Thursday, February 14, 2008

A few of you asked for it and now you all must suffer

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)

Dear Rachel,
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.


Laura said...

I just jotted down a few of these. I'm afraid that I might get myself in to some Austen-esque books here, but I'll give it a shot since I want to be like you when I grow up. I am on book 4 of the Georgia books, and do actually laugh out loud. I had one at the car wash with me once and had to stifle it! I also bought Tale of Two Cities last weekend. I don't remember ever reading it in school, but I'm going to tackle it as soon as I'm done with my book about the Pony Express. Looks like I'll be at Borders again this weekend!

Bronwyn James said...

You're a gem. My to-read list on has just doubled. Thanks!

Karina & John said...

I have your list. Or Rachel's list as of fall/winter '05. The books that I read on the list (sadly only about 5) were amazing. I need to get back to the list!!!

Rac said...

Rachel, I would love your list. I totally trust your taste, and am always on the lookout for something new to read. I have reread Harry Potter and the Georgia books enough now and it's time to move on (except that Georgia needs rereading every year, at least). Thanks for the recommendations!

Anonymous said...

I had to stop reading Good Omens at work, although people are used to my combustable laughter there. And I loved The Blue Castle. It was so full of hope and bonkers.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the suggestions. I needed a new book. My shelfari shelves were not looking too inspiring and I have a lot of down time coming up. When are you going to write a book? I would totally read it!

i'm courtney said...

so glad the first post i read upon finally getting your blog address is all about rachel's books (thank you a million times for, well...nevermind. it would take too many comment lines to name all the books i've loved that you sent my way). i miss book club so much that i just started reading crime and punishment so i could join one some friends of mine are having--and i have ZERO interest in this book. i just want a literary chat!