This month in the newsletter we asked readers if they had ever been inspired to do something by a book.

This could be something small like make a recipe based on it being mentioned in a book or taking a trip due to reading about a location in a book.

Here are the responses.

Genevieve: it was quite a while back but the movie “midnight in the garden of good and evil” not only inspired us to read the book but to take a trip to Savannah, Georgia for a mini vacation and take the book tour. since this was based on a true story, the tour took in all the homes, cemeteries, restaurants, etc. that were there at the time. it was a great tour and the guide was certainly up to date on info and tidbits of what happened around the town and to the people after the book.

Amy: Wow…I had answer to this question immediately!! Although when I first read the book(s) I never knew how it would eventually inspire me!!! As a young girl I read the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery and fell in love!! As a young teen I found the PBS movie series and was transported again!!! Every time I read the books I can just picture myself at Green Gables (other than the red hair I was quite precocious, just like Anne) living her life with Mirelda and Matthew!! Fast Forward about ten years to when I was 22 and a soon to be bride – my fiancé asked if I could go any where in the world for our honeymoon where would I choose?????? I didn’t blink an eye —- PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND!!!!! We had a beautiful 7 days wandering all around the beautiful island that was the home of Lucy Maud Montgomery and the setting of all the beloved books of my childhood – that sparked my love of reading!!!

That was 24 years ago – and I have since spent many nights sharing my love of Anne with my two girls – reading aloud to them before bed and watching the movies with them!!

Love your site and all you do!

Jan: Hi Graeme,
Was I inspired by a book? Yes….I read all the Sue Henry books about Maxine and her dog Stretch. She traveled around in her big Class A RV. From Alaska to Arizona. I told my husband, “We can do this, too!” We bought a small (21 foot) Class C and have been on the road every year for A Month here, a few weeks there. With our dog, too!!

Unfortunately, I believe she has passed away. Now when we are traveling, I think of her inspiration and enjoy the trips even more!

Joanne: Joanne Fluke’s protagonist, Hannah Swenson inspired me to ask some of my older relatives for their favorite recipes. In the books, although Hannah spends an inordinate amount of time tripping over dead bodies, she always has time to bake something delicious and a lot of her goodies are from recipes gleaned from old friends and family members. This gave me the idea to gather our old recipes and put them into one book so my granddaughters will have them and be able to pass them on to their children.

Margaret: Hi. I’m new to your site, just signed up for the newsletter.

Back in 2006, I was reading the Heartsong Presents Christian romance novels… when one in particular inspired me…

My husband had fallen and broken his hip, after suffering a stroke. It was apparent that I would be taking care of him for some time to come… when I received the book Patchwork and Politics by Christine Lynxwiler… It’s a story about a woman who has inherited her grandmother’s small farm home and her grandmother’s long-arm quilting machine business… in which she quilts ladies’ quilt tops for them with this machine. She used the money she earned to repay investors in a real estate scheme her late husband had concocted, which went south even before he died.

I knew the basics about such machine quilting and thought that might be something I would be able to do while taking care of my husband.

I located a machine in Fort Worth, Texas, more than a day’s drive from my home in Deming, New Mexico. I found it on ebay for $1,500, I believe, and on a whim, bought it! The next problem was going to get it — particularly since my husband while out of rehab, would have to drive his truck, pulling a trailer with space for the 12-foot long quilting table!!!

Well, he did drive his truck to Fort Worth, Texas. In fact, it was our last such trip together. With help from the previous owner’s friends, we loaded our trailer, and only had one hiccup turning the truck and trailer … it ran over the curb, and the home’s wealthy owner saw it and saw us!!! So we got out of Dodge … that is, Fort Worth, as quickly as possible!

Yes, the book inspired me, but the book had not prepared me for how I was going to feel, taking care of my husband on a daily basis! He died in September 2009.

I still have the quilting machine… I have not used it at all!

In fact, I’m planning to sell it when things settle down a little, as I think my own sewing machine is more my size even in quilting.

So, I would say, looking back, … the book “overly” inspired me…

A second Heartsong Presents novel, however, inspired me in a different way. I don’t recall the name of that book. Again, a young woman had inherited her grandmother’s home, and she decided to make a new start in life and moved there. Inside, she found her grandmother had accumulated a most eclectic collection of dishes — none matching — but all appealing!

By this time in my life, I had lost all the members of my immediate family in addition to my husband. In fact, I considered myself to be an orphan.

As I thought about it, it seemed fitting that I, too, should collect “orphan” dishware… Over time, visiting a local thrift shop regularly, I have accumulated a nice eclectic set of dishes, all of which I use on a regular basis!

So I only have one word of advice: Before taking a book’s inspiration to heart, make sure you’re up for it!

Pam: Great, great job! Keep up the excellent recommendations and just your and your readers’ thoughts in general.

I have been inspired by many books, whether I carry through on the inspiration or not. I guess great books mainly inspire me to read more great books.

