And we have come to the end of 5 days of 10 books a day! I’ve saved the most challenging category for last. Favorite Fiction of All Time. I am a voracious reader. In the summer it is not unusual for me to go through two books a week. I am typically reading several books at once. So here I have chosen my favorite fiction books. They have their own shelf in my library because they are all books that have made an enormous impact on my life. Enjoy.
- Harry Potter. (Yes, all 7 of them.) by JK Rowling. When I started reading them it was because JE told me I had to and because my 5th graders (in 2002) were obsessed with them. I’m so glad I started reading as I got to be part of a reading revival and a magical journey as three children became grown ups. Along the way I laughed, cried, cursed, and delighted in their every adventure. The books provided deep philosophical questions of good and evil. My favorite, yet most hated, character of all time, Dolores Umbridge, was a source of many interesting corollaries to education reform and standards wonks. In the end, good prevailed and we, a generation of readers, were better for it.
- The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. A LONG read but what a powerful story of a family and its eventual destruction. The anger that seethed in me watching the selfish domineering of Nathan Price and the tears that flowed in me as Adah finally found her voice and strength. A must read.
- The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. So it may seem like an odd pic as it is considered “chick lit” but the character development in this book is outstanding. The arc of Andi’s relationship with Miranda is puzzling, stressful, and in the end, relieving. The movie is great, the book is wonderful!
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. No greater role model than that of Atticus Finch. That’s all.
- Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn. A read from my childhood that made the all time list. I loved this Ghost story as a child and read it over and over again. Written in 1987, it was “new” when I read it but love to share it with my students as the story is timeless.
- The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian (really, any book by him). I have read all but three of Chris Bohjalian’s works. He is my favorite author. It was hard to choose this one over Trans-Sister Radio or The Law of Similars. However, the weaving of the story into madness with Laurel in The Double Bind will enrapture you. The scenes of torture are incredibly difficult to read, particularly as a woman. The ending will leave you breathless.
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The wild life of the roaring 20’s. Love, Deception, and bends in Morality. Yup, Old Sport, you got it.
- The Crucible by Arthur Miller. We read it in 10 grade but it wasn’t until I played a part in the play in 12th that I finally began to see the subversion in Arthur Miller’s work. His critical take on the HUAC juxtaposed as the Salem Witch Trials. Brillance at his best. And of course, the source of a family quote, my last line as old Rebecca Nurse, “I have not yet had my breakfast….”
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Love, Shame, Sin. Amazing and Timeless.
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. A new read for me. I read this just recently and have fallen in love with the author and her works of young adult fiction. Melinda’s cursed beginning to high school and her wretched secret pull at your heart as you watch her bullied inside and out. Her other works including historical fiction books Chains and Forge are well written and would be excellent for the young and old.
(Honorable Mentions: In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Vergehese)
So there you have it. 10 books a day for a “short” week. It has been a pleasure reminiscing in the stacks of my library. What do you like to read? Can you break your books down into crazy categories? Share them! And keep reading.