Okay, this is a little different today. Last week on Facebook one of my friends put up a post that said, “Books. List your top 5 favourites of all time.”
I thought about that a lot. It was hard for me to limit myself to only five. And these aren’t necessarily my favourites, but they are books that have affected me deeply. Here is the list I finally came up with and my reasoning behind the list:
Any of LM Montgomery’s Anne books – I remember discovering these books when I was twelve or thirteen. I no longer remember what made me first notice them. My strongest memory is walking downtown to our small-town library and getting Anne of Windy Poplars. This is still one of my favourite Anne books. The other one is Anne of Avonlea. I don’t know why, but they gave me such a cozy feeling when I read them that I still feel when I re-read them now. Perhaps it was raining when I read them, and I was curled up in bed?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin (in case someone doesn’t know that!) – I did not read my first Austin book until I was in my late teens/early twenties! GASP! My girls can’t imagine such a thing. My dad bought me a complete set of the books so there I was, I decided to give them a try. I had seen the 1940 movie version of Pride and Prejudice. You cannot even imagine my surprise on discovering that the characters were so much more than what the movie had portrayed. Up to that point I had really enjoyed the movie. After reading the book – not so much. I was enthralled by the fact that when these books were written they were “modern” fiction so the way the characters talk and act is a glimpse into the lifestyle of early 19th century England.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I think this was perhaps one of the first classical novels I ever read. I was so entranced by the twists in the plot. Such an amazing book. Last year a blogging friend did a read-along of Jane Eyre. I followed along for a while, but life got a bit as my husband got sicker and sicker. Anyway, Rachel has so nicely put all the links to that read-along in one convenient place which you can find here.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Eva-Joy asked me to read this for her and mark out the swearing. What. A. Book. First of all, this is a book about World War II written from the perspective of a German family. There aren’t a lot of those around. Secondly, the book is narrated by Death. Sounds creepy, right? It’s not. In fact, by the end of the book you actually feel a little sorry for Death. Thirdly, this is a love story of a boy who loves a girl who doesn’t love him (SPOILER: until it’s too late), a girl who loves a Jewish man hiding in her house and a Jewish man who loves a little girl who is learning how to read, a foster father who loves his foster daughter, a girl who loves books. I could go on about the different loves in this book (and it’s not a mushy, lovey-dovey book), but I’m doing this review so horribly. Read my daughter’s review here. She nailed it. And if you saw the movie – the book is about a hundred times better.
Finally there is Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. My relationship with this book started out so tamely. Again, my daughter asked me to read this book to see if it was okay for her to read. So in my innocence I started to read. A World War II spy book. No biggie. I’ve read these before. Until the book completely and thoroughly gutted me leaving my emotions as limp as a damp dishrag. Words cannot describe how I felt. Then since I approved the book but it had some swearing, Eva-Joy asked me to re-read it right away and mark out the swearing. So I did. It was almost more painful the second time knowing what was coming. I have not read it since. I’m not sure I ever will, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend it for someone else because it IS good.
Just for free here are some runners-up:
- Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne. I read the full version when I was about six and loved it.
- Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Another book I read when I was about six about twelve times in a row – not kidding. When I discovered there were more I could hardly believe it. When my parents bought me the set for Christmas I was delirious with happiness.
- Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster. I bought the book on the whim to give to Eva-Joy. Before I gave it to her though I thought I would read it. It sucked me in. The sequel, Dear Enemy, is good but not as good.
- Anything by Lois Lenski. I grew up reading her books and still love them.
- The same goes for Marguerite Henry and her horse stories.
I better stop or we’ll be here all day. I would love to know what you consider your top five favourite or life-stirring books.