Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

Romance is good for your heart!

Your Favorite Movies & Books: What Keeps You Coming Back for More?

Posted on Apr 22, 2015 by Lisa Ricard Claro   32 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Bride of the MacHugh                My Lord Monleigh

Wednesday greetings, Buttercup! Today’s post was supposed to be an interview with author Leigh Lee, but is instead a question to you about your favorite books and movies. You’ll still get to meet Leigh, just not this week. Sorry for the last minute topic switch.

We learn a lot about people just by knowing their favorite things, and I’m curious about you. I hope you’ll take the time to comment.

Here’s the request: Name a movie or book that you can never get enough of. How many times have you watched/read it? What is it that keeps you coming back again and again?

In the interest of fairness, I’ll share my own faves.

Movies:  The Sound of Music, While You Were Sleeping, and Sweet Home Alabama, are movies I have watched too many times to count. It’s a little embarrassing not to have an old classic on my list like, say, Gone With the Wind or Casablanca. It isn’t that I don’t like those movies, because I do. I just can’t watch them over and over. My top three are movies where romance triumphs against the odds and true love wins the day.

Books:  Again, my cheeks are pink, as the books I’ve read and re-read aren’t old classics. I should have at least one Dickens on the list, right? But no. I’ve read The Villa and The Three Fates by Nora Roberts many times. The Best Man by Kristan Higgins is on my list, as is Blue Willow by Deborah Smith. Two of my all-time favorites are Bride of the MacHugh and My Lord Monleigh, both by Jan Cox Speas and which I have read more times than I can even begin to count, back to the ‘70s—as a matter of fact, I’ve them read so many times that I actually gave them away at one point, certain I couldn’t possibly read them again. Fat chance. A couple years ago I ordered both from Amazon, used, as they have been out of print for decades. And, yep, read them yet again. Yes, all the books I’ve named are romances. Sensing the pattern? There are a gazillion other books I’ve read and enjoyed, but the ones I’ve named are the ones I go back to time and again.

As a kid, my favorite book was Charlotte’s Web, which is also a love story, though one of friendship rather than romance. How could I not love Charlotte, the ultimate copywriter? And Wilbur really was “some pig.” I may have to read it again now, just because.

So what is it that brings me back to all of these? I love the characters. They make me laugh, and they make me cry. They are people I like, even when they’re doing something foolish, even when they are less than perfect. They are easy to root for, pleasant to remember, and hard to forget after the last credit rolls or the final page is turned.

These movies and books are comfort food for my heart, and returning to them is like a visit with old and dear friends. Which movies and books are your nearest and dearest? Not just the ones you enjoy, but the ones you know by heart.

Thanks for hanging out with me. See you on Friday for Observations from the Tub. 

Have a great Wednesday –

32 Responses to "Your Favorite Movies & Books: What Keeps You Coming Back for More?"

  1. Comment by Dawn H
    April 22, 2015 at 6:44 am  

    Movies – Mannequin, Somewhere in Time, Benny & Joon
    Books – Numerous Nora Roberts reread hers all the time along with Kay Hooper and Patricia Briggs have read both of the last two whole series at least 3 times

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 22, 2015 at 2:42 pm  

      Hi Dawn – Looks like we’re both Nora fans, and I’ve read a bunch of things by Kay Hooper. Are you also a fan of Nora’s alter ego, JD Robb?

  2. Comment by Sioux
    April 22, 2015 at 7:12 am  


    Movies–I’m sorry. I can’t narrow it down to just one.

    Hidalgo. Dirty Dancing. Sound of Music. Love Actually. The Out-of-Towners (the old black and white version with Jack Lemmon). The Widow of St. Pierre. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. The Bridges of Madison County.

    What’s the draw? The facial expressions. The emotional pull (usually I’m drawn to sad ones). The subtle touches.

    Books? One I read over and over is “Too Late the Phalarope” by Alan Paton. It’s so heartbreaking and so powerful.

