Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Musings - Favorite Books

This week's Monday Musings topic is favorite books. I'm not going to lie - this is going to be a super tough one to narrow down. Seriously - there are so many books I love and for many of them I don't have adequate words to express my adoration.

And don't forget to check out the rest of the Monday Musings crew and their favorite books -
Leigh JonesTess Grant and Lynn Dozema.

Okay - on to the favorite books portion of this post. There is absolutely no way I could list all of my favorite books. I'd be here for a year. Or more. And to be honest, that's not gonna happen. I've got a mountain of email to go through. And also I'm tired. Stupid Daylight Savings Time.

So, in no particular order, here are the books that immediately jumped into my head when we decided on this for a blog topic.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater - I know, I know. I've said it before, I love this woman. Her most popular series to date, Shiver, is probably my least favorite. I don't hate it, but I don't love it with the all consuming love that I have for this book. (And The Scorpio Races.) She perfectly blends the magical and the mundane, myth and reality, creating a world that I feel I could stumble into if I were driving through the backwoods of Virginia - and possibly become trapped in. The characters are deeply flawed, yet still (for the most part) likeable and immensely relateable.I fell headfirst into this story and I didn't want to crawl out.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - Oh this book. This damn book. I love this book. I'm friends with a young woman. Mackenzie is amazing - brilliant, hilarious and pretty much everything I wished I could have been when I was her age. She's the one who finally got me to read The Hunger Games, so I already trusted her judgement, but I held back every time she brought up her favorite author, John Green. From what I knew of John Green's work, it was unlikely everyone was going home happy. And honestly, I wasn't sure I was up for something that was going to break my heart. But at her urging, I read Looking for Alaska. Heart broken? Check. But also heart filled. I decided to give TFIOS a chance. I'm so glad I did. Yes, it's achingly sad. But at the same time, it's insanely hopeful. I sobbed like a damn lunatic reading this book, and I'll likely sob again when I re-read it, but I will always be grateful to this young woman for bringing John Green into my life.

The Wild Wood by Charles de Lint - This is not, in my opinion, de Lint's best work. But it's a book I love nonetheless. I'd originally bought it because I collect books by the artist who illustrated the original version. While I was flipping through the hard-won copy I'd purchased off e-bay, I fell headlong into a story that woke up the writer in me. After I had kids, I'd pretty much abandoned the idea of trying to write. Parenting, while the best thing I've ever done, is freaking exhausting and my thoughts of being a writer went to the land of missing socks and dirty diapers. But this book smacked those thoughts upside their grumpy, tired little heads and woke them up. They haven't slept since.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - First off, this is one of those times where if you ever have a chance to see the movie or read the book, read the damn book. If the movie is your only choice, don't bother. Your time is better spent cleaning the toilet. This book has stayed with me for years, and as I watch the chilling gender biased policies coming into being in our country, I can't help but remember this story with more than a little fear.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare - I have to be honest, I don't know if this book is still good - if it's stood the test of time. What I do know is that in the third and fourth grade, this book was my best friend. I can't tell you how many times I checked it out of the school library. After a while, the librarian gave up suggesting that I return it. She just renewed it every week along with whatever other books I'd chosen. By the time I hit third grade, I'd already been to three schools - that's a lot of moving. And this book gave me a sense of security that I couldn't find elsewhere.I hated leaving it behind when I had to move to yet another school in fifth grade.

Eventually, due to budget cuts, this school had to close it's doors when I was in college. They had an "everything must go sale." I went to check it out, and I was able to purchase the very copy that kept me company for two years of my childhood. It's on my bookshelf. I haven't been able to bring myself to re-read it in case it's not as good as I remember. And I prefer my fondness for it stay intact.

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder - I'm not even sure how old I was when I first read this book. My Uncle Hap gave it to me for Christmas one year. I think I might have been nine or ten. This book was almost as dear a friend to me as The Witch of Blackbird Pond. It was my escape during a particularly difficult period of my childhood. I devoured all of the Little House books, but this one was always my favorite. I wanted so badly to have sisters like Laura and Mary and to live in a house that was hidden away from everything. I spent many nights with a flashlight reading and re-reading that book.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett - This book has caused me almost as much public humiliation as a certain literary novel - not the one mentioned above. But where that book made me sob like a lunatic, this one made me laugh. Out loud. In public. It should be noted that I have an obnoxious laugh - not unlike a foghorn. Maybe I find this book so hilarious because I was brought up Catholic. I think that's certainly part of it. But this tale of the Apocalypse gone wrong brings me to tears every single time.

Okay - what are some of your favorites? Please share - I'm always looking for new books to read! 


  1. Loved The Raven Boys! I've already pre-ordered the second one. I'm going to have to read The Fault in Our Stars. I've been putting it off, it just can't end well. But you haven't steered me wrong on book recommendations yet so I'm going to have to just take a deep breath and do it.

  2. I've so many favorites: Divergent, The Selection, Anna Dressed in Blood, Lord of Darkness, The Sisters Brothers, The Secret Life of Bees, just to name a few. I'm also a fan of Maggie Stiefvater, but my favorite of hers is The Scorpio Races.

  3. I just discovered Terry Pratchett. What a hoot!

    And for turning me on to Maggie, I cannot thank you enough!