Tuesday, September 09, 2014

My Top Ten

People often ask me what my favorite book is. That, friends, is an impossible choice. I like so many of them and so many have had an influence on my reading habits, and frankly, my life. So, when my cousin Samantha challenged me to list my top 10 books on Facebook, I thought it was a more manageable list than just 1.

In no order, here are the books that have influenced me the most or stayed with me in some way:

1. The Mists of Avalon; Marion Zimmer Bradley: This novel was one of the very first fantasy novels that I read where women were the heros and the strong ones. Still one of my favorite series.

2. Outlander; Diana Gabaldon: One of the kids I babysat had a mom who was a big reader, and when she found out I read some of the same stuff she did, she told me I should read this novel. I put it off for awhile and FINALLY picked it up last January. I ended up reading the whole series straight through {thank goodness the library had all of them for my kindle}. Now, I gush about this novel {and series} any chance I get. You can read my review here. Run, do not walk, to the bookstore to buy the whole series. Then ensconce yourself in a flurry couch with some coffee, and tell your friends you won't see them for a few months. They're THAT good.

3. The Red Tent; Anita Diamonte: Again, with the strong women! This is a biblical fiction novel about Dinah, a sort of foot-noted character in the Tanach. The story really illustrates the type of society we could have where women take care of each other. It was an awesome read.

4. The Giver; Lois Lowry: I love dystopian novels, and as far as I am concerned this one is the best. I read it twice before I *had* to read it in 8th grade. I couldn't get enough. It simply doesn't compare to other novels. It is the best one.

5. The Little House on the Prairie; Laura Ingalls Wilder: I secretly wanted to be Laura when I grew up. And, to some extent I have. I can bake bread from scratch {and cook for a crowd}, I love being in the woods, I'm practical with money, I'm a teacher. I'm not very good with livestock, but we can't have everything in life!

6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; JK Rowling: Let's be real, the whole series should be here, but the last one was the most poignant for me. I do re-read the whole series once every few years, and I'm due another re-read {the last one was when I first came to China}. Harry Potter is my childhood.

7. The Sleeping Beauty Series; Anne Rocquelaire: You know what I really love about this series? It's erotica written by a woman for women. It's intense and full of fantasy and wonderful.

8. Ender's Game; Orson Scott Card: I got this novel first from a friend in high school {hi, Ben!}. I kinda took his and he had to buy a new one. I've now read most of his series and they're pretty solid in the way of science fiction-y spaceship novels.

9. The Chosen; Chaim Potok: Reading this novel was the first time I laughed out loud at a novel {that I remember}. It was just so....Jewish! The mannerisms, the stuff I recognized from my own life, it was all there. I never realized how a novel could connect me so much to my own background and identity.

10. The Cry of the Kalahari;  Mark and Delia Owens: I read this book as a freshman in high school and, really, I devoured it. The Owenses sold everything and made their way to Africa to study lions in Botswana. I read the sequel, also, and it was fantastic!

11. Flow; Mihayli Csikszentmihayli: Well, I cheated and added another one. Flow basically guided my entire thesis and it's not really about sex at all. Czikszentmihayli argues that a flow experience is one where we lose track of time and everything around us, and it's used quite a lot in recreation theory. It's highly readable, and fascinating.

And, of course, there are many more. So, some honorable mentions go to: The Time Traveler's Wife; Wuthering Heights; Shanghai Girls; Monique and the Mango Rains; The Host; My Life in France; The Boxcar Children series; The Babysitters' Club series; Into the Woods; The Lemon Tree; Ready Player One; The Queen's Fool; The Children's Book; The Uncoupling; The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society; Pillars of the Earth; Island of the Blue Dolphins; The Forgotten Garden; A Wrinkle in Time; The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.  

And, let's not pretend this is all of them. Just what I could remember when I went through my Goodreads list!

What books have stuck with you?

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