    As always, you enlighten, illuminate and get me to think (which is not an easy feat this early in the morning).

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 22, 2015 at 2:43 pm  

      Hey Sioux – Oh, gosh, I forgot about Dirty Dancing. I’m with you on that one, too. I’ve never read the book you mentioned by Alan Paton, although the last time I took your advice (The Kite Runner) my heart broke a thousand different ways. Looks like this one is the same way. I may have to shore myself up before I read it.

  3. Comment by Sophie
    April 22, 2015 at 9:14 am  

    Great subject! Will have to post later….right now I can only come up with one. “Katherine” by Anya Seton. I read it first in the early 70’s & still return to it again and again. A fantastic love story. It is out of print but can be ordered through Amazon. Treat yourself….it’s better than a gallon of Ben & Jerry’s Double Chocolate Delight. Did I mention it’s a historical novel? Oh man, you gotta read this!

  4. Comment by Rob
    April 22, 2015 at 9:35 am  

    Rio Bravo is a movie I’ve watched so many times I can’t count. I like the characters.
    Books I reread are books on grammar and style. Too many to list (about 50). Fun reads would be Trout Bum, Trout magic, and all of Harry Middleton’s books. Middleton died of a brain hemorrhage and his last few books grew darker and darker (dark fishing stories believe it or not) as he went through self-examination as his world collapsed around him. He lost his job writing for a well known magazine, his wife and family turned on him as he drifted, looking for work, waking up in strange places with no idea how he got there, sleeping on the floor in cheap apartments in an old blue sleeping bag, ending up working on a garbage truck in Alabama just before he died, thinking the whole time that he was fighting depression and not knowing his brain was killing him.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 22, 2015 at 2:45 pm  

      Trout, eh? Looks like you also have a pattern, my friend. 😉 I must now Google Harry Middleton. His life story is quite tragic. A life worth learning about, though.

  5. Comment by Theresa Sanders
    April 22, 2015 at 10:39 am  

    Hey Lisa, I’ll confess right here and now that I love the sentimental, tug-at-the-heart movies on Hallmark Channel. I’ve watched The Magic of Ordinary Days more times than I can count. I also will re-watch Dirty Dancing, Meet Joe Black, and It’s a Wonderful Life any time, anywhere. I know there are others — I just can’t think of them all at the moment.

    As for books, one of my favorite authors is Diane Chamberlain. She is a social worker turned novelist, and I just love her insight. Another author I’ve recently found is Barbara Davis, whose wonderful book The Wishing Tide I just finished. It will definitely be read again.

    I agree with you about the classics. It’s embarrassing that I don’t go back to these over and over (though I love James Fennimore Cooper’s Water Witch and have read it twice). But how did these books and movies become classics? Because people read/watched them over and over again in their time, so what we are doing now with our faves may make them the classics of the future.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post today. You always leave me thinking — and smiling!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 22, 2015 at 2:47 pm  

      Hi Teri – I’m in the middle of The Wishing Tide, actually. I had the opportunity to hang out with Barbara a little bit during RWA last summer. Super nice lady and hugely talented. I’m looking forward to reading her other books.

      • Comment by Theresa Sanders
        April 22, 2015 at 4:32 pm  

        Barbara seems so very nice, and you’re right, immensely talented. So glad you got a chance to hang out with her at RWA. I adored The Wishing Tide. I still need to write a review for it, but it’s one of my favorite reads in a long time. The Secrets She Carried is excellent too.

  6. Comment by ButtonsMom2003
    April 22, 2015 at 11:45 am  

    I can only think of one movie (other than classics like the Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music) that I’ve watched over and over. For some reason I fell in love with Same Time Next Year with Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn. I must have watched that movie more than 10 times the year it came out on cable (late 70’s I think). It’s a love story but it also involves infidelity, which is why it’s kind of strange that I like it so much.

