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Pick up a book !
Books and I have had a constant love affair since before I could stand on my own. My Grandmother’s were both teachers and taught the love of learning and reading to my parents when they were small and they in turn passed it on to me. I remember in the living room of the house I grew up in, my Dad turned one whole wall into floor to ceiling bookshelves and he also built a bookshelf on one of the walls in my bedroom.

The library was my saving grace in a world I rarely understood and I clearly remember progressing from the children’s section, to the young adults section, and on to the adult's section.

Nothing has changed and I’m still an avid library goer taking out an average of 12-15 books every 3 weeks. I mostly take out non-fiction, although I enjoy a fiction if it is written by someone who I respect and admire and has a lesson to impart.

I have over 550 books in my home library
and although I still purchase the odd book
( I try to avoid bookstores as I know the minute I enter one, I won’t be leaving empty handed) however I have run out of wall space and bookshelves and have many books packed away in boxes so try not to buy too many anymore.

My weakness is antique books and I have a small collection which I add to now and then. Oftentimes clients will give me an antique book when they find out I’m a collector.

The most recent gift from cherished clients and friends is an antique book on gardening, which touched me immensely since gardening is a passion of mine.

There are some books that are literally alive for me. I revisit them regularly and they are like old friends that forever have new wisdom to impart when ever I pick them up again.

These are the books that have inspired me the most throughout time and which I own and still read whenever I’m feeling lost or confused or need to be reminded of something important:

  • Woman’s Worth by Marianne Williamson ~ I highly recommend that all women
    buy this book and read it, not just once, but many times, until you understand and accept just how valuable that you, as women, are to society and the world around you. If your self-esteem has been battered and you are feeling not-too-strong, read this book.

  • Return to Love another book by Marianne Williamson~ Whenever you forget the reason you are here and begin to be dragged down by the negativity around you, pick this book back up and be reminded of why we are all here. It will give you a sense of how to navigate in a world that often seems mad at every turn and help you to know when you are on the right track, and when you have fallen off.

  • The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran ~ Not much can be said about this perennial
    favourite other than it is a required reading for all people the world over.
    I first bought it when I was 13 yrs old and it became a constant
    companion of mine. To this day it still sits on my bedside table and I pick it up whenever I am confused or need to be reminded once more of what ‘love’ is or why certain things in life are painful or why things are the way they are.

  • Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
    ~ Quite simply, a Masterpiece of depth for the sensitive
    woman to decipher the code of life and those codes within herself.
    This book has been a constant saviour of mine and has been a guide through the most difficult times of my life. I have gained strength, self-esteem, a new sense of self-worth and learned to have borders around myself for protection, all as a result of digesting the various astounding, insightful chapters within this book.
  • The Bible~ goes without explanation.

  • In The Meantime by Iyanla Vanzant ~ Iyanla is another spiritual guru who has
    incredible insight and is one of the greatest mentors and teachers I have ever had. Her books teach you to look within for the reasons your life looks the way it does on
    the outside.

     Manual of the Warrior of Light
    by Paulo Coelho ~ Simply the best book I’ve read in many years and one which I’ve re-read and re-read until I’ve felt the words burned
    into my soul itself.

Best Business Book I've Ever Read:

The Power of Focus: How to Hit your Business, Personal and Financial Targets With Absolute Certainty by
Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hanson and Les Hewitt ~ This book is the best manual I've ever found to help harness the skills, gifts and knowledge we each carry within and apply them to our business endeavours. A 'no-holds barred' kind of book.

The Most Disturbing Book I’ve Ever Read:

People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck. ~ I still think about this book and can honestly say I stopped
reading it approximately 2/3rds of the way through since I don’t believe in the ‘devil’ nor the word ‘evil’.
However the book does bring to light some very disturbing and puzzling things about how people of the ‘lie’ not only lack empathy, but also a conscience and some of them who fall under the classification of the religious word ‘evil’, according to Peck.

I’ve come across some of these kinds of people in my lifetime and I still do not quite know what to make of them….why they do what they do, what is their motive, what they get out of it, why some people get such pleasure out of the pain of others.


Two of the Books I’m currently reading:

The 8th Habit by Stephen Covey ~ excellent book on how to find your voice and inspire
others to find theirs


The Okinawa Program by Bradley and Craig Wilcox ~ another book on what to do to maintain optimum health and longevity based on the practices of the Okinawans, a people who live on an island off the coast from Japan. The most interesting thing I’ve taken away from this book is the fact that the most important factor in maintaining longevity and happiness is ‘community’ and connection to others. Humans need to love and be loved; it’s as simple and as complex as that.


I'd really appreciate knowing which books have been the most important to you in the course of your life and which ones you regularly re-visit for guidance and inspiration. Also, if you would tell me the most disturbing book you’ve ever read and perhaps an excellent one you are currently reading. Don't worry about the length of your comment...I enjoy reading long comments.






