The Silver Lining | All time favorite books

kazdreamer had a post yesterday about her all-time favorite books and opened it up for others to post their list on their blog or in the comment trail. While running errands yesterday, I kept pulling out a notebook and jotting down my own list, trying to figure it out. Boy was this hard.

Anyway, I figured I’d post it here because I find the lists in the comments so interesting.

These are in no particular order and with excessive commentary:

1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer Seriously, no other book made me an obsessive fangirl like this one did. I’ve read/listened to the entire series at least 6 times now. Well, except Breaking Dawn, I only read that one once.

2. Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood. I had a difficult time choosing this or The Handmaid’s Tale, but ultimately went with this because it’s the book that made me want to become a writer. The Handmaid’s Tale gets diluted in my mind because I spent all of senior year in HS writing a term paper thesis about dystopian fiction and so the book feels more like schoolwork still to me.

3. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle Definitely my fave book from my childhood.

4. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk I actually saw the movie before I read the book, but I had close to a religious experience being so moved by the prose. I didn’t know it was called "voice" at the time, but it really influenced my own writing and directly inspired me to write a short story that became my first sale. It’s called "Apathy" and there’s a link on my website. Plus I’m a sucker for existentialism.

4. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen She’s one of my favorite YA authors and this is my fave book by her. I am in love with Wes.

6. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead I’ve blogged before about my love for this series. The author has guts and always manages to surprise me. I admire that.

7. Guitar Girl by Sarra Manning Another of my favorite current YA authors. I just adore the writing and the characters.

8. The End of the Affair by Graeme Greene Another book that seriously affected me in college and changed my perception about writing and life in general. I love the movie too.

9. That Night by Alice McDermott This one is just gorgeous. It’s another nostalgic one from my HS/college days that I read over and over.

10. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Mr. Darcy. Enough said.

And just because they deserve recognition, here were the books I considered putting on the list:
Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis I just love how he literally starts us not even in the middle of the story but in the middle of a sentence! I love how the excessive POVs allow the reader to perceive the same scene in different ways. And all those POVs? Masterful.
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides The writing is gorgeous and I love the interesting POV, a collective first person instead of an individual.
The Crucible by Arthur Miller It’s a play, so I didn’t put it on the top 10, but I wanted to. I absolutely love this play.
Hamlet by Shakespeare This one seriously affected me in high school too when I went through my existential writing phase. My favorite line is when Hamlet holds up Yorick’s skull and says, "Tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come." It’s so beautiful and depressing at the same time.

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8 Responses

  1. Great list! Thanks so much for this response – I love hearing what other people come up with. I think I prefer The Handmaid’s Tale to Cat’s Eye, though I can understand why you chose the other way round. 🙂 Also, I ADORE the Vampire Academy books and they almost made my list. Oh, and then seeing how you fell in love with the prose in Fight Club made me remember that I fell in love with Paul Auster’s prose in The Music of Chance (I read the book after I saw the movie).

  2. How can you not have re-read Breaking Dawn? I so love the third section of the book. And the ridiculously funny (offscreen) vampire sex in the first part. And the horrifying horribleness of the middle.

    • Ha, I know. But when I read it the first time, I was so angry and frustrated, I just don’t want those feelings to come back. Now I like the pretend the book has an actual resolution and all the ultra-Mary Sue moments are just an elongated dream sequence.

      • Alas, the Mary-Sueness is one of my favorite things to holler about whilst rereading Breaking Dawn. I still can’t get over the fact that any ickiness involved in the middle of the book is specifically designed to let all of her characters get what they want without actually giving anything up. (Where the hell was her editor? Why didn’t anyone say “no – make Edward make the hard choice, don’t make it easy on him by making her vampire conversion a necessity” or “no – don’t have Jacob imprint on the mutant vampire baby, make him still struggle with Bella and her happily-ever-afterness” or “no, make Bella face up to being a completely selfish Mary Sue”?)

        • I get the feeling that she fights back against editorial suggestions. Because I’m a little obsessive, I went to her concert thing in NYC this summer, and she said her editor tried to get her to write a solution that didn’t involve any mutant babies, but she flat out refused because Renesmee was such a part of the story, she couldn’t possibly get rid of her. *eyeroll* I’ve read other interviews where I get this same feeling of her being difficult to advise, but I guess the 25 million copies sold last year kind of give her the right.

          I’m with you on everything you said. She removed the choice from every character. I really thought the Jacob storyline was leading toward him choosing love, maybe with Leah, maybe with someone else. But the imprinting took away his free well and neatly solved all conflict with Bella. And yeah, it would have been much more interesting to watch Edward wrestle with his promise to turn her himself. Instead, he wasn’t killing her, he was saving her.

          I figured she wouldn’t have Bella kill any humans, but there could have been a lot more tension and conflict in the whole scenario.

          • I can’t help but wonder how much of Renesmee being important had to do with her wanting to deliver a message to kids about the perils of sexual intercourse – look kids, you can get knocked up the Very First Time you ever do it! And then, you’re pregnant, and it’s a completely miserable experience!

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