    As for books, I rarely read them a second time; even if I loved them. The reason for that is there are just too many good authors and books that I want to read. Some standouts from when I was young are The Boxcar Children stories, The Secret Garden, and when I was a young woman, The Thorn Birds. Now I have way too many favorite authors and books to mention them all by name but I’m sure you’ll be among them after I read your book. 🙂

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 22, 2015 at 2:49 pm  

      I remember that Alan Alda/Ellen Burstyn movie, but mostly in flashes. I remember that I enjoyed it at the time, though I never saw it more than once. Both actors are so watchable. Ah—The Thornbirds is another book that broke my heart. I loved reading it, but the ones I read more than once are the ones with happily-ever-afters. I’m such a hopeless romantic. lol And I do sincerely hope you love my books enough to list them as favorites. 🙂

      • Comment by ButtonsMom2003
        April 22, 2015 at 3:39 pm  

        Thanks for adding the notify feature. That was fast!

        • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
          April 22, 2015 at 3:47 pm  

          You’re welcome. Jennifer (my web designer) responded quickly. You might get double whammied on the blog post notifications though. Not sure I can have one without the other. If it works out that way, I hope it’s not an annoyance.

          • Comment by ButtonsMom2003
            April 22, 2015 at 9:57 pm  

            I’d rather get two notifications than none. 🙂

          • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
            April 23, 2015 at 7:54 am  


  7. Comment by Casey Hagen
    April 22, 2015 at 12:59 pm  

    Favorite movies…Never Been Kissed and Ever After are biggies for me. I think I just love Drew Barrymore as romantic lead. The hotties in the moves didn’t hurt either. Michael Vorten…yowza! As for books…All I Ever Wanted, The Best Man, Perfect Match…the list goes on and on!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 22, 2015 at 2:51 pm  

      Oh, Casey, I forgot about Never Been Kissed and Ever After (Dougray Scott played the hero – sigh!). Yes, I’ve seen both of those movies numerous times. Love them both. Did you see Going the Distance? It’s another Drew Barrymore flick. Pretty inappropriate in some places, but OMG so flippin’ funny!

  8. Comment by Claudia
    April 22, 2015 at 2:46 pm  

    What loaded questions! I could go on and on. You know I don’t have time to read all I want, but I still do reread and rewatch things.
    Movies…it is easy one: Out of Africa…why, the beauty of the pictues and beauty of the story. I love the idea of a man and woman telling stories, what foreplay! Excuse my bluntness, but the most sensual arousing scene is when sharing flight, the heroine slips her hand back, open for his hand in that two seater plane! Whew. I went on to read Out of Africa and bios of both true characters. Their stories were sad and the movie only hinted at the pain of their romance…but oh what a story the movie made!
    Books…I did read Bridges of Madison County three times and loved it although I hated the movie. (If anyone wants to know why, I’ll tell.) I have read several books more than once, but I taught SHANE every year for 14 years and never tired of the story. It is all here folks…friendship, true love, honesty, cruelty, coming of age, and though set in the Old West, basically the story is timeless. I cried almost every year at the end even though I knew the story. The author wrote movingly but sparsely…every word counted!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 22, 2015 at 3:01 pm  

      Out of Africa would have been a better movie for me had I not been sitting in the front row of the theater. Nothing looks good that close up, not even Robert Redford. lol I was cross-eyed by the time the movie ended. I’d like to watch it again, though. Meryl Streep is amazing in everything. The one line I remember from the movie is when—I think they’re sitting outside around a fire—she tells him that lions mate for life, and he replies, “I’ll mate for life. One day at a time.” And I would love to know why you don’t like the movie “Bridges of Madison County.” I read the book and saw the movie, wasn’t really nuts about either one. It’s the happy ending thing for me. Gotta have it. lol

  9. Comment by Linda O'Connell
    April 22, 2015 at 10:38 pm  

    Bridges of Madison County, was deeply moving, and I watch The Christmas Story every year, as well as It’s a Wonderful Life.
    Wally Lamb and Fannie Flagg are two of my favorite authors. My favorite WL book: I Know This Much Is True. I am drawn to Southern writers lately. Y’all have a way with words.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 23, 2015 at 7:58 am  

      Fannie Flagg is great, Linda. Even the books I’ve read by her that I can’t count as favorites were still books I enjoyed, just because of her voice. She’s got a unique and enviably pleasant “flavor” to her voice, which is about the biggest compliment I can give. It isn’t always what she writes that draws me in, so much as how she writes it.

