Seeing as this is, in fact, a book blog, I think I’ll just get my top five favorite books of all time out of the way so commentors don’t start bugging me about them (foresight, everyone!).
I love books. I love reading. I just love literature and everything about it. I walk into a book store with the excitement that a child would walking into a toy store. I’m a pure, bona fide dork. And I’m proud of it. Choosing a favorite book would be like choosing a favorite star in the sky. So, instead of choosing my all-time top favorite books, I’m choosing my top five favorite genres, choosing my favorite book from each of those genres. This post may be short, but it took me a LONG time to ponder. And you can be sure that I did a LOT of editing and changing things in the meantime.
So, with that said, here we go!
I first read Jane Eyre in high school to boost my SAT vocabulary, and I ended up just really falling in love with the book. Jane gets a lot of shit thrown at her during the book, and yet she allows her creativity and passion drive her in spite of it all. She is intelligent and brave in her own right. In 1800′s England, she is not a woman, she is a person who takes care of her own destiny. I also love Rochester, and how he is the love interest of Jane, our narrator, and yet he’s still clearly described as imperfect and flawed. It makes him even more handsome and more realistic in my mind. He’s not Edward Cullen, who’s shit doesn’t stink according to his lover. The plot never drags, the side characters are pretty well-rounded, and you just can’t help but wonder how Bronte could get away with some of the elements she suggested in the book, such as the affair Rochester had with Little Adele’s ballerina mother. It’s a large book, but it’s a pretty quick read as opposed to some other classics of the day. It’s also easy to follow, with a singular, first-person narrator as opposed to the 3rd-person narrator that Jane Austen favored.
My Favorite Child’s Book- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
When you’re a redheaded spitfire like myself, Anne Shirley was your heroine. She had spunk, imagination, intelligence, and a handsome suitor to boot. You could easily sympathize with her struggle to fit in to a strange new place and her fight to relate to her strict (but kind) guardian, Marilla. And who couldn’t resist the fact that Anne always blurted out what the reader was thinking ahead of time, such as when she called Rachel Lynde a fat old gossip? It’s a sweet, innocent, but nonetheless meaningful tale, and the next two books in the series are the same (beyond that I actually never got around to).
Not many people have heard of this story, because it’s a British preteen book from 1985, right at the tail-end of the threat of the Cold War going nuclear. It’s about three different people with odd connections to one another over time: Sarah, Ophelia, and Simon. The first third chronicles Sarah surviving a nuclear war with her stepmother and siblings, and slowly coming to terms with the fact that they are all dying of radiation poisoning (except her littlest sister Catherine, who never fell ill). The second section follows Ophelia, born and raised just after the war in a military bunker set up to preserve humanity as it was before the bombs fell, and how she discovers that some humans did survive on the outside. Simon, the third character, comes across a newly-evolved sub-species of human, who developed special abilities such as telepathy and intensely accurate eyesight due to surviving the radiation.
The reason this book is my favorite post-apocalyptic book is because it is a simple book with a simple message: maybe things do happen for a reason, and maybe fighting the natural evolution of humanity is only going to hurt it. The nuclear war is a plot setup as opposed to the entire story. Only the first sixty pages or so curtails the immediate after-events of the war itself. The rest focuses on the themes of survivalism and a desperate group of people who want to preserve their way of life, even though it was rendered impractical due to the changing circumstances surrounding them. The theme is so heavy that the fact that that characters are sort of flat (aside from Simon and Catherine, who do have some character growth over the course of the book) is easily looked over. You don’t read books like this for the characters. You read it for the message. It’s also a very quick read…I got through it in a day.
My Favorite Biography- Marie Antoinette, The Journey, by Antonia Fraiser
Unbiased, straight forward, and detailed, The Journey is everything a biography fan could ask for. It’s also very timeless in nature: it covers so many facts in a way that one can interpret it in any way they choose. Obviously, it’s subject matter is of great personal interest to me, and I’ve always been in the camp that argues that Marie Antoinette gets more flack from historians than she should. I do feel like she was an airhead, but she was a pawn at court used and abused more than anything. The book is very academic as far as it’s approach goes, which, in a biography, is always appreciated.
I have read this book about twenty times, and I promise you that I will read them about twenty more times before I’m forty. You have got to know about this book. The only word I can use for it is inspiring. I relate to Anne in more ways than a lot of people do, for reasons I won;t get in to. But the bluntness and the creativity about Anne Frank is what strikes me the most. How can a girl so young speak with the tone and wisdom of an older adult like that? And how many more young people like her would still be alive today were it not for the cruelty of the Nazis? I only wish I could be half as optimistic and genuinely awesome as Anne Frank was. If I were living in her time and knew her, I can picture us being best friends easily.
As a side-note, I also love her ‘Secret Tales’ book, which not as many people know about. It’s a collection of short stories, memories, and an unfinished novel she wrote while in her hiding place.