Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Favorite Books

Some of my friends in my book club have been asking for a list of my favorite books, and I kept putting it off because that's... that's like asking me to choose between bacon or chocolate, mashed potatoes and gravy or pizza.  I mean, it's like they each have their time and place, you know?!

But then tonight I sat down and took a close look inside myself, and just went after it.  So, this list is obviously subject to some change in the future, as I continue reading and exploring new works.  I also mostly avoided obvious classics*, in part because I often just don't like classics, and if it is a good classic that I do like, then you probably already know about it too.  If you want a list of classics I like, I'd be happy to give it to you. Or, easier, a list of classics to avoid, from my own so humble personal opinion.

If you would like to have a discussion with me about any of these books and why I love them, or any books at all really, let me know. I would love to.  That's pretty much my favorite thing to talk about. Aside from my kids. Wait, actually... I mean, look now we're back to choosing favorites again. Let's not go there.

I also had to break it into two sections, books for a younger audience, and books for adults.  The books for younger audiences I either chose from my own actual favorite books from my youth, or books that I have read recently that I would have loved as a youth and look forward to sharing with my girls.

Blah blah blah, on with the actual lists.

Younger Audiences: (in no particular order)
The One and Only Ivan
Before the Blood Tribunal
Where the Red Fern Grows
The Westing Game
Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
The Great Good Thing
Dibs: In Search of Self
Number the Stars
The Little Prince
A Wrinkle in Time
Because of Mr. Terupt
Walk Two Moons

Adult Audiences:
All Quiet on the Western Front
The Hiding Place
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
A Girl of the Limberlost
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels
When Crickets Cry
The Book Thief
Hannah's Dream
The Woman in White
To Kill a Mockingbird

And then of course, OBVIOUSLY, there's the best one of all:
Empty Nest

Yeah, I know. I know.  Totally does not belong on this list.  But really, I've been surprised and honored by how many friends have bought it and read it.  Now if you would go on goodreads and review it, and be as critical or praising as you'd like, that would be awesome.  I really would especially like to get critical feedback, because I'm a realist and I know it is far from perfect.

And to finish, please, tell me your favorite books! What do you think I should read next? Let's talk.

*as in Little Women or Anne of Green Gables or Ender's Game.


  1. Most of these books I haven't even heard of. But really...should that surprise anyone? I think not. I was interested to find The Book Theif on this list. Only because I tried to read it like a month ago and well...I didn't. I couldn't get into it. And then it was due back and so I just returned it vowing to keep it on my list of books to read someday. I have heard it is amazing if you can get through it. Anyways. I'm am glad I have your list now. I enjoy adding books to my goodreads account.

  2. Gah. Somehow I have ended up like four months behind on reviews. Love your list. And why are so many classics awful?

  3. I have the same question as Michelle. I love classics. I haven't had time for lots of reading currently :(, but when I do read fiction I'm reading through Dickens' work. My favorite so far? Our Mutual Friend. But Dickens takes some time to get all his many characters in motion, so people sometimes struggle to get into that one. The satire is hilarious and the story is fun, so totally worth the effort if you find effort required. An easier one to get into is probably David Copperfield. Other favorites are Their Eyes Were Watching God, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Awakening, which has been very important in my life. Oh, and Cry, the Beloved Country is good as well. And I loved the writing in Rebecca. Les Miserables was also a great read. And anything by Chaim Potok. My Name is Asher Lev and Davita's Harp are my favorites there. Obviously, I can't pick one favorite either. For very light reading I always enjoyed Agatha Christie, particularly the Miss Marple stories. The Glass Castle was a good memoir. Non-fiction has made up a big chunk of my reading of late. Guns, Germs, and Steel was totally worth the 3 months I invested in it. I'm curious - what are the classics you would advise to avoid, and why?

  4. I feel the same way about many of the classics! I was surprised that I have actually read several books on your list, especially since I'm not much of a 'reader'. I had forgotten about Walk Two Moons until I looked through your list and now I want to read it again. I liked Tangerine and The View From Saturday when I was younger, but don't remember much of the story line from either. I have recently (recently = past 5 years) enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell (Tipping Point, Outliers, Blink), Complications, and The Glass Castle to name a few!

  5. I have always been drawn to either books geared towards younger audiences or books of movies that I've seen, so I'm tempted to be bold and pick something from your more adult list. And I think it's funny that you think a lot of classics are awful, haha. Any ones in particular?
    I LOVED 'Les Miserables' by Victor Hugo. Valjean's story, to me, was of total devotion to God and serving those around him. It made me want to make an entirely new movie out of what I read, minus all music (which surprised me, because I'm slightly obsessed with the music.) LOVED 'The Great Divorce' and - my favorite - 'The Screwtape Letters' by C.S. Lewis. Finished 'The Phantom of the Opera,' and it made me like Raoul even less, which I didn't think was possible lol, but the intimate glimpse into the phantom's story moved me to tears at one point. I've liked the Sherlock Holmes books so far. Interesting, exciting, and definitely makes one more observant! Aaaand I'm not sure what I'll read next... probably a textbook, unfortunately lol. :)