Jo-Anne Smith, the author of this article, is a REALTOR® with Royal Lepage Proalliance Realty, Brokerage, in Belleville, Ontario and welcomes your real estate inquiries. To contact her, visit www.QuinteRegionRealEstate.com

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Let's Get to Know One-Another:


Birmingham Alabama Real Estate, Stephen Wolfe
LivingInBirmingham.com - Birmingham, AL

Jo-Anne, another book collector! I am a closet collector myself. Well, really not closet, one walk in my family room and you will see a couple of full shelves as well as some stack sitting around. I never knew you could catalog your own library like that.

Some favorites of mine are Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz, Who Are You Really, and What Do You Want? by Shad Helmstetter, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, and The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren *

* Please note that this list is subject to change without warning and is only good through today.

Oct 04, 2007 02:35 PM
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Stephen, good morning ! 

LibraryThing is great for booklovers.

It not only gives you a way to catalogue all of your books, but also gives you a way to connect with other people who share your interests in books ....anything to do with books and  you will find it there. I haven't been using the LT network much lately and I am way behind in book cataloguing, however my membership there is a lifetime one so perhaps I'll catch up sooner or later.

Thank you for the list of your favourite books ! I'll have to write them down and see if my library has them the next time I go. I've heard of the last two, although I haven't read any of them.



Oct 04, 2007 08:47 PM
Adam Waldman
Westcott Group Real Estate Company - Hauppauge, NY
Realtor - Long Island

JO:  I have to say that I'm surprised to ever see you on AR with the amount of reading that you do!  Amazing.  Thanks for the tips.  There were some interesting books in there, and some that I'd like to check out.

Oct 04, 2007 11:33 PM
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Hi Adam,

Thanks for stopping by ! I'm a fairly fast reader and take a book with me most places I go so I have something to read while I'm waiting for people or events or just to take a break here and there....

I always read at bedtime...I find it clears my mind and also gives me some pleasant knowledge to incorporate while I'm asleep...  ((-:

Stephen Covey's The 8th Habit is my nightly reading now....I love this book and am gaining so many incredible insights from it.


Oct 05, 2007 03:21 AM
Jennifer Monroe
Indigo Home Team powered by Compass - Charlotte, NC
Real Estate REALTOR®/Broker/Designer

Jo-Anne I am always thrilled when I discover another who shares my passion for books, the written word and storytelling in general. I have several thousand books in my home, and at the end of the day - they are my truest friends. I also collect rare (and sometimes antique) books and feel a special stewardship in caring for them. I get teased often for being pedantic, but secretly I know that I would be that woman who would gladly burn with my books if the future held a scene as grisly as that in Fahrenheit 451. 

I read everything and it looks like you do too :) 

Oct 05, 2007 03:44 AM
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Hi Jennifer !   Several thousand books? WoW....
I had to give up many of my books over the years due to many moves and downsizing along the way....also, moving boxes of books is one of the heaviest parts of moving.

Do you have a LibraryThing profile?  By rare do you mean first edition and signed books?
I can't imagine a life without having had books to accompany me through every stage of my life. Books taught me more things than I've ever learned elsewhere and helped me along life's road.  Fahrenheit 451 was a very disturbing film...

I remember reading your book post awhile back and quite enjoyed it ! Seems everyone here has to write at least one 'book' post, so I guess I've now written mine.   ((-:

thanks for stopping by this post,


Oct 05, 2007 06:13 AM
Rita Taylor
None - Sanford, NC
Sanford NC Real Estate - Homes for Sale in Sanford North Carolina


I had a lot of trouble reading as a kid.  I overcame that as an adult and now I am a read-a-holic!  Your bookshelf has a wide variety of topics. 

Oct 05, 2007 03:37 PM
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Hi Rita,

I'm glad to hear that you overcame your reading difficulties and now love to read....we can gain so much from books and reading.

Thx for stopping by


Oct 05, 2007 11:34 PM
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552
Jo, I can empathize with this post because I love books, too.  There is something about the tactile feeling of a book that just can't be duplicated by online information.  My father was an avid reader, and I got started at age 4 trying to read the old books he kept in a bookcase in my room.  That bookcase, with the original books, is now in my home office.  I have over 2,000 books in my home library, and many of them are like personal friends to me...
Oct 06, 2007 01:28 AM
Arizona Real Estate Associate Broker
MR Realty - Mesa, AZ
Hi Jo--  I just returned home from the bookstore only to grab a magazine I could not find in the grocery store!! On the way in I was talking to my sweet son, Cory who also has a love of reading too! His last comment to me while we were bidding goodbye was be careful in the bookstore he said, "I can never get out of there without blowing a $100). I assured him that I was not going in for anything but a magazine and I will be careful.  Wellllllllll.....I couldn't keep my bargain...I landed with three more books plus my magazine. <sigh>  What's a girl to do?  I love books, I have so many books that I would not have to buy again for a decade I believe. I have four of your ten you list in your post....I am sure our libraries would be similar. I love non-fiction too, however my most recent fiction books I acquired and read was a series of books by a local author Stephenie Meyer and made the best sellers list; Twilight, New Moon &  The Eclipse. Every once in awhile I tend to enjoy a recommended book like that and love the relaxed get away feeling I get with a non-fiction! Highly recommended reading especially if you like Vampire stories! I am anxiously awaiting the new book due out in 2008.  I really enjoyed reading your post tonight and finding your library blog!! Wow--they have a blog for everything don't they?  I have bookmarked this post to return to it again to study it further!  Thanks for a great list of books, I definitely will be researching these in the near future! Oh--and I agree...Most disturbing book I have ..."People of the Lie".... of course we discussed that on the phone!! Hope your weekend is going well and your Thanksgiving is grand!!  Greetings from Arizona...
Oct 06, 2007 01:40 PM
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Brian,  I enjoy hearing these stories about your childhood. You've articulated what holding a book is like so well.....
I find it amazing that you still have that same bookshelf and those books from your Father's collection when you were a child.
Over 2000 books !! That's quite a number....I would enjoy perusing the titles and would likely be entranced for hours, if not days.  ((-:

