Monday, October 20, 2008

Favorite Books

Good Books with small annotations and warnings:

Below is a list of some of my very most favorite books.  People are always asking me for suggestions, so here it is.  After each title, in parentheses, I will add letters as content warnings…I’m stealing them from the TV ratings, so: V – violence, L – language, S – sexual content, and I think that’s it.  I do warn that I haven’t read some of these in a long time, so I might not accurately remember what objectionable material might be in them…just stop reading them if you need to :) …not that they are all dirty books or anything, I just worry when giving suggestions…

Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Borrows; I LOVED this book.  I can, and do, recommend it to anyone.

Year of Wonders, People of the Book, & March by Geraldine Brooks (small amount of S & L); Brooks is a really amazing author.  Her books are well research, beautifully written, and I always enjoy reading them…Year of Wonders is the best.

Just David by Eleanor Porter; Very cheerful and lovely book, perfect for reading to little kids.

Confronting the Myth of Self-Esteem  by Ester Rasband; Extremely insightful, little book.  I read it every few years and always learn something new.

Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (V); A novelization of the Battle of Gettysburg.  This is such a powerful portrayal of the Civil War…a must read if you ever go to the actual battleground.

These Is My Words by Nancy Turner; I recommend this to anyone…it’s pretty close to the perfect book, funny, inspiring, educational, and a little romantic J.

Peace Like a River by Leaf Enger; So good!  I have never met anyone who didn’t enjoy this book.

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding (S, L); A lot of language…but a lot of fun to read.


The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery; Just a fun, feel good kind of book with an endearing heroine.

Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised a Nation by Cokie Roberts; A different take on the founding of our nation…plus, the authors kinda funny.

 The Kite Runner & A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (V); Hosseini is a beautiful writer and he makes the Middle East come alive, but his stories are not without heartache and violence.  They can be hard to read, emotionally, but tell powerful stories.

Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori) by Lian Hearn; The first in a trilogy of books set in a Japanese-like alternate history with magic and honor and inescapable destiny.  The first is the best..but the others are good, too.

Elantris & Mistborn (series) by Brandon Sanderson; Excellent fantastic fiction.  My favorite part of Sanderson’s books are the characters, they are flawed and believable.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson; I just remember really liking this book…it has some amazing insights.

Going Postal & Making Money by Terry Pratchett; Funny fantasy.  I really enjoyed listening to these two books.  If you get a chance, the reader is really good.

Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker; Nonfiction on how to protect yourself from violence.  Every woman should read this book.

Conspiracy of Paper & Spectacle of Corruption by David Liss; Most of Liss’s stuff is really good…but I LOVE this series.  Don’t tell anyone, but I’m completely in love with the protagonist Benjamin Weaver.

Sunshine, Beauty,  & The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley; Anything by McKinley is really good.  Most of her stuff is YA, but Sunshine isn’t and I think it’s my favorite of her titles.

Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinesella (L, S); I can’t read her Shopoholic series because they make me nervous…but her other books are fun and Secret is my favorite.

Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum; The spy technology is a little dated, but this trilogy is really fun to read.  And don’t worry if you’ve seen the movie…other than the amnesia and some character names…they are totally different.

Ella Enchanted  by Gail Carson Levine; Another great audio book.  Her other books are good…but this one is by far her best.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak; Not everyone loves this book but I do.  It is so well written it took me forever to read because I didn’t want to miss a single phrase.

Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons; Just a great story with wonderful characters.  The movie is pretty good, too.

A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel; I like most of Kimmel’s books, but I really loved this autobiography.  Adorable stories of growing up in a small town.

Odd Thomas  by Dean Koontz (L, V); This series is so much fun.  Odd Thomas sees dead people and I adore him.  Technically, this is horrific fiction, but I don’t think it’s scary as much as it’s just supernatural.

Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (L, S); I don’t recommend this for everyone.  An amazing author with a brilliant story, but there is a lot of language and sex…so please be cautious.

Joan: The Mysterious Life of the Heretic Who Became a Saint by Donald Spoto; Spoto is a really good biographer…but I loved this one more than his others.  It makes me want to know the truth behind this inspiring historical figure.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier; Wonderful suspense story!

Ender’s Game & Enchantment by Orson Scott Card; Card is an excellent writer and you can’t go wrong with almost anything he has written.  These are my two favorite.

Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson; A really sweet story.  James Patterson usually writes action/adventures, but I find it fascinating he could write this type of book so well.

Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, & The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas; I’ve left most classics off this list, but I LOVE Dumas.  If you don’t have time for a long epic novel…try The Black Tulip…it’s short and fun to read.

The Giver by Louis Lowry; A wonderful YA novel…and I don’t really read a lot of YA.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; No list of good books is complete without it.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens; It’s my favorite Dickens book.

Power of One by Bryce Courtenay; I love read this book several times and I don’t repeat read unless I really love a book. Not everyone I’ve recommended it to has loved it though…but I encourage you to give it a chance…sooo much better than the movie.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson; Bryson is a really entertaining nonfiction writer and this is my favorite of what I have read.  It tells all about the history of the universe and the world we live in.

Mr. Darcy’s Daughters by Elizabeth Aston; My favorite of the Pride and Prejudice continuations.  Totally light, fluffy reading, but it’s totally entertaining.

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation  by Lauren Willig (S); One of my guilty pleasures…the French Revolution, spies and romance, a fun combination.

Amulet of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus Trilogy) by Jonathan Stroud; Fun YA fantasy.  I listened to these and LOVED the reader…the footnotes are my favorite.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (L, S); Another totally guilty pleasure.  She’s just really funny…but has a bit of a potty mouth.

The Chosen by Chiam Potok; It’s a fascinating look into the life of Hasidic Jews. 


Cynthia said...

Thanks for this - I'll print it off and see what this local library has to offer...

Michaelynn said...

I just finished These Is My Words a little while ago. It loved it and couldn't put it down. I read every spare minute I had for the last 48 hours. My kids and house were pretty neglected. I laughed and cried and it was wonderful. I cried a little too much though. There was a point in the book where everything was happy and I thought ... I should just stop reading now before I get to the tragedies I know are coming.

I love Janet Evonovich. The language can be awful, but I cannot even imagine Lulu without it. She's hilarious! I've read the whole Stephanie Plum series. They're fun and fast.

Thanks for this list. I have read several of them already, but there are so many more that I am looking forward to. I am going to pick up Sanderson's Mistborn 3 real soon and I can't wait for that. So many books ... so little time!

Jessie Walker said...
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Jessie Walker said...

I always listen to you when you recommend a book. You have great taste and give an honest opinon. I am way behind, so thanks for the list.