Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Weekend Question: Best Books

This week, the Question has a literary slant as I ask:

Which five books are your favourites and why did they have such a strong impression on you?

Here are my choices:

1: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. This French novel is wonderful, as we see one of literatures most famous adulteresses in a quiet town overspend money, come to bankruptcy and a tragic end. The detail of provincial life is fascinating.

2: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. The recently written novel is narrated by Mary Boleyn, who was the younger sister of Anne Boleyn. Historically, she was with Henry VIII before Anne. With a mix of fact and fiction, we see Henry tire of Mary and moving on to Anne, who will do anything to get what she wants. She then starts to fall from favour. A real thriller.

3: The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy. This classic novel tells of a man who sells his wife at a travelling fair. Years later, he is the Mayor of a local town, but his past catches up with him, and his world starts crumbling around him. A moral lesson here, with a tragic end. A fine story.

4: Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. This novel comes alive when reading it. The constraints of how a novel is usually written as this is a very experimental work. As the story weaves, the reader becomes emeshed in the life of the character. As a visitor of London, I saw it in a new light as it tells the events of a single sunny day in June 1923. A challenge to read, but well worth it.

5: Clarissa by Samual Richardson. This novel, written in the early 18th Century is one of the longest in the English language. It is written in letter format, and tells of Clarissa, a toung lady who is being enticed away from her home by the evil Lovelace. With this unusual format, we can get right into the minds of all the major characters. Another worthy read.

Now it's over to you....

36 comments:

dena said...

Hello...Michelle sent me.

I'll be back to answer this question. There are so many to decide from.

But tops on my list is To Kill A Mockingbird. I always loved to read, but this was a favorite since I was a preteen.

Better Safe Than Sorry said...

ooooooooooooooo, these are all classics. i love jane austin.

Courtney said...

1. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee: Simply the finest book ever written. It stole my heart in 9th grade, adn every year since then, I reread the story of Scout and Jem and Dill, Atticus Finch, and a tired old town called Maycomb.

2. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby: I am the female Rob Gordon.

3. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver: Barbara is a great modern writer, and this story of a missionary family in the jungles of Africa in the 1960s, and their father's turn toward madness is just riveting.

4. The Norton Anthology of Poetry: Just because I need those classics near me at all times.

5. The Little House on the Prairie series of books: These are my favorite books from childhood. I wanted to be Laura Ingalls, and travel in a covered wagon and settle somewhere new. I reread these from time to time as an adult, to reconnect with that innocent part of me.

There, Captain. Michele sent me, by the way.

Mrs. Fun said...

hmmm, now thats a thinker.
I haven't read a really good novel in yrs. the last book i read was a funny, light hearted one.
The left Behind series are 8 books that i love, tho i haven't finished #8.

here via Michelles and she says hello :)

panthergirl said...

I have SO MANY FAVORITES, but I'll try to pick the first five that come to mind:

1. A Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin. The best fantasy book I've ever read, bar none.

2. Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Neslund (I think). A fictional book about the wife of the fictional character. Sprawling and melodramatic in the Gone With the Wind vein. Loved it.

3. Into the Forest by Jean Heglund. The less you know about this book going in, the better. Devestating.

4. A Widow for One Year by John Irving. Left me sobbing on the recumbent bike at the gym as I finished it.

5. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. A post 9/11 story that is inventive, poignant, funny and truly unique.

Here via Michele today.

Paul said...

Tough list. Hmmmm. Can I get back to you later? So many blogs; so little time.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, btw. I appreciate your comment.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

I agree, a very though-provoking question. I will endeavor to answer it well.

1. The Encyclopedia Brown books. When I was a little kid, I devoured these books. I read them all the time, though after several years of enjoying them, I did start to outgrow them.

2. Of Mice And Men. This is one of the few books assigned to me in high school that I could not put down. I've read it a few times since, and it is still a powerful story, though my wife is sick of me referencing Curly's glove full of Vaseline.

3. Comic books. Yeah, much of my youth was spent with these. I can't nail down many that really stand out, though G.I.Joe's "Silent Interlude" is exceptional. Told entirely without dialog, it is amazing. Others include Marvel's Secret Wars, the Punisher's first miniseries, and some of the JLA issues from the 80's.

4. Native Son. A very tough, but very good story. Bigger's plight is very rough, and I remember almost pleading with the book as I am reading it for the first time for him not to kill Mary.

5. Argh, I can't narrow down my last slesction. Zahn's Trawn trilogy was fantastic and it brought back a waning interest in Star Wars for many fans.

Honorable mention goes to Maragret Weis's Star of the Guardian series. It's a four book series but for some reason, a couple books of this are very tough to find. It is a very sweeping adventure where the King of the Universe is found, the villain is a tragic hero and Blood Swords are drawn.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Oh yeah, don't forget the Hardy Boy "The Smugglers of Pirate's Cove." Or was it "The Pirates of Smuggler's Cove?"