I try to curb my bookbuying now as much as possible in case I move again...in addition, I've run out of wall space for bookshelves ...likely a good thing considering my addiction to books.


Oct 06, 2007 04:17 PM
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Good morning Candace !  It sounds like your son knows you quite well ! 
I'm not a big fiction reader, unless they are works of literary art in themselves. My favourite fiction authors are Paulo Coelho, Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findley, Michael Ondaatje, Philip K. Dick, Robert Heinlein, D.H. Lawrence and Ursula K. Leguin.

The new books you are reading sound interesting !  I'm not into fantasy or vampire stories myself, however I do enjoy science fiction...

LibraryThing is not actually a blog....it's an online library and community where you can catalogue all of your books...perhaps you should join ! Once you have your books catalogued , there is nothing else for you to do except discuss books with other members or read book reviews, etc.

Thanks so much for your incredible comment, Candace...I hope you're enjoying your weekend too . ((-:


Oct 07, 2007 01:45 AM
Tom Plant
WINEormous.com - Murrieta, CA
Jo - I love to read, but find I don't do it unless I'm on the road or on vacation. I allow myself to get distracted by the external too easily. I have plenty of important books in my library, Indispensible, the dip, Winning, etc., but when I give myself the time to read, I tend to escape into novels. I have the books, I need to convince myself of the importance of reading them.
Oct 07, 2007 11:46 AM
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Tom,   thanks for stopping by ! Reading is a rather solitary pastime.....I usually read during my quiet times, like at night after hopping into bed....reading quiets my mind.

I can picture you escaping into novels...the books will be there waiting for you one day when you slow down a bit and aren't involved in so many outside activities...maybe you'll get a chance to read a bit at INMANConnect.



Oct 07, 2007 01:30 PM
Wayne & Hilary Shantz

Hi Jo, fellow Canadian RLP realtor, I am going to go out and get your business book recommendation and the one about Japanese community, both sound interesting. We cannot write well unless we read a lot.  But real estate and kids don't leave me enough time for it!

I got my outside blog going last month it is theoakvillebuzz.com.  I'm always checking in on your blog and Wayne McMullen's! 

Oct 10, 2007 02:40 PM
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Hi Hilary !  Nice to see you....thanks for stopping by and for your lovely comment.  The two books you are going to pick up are both excellent...I'm sure you'll get a lot out of them and they will help your business and personal life.

I'll check out your outside blog...congratulations for getting it up and running !!

I hope your week is going well,


Oct 11, 2007 01:53 AM
Wayne & Hilary Shantz

Hi Joanne, Another book I read this week is Good to Great by Jim Collins, it has helped me to refocus my business, focus on the key things, and let the rest fall by the wayside.  I will be blogging about some of the nuggets I discovered soon!  




Oct 24, 2007 12:03 AM
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Hi Hilary !

Thank you for bringing my attention to 'Good to Great' by Jim Collins. I've put it on my list of books to pick up next time I'm at the library, which should be sometime next week. I really enjoy books that help me to focus on the important things in life and business.  I look forward to reading your post about the nuggets you've discovered !

Isn't this just the most gorgeous day again in Southern Ontario? I feel so absolutely wonderful on days like today.... 



Oct 24, 2007 08:51 AM
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
This was delightful to peruse some of the books you mentioned.  I have not read "The Warrior" but it looks like an interesting book.  I would also agree that Scott Peck's "The People of the Lie" is one of the most disturbing books I have ever read.  His discussion of the nature of human evil was chilling to the soul.
Oct 26, 2007 09:51 AM
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Good morning Lola,

I think you would really enjoy Paulo's book Manual of the Warrior of Light, as well as any of his other books, if you haven't read them. They all are profound in their teaching of spiritual/moral truths through the guise of a story.

Peck's discussion was very chilling indeed. I've been in close association with these kinds of individuals so his words hit home with me to an even stronger degree...the problem is these people are very difficult to identify on a casual basis and often it is not until they have caused great damage to the lives of people around them, do people begin to 'see'.

Thanks for visiting this post and I hope you're having a wonderful weekend,


Oct 27, 2007 12:48 AM