August 28, 2008

My Favorite Books


I love reading. I usually end my days in bed with a book - hopefully a good book. (I am not one with the patience to stick with a book if it's not engaging, so most nights I'm with a good book.) I love it when I find one that really pulls me in and makes me want to keep reading.

I thought I'd share a list of my favorites. I have a few noted in the right-hand column, and those are included here along with quite a few others. I've compiled this list over several weeks, and it simply contains books that leapt to mind as I thought about those that stuck with me. I'm sure I've left out some books that I loved - I couldn't possibly name them all. It's not intended to be a "best of" anything list - just 20 books that I love. In no particular order...

1. Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger. Quite simply the most romantic book I've ever read. Pulled me in instantly. I think I read this in less than a week.

2. East of Eden - John Steinbeck. I know most people have a love/hate relationship with Steinbeck. I hate several of his books. But this one I love. It's long, and you have to devote some time to it, otherwise you'll never be able to keep up with all the characters, but it's so worth it.

3. The Red Tent - Anita Diamant. Fascinating look at biblical times through the eyes of women. Intriguing to change your perspective on events, and so interesting to learn about those times.

4. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini. Heartbreaking. Interesting to learn more about life in Afghanistan. I also loved The Bookseller of Kabul.

5. Atonement - Ian McEwan. Ian McEwan is one of those writers that requires you to have a dictionary next to you while you're reading, but I don't love him less for that - actually, I love him more for that. He's challenging in that regard, but his writing is so beautiful. I've enjoyed some of his other books as well, but this one remains my favorite. The movie was beautiful as well, although it doesn't quite live up to the book. They never do, do they?

6. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell. I posted about this one. Incredibly creative and entertaining.

7. Fortune's Rocks - Anita Shreve. This is probably my favorite by Anita Shreve, who is a prolific writer that's given me quite a few enjoyable reads. Elizabeth Berg is another author I enjoy.

8. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand. It's a toss-up between this and The Fountainhead, but I chose the long and philosophical Atlas Shrugged. (Well, they're both long and philosophical, but I was more drawn to Dagny Taggart than Howard Roarke, the main characters in each book, respectively.)

9. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling. I love Harry Potter, and I don't care who knows it! Each book was irresistible. My favorites were "The Prisoner of Azkaban" (#3), and "The Order of the Phoenix" (#5), but I really did love them all. The movies are fun, but not even close to being as good as the books.

10. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert. Fun book that makes you think about what's important in your life.

11. Prodigal Summer - Barbara Kingsolver. I love all of her books, but I chose this one as my favorite. Most of my friends would choose The Poisonwood Bible, I think. Perhaps I need to give that one another read.

12. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell. This book, with Wuthering Heights next in line, is the book that started it all for me. (Actually, I should really credit Nancy Drew, but let's call this my introduction to adult literature.) I read this in the 7th grade - I was the nerd sitting outside with her nose in a book during lunchtime.

13. White Oleander - Janet Fitch.
14. I Know This Much is True - Wally Lamb. Most of Oprah's book club picks were incredibly depressing, and I gave up on them pretty quickly, but these two picks stand out. They have elements of depressing in them too and they are definitely emotional, but for the most part, they are uplifting.

15. The Celebrant - Eric Rolfe Greenberg. This is my favorite baseball book, and I've actually read quite a few. The story is fictional, but the baseball facts are true - the games, the players, the stats and scores, etc. I couldn't put this one down.

16. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden. Beautiful and sad and fascinating.

17. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee.
18. A Separate Peace - John Knowles. I didn't really love reading in high school. I'll admit to reading my fair share of cliff's notes. That is absolutely my loss. These are a couple of the books that managed to engage me during that crazy time called high school.

19. Life of Pi - Yann Martel. Creative and surprising.

20. The Hours - Michael Cunningham. Like Ian McEwan, Michael Cunningham writes beautifully, and his language pulls me in. I loved how the stories intertwined. I didn't think the movie was very good - it would be impossible to capture the beauty of the book. So read the book.

Let me know what you think. Are there others that you loved and would recommend? I'm always on the lookout for great books.

4 comments:

  1. Meri3.9.08

    Thanks for your list.
    I have just bought Eat.Pray.Love.
    It is even translated to Slovenian, fancy that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is great Mary! I have read all of these with the exception of 2-3. I am going to check them out...thanks!

    Jeanne :)

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  3. Hi Mary. I found your blog through Jeanne's link. I love your list. I've read most of them too and think I need to put Cloud Atlas on my to read list, which is already far too long! Reading The Catcher in the Rye at the moment :)

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  4. Anonymous11.11.11

    Love your list! Have read many (including Harry Potter and am not embarrassed to say i loved the series!) and added some to my reading list. Like you my day ends by reading a good book - even if only a few pages bc I'm exhausted! Some suggestions in the historical fiction genre, which is a favorite of mine: Diana Galbadon has an Outlander series that is wonderful (historically interesting and with wonderful characters you can get to know through several books) and Sharon Kay Penman has a Welsh trilogy based in 13th century that I adore starting with "Here Be Dragons" - she will tell you at the end of the book if there are any historical details she embellished and how, so you also get a great sense of historical of that medieval time. Hope you enjoy as much as I did! Kristen from Chicago

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I really love hearing from the people who read this little blog of mine. Thanks for stopping by!

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