Tag Archives: Stephanie Plum

5 Novels I Can’t Live Without


When I realized I wrote in a similar manner to Janet Evanovich, I began to study her books to see how she does what she does. And, of course, I’m forever in her debt for introducing me to Ranger.

We read “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” in our book club. It touched every emotion I had. Well done, Rachel Joyce.

When our kids were young, we took a long road trip and listened to the audio version of Jennifer Donnelly’s “A Northern Light” in the car. It captivated all five of us, often making us sit in a parking lot at our destination to hear the end of the chapter. When we got home I read it to see how she did what she did. Still not entirely sure.

I have four copies of Zippy. I lend them all the time, but never want to be without one myself. I love Zippy and Haven Kimmel like petunias love sunshine. It’s one of the very few books I’ve lifted to “You Betcha, I’ll Read It Again” status. It does three things to me simultaneously … laugh hysterically, break my heart thus turning me into a little puddle of sobbing Becky, and curse the day the writing bug bit me because I’ll never be Haven Kimmel.

Garrison Keillor and I go way back. When I was a young’un, my dad would dial up his “Prairie Home Companion” show on the car radio and we’d load into the car for a drive while we listened. If we were lucky, we’d watch a thunderstorm roll toward us, engulf us, then release us while we caught up on the news from the Sidetrack Tap, the Chatterbox Cafe, Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery and Bertha’s Kitty Boutique.

To this day radio static always makes me smile.

What are the five novels you can’t live without?

Unbridled Passion

Reading the Washington Post’s Short Stack blog is almost exactly like playing in BeckyLand. No, really.

They asked some prominent writers ”” which is why I found out about it long after the fact ”” “If you could spend one unbridled night with any fictional character in the world, who would it be?”

My favorite answer came from Lisa Scottoline: “I would spend the night with the Three Musketeers from Dumas’s classic novel. My motto is ‘One for all, all for me.'”

Gotta love that.

Janet Evanovich voted for Uncle Scrooge, from Carl Barks’s Disney comics. “He’s always going on adventures, he pushes his money around with a bulldozer, and he wears a top hat but no pants. Does it get any better than that?”

No. No, it does not.

However, my choice would be Ranger from Janet Evanovich’s books.

He’s an ex-Navy SEAL with a 200-watt smile, body that could stop a clock, and a pony tail. He wears tight black T-shirts and black cargo pants, almost exclusively. Except when he’s naked. He’s rich and calls me, er Stephanie Plum, “babe” in a dark, smoky baritone and says things like, “Last time you called me late at night you were naked and chained to your shower curtain rod. I hope this isn’t going to be disappointing.”

So, yeah. Ranger gets my vote for that unbridled night. I’ll be unplugging the clock and hanging black-out curtains. Or I’ll whisk him off to the North Pole where one night lasts nine months. I hope he doesn’t figure it out.

How ”˜bout you? If you could spend one unbridled night with any fictional character, who would it be?

Fictional Dream Cabinet

I was listening to Talk of the Nation on NPR yesterday while I was making a grilled cheese sandwich. They were talking about who they’d like to see in the new President’s Cabinet, regardless of who wins the election.

Coincidentally, on one of my children’s literature groups, there’s been a fun discussion of which fictional character kids would like to see as President.

In this last week of the campaign, I’ve become fascinated and repulsed by politics, wanting to get away from it, but unable to drag myself away. Like when marzipan is the only candy in the house.

So, I thought it would be fun to create a Cabinet with fictional characters.

• President ”” Atticus Finch because he’s the perfect man.

• Vice President ”” Guy Noir because in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, he’s still trying to find the answers to life’s persistent questions.

• Secretary of Agriculture ”” the Farmer in the Dell because not only is he a farmer, but he also knows the dell like nobody’s business.

• Secretary of the Interior ”” the Lorax because he speaks for the trees for the trees have no tongues and he’s telling you “STOP” from the top of his lungs.

• Secretary of Commerce ”” Lucy Van Pelt because she knows the value of a nickel.

• Secretary of Justice ”” Nancy Drew because, well, duh.

• Secretary of Defense ”” Stephanie Plum’s yummy friend, Ranger. No photo available because he’s so smokin’ hot that he melts the camera. But here’s his jacket.

• Secretary of Labor ”” Tom Joad because he’ll be ever’where””wherever you look. Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, he’ll be there. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, he’ll be there… he’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad an’””he’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready. An’ when folk eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build””why, he’ll be there.

• Secretary of Education ”” Miss Frisby because she makes book learnin’ fun.

• Secretary of State ”” Horton the Elephant because he knows everyone’s important, no matter how small.

• Secretary of Energy ”” Calvin and Hobbes because they have so much of it.

• Secretary of Transportation ”” Han Solo. Have you seen his sweet ride?!

• Secretary of Health and Human Services ”” Marcus Welby, MD. Would this man or his dreamy Under Secretary steer you wrong?!

• Secretary of the Treasury ”” Ebenezer Scrooge because he knows the sins of man are huge ”” a never-ending symphony of villainy and infamy, duplicity, deceit, and subterfuge.

• Secretary of Homeland Security ”” Captain Jack Sparrow. He may not be the best pirate in the world, but he can swashbuckle against anyone. And he’s so charming that nobody would complain about taking their shoes off at the airport or only being allowed three ounces of gels and liquids.

• Secretary of Veterans Affairs ”” Forrest Gump because I bet his mama would come with him. And maybe Jenny too.

• Secretary of Housing and Urban Development ”” Daddy Warbucks because he had a wicked awesome house AND he lived in the city AND he took in an orphan.

Who would you choose?