Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Location: Books & Such Central Valley Office
Yesterday we had such fun talking about our entertainment reading. And that’s not to say that some of those writers are not intellectual or literary– it’s just that those are the books we turn to when we want to escape. Today let’s chose our all-time Favorite Five novels. These are the books we couldn’t stop thinking about– the books that we will read and reread. The books that changed our lives.
For me, this is the most difficult choice. Only five? I could do twenty-five and still not cover all my favorites. and some I just read this year may supplant others on this list (like The Help) but it’s too early to tell. So here goes:
And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer— when this book came out in 1982 it was the talk of the publishing industry. The author was 88 years old and had been writing the book for decades. For me this book was like the Our Town. It gave me, as a young women, my first glimpse of the passages of life.
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett— a masterpiece. Tom the builder is as real to me as many of the people in my life.
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. It’s a story of faith and seeking the lost one.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. No explanation needed.
Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. A southern novel with strong women protagonists combined with a coming-of-age story– all the elements I love most.
So those are my Favorite Fives for right now. What are yours?
Crystal Laine Miller
I’m with you–too many.
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
(Ironically, I read those two books numerous times starting at age 13. I was so impressionable.)
3. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
4. The Water Is Wide by Pat Conroy
5. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
I’m a big fan of Mark Twain, too. I’ve read many of the literary giants as I took every English class offered, but I just hate sad endings,and those are always sad. Life was tough enough for me as a kid/teen/early adult without reading such stuff as The Grapes of Wrath or Of Mice and Men (So depressing!)
And ok, I know that Anne of Green Gables is a book for young people, but believe it or not, I wasn’t able to read that book until I was an adult, so I think it counts. With exception to Anne, my favorite novels tend to be Southern. Go figure. Maybe that’s why I am so dissatisfied with my own writing. I think I have a bit of Anne in me, though, and I so identified with her. LOL.
This has been a fun exercise.
As you said, Wendy, I probably need a Top Fifty, but here are “some” of my All-Time Favorites.
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson
Dogwood by Chris Fabry
Demon . . . a memoir by Tosca Lee
Comes A Horseman by Robert Liparulo
Have to add In High Places by Tom Morrisey.
I know this is tried and true, but Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen did it for me. I read it as a teenager and was struck by the high morals of the main characters. Jane Austen gave me an example of living with integrity, and I’ve never forgotten it.
When I read this post I immediately leaped with excitement only to slump over again. Five. Wow, this is going to be hard, but I’m going to write mine while the excitement is hot.
Peace Like a River (ah, the descriptions!)
The Poisonwood Bible (ah, the characterization)
The Book Thief (ah, the way it yanked my emotions)
Someone Knows My Name (ah, the unique story)
The Catcher in the Rye (ah, the voice–classic)
(the following is written in a small font)
Beach Music, The Help, My Sister’s Keeper, I Know This Much is True…uh oh, I’m cheating aren’t I?
That was fun!
Alright. That’s it. I must read Peace Like a River and The Help. The Help has been on my bookshelf ALL summer and I haven’t picked it up yet, but I keep hearing amazing things about this book.
I have to echo Wendy’s shout out to Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much is True. And Havah by Tosca Lee!!! Oh, Thin Places by Mary DeMuth is up there too.
1. Lord of the Rings – I think of it as 1 book, favorite place to escape. 🙂
2. Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross (way out of the box, yet within the realm of possibility!)
3. The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield (haunting and extraordinary!)
4. The Kite Runner – painfully poignant
5. The Count of Monte Cristo – Dumas (swashbuckling, moral, beautifully painted, highly emotional)
Strongly agree with : THe Help, Peace LIke a River and Poisonwood Bible. 🙂
All time favorites–wow.
I’m going with the ones I’ve read more than five times:
Lord of the Rings (the trilogy)
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
Anne of Greene Gables (the series)
Narnia (the series)
These are the books I’ve given as presents to people I love and these are books I’ve read aloud with my children and these are the books I go to when I’m sick or tired and I need some comfort reading.
Peace Like a River – so unabashedly about spiritual things
To Kill a Mockingbird – pick it up again and again
The Time Travelers Wife – helps you view your past through kinder eyes
The Secret Life of Bees – love the strong women and the voice
The Lord of the Rings – a complete and immediate escape
I only have three all-time favorite novels:
1) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – No explanation needed.
2) The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough – The Australian “Gone with the Wind”.
3) In this House of Brede by Rumer Godden – A great book about life and devotion that takes place in a religous community. A great study of characterization. I’ve read this book numerous times and was lucky enough to obtain a signed copy.
Oh, this is fun!
1. To Kill a Mockingbird
2. The Great Gatsby–as a Christian, I love how the world admits here that what they thought would make them happy did not.
3. Vienna Prelude by Bodie Thoene–I read this when it first released. I was in high school at the time. It’s one of the first books that made history come to life.
4. A Voice in the Wind–I love Hadassah’s and Marcus’s character arc. So well done!
5. Chateau of Echoes–everything about the book is so beautiful, the language, the senses, the subtlety of the plot. Love it.
Jane Eyre (Bronte?)
Mediterran Caper (Clive Cussler)
Wraith (Air Force thriller – James R. Hannibal)
Pirates: The Midnight Passage (James R. Hannibal)
Jannette Oke series
At least these are my favorites so far this year 🙂 Hmm, I’m noticing I have a different taste in books than most people here. Oh well.