My friend Beth Pinkney Coyne tagged me to list ten books that have affected me in some way. Without spending a great deal of time trying to pick the “right” books, here’s my list as of today (it would probably be at least slightly different if I were to do this tomorrow), and a few thoughts about each entry:

– Richard Scarry, *Richard Scarry’s Bedtime Stories*, especially the “Uncle Willy and the Pirates” story. My first, best book memory from childhood. I loved sharing that with my own kids.

– *Bear Snores On* / *Kiss Good Night* (tie; I’m cheating here). Two sweet books that I loved reading to my kids when they were little. I still know both by heart.

– Harper Lee, *To Kill a Mockingbird* Some days, I still ask myself what Atticus Finch would do.

– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sherlock Holmes canon. I know; it’s not one book. In fact, the novels themselves were not among my favorites. However, I *love* the stories and re-read them on a regular basis.

– Daniel Pinkwater, *Lizard Music* I read this dozens of times in sixth grade.

– James Lee Burke, *In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead* The novel that got me back into reading for pleasure in 1993 after a few years’ hiatus. I still love Burke’s writing and have read everything he’s put out, before and since this book.

– Stephen Hawking, *A Brief History of Time*. Opened my eyes wider than ever to the miracle of science.

– Douglas Adams, *The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy* Because, come on. Douglas Adams. A huge influence on my own sense of humor – and my outlook on life, the universe, and everything.

– Kurt Vonnegut, *Breakfast of Champions* and *Slaughterhouse-Five*. These two books (cheating again!) made me feel less alone when I was 15. So it goes.

– John Knowles, *A Separate Peace*. Still moves me.