Is Your First your Fave?

I’ve noticed something.

When I hear from readers who’ve read many of my books, very often their favorite is the first one they read. It doesn’t matter what the book is. A quick glance at my email in the last few months illustrates this fact. The following books were all claimed as a favorite by different readers:The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, Before the Storm, Cypress Point,  Keeper of the Light, Reflection, The Courage Tree and Her Mother’s Shadow. In each case, the favored book was the first of mine she–or in one case, he–read. 

I find this very interesting! I think I’ve felt that way about certain authors as well. My favorite Jodi Picoult was The Pact, which was the first of hers I read. My favorite Anne Rivers Siddons will always be Peachtree Road, no matter how many others I’ve read. My favorite Alice Hoffman will forever be White Horses. (The exception is Barbara Kingsolver. I read Animal Dreams first, and while I loved it, The Poisonwood Bible is my favorite). So i’m curious to know if those of you who’ve read more than one of my books have a favorite, and if you do, is it the first that you read?

By the way, the bookshelf above is in my guestroom, and it contains copies of all my books. The copies on the left are all in English (except for a couple; as you can see I’m running out of room on the right). Some of the English books are the UK version or the Australian version. There’s a Readers’ Digest with an abridged version (shudder!) of one my books. And on the left hand side of the bottom shelf are some little handcrafted books I wrote when I was twelve. The books on the right are all foreign editions. They spill over onto another bookshelf. I try to keep one copy of each book in each language, but I’m running out of room!

Anyway, what’s your favorite and was it your first?


  1. Margo on September 18, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Diane, KEEPER OF THE LIGHT was the 1st book of yours I read and it remains my very fav book of all time. CYPRESS POINT & SUMMERS CHILD are tied for 2nd place!
    The 1st book I read by Anne Rivers Siddons was PEACHTREE ROAD and it was my fav of hers until she wrote ISLANDS a few years ago and that became my fav of hers. THE THORN BIRDS was the 1st book I read by Colleen McCullough and it still is my favorite of hers. WITHIN REACH by Barbara Delinsky, THE PROUD BREED by Celeste de Blasis, THE FACE by Dean Koontz…all of these were 1st books I read and have remained favorites over others they have written. I read in consecutive order NANTUCKET NIGHTS and THE BLUE BISTRO by E Hilderbrand & they are both fav’s from this author…VALLEY OF HORSES by Jean Auel was the 2nd book I read by her which remains my favorite over her others.
    I love your guestroom bookshelf Diane…really, really nice for your overnight friends!

  2. Gina on September 18, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Sorry everyone, I haven’t been around much. I’ve been dealing with Ike at home. We’re safe but I haven’t had power for the past 7 days and it just came back on about 9am this morning. Have a few water leaks, but, all is well otherwise. Just have tons to do now.
    As far as my favorite book of yours Diane, it is Bay at Midnight. That’s the first one I read. My second favorite is Brass Ring.
    The first book that I read by Picoult was The Pact but that’s not my favorite. It would have to be My Sister’s Keeper.
    First book I read by Sparks is The Notebook and remains my favorite.
    First book by Amy Tan is Joy Luck Club. Still my favorite.
    First book by Grisham is The Firm. Still my favorite.

  3. Denise on September 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Gina, I’m glad you finally got your power back!
    My first Diane book was CeeCee, and I think it is my favorite so far…but I dearly loved the Keeper of the Light trilogy and Summer’s Child.
    Some other firsts/faves: The Pact, Joy Luck Club, Mrs. Kimbell (Jennifer Haigh), The Book of Joe (Jonathan Tropper), Little Children (Tom Perrotta), Dive from Clausen’s Pier (Ann Packer), P.S. I Love You (Cecelia Ahern) and Past Secrets (Cathy Kelly).
    I really can’t decide between Love Walked In and Belong to Me (Marisa de los Santos) because I loved them both so much. I also loved I Know This Much is True as much as I loved She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb.
    Diane, I wish my bookshelves looked as tidy as yours do. Lol!

  4. Gina on September 18, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Denise, I agree on the Wally Lamb books too. I love that guy. I wish he would write more often. Dive was another one of my favs.
    Diane, is that a pic your bookshelf?

