Tuesday, June 21, 2011

10 on Tuesday: ten books you would recommend to a friend

This is a great topic! Since I actually can't come close to narrowing it down to ten books, I think I'm going to cover this over the next few days... but for today, I'll talk about ten general-reading books I would recommend. While a few of them have supernatural elements, these were all sold out of the "General Fiction" section at my local bookstore, rather than being in a genre such as SF/F or Horror. (Actually, a couple of them are nonfiction... go figure.)

1) The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - this book is truly stunning, amazing, and life-altering. I actually have only reread it once, because so much of it makes me cry, but I still remember much of it by heart.

2) Persuasion by Jane Austen - this is the first "classic" novel that I truly enjoyed reading. I also adore the movie.

3) Sandman by Neil Gaiman - this is actually a series of graphic novels. Start almost anywhere. I don't actually recommend #1 because the series got much better after that; I think #8 ("The Sound of her Wings") is a very good place to dive in. This is tragic, literary, funny, transgressive, and amazingly moving.

4) Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond - this is actually nonfiction, but so grippingly told that it's better than most fiction out there. Have you ever wondered why Europeans ended up dominating the last few thousand years of history? Hint: it's not because they're smarter, it's because they had better natural resources.

5) The Red Tent by Anita Diamant - this book makes the Old Testament come alive. It's the second thing I ever read with my book group and love of it kept me going through 4.5 years of lousy books choices after that, until we moved away.

6) The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova - this novel is a love letter to the vocation of the historian, in addition to having vampires.

7) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows - one of the few epistolary novels I've truly enjoyed, and a love letter to the avocation of being a reader.

8) Fledgling by Octavia E Butler - another vampire novel, but so moving and personal that it transcends the genre. I am so sad that Ms. Butler passed away before she could write more in this series.

9) The Master Butcher's Singing Club by Louis Erdich - a gorgeous, unexpected, moving novel about immigrants, love, and World War II.

10) Atonement by Ian McEwan - I didn't see the movie because I loved the book so much. I don't think anything can compare with the twists of Part II and Part III, as the truth of the betrayal slowly gets laid out.

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