Great Memories by Tara Randel

Tara RandelI’ve been thinking lately about what it is that makes books irresistible to readers. In a historical, there can be a backdrop of great magnitude, like the Civil War, or an international thriller set in cosmopolitan cities across the globe. Drop great characters into those stories and the reader is hooked.

I’ve always been a voracious reader. My fondest memories of books goes back to elementary school and my first visit to the school library. My world opened up to the wonders of reading. I can remember walking single file down the corridor then waiting in line outside the library, fidgeting because I wanted to get inside to make  my selection. Once I picked my book, I couldn’t wait to read it, even if I was supposed to be concentrating on math equations. Maybe that’s why I didn’t excel in math.

When I got older, my mom would take us to the public library twice a month. I could stand in the fiction section for hours, soaking up the ambiance and reveling in the scent of the books. I’d always come home with an armful of books. During the summer, I participated in the annual reading program. At the end of August, the librarians threw a party and gave prizes to those who read the most books. Needless to say, I racked up the reading points.

Even in high school, when most of the students used the library as a place to study, I still hung out in the fiction section, looking for that great book. I realize now that it all comes back to the characters, how they hook us into a story and don’t let go until the last page.

I’m so excited to be writing for Heartwarming because I get to take this great love of mine to create great characters and share their world with others. The hours I spend creating and molding my characters translates into hours of enjoyment for the reader. I love a plucky heroine who can handle her life, even if it is a mess when the story begins, watching her grow into an even more interesting person by story’s end. Give me a strong hero who also has some changing to do and you’ve grabbed my attention. Being invited along the journey as they fall in love is icing on the cake.

Reading will always be a part of my life. I couldn’t imagine otherwise. Let me know any fond memories you have about how reading, especially books with stand out characters.


  1. Reading is my greatest passion and has been ever since I first learned how. When I think of my childhood, I picture summer reading programs at the library, reading books under a tree in the yard, or reading under the sheets past my bedtime. I remember one summer I was a young girl, I read a story called Dot For Short that I was so enamored of, I tried to convince my family to start calling me Dot. They didn't go for it, but they still like to tease me about it now and again, as families do.

    I've always been the girl/woman who carried a book with me wherever I go. Now with my Kindle, and the Kindle app on my iPhone, I carry a library with me wherever I go.

    One of my favorite memories as an adult is sitting in the royal gardens of Belvedere in Prague, reading a story set in the very same place. But I think very fondly too of just random Saturdays where I get caught up in a book and end up spending the whole day in my nightgown in the recliner, reading a fantastic book from start to finish.

    My all time favorite book that I've read the most times is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

    A couple of my favorite quotes:
    "I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library." - Jorge Luis Borges

    "People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading." - Logan Pearsall Smith

    "Oh for a book and a shady nook..." - John Wilson

  2. Tara, Reading has been my escape route for a long time. I grew up in a very small town, but we were lucky to have a library. Looking back, I think for our farm town it was a great library. The problem was the librarian wanted to keep us age appropriate. My sister, who is older and I wanted to read any and everything. The rule was you could only check out 6 books a week. We each did that and read each others so it gave us 12 books to read. And my mom didn't censor our reading, so she checked out books the librarian said we couldn't have. My favorite books were horse stories and Westerns by Zane Grey, Max Brand etc. But I read everything and still do appreciate stories from all genres.

  3. I lived in Massachusetts until I was 10 and remember one snowy winter when I'd read everything I had and 'borrowed' a Jane Austen from my older sister and a Zane Grey from my father. I never read a child's book again.

    I love Rebecca from IVANHOE because she's so noble, Jo March from LITTLE WOMEN and I'm sure I don't have to explain why to anyone, Elizabeth Bennett from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE because she loves her family even though they're a great cause of embarrassment, and SCARLETT O'HARA, because she's so good and so bad.

    I keep hoping all the books I've absorbed over a lifetime will permeate my own efforts for Heartwarming.

  4. UNDERSTOOD BETSY made me fall in love with New England. I still have the book on my Kindle and sneak around and read it and was so thrilled when one my kids and his family moved to Vermont so I get to go there and soak it all up.

  5. The library is one of my favorite places in the world. I even worked at one for a while and thought I'd work there until the day I died.

    Books are my also my favorite vacation. For a few minutes, hours, days, I can be someone else and live out their life. What a wonderful escape!

    Growing up, I read the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder over and over and over. Even asked my mom to make me a dress and bonnet just like she wore. I also read the Ramona and Beezus books many times. Then I discovered biographies and mythology which opened up other worlds to discover. Ahhh, there's nothing like reading a book when you're a child and the way they stay with you forever.


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