Monday, March 19, 2007

Book Lists

My book meme of last week has spurred some rather interesting thinking. B.E. Sanderson created her own list of books she felt every adult should read here - Jessica Raymond on her site was prompted to wonder what the top 100 romantic reads are...... you can vote here - Then I thanks to b.e.'s blog I was connected to Therese Fowler who has an interesting discussion going on regarding the list its self here - One of the comments on the blog suggested that certain books should be read at certain times in one's life. I think that is very true. The subject matter and the style certainly play into that concept. This fit in with my book club choice of books for this month - The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. At some point in my school career I read Ethan Frome and vaguely remember enjoying it. I am enjoying The Age of Innocence but I am finding it slow. My reading style has changed and so has my attention span. So I am afraid I will waltz into the book club on Friday not having completed the book!

This discussion made also think of how the lists were compiled. Being a yank sitting in the UK my reading history is different that of my husband or my friends here yet there are many overlaps. I also think where I have lived in the world has shaped what I have read and how I understand them. So combining age with the location issue I think the top books vary widely.

So it led me to think what are my top reads. What books have captured me and stayed with me over the years. In no particular order here they are:

Leo the African - Amin Maalouf
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
The Regency Buck - Georgette Heyer
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Daughter of Lir - Diana Norman
Katherine - Anya Seton
Johnny Tremain - Ester Forbes
Any Human Heart - William Boyd
The Canterbury Tales - Chaucer
Trinity - Leon Uris
Frenchman's Creek - Daphne du Maurier
Make Way for the Ducklings - Robert McCloskey
The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

Not really a huge list but they are the books that come first to mind. Some I have read several times over and others just once but they have stayed with me a very long time. What are yours?


Bernardine Kennedy said...

Irish Toasts/Prayers.
I have on my wall a plague of St Patrick with:

'May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows you're dead'.

My sentiments!

liz fenwick said...

That's a good one I haven't heard in a while :-) Thanks.

JJ said...

Hi Liz

I think that's so true - where you are geographically as well as in your life experience shapes your reading. I'm finding in Bangkok that my reading is much wider because I'm here: lots of Asian writers are on the shelves aswell as in the book groups: things I would NEVER have picked up to read in the UK.

When I left the UK I was having a reading crisis - I just didn't know what I liked anymore, I got confused choosing. While we were moving I read most easy, consumable stuff because I had lots to worry about with moving to BK, but once I got here, my crisis passed. The book club definitely helped with that - books I'd never have read without being told to!

I'm interested in the idea of re-reading aswell. I just reread Small Island and Atonement, and loved them both all the more second time round.

liz fenwick said...

Yes, re-reading is interesting. I have been let down more than a few times but again those factors of age and location play into that. its was funny last summer I read Regency Buck and I still loved it but lookled at it very differently than my first reading at 12 or 14. I have A Small Island on my tbr pile. looking forward to the Easter break to catch up with my reading :-)

B.E. Sanderson said...

I agree. What you read has a lot to do with where you are - both in life and in the world. A lot of the books I think I need to read, but haven't, have been sloughed aside because I'm not at a place where I want to read those titles. For instance, I never read Little Women, and I'm afraid it might be too late for me to 'get it' in the same way my teenage daughter got it.

PS. Thanks for the link, Liz. =o)

liz fenwick said...

Yes, where are in the world - age and location does play a big factor. I too have never read Little Women but may be to enjoy it vicariously with dd.

A pleasure on the link. i think the whole thing has created a good discussion.

Jessica Raymond said...

Argh, I've only read two of yours!

Thanks for the plug for the 100 Favourite Romances. The list is quite long with a clear leader already!

Jess x

Nichola said...

Yikes, I've only read one of those books - Pride & Prejudice!

I thought I'd ask - The Thirteenth Tale; was that the one by Diane Setterfield, or is it a different book with the same title? If it's the Setterfield book, I tried reading it, couldn't finish before it was due back and thought, "Meh. I'll return it and buy it in paperback later." ;)

liz fenwick said...

Hi Jess. I'm really looking forward to seeing the list!

liz fenwick said...

Hi Nichola. Thanks for spotting my typo - yes its Setterfield. It's great different people's reaction to books. I just loved that one. I loved the just carried me through the book:-)

liz fenwick said...

Jess, just thinking about your comment about having only read two of mine - some are what i consider very American read.......Tom Sawyer. Uncle Tom's Canin, Johnny Tremain, Make way for the Ducklings -so that lets you off the hook for those :-)