Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sticky Business

I almost never participate in the Booking Through Thursday meme, mainly because you get very similar answers to questions, and after awhile they all sound alike. Not this one. It was just too good to pass up. So we have to name 15 books that have stuck with us over the years, for good or bad. Don't overthink it...just throw them down in 15 minutes or less! Here are mine:

1. Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen. It just pisses me off that I only started reading Austen this year...
2. The Bible. I nearly read the entire thing when I converted to Catholiciscm in '96. It was very hard to put down once I'd started...lots of lessons, lots of action, lots of bad guys!
3. Into That Darkness - Gitta Sereny. One of the most terrifying, thought-provoking books about the Holocaust. Hard to get through, but should be required reading for mankind.
4. The Devil in the White City - Erik Larson. My love for architecture, Chicago and serial killers were nourished all at once with this amazing true story.
5. The Post-Birthday World - Lionel Shriver. The perfect novel about the fork in the road, and what the consequences of our choices.
6. Are You There God, It's Me Margaret - Judy Blume. This was the book of my pre-pubescent youth. Bras, boob exercises, boys, periods, we've got it all covered. I still own my original copy by the way, the back cover ripped off as a result of all my friends passing it around.
7. Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follet. A behemoth of a book about generations of families that struggled to build a cathedral in medieval England. Wonderful, especially when its read while in England! Close second and sequel - World Without End.
8. In Cold Blood - Truman Capote. True crime in its most brilliant form. Capote was a genius.
9. Beach Music - Pat Conroy. The hypnotizing beauty and enchantment of the Outer Banks perfectly translated to the written word, as well the horror of the Holocaust, all in one book. I didn't want it to end. Close second - Prince of Tides.
10. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice. This book started by decade-long obsession with all things Anne Rice. I'd never read anything like this prior to discovering her. Close second and end of Lestat series - Memnoch the Devil.
11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Annie Barrows. The most delightful story, told through a series of letters, that makes you fall madly in love the characters and want to move to Guernsey.
12. The School of Essential Ingredients - Erica Bauermeister. This book would fall into the same feel-good category as Guernsey. About how a talented chef heals wounded souls in her cooking classes.
13. The Stand - Stephen King. I believe this was my introduction to horror. Good versus evil, pure and simple. Epic in nature, over a thousand pages long, and in-depth character development, this was an admirable feat for an 8th grader.
14. Outlander - Diana Gabaldon. The first in a series of books about a nurse in the '60's that traveled back to the mid 1700's and fell in love with a very dude-ish Scottish Highlander. I can't imagine my life without having read this series.
15. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee. I don't know if this counts, because I'm only halfway through the book, but I can pretty much guarantee this one will be on my list. I am mesmerized.


Unknown said...

I really should read Pillars of the Earth. I have seen it mentioned a few times recently, and I live in England, so can fulfill that part!!

I haven't heard of Anne Rice, so I'm off to find out a bit more about her!

Heidenkind said...

Great list. My mom read Devil in the White City and couldn't stop talking about it for months. And In Cold Blood has to be one of the greatest books of the 20th century, I think.

Carrie K. said...

I love this question, because each bloggers' answers are so individual!

Are you listening to Mockingbird or reading it?

Beth F said...

We definitely have some overlap; others I haven't read or wouldn't put on my list. P&P, Pillars of the Earth, and Outlander (like I'm going to forget Jamie) for sure. Oh and Mockingbird, too.

Molly said...

GREAT list of books -- so varied and all valid!

I have avoided this BTT meme because I am just not sure I can come up with 15 books that I will feel fully represents my life. You did an amazing job.

OH - and don't worry about Jane Austen. I only just read her myself 4 years ago (and only because I had to teach Pride and Prejudice) and have just recently stopped kicking myself :)

Sandy Nawrot said...

Jackie - When you read the synopsis of Pillars, it sounds boring as hell, but it is incredibly engrossing. I became so sucked into the book, it seemed like nothing else existed!

Heidenkind - I still think about Devil in the White City. I need to own my own copy...I know I will re-read. I tend to be a closet lover of true crime, and In Cold Blood is the best of them!

Carrie - I'm listening to Mockingbird, narrated by Sissy Spacek. It is phenomenal!

Beth - I know we have some interests in common, Jamie just being one of them!

Molly - It was darn hard to put together the list! How to sum up a life of reading, eh?

Unknown said...

Interesting list, To Kill a Mocking Bird and The Stand. That's a wide range. ;-) I didn't think of Judy Blume when I made my list but I once wore out a copy of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing from rereading it so many times.

As I recall that was the first Judy Blume I read. My mother read it to my brother and I and forever afterwards thought all Judy Blume books were safely humorous like that. I never told her otherwise.

Vicki said...

Wow! You've reminded about Are You here God, It's Me Margaret? I lost the back cover of mine for the same reason!! Have you read Home, you know the book that's just won the Orange Prize? I haven't so need some feedback on my blog!
Vicki p.s You've intrigued me about Anne Rice.

Sandy Nawrot said...