I read about somewhere or like the setting and then am inspired to go there. Sometimes, I’ve read about a place and am thrilled to actually be there.

I did kind of wonder about the recommendations from the mailbag this time. Many of them referenced the first in a great series. I guess that’s not a stand alone to me. I agree with many of the books from the Reader Mailbag as they got me hooked on a series.

I guess my favorite stand alone is Smoky the Cow Horse by will James published in 1927. It’s a children’s book and won the 1927 Newbery medal. I made sure we had a copy in the school library for all the horse lovers that came through my room over my forty years of teaching. It’s one of the few books I’ve read more than once over the years. There’s something about a book from your childhood that calls to you over the years.

Thanks for your website and keep the recommendations coming!

Karen: I have read several culinary mysteries (Hannah Swenson Mysteries is one example) that have inspired me to bake more. I take the baked goods down the street to the fire station and to my book club.

Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo inspired me to be more organized and reduce quite a bit of clutter. I don’t miss what I got rid of and have not replaced it. Its amazing how much “stuff” you think you need, but really don’t.

Caroline: Hi Graeme! Oddly enough, I too have been inspired by one of Dan Brown’s books entitled “Inferno.” It has literally given me the proverbial “kick in the pants” to start planning a family trip to Florence. I want to walk in Robert Langdon’s footsteps and visit all of the iconic landmarks identified in “Inferno.” It’s one thing to see the sites through the author’s eyes and sometimes an entirely different experience when I see those very same sites through my own. Well played Dan Brown, well played!

Max: Interesting question! One of my favorite action/adventure novels of all time is “The Plague Dogs” by Richard Adams. It is a totally thrilling story of two dogs who escape from an illegal animal experimentation laboratory, and then flee across the wilds of England desperately trying to elude their pursuers. As the story progesses, the pursuit grows larger and more frenzied, and the books becomes almost unbearably exciting. It’s written in the matter-of-fact Richard Adams style. (Adams also wrote another popular masterpiece, Watership Down.) Anyway, The Plague Dogs inspired me to travel to England and hike the various locations in the wild Lake Country where the book was set. As I hiked the countryside I said to myself “This is where Snitter and Rowf killed the sheep!” and “This is where Snitter and Rowf were saved by the fox!” Etc, all the time forgetting the story was mere fiction! The novel also has some exceptionally well-developed human characters, as well as one of the most thrilling and satisfying endings you can imagine. I’ve read this book three times and never fail to get blown away by it.

Laurie: So, in light of you just getting a ‘Google Home’ and your poser this month – “..has reading a book every inspired you to…” I have to say that “The Circle” by Dave Eggers has inspired me to make “No. It’s a complete sentence.” my mantra. The book totally creeped me out because I see his premises coming to fruition all around me. This move towards total and utter connectedness. Along will all the rationalizations that make it seem like it is a logical, selflish way to live your life. When you read articles about businesses putting chips IN their employees and Rumba vacuum cleaners wanting to sell your floor plan data you really should question how far you really want these type of intrusions into your personal life to go.

Dorothy: To answer this month’s question…Many years ago my husband and I read Michner’s “Centenial”. We enjoyed the history of this novel so much that the next summer we loaded up the kids and drove along the Platt River and through the prairie states to sort of relive the travels described in the book. It was one our best vacations.

Thanks for your newsletter. My husband is now legally blind so we listen to many books via his Kindle. Your newsletter really helps us select good books.

April: I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m intrigued by Parkour – running incorporating buildings and obstacles.
Several characters I have read recently have done this and I have watched some videos. Unfortunately, I live in a small rural town and there is no club or other way to learn to do this safely, but I may start anyway.

Janice: Angela’s Ashes had a profound effect on me and left me inspired to save for a trip to Ireland with my husband, specifically traveling to Limerick to explore the town where author, Frank McCourt, grew up.

Rebecca: I’m inspired to take up fly fishing or learn more about the woods from the books by Victoria Houston’s Loon Lake Series. They are set in an area just an hour or so south of where we live and has may references to places and things in our area that I can relate to.

Sandy: Actually, Orderofbooks has inspired me to read a lot of new authors. The info you provide on any author if fantastic.
Read Fiona Barton’s ,The Child. Have to agree with you she has a rather strange way of writing.
Love the newsletter. Keep reading.

Ray: Thank you so very, very much for your newsletter. It’s the one thing I look forward to

on the first of every month.

Another thing I look forward to every year or two is Daniel Silva’s new novel!!

I just finished his latest, “House Of Spies”. It started a little slow, but after getting through the new hierarchy at Mossad it gained speed and became what one expects from a Silva novel.

I like Silva’s books enough to read them all over again, which I am doing, starting with, “The

Unlikely Spy” from 1996.

I LOL’d at your Google Home story!! My kind of kids. You go, kids.