  5. brenda on September 18, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Favorites (My first: Keeper of the Light, but I share that first with BAY…)
    Jodi-l9 Minutes (not my first)
    D. Steel-_THE GIFT–a great little book
    B. Delinsky-Coast Road
    Anne R S–Islands
    MA Monroe-THE BOOK CLUB and this last one-tied
    NONE OF THESE WERE MY FIRST books except Keeper…
    No one can beat D. Chamberlain and B. Delinsky-no one…I don’t care who they are…and I read so much it is not funny-even now working three jobs…
    They are truly gifted and do not disappoint…

  6. Gina on September 18, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Forgot about Steinbeck, my fav and first was East of Eden.

  7. Diane Chamberlain on September 18, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    Gina, I’m so sorry you had to contend with the storm! I hope things get back to normal soon. And yes, that’s indeed my bookshelf.
    Okay, so my theory about first-read being the favorite does not necessarily hold water, though it’s perhaps more true than not. I love hearing about the books you all enjoy. I’m reading Delinksy’s FAMILY TREE right now. Such an excellent premise. I think I know where it’s going. We’ll see if she surprises me. Next will be Mary Alice’s TIME IS A RIVER, based on your recommendation, Brenda. And finally, breaking news! Wally Lamb has a new book coming out in November!
    I’m off to the beach with a couple of writer friends in the morning for a week of intense creating. I’ll be sure to post from there.
    Note: For some reason (maybe because it was mentioned above?) I suddenly had a rush of orders for KEEPER OF THE LIGHT tonight(if you click on my older books on the “books” page at my website, you’ll see that I sell the very few out-of-print books I have left. I am completely out of KEEPER now, except for my own copies (one hard, one paperback, and one trade). It will be removed from the out-of-print book page as soon as my webmaster can get to it.

  8. Margo on September 19, 2008 at 8:15 am

    How could I forget to mention THE SHELL SEEKERS by Rosamunde Pilcher, the 1st I ever read by her & I think her best. Another 1st book, PILLARS OF THE EARTH by K Follett which is my favorite of his. Denise and Gina, you both have given me some great ideas for new books to read…I’ve never read Santos or Wally Lamb. Gina, so glad you have power now!…I know what that’s like as we’ve experienced similar situations with flooding in the past and our winter ice and snow storms. Brenda, you know I agree with you completely…NOONE CAN BEAT DIANE CHAMBERLAIN!…I have been reading since a very little girl and never come across anyone who captures the heart, soul and inner spirit of people and place as Diane does (and no, I’ve not been planted to say this laugh out loud!!!!)…I’ve said this before and will again, Diane is pure genius and we are all so lucky to have her in our lives. I treasure every one of her books and have special ‘Diane Shelves’ in our TV family room where we have floor to ceiling bookshelves…Diane’s books are at eye level so everyone who comes over can see them immediately…
    Diane, I’ve never read Jodi Picoult but need to I quess. What is your favorite book of all time?

  9. Denise on September 19, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Gina, Wally Lamb has a new book coming out in November…”The Hour I First Believed.” Yay!
    I forgot to mention that The Great Gatsby was my first and fave F.Scott Fitzgerald. I even named my daughter Jordan after a character in the book.
    Margot, definitely read de los Santos and Lamb.
    I agree that Diane is the best!

  10. Margo on September 19, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Denise, which book by Santos and Lamb do you recommend first?

  11. brenda on September 19, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    Margo-I agree. I had books in boxes, in closests, on shelves, etc. After donating most of them to those who should enjoy them along with yours truly, I remember telling my daughter, as she loaded them and thanked me for her friends at the library, that D. C. stays forever. No one can “Get” voice like D.C. No one…it is as if I am in the book talking with the characters…
    As to Santos and Lamb-they are not my favorites but well worth reading.
    Margo-don’t miss Piccoult’s l9 Minutes or THE PACT…

  12. Denise on September 19, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Margot, read “Love Walked In” first (de los Santos); “Belong to Me” in more or less a sequel. I loved them both.
    I liked both Wally Lambs. They were Oprah picks many years ago when I still liked most of her bookclub choices.