Superhero Bob said...

only 5?

Let's see.

#1 - an old cliche, but yeah the Bible. I have found great hope and comfort in the Words...often when I have needed it the most.

#2 - Vulcan's Heart - a Trek Novel. What can I say? Romance, danger, Spock...

#3 - Secrets on the Wind, by Stephanie Grace Whitson. Proof that there is always hope for the most abused neglected people among us.

#4 - Winterflight. I forget the author, but I consider it a must read for any Christian who is even a little apathetic. It paints a picture of a world, an America where abortion is mandatory as well as euthanasia. I honestly could not sleep afterwards.

#5 - Twilight, by Kristen Heitzmann. It was my first christian romance novel that was NOT historical, and the characters didn't have the sickening perfection of some of the romance novels out there [won't mention any authors]. Since then, she has written several contemp books, and what I've read has been excellent.

No_Newz said...

Thank you for coming to visit Home Fires today. Haloscan has lost it's mothership and deleted your comment! I had to search all of blogverse to find you! :)
Lois Lane

Trinity13 said...

The Bible is a given, so it's not even on my list.

1. Goodnight Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian-I love this book and I try to read it once a year. The book teaches you how to love and accept every person that comes in your life.

2. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton-This is another book that I try to read at least once a year. It was my favorite book growing up.

3. The Anne books by L.M. Montgomery-I think there are 12 book in this set and I love them all! The author writes in such a way that I feel like I am right along with Anne(and getting in trouble with her).

4. The Left Behind books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins-These books helped me understand so much more about the end times. And I love all the characters!

5. Anything written by Roald Dahl(with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory being my favorie)-Again, this is another of my favorite childhood books, but they are good to read whether you're 8 or 88.

Nic said...

Had this on a Meme on my blog a few weeks ago but here it is just for you!

The Bible - for obvious reasons. And then the not so obvious. Whenever I have a question or a problem that I can't answer, usually an emotionally based one, I pick up my Bible and let it fall open and I have always gotten an answer to what I was dealing with. God's way of showing me what I should do in those situations. It also is a great source of comfort for me. There are books on Wisdom and books on Praises and books about Sorrow. And, if you really read it, it lets you know how everything started and how it's going to end. It has something for everyone in it.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. These were my first self-reading memories at probably age 4. I have been entranced and enthralled by these books ever since. I re-read all 7 every single year and the love, magic and wonder of Narnia continues to be just as strong as ever. I LOVE these books. If I had to be stuck on an island with 2 books, they would be the Bible and The CON - 50th anniversary edition which has color illustrations and contains all 7 books in one hardcover compendium. Yes, I use the .50 cent college words even though I never finished college.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein: This book always touched me deep in my heart. I thought the story was a beautiful one of unconditional love and giving to someone else whatever was needed, regardless of the personal cost. I got this story even at a young age. Philisophically, emotionally, psychologically, spritually...you get the idea. It struck a chord deep within me that carries over to this day. Shel Silverstein, God rest his soul, was wierd, strange and a little "out there" in his other collected works for kids (and one book for adults). He really connected on a different level with this book. He connected in the heart of a child to show what love, real, true love, AGAPE love should be like - even if he didn't use that word. He made the definition of it understandable to a young child and made her yearn to find that same love in her life.

We Americans by the National Geographic Society. It's more like a picture book of famous photographs of American life throughout the first 7 or so decades of the 20th century than a story book or anything else. This one book was a book of my dad's that I used to love to look at with him when he was having one of his good days. The most memorable picture in there to me was the famous picture when end of WWII was announced and a photographer captured the famous shot of a sailor grabbing a nurse in the middle of the street and bending her backwards and planting a huge kiss on her. This is one of the books of my father's that I kept after he died. It is on my bookshelf and I can see it right now as I look up. It is a book that I will never get rid of.

Two books that were stories of being adopted that my mom always used to read to me. it was a two book set and it talked about how very special it was to be adopted and what it meant. It meant that my mom and dad chose me, out of every other child in the whole world, to be their. They were books that made me feel special, even at an early age. I always knew I was adopted. My parents never hid that from me. These books made me feel extra good and kept me focused on having been chosen, rather than having been given up.

Ok, I know that this is #6, but this is one that is important to me too and I couldn't leave it out.

Shanna by Kathleen Woodiweiss. This was a hardcover romance novel that I borrowed from my high school boyfriend's mom and she said I could keep it. It is the first romance novel that I "experienced". I had read others prior to it, but this was the one that drew me in and made me enamoured of that genre. After reading that book, I couldn't get enough and wanted to read more. I will be forever greatful for that book b/c it created a deep-seated love of the romance genre and showed me what a "good" romance should be. Thank you Kathleen for writing this book that created a love of Romance novels that eventually led me on the path I am today.

