My Life in Books is an occasional feature on Random Things Through My Letterbox
I've asked authors to share with us a list of the books that are special to them and have made a lasting impression on their life.
I'm so pleased to welcome author Pam Jenoff to Random Things today. Pam is an internationally bestselling author of eight novels.
I took part in the Blog Tour for her last book, The Last Embrace (published in the US as The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach), in August of last year.
Here's a taster from my review:
" The Last Embrace is a compelling, expertly written story of love during World War II. A really engrossing story with excellently drawn characters."
My Life In Books ~ Pam Jenoff
"Are books your entire frame of reference?" a colleague chidingly asked me a few months back. Pretty much, yes. And I've done this before: of favourite World War II novels, favourite authors, etc. But My Life In Books? Well, that's hard. Here are just a few:
Mary Poppins by PL Travers I'm going to try and resist the urge to comprise this entire list of children's books, which I could easily do. But Mary Poppins was my first view of England, all sooty rooftops and winding lanes. I dreamt of feeding the pigeons beneath the dome of St. Paul's and jumping into the chalk drawings that line the pathways of the parks. These visions, while farm from accurate (I can hear my English friends laughing) made getting to Britain a goal and a dream of mine. This propelled me to Cambridge and my years abroad. It also led me to graduate studies in history, which nurtured my lifelong love of the subject. Which brings me to ...
The Winds of War and War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk My own books are predominantly set around World War II. Wouk's works were among my first exposure to novels set in this era and had a profound influence on me as a writer.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien When I was in college, a boy in my dormitory realised I had never read the Tolkien. He set about reading the entire trilogy aloud to me, a chapter or two per night, over the course of the year and I fell madly in love with the books (and him). The boy is gone but my love of Tolkein remains.
A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helperin Lost in a book? Yes, literally. I remember being stranded in Lille, France during a train strike, alone and unable to reunite with my Eurorail companions. And I didn't care because I was so lost in this wonderful story.
Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg I discovered this book nearly twenty years ago when I was living in Poland and dreaming of being a writer. I didn't know quite how to get started. Goldberg's Zen approach to writing, where you keep your hand moving without stopping to allow your inner editor to criticise, really broke me open as a writer.
Oh The Places You'll Go by Dr Seuss Cliche? Perhaps. But ever since I started reading it to my three small children, I find myself thinking back to the words of wisdom in this book whenever I am down or lost or confused. The message is timeless.
P.S. Did I mention I could make this whole list about children's books??
Pam Jenoff ~ May 2016
Pam Jenoff is the internationally bestseller author of several novels, including The Kommandant's Girl and The Last Embrace (The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach).
She is a graduate of Cambridge Penn Law and The George Washington University and previously worked as a diplomat for the State Department, a political appointee at the Pentagon and an attorney at a large firm and in-house.
She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and three children where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.
Her next novel, The Orphan's Tale, will be out in February 2017.
Find out more about Pam and her writing at www.pamjenoff.com
Check out her Author page on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter @PamJenoff