  13. Ann on September 19, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    Margo, do read “My Sister’s Keeper” by Picoult. It is a really good book!

  14. Denise on September 20, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Based on recommendations, I got Time is a River today. Fortunately, due to working at a bookstore, I am able to borrow books. I have never read Mary Alice so I am looking forward to it!
    Is anyone going to read the new Oprah? I’ve heard good and bad.

  15. Gina on September 20, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Denise, I picked up the new Oprah today and started it. So far, so good!

  16. brenda on September 20, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Denise-you are in for a treat-Mary Alice Monroe…I loved BOOK CLUB, Beach House, and the new one.
    What is Oprah’s new one???I haven’t liked all of them…

  17. Denise on September 20, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    I have no idea why I never read Mary Alice Monroe before! I will look for the ones you recommended, Brenda, if I like the new one.
    The new Oprah is “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.” You can get it for 40% at Borders if you have the Rewards card.
    Gina, let me know how you like it after you finish it. I’m not going to start it until I hear a few more reviews.

  18. Gina on September 20, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    I must be the oddball, I didn’t like The BookClub by Monroe. I need to try some of her other books.
    I got my copy of Edgar Sawtelle for 40% off at Borders today and I got the large print version. LOL
    I really like it so far, I’ll definitely let you know what I think of it when I’m done Denise.

  19. brenda on September 21, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    I get a teacher’s discount at most bookstores. I did not like the Sawtelle book…just didn’t like it–sorry…Gina-I think I liked the BOOKCLUB because of the friendship with the women…I would love to know what happened to them-a great sequel…I also loved Beach House…but here last book is her best…in my opinion…
    Just finished a couple of mysteries by authors I haven’t read before-quite good-easy to read…just graded papers-high school and college-wow!!! Lots to teach and lots to learn…

  20. Denise on September 21, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Brenda, I’m not sure if it holds true for all Borders stores but my store (southwestern Illinois)is having one of their special Education Appreciation weekends in early October where teachers (retired and current) get a 25% discount on anything they buy, even if it’s not for the classroom. I hope your local Borders is having this; it’s very popular with our teachers.
    This past week, I read “The Abortionist’s Daughter” and “The Last Summer (of You and Me). I liked them both.

  21. Diane Chamberlain on September 21, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Who are the authors, Denise?

  22. Denise on September 21, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    Diane, Ann Brashares wrote “The Last Summer (of You and Me) and Elisabeth Hyde wrote “The Abortionist’s Daughter.”

  23. Sharon on January 24, 2012 at 1:55 am

    I was given “The Midwife’s Confession” as a gift for Christmas as well as “Before the Storm” and read them in this order. I just loved “The Midwife’s Confession” and decided to buy everyone in my book club a copy. I am known for being so critical and haven’t found too many books that I really like so I thought I would surprise them all. I then went on to read “Before the Storm” and just loved it as well – actually even more than the first. Diane you are an incredible writer and I just love how real your characters and stories are, the intrigue and fast development of the stories without any detriment to the enormous emotions felt by the characters. You are so talented. My dilemma now is choosing one of your books to share as my selection for our book club out of what seems to be a huge repertoire. What would you recommend? I have just loved the two read so far so am nervous to pick the next one to share with the group. I am looking for something as wonderful a read as these two which has opportunities for some great reader’s group discussion and possibly to discuss with you??? I look forward to your reply

    • Diane Chamberlain on January 24, 2012 at 9:44 am

      Sharon, I’m really honored that you’re enjoying my books so much. Some bookclub favorites have been The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, The Shadow Wife (which was originally published as Cypress Point), Breaking the Silence, which might be a tiny bit harder to find and Keeper of the Light. Also, remember there is a sign up form on my website if a bookclub would like me to chat with them by speakerphone. US only (I’m not sure where you are). By the way, you may or may not know that Secrets She Left Behind is a sequel to Before the Storm, so if you enjoyed reading about those characters, you might like this one as well.

  24. Sharon on January 24, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Have already bought “Secrets She Left Behind”. We are in Australia but perhaps we can contact you buy email. Thanks for your tips. Looking forward to my book order arriving soon.

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