James - haha! I often wonder how I pulled off reading "Forever" without my mom figuring it out! Yes, I know, I'm all over the board. I get obsessed with genres...

Vicki - no, I haven't read Home, and probably ever won't! Two trusted blogger friends (Jackie from Farm Lane Books and Simon from Savidge Reads) couldn't even get through the darned thing! That is funny that you lost the back cover of Margaret too. They need to make these books sturdier!

Carrie K. said...

I read Mockingbird in school, but listened to it last year read by Spacek - one of the best audiobooks ever, in my opinion!

Melody said...

You've listed lots of great books there, Sandy! I really look forward to reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society as well as To Kill a Mockingbird. Oh, and how could I forget about The School of Essential Ingredients?!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Carrie - Isn't it wonderful? Spacek's narration is truly the essence of Scout! My kids are home with me now, so it is not so easy to find audio time. I'm losing my mind.

Melody - Guernsey and Mockingbird will both freaking blow you away. We have similar tastes, so I can say this confidently!

Jo said...

I've got Memnoch the Devil and The Vampire Lestat on mine! I think they are my two favourites.

Iliana said...

This is a great Booking Through Thursday meme. I never participate just because I always seem to be behind on everything :)

I'm jealous that you still have your original Are You There God... copy! I absolutely loved that book. Unfortunately my copy got ruined when I moved to college and my apartment flooded. Bleh. Oh and I just started The Guernsey book and feel it's going to become a favorite :)

Matt said...

I have read and enjoyed very much #7, 11, and 15. By the way, will you read the sequel to The Pillars of the earth?

Beach Music sounds very good for my next vacatio.

Melissa said...

I've got a few on your list in my TBR. I almost included Guernsey in my list too, probably should have!

Frances said...

This is one cool list, Sandy! Right there with you on all points but Pillars of the Earth. I know everyone loves this one but not me. Oh well. Happy reading!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Jo - it has been years since I read Memnoch the Devil, but I distinctly remember finishing it and sitting back and going "wow..." with a dazed look on my face.

Iliana - Guernsey just filled me up with happiness. You will love it! Its so daughter is reading my copy of Margaret now. I held it back from her all this time. Didn't want her getting ideas about "1 minute in the closet".

Matt - Yes! I did actually listen to World Without End" on audio. I was just as mesmerized with that one, even having read Pillars a decade before!

Melissa - I loved your list! This was such a fun meme!

Frances - I've always had this closet fascination with architecture, and I was on a job in England while reading it. That had to have made a big difference. I had heard though that even today, this book sells over a hundred thousand copies a year!

Kim said...

Enjoyed your list, Sandy and thought this weeks BTT was a great question to ask.
My son's girlfriend bought me Pillars of the Earth for Christmas and I still haven't got around to it, perhaps I should.
I ordered Guernsey on Thursday - only two weeks to wait until it arrives - very excited about that!

Darlene said...

Oh, you've got some amazing books there Sandy...Are you there God, it's me Margaret-sheesh I remember reading that and just loving it. I almost want to read it again to see what I'd think now. Pillars of the Earth was great and To Kill a Mockingbird is an all time fave of mine which I think I've told you before. lol.

JoAnn said...

You've got my all-time favorite at the top of the list! The Devil in the White City was very good on audio, and I loved Beach Music, too. Pat Conroy has a new book coming out soon - can't wait!

Kim K said...

I usually read nonfiction, and focus most of my reading on gardening and companion bird info. However, following are some (not 15) books that have made a lasting impression on me (or that I couldn't forget, at least!):

1. The Bible (this life instruction manual as well as God's Words, has provided necessary guidance, wisdom, and peace throughout my life!)

2. Little House on the Prairie series (as a young girl, I loved the TV show, and loved the books just as much. I was intrigued with Laura Ingalls Wilder, and how her life was so different from mine. I wanted to meet her and become her friend!)

3. Where the Red Fern Grows (an incredibly heart warming and heart breaking story!)

4. Henry James story about a young woman finding a suitable courter (can't remember the title, but I loved this story!)

5. The Promise (one of the few Harlequin-type books I've read and enjoyed)

6. Are You There God, It's Me Margaret (what girl didn't read this book?!?!)

7. Elephant Man (not sure this is the correct title, but it's a story about an Indian Tribe; specifically about a young man trying to find his place)

8. Bird Brains (a book about the intelligence and behavior of wild birds. This book began a life-long love of wild and companion birds!)

9. Diary of Ann Frank (I have reread this book many times. It's so amazing to try to grasp this girl's unique and positive outlook in such a desperate situation... and so sad to think of the terrible ending to her lovely life...monsters!)

10. Amityville Horror (This was terrifying! I read this book when my dad retired from the army and we moved into a turn-of-the-century farm house...the attic stairs led to a large window filled with flies...gave me nightmares!)

Will said...

Great list. I got a few ideas for my youngest who will enter high school next fall. She got a reading list for the honors English class she will be in and she has almost finished the list before this year of school is out. I told her she will have to read them again closer to the start of school so she will remember them. I don't know how she finds the time to read as she does with all her other activities, but I am glad she does.