Tuesday10 officially has a new home at My Life as Mindy! This week’s prompt is open ended. Mindy shared 10 things about herself, a great way to get to know her if you haven’t been following her blog already. This week I thought I’d get all book nerd on you and share my 10 favorite books: my little list of must reads for anyone who’s ever thought “Jen has such awesome taste in books, I wonder what books I should read if I wanted to be just like her!” Anyone?
- First off, everybody loves The Hunger Games and I definitely love me some YA dystopian novels but one of my favorites that you absolutely must read if you want to Be Like Jen is the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. This series has all the usual dystopian factors you’d expect but it’s far from predictable. I love the sort of made up language and dialect in this book. When you start adding a -la or -wa to the end of your name and tell your friends that something is nervous-making then you’ll know you’ve got the Uglies bug (which is a good thing, I swear). “Tally Youngblood is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait for the operation that turns everyone from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to party. But new friend Shay would rather hoverboard to “the Smoke” and be free. Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn’t very pretty. The “Special Circumstances” authority Dr Cable offers Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.”
- Everybody has that classic novel that they always throw into the ring when someone says “What’s your favorite book?” and you want to sound really smart. My favorite Smart Person Book is Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I read the book when I had just graduated from college and was feeling a little disappointed in myself for some less than polite choices I’d made. Reading Gone With the Wind kind of cured me and made me love myself again. I found myself admiring Scarlett no matter how many selfish or less than polite things she did or said and I figured, if I can find Scarlett’s actions forgivable then clearly I can forgive myself. And that’s probably more than you wanted to know about that! But seriously – this is a fantastic book with action and love and heartbreak and friendship and well, everything. Even a boy named Ashley. “Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Civil War, Margaret Mitchell’s epic love story is an unforgettable tale of love and loss, of a nation mortally divided and its people forever changed. At the heart of all this chaos is the story of beautiful, ruthless Scarlett ‘O’ Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.”
- While we’re talking about classics that I love, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen must be mentioned. Perhaps the best love story ever written and also terrifically funny once you get used to the older dialect and vocabulary. This is one of those books that I am mildly obsessed with and I know I am not alone. Much like my love of Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, it’s kind of like saying you like Morgan Freeman. Obviously. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
- I read The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman last year and it quickly earned “favorite” status with me. I adore Hoffman’s writing style and character weaving. This book is masterfully written. I love historical fiction and this is that genre at it’s absolute best. “In 70 C.E., nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman’s novel is a spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path.”
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern might be one of the best books I have ever read. It’s one of those books that sucks you in and captivates you from the beginning to the end. Beautifully written with an amazing love story – this is a book you absolutely must read or we’re not speaking anymore. “The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. “
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows was one of the first books that I read with my current book club and it continues to be one of my absolutely favorites. Written as a series of letters, this book is just masterful from beginning to end. ““ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….”
- Lamb by Christopher Moore is one of my favorite “funny” books. The fictional story of Jesus as told by his best friend Biff is an excellent introduction to the world of Christopher Moore and probably his best book written. It’s crass and silly but also extremely well written and clever. “Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Savior’s pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny. But there’s no one who loves Josh more — except maybe “Maggie,” Mary of Magdala — and Biff isn’t about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight.”
- I love me a good memoir of any kind and Jen Lancaster has become one of my favorite memoir-style authors. Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster is one of my favorites, chronicling her attempts at weight loss which were all too easy for me to relate to. This will be the funniest weight loss book you ever read. “To whom the fat rolls…I’m tired of books where a self-loathing heroine is teased to the point where she starves herself skinny in hopes of a fabulous new life. And I hate the message that women can’t possibly be happy until we all fit into our skinny jeans. I don’t find these stories uplifting; they make me want to hug these women and take them out for fizzy champagne drinks and cheesecake and explain to them that until they figure out their insides, their outsides don’t matter. Unfortunately, being overweight isn’t simply a societal issue that can be fixed with a dose healthy of positive self-esteem. It’s a health matter, and here on the eve of my fortieth year, I’ve learned I have to make changes so I don’t, you know, die. Because what good is finally being able to afford a pedicure if I lose a foot to adult onset diabetes?”
- The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, and all the Thursday Next books, is one of my favorite Smart Funny books. It is an English Major’s paradise with some awesome sci-fi twists thrown in. These books always take me awhile to get through as the plots are incredibly complex – but it is always worth the ride. “Welcome to a surreal version of Great Britain, circa 1985, where time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem, militant Baconians heckle performances of Hamlet, and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection, until someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature. When Jane Eyre is plucked from the pages of Brontë’s novel, Thursday must track down the villain and enter the novel herself to avert a heinous act of literary homicide.”
- Lastly, having just finished devouring Trail of the Spellmans last night, I am reminded why The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz has become one of my very favorite series books. Light quirky mystery books centering around Isobel Spellman and her family of private investigators – these books are hysterical and cleverly written with the funniest footnotes you will ever read. I love a book with great attention to detail – the kind where you find yourself reading every inch, the cover, the spine, the appendix – just to check for little nuggets of carefully included funny. This is one of those books. “Meet Isabel “Izzy” Spellman, private investigator. This twenty-eight-year-old may have a checkered past littered with romantic mistakes, excessive drinking, and creative vandalism; she may be addicted to Get Smart reruns and prefer entering homes through windows rather than doors — but the upshot is she’s good at her job as a licensed private investigator with her family’s firm, Spellman Investigations. Invading people’s privacy comes naturally to Izzy. In fact, it comes naturally to all the Spellmans. If only they could leave their work at the office. To be a Spellman is to snoop on a Spellman; tail a Spellman; dig up dirt on, blackmail, and wiretap a Spellman.”
So those are some of my favorites – the books you must read if you wish to join (start?) my Jen Fan Club – I could list more, but then it wouldn’t be a Tuesday10. But this should get you started!
So what are some of your favorite Must Read books?
Things are pretty simple around here and there is only one requirement for Tuesday10… Make a list of 10 things and share it!