Do you know that I don't have a Top 10? You will frequently hear me say, "Oh, that book is in my Top 10." I'm totally fooling you! It doesn't even exist. You can see why, right? It's simple math. Louise Rennison has written 8 books. Jane Austen has written 6. And suddenly I'm already 4 over and that's just two authors.
On to a few(ish) book recommendations. I should say that just like I don't have a Top 10, I also don't have a favorite book. I have books that I hug every now and then and have read multiple times, but how do you pick a favorite? Nope, I can't do it. So here are a few books that are in the running and if I were Head Librarian o' the Universe, instead of just the Queen, I would make everyone read:
First book to ever make me weep like a wee babe: The Outsiders. And it still does. A few years ago I was at the West Covina library picking up some tax forms and S.E. Hinton was there and I couldn't bring myself to get in line to meet her because I knew that I would probably start crying so I just stood there and stared at her for a few minutes and then walked away with a sigh. My heart too full for words.
Book that made me like American authors for realsies: East of Eden. I'm telling you, I did not think I would like it but I LOVED it. I should also add the Great Gatsby to this list.
The Greatest Book L.M. Montgomery Ever Wrote and that Every Woman Must Read Right Now: The Blue Castle. Period. End of Story. You can bake me brownies to say thank you when you're done.
Book that made me decide to be a plumber because who am I to even think about writing when perfection has already happened: Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. Dilemma -- what do you do when you're almost to the end of the most perfectly written book you've ever read and your lunch break is over and you know that if you go home after work you will end up talking to your wonderful roommate and won't be able to finish it right away. You read the last 30 pages in the parking lot of your work and weep giant tears onto the last few pages. I swear that when he wrote the line, "at that moment, my heart was breaking," the sound of a thousand unicorns dying filled the air.
Books I read during the summer of 2005, or, as it will be titled in my autobiography, The Summer I Was Given a Hug and a Nice Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie from the Book Fairies: (in chronological order) Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go (Ishiguro), Harry Potter & the Half-blood Prince, Gilead (Marilyn Robinson), East of Eden, Cold Mountain (Charles Frazier), Life of Pi (Yann Martel), To Kill a Mockingbird. They could make a movie out of how perfect that summer was. I would like to play myself and Christian Bale to play my love interest.
Book that made me forgive Charles Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities. I promise you, it is so much better than you remember from the 10th grade.
Book that as soon as I was finished I wanted to start all over again because it had my head spinning in a good way: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Books that you should not read while in the waiting room at Jiffy Lube because you will laugh out loud, but not a normal laugh, a really embarassing grandpa-laugh with the wheezing and the snorting and the bright red face: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and any of the Georgia books by Louise Rennison.
You know I love Jane Austen and shun all imitations, but here are two that have made it past my radar and I've really enjoyed: The Jane Austen Mysteries by Stephanie Barron (Start at the beginning!), and the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman series by Pamela Aidan.
Authors I love, aside from the ones I've already mentioned: P.G. Wodehouse (he's all pip-pip and what ho and all that rot), Jasper Fford (if you love books you will love him. Very clever), Chaim Potok (If I ever convert to Judaism it will be all his fault), Joan Bauer (Hope was Here would actually be in my real Top 10 if such a thing existed)
Knights of Columbus, woman!
Love, Every single person reading this who hasn't lapsed into a vegetative state by now.
Oh, alright. I have a very thorough annotated list if you really want it. And I'm actually serious. You can stop laughing.