My Top Ten Books/Book Series
My All-Time Favourites (as of December 24th, 2012):
It is because I am so indecisive that I went with ten as opposed to the original five favourites list I had planned. I haven’t listed them in any particular order, just because for one or two are still part of a series in progress. And so, without further ado, here they are!
1. The Harry Potter Series
At this point in my life, explaining why I love the Harry Potter series feels like explaining why I love chocolate or afternoon naps. I actually finished the series when I was 13, a bit late to expect my letter from Hogwarts to arrive. But I waited, and continue to wait. In the meantime, I am on Pottermore and myHogwarts if anyone is interested!
So the last book is not called Detergent, but I found that quite funny. Kudos to whoever thought that one up!
Divergent is a part of this age of dystopian novels which have taken over young adult fiction. In it, Beatrice Prior (known as Tris throughout most of the series) lives in dystopian Chicago, where there are five main factions. At the age of sixteen, an individual chooses which faction he/she will join. Tris, of course, cannot decide; choosing a different faction would mean leaving her family behind. She is inexplicably (or so we think) drawn to the Dauntless, a daredevil-gone-slightly-mad faction who are the opposite of everything she has ever been taught as a member of the Abnegation faction. What happens after this is something of a roller coaster ride. I don’t do spoilers, though, so that’s all I’ll say!
Besides Four, the male protagonist, there is a reason why I like this series enough to put it on my top ten of all times list. Tris’s world became real and concrete to me in Insurgent, the second book in the series. I remember disliking the way Divergent ended off, but I found myself wanting to know how ‘realistically’ the author could deal with the situation she set up for the next book. While there were some moments which almost defied logic, it was quite well put together. I found myself disagreeing with half of what Tris did, but glad that she was doing something. There weren’t too many one-dimensional characters. Some of the characters killed off were unnecessary, but that’s just my opinion. Give it a shot if you haven’t already and leave a comment below!
3. The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
I don’t know why I bothered trying to follow Holmes’s ‘logic’ whenever I began another case. While his detective work certainly was central to why I read the book, it was not the only reason. The cases themselves were interesting/bizarre/depressing/frightening. Pick a word, there was a case which left me feeling that way. I believe I did cry at the end of the ‘Five Orange Pips’ case, but it doesn’t take much to tear me up. The hardcover I read was large with tiny print, with two columns of text per page. Let me say that if I did not thoroughly like the cases, I would never have read that book. Again, my opinion. Comment if you agree/disagree!
4. To Kill a Mockingbird
I cannot recall a single book which was an assigned reading in high school that I did not enjoy. (Except for Lord of the Flies. I did not like Lord of the Flies.) I read this novel first in Grade Eight, before high school. I remember liking it so much that I didn’t pick it up again until we read it as a class the following year. I wanted to live it all over again.
I literally lived this story everytime I read it. I was Scout, growing up with Jem and Dill. I felt a bit of my innocence die off as the story progressed, realizing that when personal prejudice gathers in one place, it becomes a force of destruction. Obviously not in those terms. But I was as much of a child as Scout throughout the reading, unaware of the layers of hate and prejudice that can exist in a community. Learning that ‘good’ folk could still be ‘bad’. And I absolutely loved Atticus. A person like him is hard to find. Maybe Dumbledore. But he had a past. No summary for this book. Read it.
5. The Alchemist
Summary from Goodreads:
“PAULO COELHO’S enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom points Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transformation power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.”
What on Earth did I love about this book? I remember reading it in Grade Nine, more out of curiosity than anything else. And although I don’t recall any specific lines in the book (on my reread list!), I do remember that I felt like it was the wisest and most mystical book I had ever read. Granted, I was fourteen and had never read anything like it before. But it was an interesting read–I would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind deserts, omens and a good old treasure hunt!
6. Blood Red Road
This one is the newest of the bunch. I have yet to read Rebel Young, the second book. I remember cringing at the spelling and grammar at the start, wondering if I would make it to the end. Somewhere in the middle, however, I was swept away with the story. Survival at its barest and ugliest, I found myself loving Saba more as the story went on. Her relationship with her sister (no spoilers) brought me to tears. I found that towards the end of the book, events and developments became a bit predictable and certain relationships seemed a bit rushed/forced. It has been a while since I read the novel, but it was definitely one of my favourite reads of 2012.
7. The Hunger Games
Can I please not explain? I wasn’t sure if this belonged in my of all times list. The first book of the series–definitely. The others, I’m not too sure about.
Another dystopian novel. There are twelve districts (or are there?) in this realm, each specializing in producing some sort of commodity for the other districts and the Capitol. The Capitol is all that the other districts, in particular Katniss’s district twelve, are not. They are well-fed and trend hungry. And they do not participate in the Hunger Games, a fight-to-the-death annual reality show which pits 24 youth against each other and crowns the surviving one the victor. Katniss, the female protagonist, volunteers to participate in place of her younger sister, Prim.
The first book does a good job of keeping the reader entertained. There’s action, blood, death, a Twilight-like love triangle, politics, history (albeit made up), ethical dilemmas and questioned loyalties. Something for just about everyone. The next two books, in my opinion, trade in these multiple dimensions for a cringe-worthy love mess and an oversimplified resolution. Agree? Totally wish my progeny and I dead? Let me know below!
8. The Secret Garden
I found this classic absolutely adorable! I still haven’t watched the film, but the story was wonderful. In elementary school, my entire fantasy realm was split between here and Bundelag (I was a huge unicorn fan). Mary, a young girl brought to live at her relative’s place, is sickly young girl. She is foul-tempered and physically weak. However, the discovery of a locked up garden changes her young life and the life of a certain someone else (read to find out!) forever.
9. The Moonstone
I was debating between this and The Giver–completely different genres, I know. But Wilkie Collins won out in the end. A classic, and after a quick Google search (oh-so-reliable) apparently considered the first detective novel in the English language! Who would have known? I learned something today!
If you liked Sherlock Holmes, I would definitely recommend this book as your next read. A whodunit as classic as they come, the conclusion was (in my opinion) was quite a surprise! The story is told from multiple perspectives, and this may be a plus/minus depending on your reading preferences. And for those who like a little 19th century romance, you’ll find a bit of that too!
10. Pride and Prejudice
When reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time, I remember feeling a lot of emotions. And while I found the first half amusing, it was the second part that I love the most! A story also from the 1800s, Elizabeth Bennet is the second of five daughters living a comfortable life in a small country town. And at her age, marriage is on the table. Headstrong and fun loving, she clashes with Mr. Darcy, who appears to be a proud (but extremely wealthy) young man. A bad first impression sets off the rest of the story, with multiple subplots to keep the reader entertained throughout.
I absolutely love Elizabeth’s character in the story. Her quick tongue, teasing nature and stubbornness put her in a number of interesting situations. I found her younger siblings quite annoying, but I appreciated how she stood with her family throughout. Mr. Bennet is quite the father, and Mrs. Bennet is probably the silliest, but most entertaining, character of the entire story. Jane, the eldest, is the human embodiment of sweetness, but I am glad that she isn’t the lead. I probably would have had a lot more head shaking moments if she was.
And that is my top ten books of all time! If you agree, or have your own favourites–don’t forget to leave a comment below!