Minerva said...

How utterly delicious to discuss books..
but how excrutiating to have to choose only 5!

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
A cliche perhaps but Elizabeth and Darcy have so coloured my view of human relationships since then. The vigour, vitality and pure spunk of Elizabeth sings from these pages, and has always influenced my view of women, and what a good woman is like.

2. In Catalinam by Cicero.

I did Latin A level and fell in love with rhetoric. Cicero's speech is just deliciously toe curling in its art and elegance. His balance, contrast and parallels are so harmonious.

3. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding.
A great rollicking, roller coaster of a novel which encompasses so much of the English. One of the first classic novels I read, and which, I was delighted to find, wasn't a difficulty at all. Unputdownable...

4. Collected Poems by T S Eliot.
I am a poetry addict and TS Eliot was my first lover. The Cat poems opened the door and Prufrock set me off on my path of exploration. His beauty and lyricism bewitched me and inspired me to attempt writing my own.

5. Ulysses by James Joyce.
Such a rich, multi-layered novel, much like a feuillete pastry. Every time I read it, new layers and sweetness tantalise me. A lover of the classics, I adore his references to them and his way putting a modern slant on them which enriches both the ancient and the new.

I have so many more, and looking back, have so neglected modern authors..but, in choosing, one has to leave behind.. *sigh*

Minerva

Jamie Dawn said...

The Bible, The Secret Garden, A Wrinkle in Time, The Chronicles of Narnia, Ella Enchanted

The Bible because it has been my foundation for good living.
The others because I LOVE fantasy stories.

Jamie said...

Ah, your such a classic! But I must be honest and say that while I read lord of the rings yearly, my favorite book just happens to be whatever I am reading at the time. Which right now happens to be Velocity, by Dean Koontz. I will soon be reading HP, Stephen King drama's, more than horrors, douglas adams, Edgar allan poe, and of course, the book on correct capitalization! LOve thAt LasT ONE!

Melody said...

Here via Michele this weekend...

5 favourite books hey? Oh where to start.... I do love 'Of Mice and Men', 'Dinner At The Homesick Resturant' - (really any Anne Tyler book) but then I would have to list biographies of any kind. I love to read about people which is probably one of the reasons I love to read other people's blogs!

-xtessa- said...

only 5?!!!!

LOL! when i saw your books, so many titles bounced in my head that i had a hard time choosing. the five books i finally chose are currently in my nightstand and some have been "read repeated":

1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - such a fantastical story full of life lessons.

2. Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom - after reading this, it diminised my fear of dying... it would be nice if everything in your life would make sense once you leave this world.

3. The Sisterhood Series by Ann Brashares - it's actually 3 books (right now) and it's light reading, but are very entertaining, very funny and very true.

4. The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson - i've just finished this and i applaud it's style... the story itself is very poignant, very bittersweet... but the prose is somewhat lyrical, poetic. i wish that i could write this way...

5. you knew this was coming... the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling - now, 6 books and it just gets better. it's my escape. it's a great exercise for imagination... and i could go on and on about why i LOVE these books... but, let's just say that i was hooked the minute i read "The Boy Who Lived".

Pieces of Me said...

Hey I am here from Michele's when I read the post I thought of Xtessa hahaha and now she is above me! I am not a big reader...I have to read for school and thats about it...If I had to read I would pick up a blaze book...gotta have the steamy sex scenes LOL sorry TTYL

requiem_netau said...

Hello, Michele sent me.

Bonnie said...

Hello, Michele sent me.

Hmmm ... I can't even remember the last time I read a book. However, I have been looking for a new hobby to enjoy while being lazy in my hammock. I only have one book to list:
The Mishomis Book: The Voice of the Ojibway ... I love to read it to the young children of my friends. It's a great way for them to learn about our culture.

Erin said...

Hey there,

Michele sent me.

1. The Thornbirds by Colleen McCoulough - just about the greatest and most tragic love story I've ever read.

2. The Hours by Michael Cunningham - a beautiful story about friendship and desperation and the deep desire we all have to live

3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - a classic, makes me feel good to read it

4. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg - best book on writing out there, and I always love to learn more about writing

5. Are You There God, It's Me, Margret by Judy Blume and The Pistacchio Prescription by ? - my two favorites as a youngin!

(I LOVE BOOKS! I really think people should read more.)

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Dena, look forward to the list.

Better Safe, I've read 'Emma'.

Courtney, good choices.

Panthergirl, your choices are invites to read them!

Jon, I've read many comic books, mainly Superman/Batman in lates 60's to mid '70's. Also, I'm not sure which way round the story is!

Ciera, you have good choices also.

Lois, sorry it took a while to find me. Hope you'll revisit.

Trinity, thanks for your wondeful selection.

Nic, your comment was very well written. Thanks a lot.

