A Top Ten meme from The Broke and The Bookish.
I'm always a little skeptical of book recommendations because -ehn- reading books for pleasure is one of those pursuits that I like to undertake for personal reasons, curiosity and spontaneity. If I'm in the mood for something heavy, then Bill Bryson or David Sedaris won't do. And if I'm in the mood for something light, then Dostoyevski won't do either. Books are one of those things in life where I figure it's okay to be selfish: I like what I like when I like it. So there.
On the other hand, though, there is something to be said for being nudged in a certain direction when you least expect it. I've had a few books thrust on me that turned out to be winners, steering me towards -or back into- a style of writing or genre that I had previously ignored.
Here, off the top of my head, are a few of them:
1. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon - simply put, I loved it. An acquaintance in a writing course I took some years ago gave me her copy and said, You Must Read This. Yeah, okay, whatever. The title alone gives me a rash. The What . . . and The Who . . . in The When? Oh please. But it didn't take more than a few pages for me to realize that this would be one of my all time favorites.
2. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - a friend had been hounding me for years to read this, but, ehn, well, I just don't do romances, see. And she's all, What? It's not a romance! Read it and be amazed. So I did and I was.
3. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - it was assigned reading for a book group, but -ugh- a family drama? Um, no thanks. Well, by the time I was finished I was a Kingsolver fan. It was so much more than 'just a family drama'; it was an adventure of place and time and relationships and words. Great story.
4. The Lion by Joseph Kessel - it's the story of a girl -also named Patricia, just saying- who grows up on her family's African game reserve and befriends a lion. I read this when I was thirteen and absolutely loved it. And the only reason I ever even noticed this book was because one of the cool high school girls was reading it. So I went to the library and checked it out too -heh- how cool was I now?
5. Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen - when this first came out, I was heavy into a memoir phase and was absolutely not in the mood for fiction, especially 1920s circus fiction? *shakes head* it just wasn't my thing. But I read it and liked it enough to renew my interest in fiction again. Lovely!
6. Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden - this was handed to me as a Must Read, but the description sounded kind of sketchy. How and where is the connection between the Natives of James Bay and the New York fashion industry? It was a bit of a stretch, I thought. But, wow, was this ever a fabulous and well written story. I loved it.
7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - oh, where to begin with this one? I don't even remember what grade I was in when this was assigned, 7th? 8th? 9th? Something like that. Anyway, I grumbled because I was sure it would be boring. But, wow! It was fantastic, and has gone on to become one of my all time favorite books.
Previous Top Tens:
~Favorite Places To Read
~Books That Should Be Made Into Movies
~Bookish Pet Peeves