If you hang out on the book of Faces, you’ve probably seen people posting their 10 favorite books, and then tagging friends to do the same. I’ve been tagged twice and since I’m chatty, I decided to blog about my list. As one does.
My 10 Favorite Books of All Time and All The Reasons Why!
The Books of My Youth
Are You There God It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
When this book was released I was 14 years old and at the time it seemed absolutely scandalous. It was like Judy was reading my Garfield diary when she talked about cute boys, school girl drama, raging hormones, teen angst and even. . . psst. . . menstruation. Ewww! I know. I still can’t say it without cringing because I am a child. Judy talked about things that adults and even my peers weren’t comfortable discussing.
Scarlett – The Sequel to Gone With The Wind by Alexandra Ripley
I’m a card-carrying member of the Scarlett O’Hara fan club so I was skeptical about a sequel to Gone With The Wind, particularly one that was not penned by the mighty southern hand of Margaret Mitchell. Then, Alexandra Ripley showed up out of nowhere to put Scarlett on a horse and send her roaming the Irish countryside in search of Rhett, responsibility and true love. Picture me clutching the book to my chest whilst I twirl in the mist with an ancient castle rising up behind me in the background. Why do I love Miss Scarlett? I think Tina Fey said it best, “Bitches get stuff done.”
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I don’t remember much about high school (probably all those Aqua Net fumes) but I do remember inhaling this book and being completely consumed by the lives of Jem, Scout, Atticus, Calpurnia and the other characters in their sleepy town. Boo Radley scared the bejesus out of me, right up to the point where he became the unlikely hero. The courtroom scenes were tough on my little kitten heart, but they definitely cemented my love for the courtroom drama genre and led me to seek out future authors like John Grisham and Michael Connelly.
Dark and Twisty Favorites
The Man From Primrose Lane by James Renner
It’s safe to say I’ve written more about this book than any other. And once again there’s only so much I can say without giving too much away, because as much as I don’t want to believe it, there are still people out there who haven’t read it and I don’t want to ruin the moment. This book is memorable because I thought I was reading one kind of story, but then it turned into something completely different and I was spellbound. Recently, that rapscallion, James Renner let it slip that there is a sequel-of-sorts in the works. I’m giddy, I tell you.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
This book is narrated by the spirit of the main character, a 14-year-old girl who is sexually assaulted and then murdered. This is not a feel-good romp. It gnawed at my gut, gave me nightmares, and five years later I can’t get it out of my head. One of the lines that I always come back to is when Susie (the victim) looks down on her mother from Heaven and describes the look on her face as one she’s never seen, a private face of reflection that she never showed to her family and saved only for herself. The author survived her own brutal attack. I’ve always thought she was incredibly brave to write this story.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
A fellow Midwesterner, Gillian writes characters who are loathsome, gritty, morally bankrupt and downright evil. In Dark Places, I never found a character to root for so I just strapped in and let the author take me on a crazy ride that involved mystery, murder and a “Kill Club.” Delightful. The book also established Miss Flynn as one of my favorite authors because she writes like a dude. I’m a big fan of the rom-com, but every now and then I need to read something from an author who would much rather kill off the hunky love interest in a fluke roller coaster accident than have him propose to his beloved on a gingham blanket in the park.
Book Club Faves
The Shack by William P. Young
The book that started it all. In 2009 I belonged to a very exclusive book club. When it was time to discuss this novel, which has a heavy religious theme with an emphasis on the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I was excited to break it down with my fellow book-lovin’ babes but they haaaaated it. They hated it so much that one woman said she assumed anyone who did like it must be stupid. Awww, come on, tell us how you really feel.
On a patio filled with 20+ women, only one other person dared to admit that she was moved to tears by the book. This adorable blonde quickly became one of my besties and the next month, Rebel Book Club was born. Our motto: “We don’t judge.” It could also be, “We like melted cheese,” but it’s mostly the first one.
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
The book is beautifully written and the story of CeeCee will stay with me forever, but a few words from the author changed the course of my life. The book was a big hit with the aforementioned Rebel Book Club so when we found out the author was coming to town, we squealed like excited puppies and clamored for seats. That night, as Beth held the audience captive with her own story, she pleaded with us not to give up on OUR dreams.
Before that night, my writing consisted of book reviews, Twitter quips and grocery lists. Beth gave me courage to squelch the voice in my head that kept repeating, “I’m too old. I have nothing to say. I have mediocre talent.” Later that year when Malena Lott asked me to write a short story for her winter anthology, Sleigh Ride, I said YES.
Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Single by Heather McElhatton
Heather McElhatton is kooky, silly, crass and a whole bunch of other awesome words. This story is sort’ve like an American Bridget Jones’ Diary, but better, and with spicier language. Jennifer Johnson is a single gal in a ho-hum career with low expectations for dating. For stress relief, she often sits in her cluttered apartment in front of her doll house and arranges the doll family in awkward and downright compromising positions. And it’s HILARIOUS. This book also has a special place in my heart because after reading it in book club my ladies said, “If you ever write a book, this is what I picture.” It’s a high bar. I’m still trying to reach it.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Death narrates the story of Liesel Meminger, a young girl who is sent to live with a foster family in Germany during WWII. Much like the movie, Life Is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni, the author has created a brilliant story of humanity that plays out against a barbaric backdrop of human suffering. I’m so glad I stopped refusing to read the book because I thought it would be too sad and decided to trust friends who said, “It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.”
What’s on your list?