Thursday, May 31, 2012
Writing so much about reading has me pondering my favorite books.
There’s no way to say that one book is my favorite. If I were to categorize them, literature would stand out above the rest.
I decided to post a top 10 list for fellow reading enthusiasts. I was afraid if I didn't limit it to something like 10, I would be at 100 before I knew it.
I didn't include the most important book of my life, the Bible, because I think it speaks for itself. If you read only one book in your life, that should be it.
However, if you're a reader with some time on your hands and have never read these books, I would highly recommend them.
10. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote – When I was a senior in high school we were assigned to read this book. I cannot put into words how enthralled I was by this story. While I now know that much of what Capote wrote about this true story was embellished, it’s still a great read.
9. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt – This was the first book I purchased with my own money. I bought it the summer before I started college in what I thought was the hippest place I’d set foot in at that point in my life. I think the purchase of this book was just one of the many ways I was trying to assert my independence. It was definitely one of the few safe ways I was trying to do so at the time.
8. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – This is fiction at its finest. I’ve talked with people throughout the years that said they couldn’t get into this book because of the strange story line. I would argue that the strange mixed into the ordinary is what makes it so great.
7. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck – I don’t know what it is about this book that made me like it enough to include it on this list. I guess like all great books, it tells a moving and memorable story.
6. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – I read this book while on my honeymoon in St. Lucia. One of the employees at our resort saw me reading it and wanted to know all about it. She said she watched the movie, but had never read the book. I’m still kicking myself all these years later for not leaving the book with her. I could have just bought another copy when we got home.
5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – I’m not sure how I made it through high school and college without being assigned this one. I read it shortly after I graduated college and, like most people, was deeply moved by the story.
4. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – I couldn’t decide between this novel and “Great Expectations.” I love them both, but there’s a sweeter story in this book.
3. Harry Potter (all of them) by J.K. Rowling – What more can I say about these books except they are phenomenal. Each one is a timeless story of good vs. evil with wonderful, witty, funny, heartbreaking life lessons. I’ve read them several times and can’t wait to do it again. When the little boy was 3, I read them to him every night before bed. I wasn’t sure he understood much of it, but I was so excited to be reading them aloud to him that it didn't matter. I'm hoping to read them aloud again when he is 7 and baby girl is 3.
2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – I wanted to hate her, but I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Anna most of the time. This is one of the few books (Harry Potter included) that has made me cry. I don’t mean I got misty-eyed while reading it. I mean I sobbed. There’s a point where Anna sneaks into her home to see her little boy who has been told she is dead after she leaves him and her husband for her young lover. The child is so overwhelmed at the sight of his mother that he begins kissing her face over and over again. My son was about 7 months old when I read this, and I was flooded with a mix of emotions. As he lay beside me napping as I read, I despised Anna for giving up her child, though I sympathized with her anguish in that moment.
1. Middlemarch by George Eliot – I can say without question that Dorothea Brooke is my favorite literary heroine. I guess that’s why I’ve put this book at number one. Elliott crafts a story that inspires, saddens and delights. The world today needs more women like Dorothea.