However, like any good shifty freaknasty of a reader, I have a disclaimer.
These are TEN OF my favorite books. Not THE Ten. There is no THE Ten.
OK, I think I've safely covered my reading butt. Without further ado:
2. The Lord of the Rings (all of 'em!), by J.R.R. Tolkien. I may never read this weapon of a big chunky book again, but the first time through was sacred and fabulous, and I actually thought about doing grad work at the University of Maryland so I could camp outside the office of one of the greatest Tolkien scholars in the country after I heard her speak at my university where I did my BA. She was THAT GOOD. And I was that in lust with Tolkien's furry-footed creations.
3. Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens. Because with "Estella" plastered all over my online persona, she'd probably crawl out of my copy of the book and smother me in my sleep if I didn't mention Dickens. People have a very strong reaction to Dickens. They either love the dickens out of him or hate the dickens out of him. I read this one as a freshman in high school, and obviously some of the characters stuck with me. I re-read it a couple of years ago, and got even more out of it. I will always love Estella, but maybe I should've named this blog "Miss Havisham's Revenge" because she's REALLY the star of the show. Rotten wedding dress and all.
BookDrum profile for it when I re-read it soon. Hustvedt's other stuff is good, too. Especially The Blindfold and A Plea for Eros: Essays.
5. Patrimony, by Philip Roth. If you want a memoir with a sucker punch, go ahead and read this one. Roth writes candidly about his father's aging and what it's like for the child to become the caregiver. It's definitely not all pretty, but it's pretty human and accessible for Roth. Now, he's also believed to be a big fat liar most of the time because he plays with the idea of "truth" in his books, so it might be a load of horse*$%#. Either way, it's worth the read.
7. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. DEATH IS THE NARRATOR! I know, I'm screaming in all caps, but it's really worth the scream! Death is a fantastic narrator, and that's what really got me involved in this Holocaust novel told from the perspective of a German orphan. It was one of those "grab you by the hair" novels. I devoured it for a graduate class a couple of years ago, and we had a very spirited discussion. Mostly the discussion revolved around "what is an adolescent novel" because the majority of people I know would argue that this one is just as fit for adults as young adults. Plus, ya know, I cried for the last 200+ pages, and I'm hard-hearted ogre, so that's pretty impressive and worthy of a Top Ten.
8. The Hours, by Michael Cunningham. Because it made me feel sad and lonely and happy and hopeful right alongside the characters. And I'm talking emotions to the bone. Very authentic and well-written.
10. Feed, by M.T. Anderson. This is another novel I read in a grad class, and it made my brain explode. When it came time to pick a novel to teach my Freshman Composition courses, I chose this YA novel for its depth, cleverness, and to provoke my classes into discussion. In the story, teens have the Internet wired into their brains, the environment is shot, there's a whole facade of synthetic "stuff" covering up the natural environment. It's just a mess. And it's our contemporary lifestyle turned up to a gazillion. My students had a really good time looking for the similarities and embellishments and identifying the ways sf fiction critiques our society.
This Top 10 is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. And I know it's not Tuesday. I'm just running two days behind in general.