  10. Comment by Cathy C. Hall
    April 22, 2015 at 11:04 pm  

    Comedies and musicals, I’ll watch them over and over. Love THE PRINCESS BRIDE and MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL–I know all the bits by heart–same goes for SOUND OF MUSIC, MARY POPPINS, THE KING AND I, THE MUSIC MAN…dang, I’m gonna have to watch one of these this weekend and get my fave fix. (I don’t re-read books. Well, not on purpose, but hey, I’m getting old and sometimes a body forgets that she’s already read a book till she’s halfway in!) 🙂

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 23, 2015 at 8:01 am  

      I’ve done that also, Cathy, with books. I’ll be midway through chapter three, experiencing deja vu, and realize I’ve already read the book. And I’m with you on the comedies and musicals. I saw the Holy Grail with my dad back in the day on one of our weekly jaunts—he used to take Wednesdays off of work and when I wasn’t in school we’d spend the day together. I still remember the look on his face when the coconuts appeared. lol

  11. Comment by Pat
    April 22, 2015 at 11:59 pm  

    As far as books go, the two I’ve read most often (and more times than I can count) are To Kill a Mockingbird and Gone With the Wind. Love them both.

    As for movies, I love romantic comedies. All of Doris Day’s movies, Bringing Up Baby with Cary Grant, more recent ones such as It’s Complicated, Something’s Gotta Give, As Good as It Gets (contains the classic line, “You make me want to be a better man”…sigh). I also love musicals and can watch them over and over (Les Miserables, Guys and Dolls, Phantom of the Opera, Camelot). Love story, happy ending, happy me.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 23, 2015 at 8:04 am  

      Ahh, Doris Day. Love Doris Day. And I forgot about Camelot—I can still sing the score, but no one wants me to. lol That was the first musical I ever saw in a movie theater, and I loved it. I’ve seen various stage productions, too, but in my mind it’s always Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Harris, and Franco Nero.

  12. Comment by Pat
    April 23, 2015 at 12:00 am  

    Caveat. Some of the musicals, not such a happy ending. But still tragically romantic.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 23, 2015 at 8:06 am  

      True. BUT! Did you know that Vanessa Redgrave (Guenevere) and Franco Nero (Lancelot) are married in real life? Now THAT’s a happy ending!

  13. Comment by Debra Mayhew
    April 23, 2015 at 8:10 am  

    Oh, my goodness. This is hard to pick, but I’d have to go with Cast Away for my favorite movie (love Tom Hanks!) and The Book Thief for my favorite book. I laughed when I read one of yours is While You Were Sleeping…you are definitely writing what you were meant to write! 🙂

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 23, 2015 at 7:14 pm  

      Haha – You’re right, Deb. 🙂 I love Cast Away, too. Ah, Wilson! Tom Hanks is like Meryl Streep—fantastic in everything.

  14. Comment by Tammy
    April 24, 2015 at 10:22 pm  

    Oh, what a delightful question! I’ve really been enjoying the answers since each one reminds me of movies I love. Besides so many you and everyone else mentioned, I am a such a sucker for Harry Potter Weekends that when I started streaming, I had to get the DVDs. And I can never resist re-watching Groundhog Day, Raising Arizona, or anything based on a Jane Austen book.

    And for books, I try to read one of Ray Bradbury’s least-known books called Dandelion Wine every summer. It’s that magical for me.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 26, 2015 at 11:06 pm  

      Yes, Tammy, the Jane Austen movies, definitely. My hubby cringes when we’re scrolling the movie list and I squeal, “Ooh! Pride & Prejudice!” He’d rather watch paint dry. lol

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