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Every so often Life rewards us with special friends, and through the magic of WordPress and cyberspace, I am honored to know The Daily Gadfly’s Hugh Curtler.  To my surprise, Hugh included this Zeebra’s blog when passing along The Booker Award.     

The Booker Award amuses me; not only does it acknowledge bookworms and natural writers, it also states, ‘for those who refuse to live in the real world.’   At times I have firmly stood my ground when others attempted to coax me into a normal life.   With the sky as my ceiling and a fallen tree for a stool,  I bask in the solitude of nature!   It’s there where my senses become enhanced and alive!  If handed a book, I’m an instant addict who falls off the wagon and plunges into the joys of the written word!  

My two vices compliment each other!  The instructions for this award are to name five other bloggers and share your five most-favorite books.  “Just five?” I queried.  Favorite books are like a family tree, and I have orchards of beloved books!

Over the past dozen years, I have moved to several Latin American countries, where English books are a rare commodity.  Any time I have the luxury of buying new books, I  eye the book and consider its weight in my baggage.  Almost always, the book merits the effort!  

“The Book Fairy” (The Baileys not only returned the books, but they also added new ones!)

A cluster of books journeys with me with each move and gives perennial comfort.  I reach for them, my old friends, and I savor the essence that makes each one unique.  

Some books I love for their opening sentences.   “Last night I dreamt I was at Manderley again.”    The sweetness of that first line from Rebecca preps me for a reading marathon through Daphne Du Maurier’s story of the young Mrs. de Winter, her husband Maxim and the sinister Mrs. Danvers.

Other books I love for the opening page.  Two share that spotlight in my heart.   “Dead Sleep” has walked away from my collection, and I mourn its loss.  Written by Greg Iles of Natchez, Mississippi, it’s a dark story that hooks me again and again when  I read the opening page, lovingly turn the page and read a bit more.  I pause and smile and say, ‘Good work, Greg,‘ then return to the opening sentence and cherish that first page again!

When people confess that they don’t particularly like John Grisham’s novels, I smirk and reach for The Testament and ask them to bear with me while I read the first few pages out loud.  I then rest my case!

I savor some books from the opening sentence to the end, and Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea is one of them.    Although I have read the story countless times, I still cry.  

Walden of the Tropics – photo copyright/Lisa Brunetti

My petite studio in Costa Rica was slightly larger than Thoreau’s Walden.  Like Thoreau, I lived immersed in nature – by choice and slightly to prove a point that one could be happy with little.    There’s a lot to be said (written!) about living in solitude, and I highly recommend the discipline of zipping oneself away from conversations and society for at least a three-day period.  Only then can one look inward at one’s true self and look outward at the world and the universe and ponder one’s true destiny.   I lived there for years, and I am a stronger person because of those experiences.

“…and not, when it came my time to die, find I had not lived…” Thoreau

I  now pass on this award to five deserving writers.   Dear Carlos of 1CruzdelSur shares his love and passion of his culture from his vantage point in Argentina.   Combining beautiful images, quotes, music and prose, he casts a magical spell as he pulls you into each post.  We share a love of Paulo Cahlo’s writings, as well as a love of nature and horses.   He thoughtfully includes the English-translation prompt on his site for those who don’t follow Spanish!  

Although a common language sometimes binds people together, a common geographical area often does as well. I enjoy every post or comment that lovely eloquent Linda of Shoreacres publishes from her Texas Gulf Coast vantage point!  Spend some time on her blog, a enjoy a long cool drink of her beautiful photography, wisdom and words!  

Deborah, a new WordPress friend  (thanks, Nan!) writes from the unique location of Nicaragua’s Isla Ometepe, the largest ‘freshwater’ island in the world on one of the largest freshwater lakes in the Americas.   When staying in the town of Rivas on the mainland, I’ve been known to take a ferry to Ometepe for the whim of having lunch there, then returning several hours later!  Her blog, Retire in Nicaragua, reflects a healthy attitude about relocating and thriving in a foreign country.  Not one to boast, ‘this is who we are and look what we’ve done,‘ Deborah, with firmly-planted feet,  shares her Nicaragua experiences.

Each week the Island Traveler publishes new posts that reflect his command of the written word and photography as well as his love for his family.  A natural coach, he truly reads others posts and makes incredibly-sensitive and thoughtful comments.  I look forward to knowing which books top his list of perennial favorites!

Well read and well bred, kind and intelligent, talented and good natured, Madhu showers the WordPress world with beautiful posts that reflect her interests and travels.   Enjoy her always-interesting posts here at The Urge to Wander.  (Thanks, amiga, for your tireless support, not only on my blog, but on many others as well!)

Reminiscing about all of my favorite books makes me wistful to retrieve one from the shelves and wean into a reading marathon.  Hmmm. It’s been cool here on the equator;  maybe I’ll take a break from writing and curl up with an old favorite.

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad…” 

Happy reading!  Z