PaperBackSwap Blog

8 Years, 8 Members, 8 Books

For PaperBackSwap’s 8 year anniversary, we asked 8 members to tell us about 8 books that have mattered to them.

Today we feature Robin K. (jubead)




When I was first asked to participate in this blog, I panicked.  I had to share eight books that made a difference in my life…Holy Hannah!  Once I started it was hard narrowing my choices down to only eight books.  Well, I did it and here are my eight books!


My all-time favorite no matter what my age is The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle.   This book was written in 1938 and while there are many adaptations based on this legend, this is my favorite.  It is available through Gutenberg as a free download.  I guess this is my White Knight fantasy, someone who will protect and stand up to injustice.  This is my go to book when I need the safety of my “escape” bubble. Robin Hood is a medieval hero who stands up against injustice and gives a voice to those without position or power. Other telling’s I have read are Sherwood by Parke Godwin (set 100 years earlier than other Robin Hood telling’s) and Robin Hood by Paul Creswick whose telling covers not only the adventures but the man.


When I was young, Curious George by H.A. Rey was my favorite.  It seems to this day, I am always thinking about monkeys!  I am not sure how old I was, but I do remember sitting on my mom’s lap while she read this series….a lot.     I remember George’s adventures and how they made me giggle — it was a happy time.  I must say that I never warmed up to the Man in the Yellow Hat, he really annoyed me.  Maybe it was the yellow hat?  My mom saved several of my favorite books from my youth and gave them to me when I became an adult.  I am not sure why she did this, but I am happy to have Curious George on my library shelf.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl was one of the first books that I selected to read.  The cover sold me on the book, I loved peaches!  The book is mystical and full of adventures.  I vividly remember coming home from school and finding it on my bed.  I wasn’t too thrilled to see the book, because that meant reading.  I struggled with reading when I was young and reading during those years did not hold a lot of happy memories.  It kept my interest and I couldn’t put it down.  I can flash back to that day, visualize the house we were living in at the time and see myself sitting on my bed resting against the headboard.   My mom was calling me for supper and of course I ignored her … until she came upstairs.  I remember rushing through supper, helping to clear the table and then bolt back upstairs to read this book.  This scene repeated until the book was finished.


The fourth book was a 5th grade reading assignment.  Mrs. Carter was my beloved 5th grade teacher.  She understood my reading challenges and helped me find books that I would enjoy and devour.  After leaving the 5th grade, I fell out of love with reading until I was in my late 30s.  I truly wish Mrs. Carter was around to inspire me to read through those years.  Only now do I appreciate her dedication to her students.

The assignment was to read and write a report on Johnny Tremain by Esther ForbeFrom that day forward, I was hooked on American history.  May it be fiction or non-fiction, I love reading about American history.  My favorite periods are the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

The story was based in Boston and fourteen year old named Johnny Tremain who was a talented silversmith apprentice.  A severe injury to his hand while working on a project leaves the hand useless and ends his dream of becoming a silversmith.  After overcoming challenges, Johnny becomes involved with pre-revolutionary politics and participates in the Boston Tea Party and helps Paul Revere warn the colonists at Lexington.  Once an arrogant teenager, Johnny learns humility and grace.  He even falls in love.  I think my mom still has the book at her house.  I think I need to give her a call…


Roots by Alex Haley is my 5th selection.  Though it is not a book on the Civil War it does cover the period and the main reason for the war.   Even though there is controversy surrounding Alex Haley’s accuracy of events and plagiarism, this book is still powerful.  I read this book when I was 17 years old and it has a place in my library.

Being a white Jewish girl from New England, I studied slavery in school, but to me it was part of a history lesson and something I needed to remember for a test.  This book put a human face on slavery.  I finally realized that the end of the civil war may have opened the shackles but they were not removed.  I finally got what slavery might have meant to 4 million slaves and their decedents.  Being Jewish, I have experienced prejudice, but I never felt the true bite of racism.  I will never wrap my head around prejudice, racism and hate; but I did learn what is to have pride, dignity, compassion and hope.  The cast of characters pulled out all of my emotions from anger to happiness, crying to laughing, and from feeling despair to feeling hope.


A close friend recommended The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman when I was in my early 20’s.  I wasn’t sure about the series because it was about a widowed grandmother who had grown children and was bored with her life.  She decides to re-enter the work force as a spy for the CIA.  I fell in love with Mrs. Pollifax!  She is a grandmother everybody would love to have in their family.  She is smart, sly, caring, and who would expect her to be a spy.   Her family has no clue that she is a spy and when she is home she attends her garden club meetings.  The series takes you around the globe with different plots and twists.  I would recommend this book to anyone who likes cozy mysteries.  This series always left me feeling happy and inspired.


Death on Demandby Carolyn Hart was the book that got me hooked on cozy mysteries.  The series takes place on the coast of South Carolina.  Annie Laurance inherits her uncle’s book store and every Sunday she holds a meeting for mystery writers to discuss mysteries.  One of the writers threatens to release dirt on the other writers and shoed up down not long after.  Now Annie is the prime suspect and she enlists the help of her dear, handsome, rich, lawyer friend Max Darling to find the real killer before she is arrested.  Later in the series, Annie and Max marry and they work as a couple to solve murders.  I have found many other cozy books on PBS with the help of Geri R. (geejay), who I consider the queen of mystery. Geri introduced me to Fran Stewart (Yellow as Legal Pads), Peggy Web (Elvis and the Dearly Departed) and Sue Ann Jaffarian (Ghost a la Mode) to name a few.


Lastly, my guilty pleasure…Romance.  My very first romance and favorite is Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie.  Most romances I will not read again, but Bet Me is not on that list.  Though this is a contemporary romance the book deals with a lot of issues women struggle within our society each day. With humor Jennifer Crusie expresses how many woman feel who do not meet society’s view of a beautiful woman.  The book had me laughing out loud, snickering at the one liners and the chemistry between the main characters.  It also has the fairy tale ending, which I love!



I hope you all enjoyed the eight books that made a difference in my life!  PBS has allowed me to try authors and genre I normally would have tried if I were paying full price.


Happy 8th Birthday PBS and many more!! 






Tags: , , ,

2 Responses to “8 Years, 8 Members, 8 Books”

  1. Maria (SassenachD) says:

    Robin, I loved Johnny Tremain and had my kids read it as well.

  2. Ani K. (goddessani) says:

    Oooh, Bet Me! This one, in HC, is STILL on my keeper shelf. I think it’s about time for a reread! Thanks for the nudge.

Leave a Reply