Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Wednesday Top 10

This weekly meme is hosted by Jillian at Random Ramblings.  She poses this top 10 topic: 

Feel Good Books
"The books that will never fail to cheer me up, pick my mood up, get me out of a rut, and/or lift my spirits."

A good book never ages & can be revisited over again to be enjoyed on a different level of experience: finding things you didn't notice before, knowing the outcome & being able to feel the emotions expressed even deeper.

To be honest, I'm not much of a "re-reader" so choosing 10 books I have re-read, let alone re-read many times over as a comfort, is a challenge for me.  I guess movies are more of my comfort forte.  So, my choices may not be "comfort reading" to everyone, but they are books that have captivated me on more than 1 occasion & have stuck with me over time.

Here goes nothing...In no particular order, here's a list of 10, with some titles linked to my reviews:

1)  K-PAX- Gene Brewer
The captivating movie convinced me to try the book & I am still completely mystified and taken with it.  It's a blend of sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, and philosophy that may expand your thinking about the existence of life in the universe beyond Earth.

2)  Different Seasons- Stephen King
How creepy is that cover?!?  It looks like an homage to the 2001: A Space Odyssey star baby.  This collection of 4 novellas is a masterpiece, allowing King to return to his roots in the shorter genre.  Two, if not three, of the stories will sound familiar.  Rita Hayworth & the Shawshank Redemption was adapted into one of the greatest critical films ever and The Body became the beloved coming-of-age tale Stand By Me.  A third story of the same title became the less than reputable Apt Pupil.  The final chapter of this collection, The Breathing Method, leaves your spine tingling long after finishing it.  This set of short stories together can easily compete with King's other accomplished novels as his best work.

3)  The Green Mile- Stephen King
I'm not a cop-out (really, I'm not), but King is an addictive storyteller & The Green Mile is my favourite novel of his.  It is horrific (it's what he does best), but the blend of fantasy & mystery lays a foundation of purpose that makes up the core of the novel.  King claims the adapted movie is better, but I argue that they are two different takes on the same story and that they both go beyond comparison.

4)  The Firm- John Grisham
I'm not being very original with this list, I know, but I cannot bypass this book that remains my favourite Grisham novel and one of the best mystery yarns I've ever read.  The movie was good in his own right, but did not fully utilize all the twists & turns that Grisham gave the novel a quality of being more than just a pageturner, but proves once again that popular fiction can be thought-provoking.

...Wow, I'm completely stumped by this list (and I've bent the topic around enough)!  Let's change this around a bit & I'll list books I want to reread when the TBR stack is a little smaller (just a little...).

5)  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time- Mark Haddon
There has never been a novel written like this.  Period.  The perspective of Christopher, a British teenage boy with Asperger's syndrom investigating the death of his neighbour's dog while confronting the absence of his mother, is acutely visual, purposely rigid in detail, and supplemented by drawings that are both baffling & eye-opening about how his mind works.  I badly want to revisit this, but will settle for some insightful comments :o)

6)  One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest- Ken Kesey
The trippy, beat generation writing of Kesey is hippie poetry through the perspective of the Indian and his encounters at the mental hospital run by the evil Big Nurse, who is appalled by the reckless behaviour of the newest inmate, Randle MacMurphy.  I was stunned by the story and its take on the treatment of mental illness and how both aggressiveness and muteness can be misinterpreted and handled in a disturbing manner.

7)  The Lovely Bones- Alice Sebold
You may be wondering why I would choose a book that begins with a gruesome murder as a rereadable book.  I agree that there are mixed opinions about whether or not to even read it because of that very reason, but here's why I will reread it:  It is a fine piece of writing that reminds me of a china cup, ironically both brittle with its devastating scene that creates a wound in both the characters & reader, and built strong with its omniscent narration, fierce dedication to finding truth, if not justice, and a powerful will to allow for the story to end in peace.

8)  A Map of the World- Jane Hamilton
Because I recently read The Book of Ruth by the same author, I wanted to revisit an earlier book I read of hers.  I was immediately taken by the stark writing style and how harsh it came off, then how it build up to a point where the instigating incident causes everything to crumble, then go even deeper into the crux of the matter.  How the painstaking, slow rebuilding process is written will allow a new perspective on human nature's way of coping with trauma by, all at once, remembering what was yet not clinging to the "what ifs" that we habitually create.

9)  One True Thing- Anna Quindlen
I have recently penned a review & don't want to repeat it here, but I am very fond of Quindlen's writing and have every intention of re-reading this novel that takes a new perspective on mother-daughter relationships and how judgment is brought to bear against every character, only to be re-examined in light of a slow-building change and questions surrounding its end result.

10)  The Time Traveler's Wife- Audrey Niffenegger
This is likely on many readers' TBRR (to be re-read) list if you were as captured by the uniqueness of this fantasy tale as I was.  I had an inkling before seeing the adapted movie that it could not possibly capture all the intricacies of the writing, and I think most would agree that I predicted right.  The love story of Henry & Claire is tangled up in many complex ways by his uncontrollable, nearly lifelong ability/curse to time travel, yet you find yourself rooting for them to make it work despite or perhaps because of Henry's preview of the future & revisiting of the past.  When the time is right, I will feel drawn to this novel again, and I hope it sheds new light on it the second time around.

Please share with me your top 10 list on this week's topic.  I look forward to reading your responses, too :o)

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