Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Books I can't live without....

Kailana over at The Written World is collecting bloggers' top ten favorite books they can't live without, and who am I to pass up a chance to sound off about my favorites? Here we go...

1. The Cider House Rules, by John Irving - One of my favorites ever, the characters in this book stayed with me long after the last page was flipped in a very real way. I think about Dr. Larch and Homer Wells often, and I think it might be time for a re-read.

2. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien - One of the most engrossing tales I've ever read. No one makes me feel more a part of a fictional world than Tolkien.

3. The Hours, by Michael Cunningham - The three tales in this novel are so expertly woven together that it drags you headlong into the story.

4. What I Loved, by Siri Hustvedt - Siri Hustvedt reminds me very much of Joyce Carol Oates in the way that she's able to create an uncomfortable--but intriguing--mood. What I Loved was at once disturbing, powerful, insightful, and beautifully peppered with references to folk and fairy tales, psychology, art, literature, etc.

5. The New York Trilogy, by Paul Auster - Much like his wife, Siri Hustvedt, Auster creates a great sense of atmosphere, and his books are full of references to other works. This particular book is stunning. I won't try to describe it in any more detail than that.

6. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald - I've re-read Gatsby more than any other book I've ever picked up (5 times to date). I love everything about it: Fitzgerald's use of language, the symbols and metaphors, the self-centered characters, and his portrayal of the death of the American dream.

7. Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens - Containing one of my favorite characters in all of literature--Estella--this book literally changed my life. When I first read it as a freshman in high school I fell in love with the idea of "classics" and started to turn over the idea of being an English teacher.

8. The Waste Land & Other Poems, by T.S. Eliot - Another one of those life changing reading experiences. I first read The Waste Land in an undergraduate British survey course. I was incredibly burned out (last semester of senior year), but this poem and my professor's passion for it gave me the courage to try graduate school.

9. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak - I read this very large, very affecting book for an Adolescent Literature class, and I have to say, it was one of the most engrossing, heartrending books I've ever read. I certainly foresee myself re-reading it in the future.

10. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens - Another favorite from high school that made me love literature all the more. Never have I read a more twisted book, and that's one of the things I adore about it.


  1. Hey! Thanks so much for joining in! I read The Hours, and I think Michael Cunningham is a great author. I think I have one of his newer books kicking around somewhere... And then, I of course LOVE Tolkien. I have some of your other books on my lists, but have not read them yet. :)

  2. Great list, Andi!!!! I would put a couple of those on my list as well!

  3. Hmmm...how did I know Great Expectations would be there??? Funny, if I had a top 20, I'm pretty sure both Great Expectations AND The Book Thief!

    I never read The Cider House Rules, but I thought the movie was great! I did love the Great Gatsby though! GREAT list!

  4. Kailana, I have Cunningham's newest floating around my house somewhere--Specimen Days. I can't wait to read it!

    Kim, thanks!!

    Shocking, eh, Stephanie? :D You should definitely read The Cider House Rules if you ever get an inkling. It's really amazingly done.

  5. Oh what fun to read about your all time favorites. I want to do this but I'm so wishy-washy I know my all time favorite list my change the next day... Hmmm, I'm gonna think about it.

  6. Iliana, I'm pretty wishy-washy when it comes to a top ten as well. I've started going with these on a semi-regular basis because they're usually the first to come to mind. :) But I could add a zillion more!!

  7. I loved The Cider House Rules, too. Did you see the film? I was so disappointed in it.

  8. Lesley, I did see the film, and while it certainly didn't stand up to the book (which was impeccable), I thought they did the best they could with 2 hours' worth of time. Irving did the screenplay, and I'm pretty sure if he hadn't it would've been butchered further. Charlize Theron kinda annoyed me in that movie, but I loved Toby Maguire and Michael Cain.

  9. I am enjoying reading everyone's lists. I'm too chicken to even try compiling my list. Of the couple on your list I have read (The Lord of the Rings and The Great Gatsby), I can understand why you'd chose them. :-)


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