This week, I thought I’d share with you my top 5 favorite books. These books, out of all the books I’ve read and will read, are the ones I still remember and that I reread multiple times. They are not, however, listed in any particular order.
Here they are:
- 11/22/63 by Stephen King. King’s tale of a schoolteacher who goes back in time to attempt to stop JFK’s assassination is part horror, party fantasy/sci-fi, and part romance. It’s also an interesting theory on the “what if” that has always surrounded JFK’s death. King’s books are always rich with detail, creating worlds that often feel as real as our own, but in 11/22/63, I feel he created a depth to the real world that goes beyond what he does with his fictional worlds. I was not even born yet (and wouldn’t be for a little over 15 years) when JFK was killed, but when I read this book, I feel like I’ve been there. I feel like I’ve gotten an amazing glimpse into the world as it was, into an era that I was never meant to live in. It’s going to be a series on Hulu, too.
- Fried Green Tomatoes by Fannie Flagg. This is both a book and a movie, and I adore both. The movie is far different from the book in some ways (the relationship between the two main female characters, for example), but each has it’s own wonderful qualities. Fried Green Tomatoes, the book, is the story of two women in the 1930s, who love each other and are simply trying to live a life together. But there is much to stop them: an angry and jealous husband, racism, the gossip of a small town. But there is much to keep them together, too: a baby, their cafe, and of course, love. There’s not much I can say without giving away too much, if you haven’t read the book already. If you haven’t read it, you should. You may think if you’ve seen the movie, there’s no need to read the book, but trust me, there is. There’s more depth to all the relationships in the book, more details, and you learn about more of the townspeople in the book, and it all adds to that small town feel.
- Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts. This is another that is both a book and a movie, and again, I adore both. The movie tends to follow the book pretty closely, though there are some differences. Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd star in the movie, and while I think Natalie pretty well fits what I pictured the main character, Novalee, looking like, Ashley was completely different than I pictured her best friend. Where the Heart Is is the story of a pregnant seventeen-year-old, Novalee, who is abandoned in a small Oklahoma town by her boyfriend and baby’s father. She has no money, no family, and no friends, so she does the best she can to try to survive and figure out what to do with her baby. When her baby is born, she’ll find friends and family and so much more. If you want a feel good story that will tug at your heartstrings and make you cry right before it makes you smile, this is the perfect book.
- Lisey’s Story by Stephen King. What, you thought you’d get away with me mentioning only one King book? Ha! Lisey’s Story is part horror, part romance. King manages to, as Nora Roberts put it, break my heart. It is more romance than horror. Lisey has been a widow for two years, after her husband Scott died suddenly. It is only through Lisey that we meet and get to know Scott. She’s finally decided that it’s time and she’s ready to sort through his papers, as well as her memories of their twenty-five year marriage. We learn about Boo’ya Moon, the place where Scott lived in fear and also got some of his greatest ideas. We see Lisey attempt to face not only her own demons, but Scott’s as well. She has an interesting courage that allows her to face things that I don’t think everyone could. Although he’s never said so, I think that this might be an imagining of what King thinks his wife might face if/when he dies. It’s a unique take on what happens to those left behind when we die, that’s for sure.
- Original Sinners by Tiffany Reisz. Okay, so I’m cheating a bit here. This is actually a series of books, rather than just one book. And, I suppose, if you want to get technical, you could even say it’s two series, because there’s the Original Sinners, which is the first four books, and then there’s the Original Sinners: The White Years, which is the second part of the series, but takes place before the first four books. Still with me? Okay, good. Now, here’s the thing about this series: it’s not for the faint of heart. The Original Sinners series is erotica, with some hardcore BDSM. And, well, how do I put this delicately? There’s some other stuff that might make you a bit uncomfortable, particularly if you’re Catholic. I don’t want to say too much more, because I don’t want to give away the whole plot. Original Sinners is, in my opinion, what 50 Shades of Grey, wanted to be. Only it does it so much better than 50 Shades could even have considered. Now, let me add that I am not into BDSM and honestly, for a long time, couldn’t even fathom how someone could enjoy pain. But that’s what I think is so great about Reisz’s series – because after reading it, I get it a little bit. I still wouldn’t want to live it personally, but she wrote it so well that I can understand why someone else might.
So, those are my top 5 favorite books (well, okay, top 11, I guess). These are the books that I come back to when I want to read something familiar, something I know I’ll enjoy, something that has meaning to me.
What about you? What are your favorite books? Have you read any of these? Do you like my choices, or do you think some of them were awful books? I’d love to hear your thoughts!