Sunday, October 5, 2014

My Top 10 Favorite Books (in no particular order)

I started this post a few months ago but put it on pause. Now I've picked it up again because my sister challenged me and I can't back down from a challenge! One reason I've put it on hold is that I'm somewhat self-conscious of my list. I'm drawn to true stories of WWII and the Holocaust. It's heavy stuff, I understand, but I love what they teach us about humanity, good and bad. Not to despair; there are a few light-hearted choices as well. 

My list of favorite books seem to change from here to year. But here goes.

1. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. The vivid imagery is spell-binding in this one. That and the fascinating cross-generational stories kept me turning the pages.

2. Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose. Excellent true stories of the Easy Company paratroopers of WWII. It doesn't sugar-coat or aggrandize war. Even the heroes' flaws are shown. The thousands of hours Ambrose muse have done are quite evident and I love a well-documented story. (The movie adaptation is on my favorite movies list as well.)

3. In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer by Irene Gut Opdyke. Like I said, I read a lot of Holocaust books, and this one is absolutely gripping. I was so enthralled that I brought it with me to the movies and read it in the car.

4. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. It has to be the complete version, restored after so much was edited and removed from earlier versions. I have never read a more powerful story that helped me relate to something of which I have no right to relate. If there's an opportunity to meet folks in the hereafter, you can bet I'll be in the Anne Frank line.

5. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. If you take a fascinating, survival war story and put it in the hands of one of the most gifted writers, you find yourself at Unbroken. Amazing. Can't wait for the movie. I hope I'm not disappointed! And on a lighter note...

6. Holes by Louis Sachar. I love stories like this one where all the plot lines connect like a puzzle to complete the whole.

7. Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Another great story for young (and old) readers. I have a whole separate blog post on this one.

8. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. A masterpiece in its own right. Scout is one of my favorite characters of all time.

9. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. People always ask me why I love this one because of the tragic ending. My reasons: great writing and great symbolism.

10. In the Heart of the Sea: the Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick. It surprised me that I enjoyed this one so much. It's all about the whaling industry in 19th century New England and follows the crew to unimaginable horrors.

Equal honors go to anything by William Shakespeare (another soul I'd love to meet), Jane Austen, the ancient writer Homer (The Iliad and The Odyssey), and J.R.R. Tolkien.

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