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.