Now to the inspiration topic:

Hey Diana, how does one create an anachronism?

“Angels and Demons” inspired me to visit Wa.,DC, but I didn’t get around to it.

Graeme, I got the same inspiration as you by the Shepherd character, going for a run with a rucksack full of bricks, but by the time I got the rucksack loaded I was so tired, I decided to take a nap instead.

What reading a good book inspires me to do is read another good book. However,

I’ll have to admit that after reading the first Reacher book I was really, really inspired to be

6ft 5″ tall and become a real bad-ass. I thought positive thinking and reading more Reacher novels would do the trick, but it’s been about 20 years now and no success. I’m still a wimp and 5ft. 6″. I wonder if Tom Cruise tried that?

Christine: I have no idea which book it was–definitely something from before I was 7 or so–but something ins0pired me to want to write books myself! 50-plus years later, I’m still writing.

Phoenix: You asked this month if a book ever inspired us to do anything. The answer for me is a resounding YES! Soon after reading Jan de Hartog’s book, “The Peacable Kingdom,” I was moved to become a Quaker myself. The book takes place in the 1600s, when the Quakers were getting started. George Fox and Margaret Fell became as real to me as any living person. After reading the book, my husband and I took a vacation to visit his folks in Philadelphia. I went into the Quaker Meeting House there and just sat in the silence for a while. When I came out, I knew I was a Quaker. (Now I’m an Episcopalian who attends a Lutheran church, but that’s another story…)

Thomas: Hi Graeme….As far as being motivated to do something after reading a book, I guess that over the years of reading various books, I would become intrigued by the many places that became the basis for their stories. I have traveled to 47 of the 50 US states and a bit of Canada. I even had a driving job that took me all over 2/3 of the US. It is now much easier to relate to cities and specific areas of the country often mentioned in books. On some level, books have motivated me to venture outside of my own little world.

Rita: You have helped me so much with my list of authors but I always come back to my favorites, James Patterson, Jack Reacher (no middle name} an interesting variation of short stories, as I am now a senior, senior citizen reading books that would inspire me would have to be garden books, this is my one love and reading of course, I am very fond of the James Patterson Bookshots, these are the first ones I look for in the library, these are short and to the point. I have a small note book that I add too when your news letter comes through, I am up to 67 now so don’t have any trouble finding something to read. I have just finished Trace by Patricia Cornwell, I love her books but I find her books could be condensed a little, in this one the body in the park was there for the whole book. I know that if you don’t go back to some of her earlier books there is a lot of time spent giving details about her family, love life etc. but I will not give up on her. I hope you are enjoying some lovely warm weather, it is winter here in New Zealand and a good excuse to stay inside and catch up with my reading, I find your emails and your list of authors very enjoyable.

Fredericka: Oh dear, inspiration by book. And when was I not inspired to do something while reading, or when finishing, every book I’ve ever read? The summer after the 5th grade (a long time ago) I discovered biographies and that’s all I read that summer, one right after another. The whole time I was making notes about my own life, thinking that I would write a memoir or autobiography one day. If I am reading a Deborah Crombie book I am making hot tea every time the subjects of the book have a cuppa. I guess it is a good thing that I draw the line at alcohol and drugs. Sue Grafton’s books have a very positive affect on me – I want to go out and run for exercise. Of course I end up walking instead, but that’s good. The Eleventh Commandment by Jeffrey Archer inspired me to attend the local citizen’s police academy. After that I became certified in CJIS (an extension of the FBI), volunteer at the local police department and answer to my sons’ new nickname, “Secret Agent Mom”. I could go on and on but I believe I’ve made my point. Books, all books are an inspiration for me in one way or another.

Heather: Anytime I read a book about pioneers and early American settlers I feel the need to bake some bread, or can some fruit!

Jeannine: In response to your question “what’s inspired you?”: Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series has been my main inspiration for learning more about the history of the Catholic Church and various European countries during the period surrounding WWII, and then delving into the history of Israel and its quests for equal treatment of Jewish peoples and Israelites. Similarly, Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series has led to a bucket list item to visit and explore Quebec and its history. I consider a worthwhile book one that teaches. Knowledge delivered in the form of entertainment, to me, is the best learning method. Thank you for your dedication to Order of Books. I look forward to every month’s newsletter.

Katie: Not to take trip, but to try other authors. I enjoy a wide variety of styles and recently decided to try Ed McBain. Stuart Kaminksky’s Porfiory Rostinokov (whose name I always misspell if it isn’t right in front of me) enjoys. Lo and be hold, and enjoying some of his.

Order of Books » Newsletter » Reader Mailbag: Inspired By A Book?

One Response to “Reader Mailbag: Inspired By A Book?”

  1. Anne-Marie: 7 years ago

    Magaret, Just read about you feeling like an orphan with all your family gone and now you are collecting unmatching eatware. Remember, You are not alone with all the books around you. In every book is a new story just written for you.


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