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Sun., March 4, 2012

Readers were invited to share personal stories about their favorite books, and more than two dozen responded. You can read them all at Here are excerpts from a handful of them:

“The Jungle Book,” by Rudyard Kipling: “I always grabbed this book off the shelf at my father’s foster parents’ house in Kirkland, and they finally gave it to me in the mid-’50s. I loved the rich language, the illustrations, and especially the rhymes.” – Konny Newcomb

“The Westing Game,” by Ellen Raskin: “The book opens with a paradox – ‘The sun sets in the west, but Sunset Towers faced east. Strange!’ – that perfectly sets the stage for the murder mystery that follows. … Even when you know the outcome, simple sentences take on new meaning, and characters become even more layered as you get older. Tucked between the pages of an old favorite are all-new experiences still waiting to be discovered.” – Matthew Weaver

“Outlander” series, by Diana Gabaldon: The books’ protagonist, Jamie Fraser, “sounds like my father, who was born in Scotland in 1888. I can hear him speaking in his Scots brogue when I read the dialogue. … I adored my father and have missed him daily since he died in 1954. Gabaldon makes him live again for me. – Joan Harris

“Catch-22,” by Joseph Heller: “Heller parodied and mocked every institution in modern life, but the novel still does not come off as negative. One can feel Heller’s voice in the background, urging that it is not too late to change, that we can do a better job of being human.” – Timothy Hunt

“The Swiss Family Robinson,” by Johann David Wyss: “Holy cow, the crazy adventures those people had! And wasn’t it great how they might have fights and arguments among themselves, but in the end how they all pulled together for the family? I almost wished for a few pirates to invade my hometown so we could all have somebody to go up against.” – Dennis Held

-Michael Guilfoil

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