This post is part of our Guest Picks series, featuring members of our library community sharing their favorite books and movies.
Besides being a business development officer at NSWC Federal Credit Union, Stephanie Lyles is also on the board of the Leadership Colloquium at UMW, which prepares women to work toward "a lifetime of leadership." Winner of the Laurie A. Wideman Enterprising Woman's Award, Stephanie has been recognized as an "independent, energetic spirit" as well as being "ready to act in business and in the community, and lead with values of the highest level of integrity and honesty."
This month, Stephanie shares her personal and professional favorites with our library community.
My name is Stephanie Lyles, and I am an avid reader and lifelong book lover. I live in Stafford County with my husband, Scott. We were blessed with three wonderful kids, two married and out on their own, the third a senior in high school, and one adorable grandson. I am very apprehensive of the next stage in my life as an empty nester. Reading has been my favorite pastime for as long as I can remember. I always make sure I have books available to read, and I am usually reading several books at a time. I keep one in my car, stacks on my nightstand, and my phone or iPad nearby that have library and Kindle apps on them for quick access to books.
When I read, it eclipses everything else. Having had a dad in the Air Force, we moved around a lot and made plenty of road trips back to Texas from wherever we were living, and my suitcase was always filled with books. In elementary school, my family had an evening set aside to read aloud different books. I would recommend this for any family.
As a child, my favorite books were Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague, Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion, Robert O’Brien’s Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Richard Adam’s Watership Down. I have read all of these numerous times. My all-time favorite authors are Dick Francis (any of them), John Grisham’s The Runaway Jury and The Pelican Brief, Agatha Christie (any), Jilly Cooper’s Riders, Rosamund Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers, Nelson DeMille’s Word of Honor, Stieg Larsson (any), Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. I can pick these books up at any time, and it’s like wrapping myself in a cozy cocoon.
As a business development officer at NSWC Federal Credit Union, I am always looking for books to learn and grow from. My job requires a lot of networking and leadership. Some of my favorite books are Tim Sanders’ Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends; Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living, by Shauna Niequist; Simon Sinek’s Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action; and John C. Maxwell’s The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.
If I could give one piece of advice, I would encourage everyone to read. Reading is a fabulous way to learn new ideas and to continue to grow.
Below are some of Stephanie’s favorite books, which you can reserve from the library.
Mystery books written around the horse world. Searching for insight, what can someone handle before they break? When does courage show?
The Help was a vivid, funny, emotional story. I was always wondering what was going to come next, going through an emotional roller coaster, laughing at some parts, wincing at others. Also available on audio and as an eBook.
I first read Misty of Chincoteague when we were stationed in Colorado. This book made me dream of a time when I could see the annual pony penning held in Chincoteague every year. Virginia seemed far away. I have visited Assateague and Chincoteague a number of times since moving to this area. Also available on audio.
My Sister’s Keeper gives you two sides of something you hope you never have to deal with. It makes you question what you would do in the same situation. Also available on audio.
Rosamunde Pilcher’s books are filled with life and complicated yet realistic characters. They make me long for a warm fire, scones and a beautiful garden to work in.
I loved Watership Down because it was full of perils as a band of rabbits makes it to a promised land. The leader isn’t necessarily the biggest and strongest, but the one whom others will follow. Also available in large print.
DeMille’s characters seemed so real. The story was very intense, thought-provoking, and I couldn’t put it down.