Minerva, you have a great literary taste also.

Jamie Dawn, Narnia is a frequent choice for favourite.

Jamie, like the last choice!

Melody, a good thought, there.

Xtessa, thanks for those choices; I was right with one of your selections!

Diana, I like your reason for reading!

Bonnie, that's not a book I know. Thanks for highlighting it.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Erin, as 'The Hours is my favourite film, it's been a prospective book to buy for a while.

Last Girl On Earth said...

Hmmmm! Let's see. I just woke up and haven't jad my first cup of caffeine yet! But I would have to say...

1. House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende- I read this one a couple of times and refused to see the movie when they came out with it as I didn't want anything to ruin the imagery for me!

2. The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck - I think I read this about 10 times when I was a kid!

3. Crossing To Safety - Wallace Stegner

4. Ciderhouse Rules - John Irving - What an amazing book!

5. Oh, The Places You Will Go - Dr. Seuss - Go ahead and laugh, but this is my inspirational bible!

SO MANY BOOKS... SO LITTLE TIME!
SO MANY BLOGS... SO LITTLE TIME!

I've often seen YOUR name around, Capt, and this is my first visit here via Michele. I will be back on my own! Come by and visit when you get a chance and have a great weekend!

colleen said...

So many books...here's just one recent one: The Bones of the Master. It's a true story about a poet from Woodstock NY who goes on a journey with a Buhddist monk who is looking for his master's bones. Hey, we had to downsize the Star trek enterprise camper because it was too big for me to haul. We know have a palomino but I'm still exploring where none dare go.

Kevin said...

Back again from Michele's.

I don't know if I could name five books, but one (three?) of my favorites is the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. Simply brilliant stuff, especially for 21st century space nuts. You 24th century people might find it a little laughable.

War Eagle said...

"The Stand" by Stephen King
"The Return of the King" by JRR Toliken
"Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire" by JK Roling
"The Sword of Shannara" by Terry Brooks
"Magic Kingdom for Sale: Sold" also by Terry Brooks

I am really into Fantasy and SciFi, if u didn't guess that.

cyouincourt007 said...

Hailing Frequenceies Open....Captain....Star Fleet is advising..Romulans detected in the neutral zone...
Que is driving me nuts...I just left my ready room to find #1,Data and Worf playing mariachi on the brige........ : )
PS I added u to my blogroll.....cya @ 10 forward for drinks...Earl Grey Tea, Hot

War Eagle said...

can i add one more:

Ender's Game : Arthur Card

flu said...

The Bible, The LotR Trilogy (I'm gonna count this as one), The Magic of Thinking Big, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Richest Man in Babylon.

Oh, and BTW, thanks for guest appearing so graciously in my blog. :-D

Surprise!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Thanks everybody for those wonderful books you've all put in; they tell so much about the person who reads them.

j00|{z said...

There's so many, but I can't think of any right now. I'd say anything by Stephen King and the Rings trilogy by Tolkien. Basically sci-fi.
: B

Anonymous said...

I don't really have any favourites, I just love psychological thrillers. Those which come to mind are "The Messiah" by Boris Starling, "Blindsighted" by Karin Slaughter, "Cat and Mouse" by James Patterson, "The Distant Echo" by Val McDermid and "The Mermaid's Singing" by Val McDermid. Why? Because they are edge of your seat thrillers that keep me turning each page in anticipation!

bellringr said...

I'm coming in late, but it's been fascinating to read the other choices, and they reminded me of a couple I want on my list. :) With the Bible also being a given for me:

1. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. This is the true story of how a Dutch family worked for the underground in WWII and eventually ended up in a concentration camp. I re-read this every year and still find it awe-inspiring! I even had the good fortune to visit Corrie's old house in Haarlem Holland to see the secret room.

2. The Chronicles of Narnia (I've probably read them all 15 times each)

3. The Anne of Green Gables books. I adore the mini series they made from them! They were completely true to the books and they were so beautifully made. I can watch them over and over.

4. The Little House on the Prairie books

5. The Belgariad and Mallorean 10-book series by David Eddings

There are many others I like but these came to mind first.

PS I had forgotten about Encyclopedia Brown! What a blast from the past. :)

InterstellarLass said...

Sorry it took me so long to chime in. Here is my list.

1) Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. I first read this book when I was in 6th grade, around 12 years of age. This is the first book that ever made me cry. A book about a boy and his two dogs, growing up in the Ozark Mountains. An amazing story.

2) The Awakening by Kate Chopin. I read this book at university. It affected me deeply, and I have re-read it many times.

3) The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Another university read, another moving story.

4) Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. I was a big Hardy fan in high school. This is a tragic story, but in the end, you're not sure who is at fault for the tragedy. One of those that you can re-read and come to different conclusions.

5) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Another British Classic, despite struggles, this one ends happily.

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