Sunday, May 30, 2010
My Top 10 Favorite Books
I thought an easy blog entry would be to list my Top 10 Favorite Books. Wrong! Wow, this was hard. (So. Many. Books.) I suspect those of you who love books as much as I do would find it equally daunting. To narrow it down to ten was difficult, so I decided I needed some rules.
The first rule was I Must Name A Specific Title - no series or everything-by-this-author. Criminy! That was a tough rule. If I like a book, I will read it again. If I love a book, I will read it over and over and over. Many of my most-beloved books are from certain authors or certain series - but my rule said if I couldn't single out a specific title, they wouldn't make the list. Ouch! This meant Dick Francis didn't make the list - because I love him so much! Same for Zenna Henderson (LOVE), the Spenser series by Robert B. Parker, Sue Grafton's alphabet series, and some other much-adored authors.
Pause to wipe tear from eye.
Moving on. The second and final rule was that I had to narrow it down to just ten. So, after MUCH deliberation (probably TOO much deliberation), here is my list of Amy's Top 10 Favorite Books (in no particular order):
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey
Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey
A Son Of The Circus by John Irving
Leave It To Psmith by P. G. Wodehouse
Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
War For The Oaks by Emma Bull
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Any of the following five might have made the cut if it had been another day. (again, in no particular order) It was awfully close!
The Picnic And Other Stories by Gerald Durrell
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
When The Sacred Ginmill Closes by Lawrence Block
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
Let's not forget those beloved authors and series, though! If you saw my bookcases, you would note their dominating presence:
Anything by Zenna Henderson
Anything by Dick Francis
Anything else by Josephine Tey
Spenser series by Robert B. Parker
Alphabet series by Sue Grafton
And I would be remiss if I did not also mention J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books and a whole bunch of books by John Grisham. I have genuinely enjoyed their works, but also have been intrigued by their personal stories - more or less ordinary folks who sat down to write one day and became Huge Successes. That's no doubt true of some of the other authors mentioned above, but Rowling and Grisham have achieved this since I identified my own desire to write, so I have watched their careers with an interested and admiring eye.
As I review my Top 10, three thoughts come to mind:
a) The only obvious common thread I see in the content of these books is the presence of wit. Now there are many best-sellers out there that are completely devoid of wit - I don't get that. If I am reading or writing for my own pleasure, there must be some humor! Even if it's a very serious book. I think this is why I don't read a lot of what they call "literary fiction." Or I'm just too dumb to appreciate the high-falutin' stuff.
b) Is it possible I was English in a previous life?
c) Many of these authors and books were first brought to my attention by Middle Brother, who (sometimes) patiently allowed me to read his library books and otherwise tag along behind him. These early introductions have had a great impact on my literary life. ("great" meaning both large and positive!) Thanks, MB!