himalayas to young manhood. We follow his dangerous childhood as companion of a young India ruler, his first heartbreak, his tragic real love for an Indian princess whom he can’t have. For adventure and romance set against the clash of cultures under the British Raj, I don’t think there’s another story that can touch it. I think they made a mini-series movie of it a few years ago, but I couldn’t watch it. None of the actors could possibly become the characters I already knew and loved so well.

I wore out the copy I had, so my dear husband bought me a new one this year for Christmas.

So now it’s your turn. If you could only have one book, which one would you pick? I’ll look forward to reading about your favorites. Who knows? I might discover a new favorite thanks to you.

Every month, I put recommended reads on my websites. You might want to check out www.dianagroe.com and www.emilybryan.com for interviews with hot authors and their new releases. Hope you stop by.

Hello world!

December 16, 2007

Welcome to my new blog! I’ve been blogging on both my myspace sites. www.myspace.com/dianagroe and  www.myspace.com/emilybryanromance but I needed to find a way to be more accessible to readers who, for whatever reason, didn’t want to do the myspace thing. Plus, I’d like this blog to be a little more personal, so please feel free to share.

I’ll start.

Christmas time always makes us nostalgic. My childhood Christmases revolved around the last minute worry of whether or not my railroading father would be home or if he’d be stuck at the other end of the road. Amazingly enough, he always managed to make it. And then we’d pile into whatever car we happened to have (my mother always encouraged dad to trade cars, not women!) and we were off on the hundred mile trek to my grandma’s house.

100 miles used to be much farther than it is now. Or maybe it just seemed that way when winter weather was closing the roads behind us as we followed snow plows or crept along the narrow two lane highways, the chains on our tires singing a metalic snow song. But the trip was so worth it, for at the end was my grandmother’s house.

It was the perfect Christmas house, a drafty old two story kept warm by my grandma’s baking. She decorated with real pine boughs up the banister, wreaths with electric candles in all the windows and always had the biggest tree she could fit through the door. Of greatest interest to me and my sisters was the cardboard fireplace which I was assured was Santa’s entry point into the house. How he managed to accomplish this seemingly impossible feat was one of the deepest mysteries of my childhood, but since the old gent had always been very good to me, I was prepared to take a few things on faith.

The year my faith was shaken, when one of my classmates wised me up about the whole Santa Claus thing, I still wasn’t inclined to toss out my cherished belief. I had to see it with my own eyes. So I waited until all I could hear was the creak of the old house settling and the bitter wind soughing by my window. Then I padded to the top of the stairs to keep watch.

I didn’t have long to wait. My Grandma appeared with a bag of goodies and quietly filled the stockings at the cardboard fireplace. Aromatic orange in the toe, a handful of nuts I’d have fun cracking open later, a few candy canes and a small toy. I crept back to bed before she finished the whole row of stockings. I’d seen enough.

I knew for certain that there was no Santa Claus. But I had something better. I had a grandma who loved me.

Grandma passed away this year. I was blessed to have her for much longer than most, yet there’s never quite enough time with the ones you love. I have many wonderful memories of her, but my favorite remains that stolen moment when I caught her playing Santa.

OK, now it’s your turn. What is your favorite Christmas memory? Maybe it’s a recipe or a family tradition.  Or are you planning to build a memory this year with something entirely new? Please share.

Christmas blessings,

Diana/Emily