Thursday, September 8, 2011

Favorite Bookshelf Recommendations Part 1

Yesterday I finished a wonderful book: Anne of Green Gables. If you can believe it, I'd never read this book before! Having seen the mini series years ago, I was pleased to relive the story as it was actually written. I can understand why so many of my friends list this book among their very favorites. There are parts of Anne we can all relate to.

When I was finished, I went to put the book in my "special bookshelf." I have several bookshelves, but one is reserved for my favorite books. These are the ones I like to pull off the shelf and leaf through, re-reading my favorite parts. However, I noticed yesterday that this bookshelf was getting too full, with rows being hidden by stacks of books in front of them. So I decided to go through and decide which books should be moved to the other shelves.

As I did this, I picked some out that I would send home with you if you were over asking for recommendations.

I chose about twelve, but because I know that is way too many to share in one post, I will share five in this post, five in another, and five in the last. No, I'm not that bad at math. It's just that by then I know I will have picked out three more. I'll tell you a little bit about the book and after that I'll share a favorite quote from the book.

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. This book is a classic for a reason. I love the feminist strong will of Jane and I love thinking about how shocking the ideas presented in Jane Eyre were at the time it was published. It's a dark book but full of hope and strength with a little mystery thrown in. Not to mention the morality questions posed.

"If all the world hated you, and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved you, and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends."

2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I love this book so much, I can't express it. I think I cried all the way through the last chapter (or more) when I first read it. It's about a young girl growing up in a poor family in Brooklyn during the Depression. You grow to love the characters as if they were your own family.

"Forward! Nonsense! Send the card if you feel like it. I hate all those flirty-birty games that women make up. Life's too short. If you ever find a man you love, don't waste time hanging your head and simpering. Go right up to him and say, 'I love you. How about getting married?'

3. Coming Up For Air by George Orwell. Most people think of 1984 or Animal Farm when they think of George Orwell, but if you ask me, this is his best book. It is as insightful and paranoid in some ways as you would expect, but without the aftertaste of doom and gloom that the other two bring. It is about a middle aged man who comes into a little money and decides to visit his home town and get away from his wife and kids for a few days. It's hilarious, with the dark, dry humor you'd expect from Orwell. Very witty and smart. I could go on and on about this book. It is one of my top three favorite books, for sure. But I'll stop. Here's a quote:

"Well Hilda and I were married and right from the start is was a flop. Why did you marry her? you say. But why did you marry yours? These things happen to us. I wonder whether you'll believe that during the first two or three years I had serious thoughts of killing Hilda. Of course in practice one never does these things, they're only a kind of fantasy that one enjoys thinking about. Besides, chaps who murder their wives always get copped. However cleverly you've faked an alibi, they know perfectly well that it's you who did it, and they'll pin it to you somehow. When a woman's bumped off, her husband is always the first suspect - which gives you a little side glimpse of what people really think about marriage."

4. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. An amazing and moving true account of her childhood growing up in Stamps, Arkansas. The book is funny, poignant, inspirational, and thought provoking.

People were those who lived on my side of town. I didn't like them all, or, in fact, any of them very much, but they were people. These others, the strange, pale creatures that lived in their alien unlife, weren't considered folks. They were whitefolks."

5. And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie. It is so hard for me to pick out a favorite by her! My second favorite is The Murder of Roger Ackroyd which will blow your mind, I guarantee. But And Then There Were None is so well done. So well done in fact, that when I re-read it a few years ago, I realized I couldn't remember who'd dunnit, and found myself shocked all over again! Please read it.

There was a silence - a comfortable replete silence. Into that silence came The Voice. Without warning, inhuman, penetrating.... 'Ladies and gentlemen! Silence, please! You are charged with the following indictments."

I want to go re-read all of these books right now, but I really have to focus on the stack of unread books next to my bed first. Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What are some of your "must read" recommendations?


{jaclyn} said...

you mentioned two of my favorites - 'anne of green gables' and 'a tree grows in brooklyn'. one of my favorite quotes is from francie nolan - the quote about happiness in one of the last chapters, it's too long to quote here but i have it on my profile. two other books that you mentioned are on my bookshelf and i need to get to them - 'jane eyre' and 'and then there were none'. i was just pondering what i should read next because i just returned 'i know why the caged bird sings' to the library yesterday! small world. can't wait for the next 5 books!

Katherine said...

I've read all but Maya Angelou's - I'd better get on that! I really liked them all, too, especially A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. I agree about Anne of Green Gables - it's so charming! And your picks for Agatha Christie are great, too - I just finished rereading The Secret Adversary, and it had been long enough that I'd forgotten who dunnit, and was also shocked all over again! That woman is the best with red herrings and twists and turns! I just counted recently and I own over 40 of her books and have read more than that, and she never gets old! Some of my other favorite books are, The Mitford series by Jan Karon, The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel, Persuasion by Jane Austen, the Harry Potter series ;), The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, The Chosen by Chaim Potok (or My Name Is Asher Lev - it's a toss-up), Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott, and lots more! I'm looking forward to the next five from you!

Elizabeth Downie said...

Katherine, some of the books you listed are going to be in my next two posts about books! Great minds think alike!

lizzie mc.- said...

I have a feeling I'm going to be like Emma. Great at making a supurb list of 100 titles, but lacking in execution. Maybe another blog for you to keep up with... A book club.

Vance said...

I would say Atlas Shrugged, by Anne Rand is one of my favorites.
I liked Jane Eyre, but its been a while since I read it, so my memory, might be foggy. :)

D said...

yay! I love a lot of those too and need to add some to my to read list. I love some of the ones Katherine mentioned too including Zippy and Chaim Potok.

Another of my favorites is the Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card.

Liz said...

I kinda feel bad for the books that you are moving off your special bookshelf. What criteria must a book meet to win the honor of being placed on your special bookshelf?