Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Best of...Craig Lopus's Top 12

My next unsuspecting victim to participate in my "Best of" series is one of my very best friends, Craig Lopus. I have known Craig for over 15 years...we used to work together back in the joyous days of corporate torment. I left the torment to stay at home with my kids, and Craig left the torment to open his own wine store (Tim's Wine Market in Windermere Florida). People! Having a friend in the wine business is a very good thing!

Before moving to Florida in the '90's, Craig and his wife have lived in NYC, the Philippines, France and England, and probably more places I'm forgetting. He always seems to have his nose in a book (at least until he went retail) so I thought he would make a perfect candidate for my series. I did not hear one word of complaint, in fact he came back with 12 books instead of 10! Way to go buddy! Here are his picks, with Craig-ish commentary:



1. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens: I first read this book in 8th grade English. In fact, we read most of it aloud in class. It was the first book that opened my eyes to literature and reading.







2. Airport - Arthur Hailey: Again, I read this in 10th grade, and was the work of fiction that inspired my love for big, thick, juicy novels.







3. Exodus - Leon Uris: Reading this book was the first time I felt I really understood the Jewish perspective regarding living in the promised land.







4. A Year in Provence - Peter Mayle: This book changed our lives. We vacationed and eventually moved to Aix en Provence to capture the provencial joive de vivre.







5. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen: This classic sparked an interest that resulted in my reading all of the Bronte and Austin books while we lived in England.







6. Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit - JR Tolkein: I read all of these back in college. It enhanced my cred as a cool dude amongst the babes.







7. The DaVinci Code - Dan Brown: OK, a little lame but I read it twice, saw the movie when it premiered in Paris and took the Louvre DaVinci tour. I actually saw the tomb where Mary was buried (it IS non-fiction isn't it???).





8. The entire Clive Cussler Dirk Pitt series: A manly man takes on the world. My hero.







9. The entire Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling: Great storytelling. Being able to talk and watch the movies with my kids - priceless.






10. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand: I read this in my early '20's. This book made me realize that I wasn't nearly as smart as I thought I was. Would someone explain it to me again???







11. Shogun (and the entire Asian saga of the other 6 books) - James Clavel: He was able to transport me from my small Manhattan apartment halfway across the world to an exotic land of samurai and geisha. I loved all of those historical novels.





12. Sophie's Choice - William Styron: Last but not least. Rip your heart out saga about the human toll of WWII. It put a human face to the millions of unfathomable situations that people were forced into during war time.





P.S. I also wanted to add "Wine for Dummies", but I'm not sure if it would be career suicide!

23 comments:

Book Chick City said...

Great list. Not sure if I could chose my top 12, it would be sooo hard. I like this feature though :)

Literary Feline said...

Oh to quite your job and do something you love . . . I like hearing dream come true stories like that. :-)

And what a great list of books! I still can't get over the fact that my husband hasn't read The Lord of the Rings books, but I have.

I really want to read Sophie's Choice. I've heard such great things about it.

Beth F said...

I've read all these except Clive Cussler.

I'm not sure why Atlas Shrugged keeps showing up on people's top 10/12 lists. But I'm not an Rand fan. On the other hand, Rand is (was?) the thing to read when you're in your early 20s.

Now, invite Craig back for his top 12 white wines for people who are not incredibly rich and who have to buy wine from the state store....

savidgereads said...

Another great best of... am going to try and get my gran to do this while she is down from tomorrow.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Carolyn - you know, just because I've been putting my friends through the ringer, I thought I should try to make my list as well. It's slow going!

Wendy - it is really heartwarming that every time I talk to him, he is happy and upbeat. It's retail, which isn't easy, but it is something he loves.

Beth - haha! I bet he would do that, with a smile on his face. He is up in your general neck of the woods right now (chautaua) but when he comes back, I will have him make a list post haste!

Simon - knowing a little about gran, I will be excited to see her list! I find that these lists are a peek inside a person. Don't forget to ask gran if she would like a live-in housekeeper!

farmlanebooks said...

I loved Arthur Hailey when I was younger too!

I didn't read Airport though - I have a fear of flying that I didn't want to add to!

Frances said...

Love this sneak peek into other's favorites. And seriously want a friend who owns a wine store. Craig's list is great, and I like that Styron cover. Read the books a very long time ago, but have never seen this design before. A Year in Provence - I could go for that right now.

Molly said...

I love reading what others consider "top" books in their lifetime - and I always ended up adding new books to my TBR list.

I agree with Beth F -- I would love to have him do a guest post on wine selection (could be by price and/or by food pairings).

Thanks for sharing with us.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Jackie - I didn't read it either. There are quite a few on his list that I haven't read, but I just can't go there. The list is long enough. I will have Craig tell me the plots in his own words, which is probably just as good and entertaining as the real thing!

Frances - years ago I read A Year in Provence at the encouragement of Craig, know it did, in fact, change his life. How many people do you know that read a book and are inspired to move there? I'm still amazed.

Molly - all right, I will ask him to work on this. I will tell him to try to keep the brands common and inexpensive, but palatable!

ds said...

This is a really interesting--and wide--list. Oh, to be able to do the Peter Mayle/Frances Mayes/Elizabeth Gilbert thing...count me with the others who would love a peek at his favorite wines, too.

Sandy Nawrot said...

ds - as soon as he gets back from his romp in NY, I'm on it! He will probably have just as much fun coming up with a list of wines as he did with the books!

Carrie K. said...

I love Exodus - one of my favorite historical fiction novels.

I'd like to add a request for a list of good, inexpensive reds - along with the whites. :)

Kelly Moran said...

very cool blog. i'm following you now. you should pop in/follow mine. i have all things books...
nice seeing you.
xo

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Great list, and how fun to see Clive Cussler included. When I work at our library's sales, the men swarm over the Clive Cussler books like bears on a honeypot!

Amy said...

Shogun is one of my brother's favorite books and he is always trying to get me to read it!

Beth F said...

I'll be awaiting my wine list. Wish I could drink reds, but -- alas -- it's not to be (mildly allergic).

Andreea said...

This is a great list! Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books!

Lauren said...

My dad LOVES the Dirk Pitt series. I think he's read them all.

I love how Harry Potter is clumped together by everyone. They're known as one collective book nowadays, not seven. :)

Dar said...

Great list! P&P is one of my favorites as is the Harry Potter series. I tried reading ATlas Shrugged and just couldn't get into it. Sophie's Choice is on my bookshelf.

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

There are some good ones on that list! I still need to read HP and LOTR. Sophie's Choice sounds really good.

Melody said...

I love this series, Sandy! I always end up with a few books to add onto my wishlist!!

Matt said...

Consider how popular Sophie's Choice is, it's a shame I still haven't read it. The one title that catches my attention is Airport because I'm a sucker of all airport tales.

In high school junior year, in addition to the mandatory Walden, we had the extra credit option to read either The Fountain Head or The Atlas Shrugged. I took home a copy of the latter but I couldn't even mention half the book!

Anna said...

I've always wanted to read Sophie's Choice. Glad to see he's a P&P and HP fan!

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric