So, this is my first book list, and it occurs to me that everyone is probably under the impression that I enjoy movies more than books (due to the fact that I have written three movie lists with not a single mention of books….laughs sheepishly). I am actually more of a book person than a movie person and I posted those lists first due to their time sensitive nature. And by this I mean that the start of the year is typically the time to post such articles as anticipated movies, or reviews of the previous year, and I was rather late already. So welcome to my foremost passion and let me know which book is your ultimate favourite?
#10 The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
This novel retells the story of King Arthur through the eyes of the Women around him. It is a wonderful tale filled with deeply poignant notes as well as disturbing ones. Not for the casual reader it nevertheless captures your attention and involves you into the story. Definitely worth a read.
#9 Helen of Troy by Margaret George
This novel is a historical fantasy that takes us into the life of one of the world’s most infamous women; Helen of Troy, often called the woman with the face that launched a thousand ships. The novel explores her life and why she chose to run away, her and Paris’s love, as well as the mindsets of the people around them going through the war. The novel embraces the Greek myths and brings them to life in this wonderful portrayal.
I love this book, as I am a sucker for both Historical novels, and Greek myths. But that is not the only reason, the story is so well written that you feel transported to another era and you empathize with the characters. I for one enjoyed the read tremendously.
#8 Evening Class by Maeve Binchy
This is a story about a teacher of Italian language who touches the lives of her students, enriching and heartening them, all the while she discovers a new love and hope in her twilight years.
This novel is what anime enthusiasts would call a Slice of Life genre. It takes you within the life of its characters who are normal citizens, (for the most part). The magic of Maeve Binchy’s writing is not sensationalism, but realism, her characters feel like real people and the story draws you in completely.
#7 Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
The first book in the Song of the lioness Quartet; Alanna is expected to be a sorcerer, while her brother is supposed to be the Knight. However, both siblings disagree with their paths and switch places, Alanna disguises herself as her brother and rides off in his place to become a knight, while her brother learns the mysteries of magic. Adventures and learning ensue, Alanna paves a difficult route to her dreams and gains some great friend and powerful enemies along the way.
A fantasy adventure that sweeps you along into a rich world and leaves you wanting more; the Song of the Lioness Quartet is the original YA series. Except, it is a much, much better story. Go read it now!!!
#6 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
This is an adventurous tale of a young lad who runs away from home. Most people refer to Twain’s “Adventures of Tom Sawyer” as a great book (which it is) but often don’t mention the better version of the same type of story (this one). Suffice to say that I enjoyed this book way more than Tom Sawyer. It has a rich and detailed storyline that is kind of hard to read at first, if you are not used to the style but easy to grasp once you get going. A rich tale that is full of daring adventure but also a story that takes us into the mindset of Finn and makes us laugh and cry with him.
#5 Wuthering heights by Emily Brontë
The love story of Cathy and Heathcliff, who grew up together on the moors. Cathy is the privileged madam while Heathcliff is a servant boy. Watch as they clash together in a romance fit for the ages.
This is a romance which is dark, complex and ethereal (without having any sparkling vampires). The tones of the book are gorgeous and the character interactions riveting. In this story, you are simultaneously rooting for the protagonists and wondering if they actually deserve each other or not. The slightly gothic atmosphere and the rich romance combine to create a love story that a reader actually feels.
#4 The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Four siblings are transported into a different realm via a wardrobe and have adventures, make new friends, saving the world as they go. Chances are you already know this series; it is a timeless classic, able to entertain both children and adults, and carrying some heavy themes, which make it a better read overall.
Not much more to say about this one, it’s fun and warm, definitely worth a read.
#3 A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
A modern (by Twain standards) man ends up back in time in the Legendary King Arthur’s Court. He proceeds to wreak havoc on the perceptions and technological advances of the time by introducing modern stuff, in his quest to modernize and American-ise the peasants.
This book is a marvelous blend of humor and fantasy, we get to see King Arthur’s era through modern eyes and get quite a few brilliant jokes as we go. It always reminds me of the legendary comedy “monty python and the holy grail” and is well worth a read. (Also, not gonna lie, I do happen to be a massive King Arthur fantasy nerd.)
#2 Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
This is a historical novel, which covers the American Civil War era. It focuses on the life and trials of Scarlett O’Hara a women who is contrastingly selfish and yet completely willing to support all of her family’s burdens. She is one of the most real characters in fiction, and despite her flaws you cannot help but empathize with her. This novel not only addresses serious and meaty topics with grace and poise, but also teleports you into the era and leaves you breathless for more.
For me, I love this novel a lot, it has a rich, complex storyline with some of the best characterization in all of fiction (and I do not say this lightly). It is a more involved read, less easy to get in to than some of the books in this list but so worth it. If you want a book to expand your horizons and help you explore a different mindset, then this is the book for you.
Minor rant here, skip if you like: Okay, so just, because of the book covers, people just assume this is a romance. That’s so far from what this book is all about. Yes, it has some romantic elements, but it is more about Scarlett’s journey and the effect the War has on her life, and on the lives of those around her. It is an entrancing and multifaceted novel which does not deserve to be tarred with the same brush as “Chick Flicks” (not that chick flicks are bad, I personally love some of them, but their perception is what I’m talking about.)
This is the Cover I blame:
#1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter is a young orphan who gets thrown into the Wizarding World and swept into a realm of adventure and magic. He faces great enemies, makes lifelong friendships and discovers his heritage in this fantasy novel that feels so incredibly real, due to the depth of its characters and the engaging world around them.
What can I say about this book that hasn’t been said before? It is my favourite book series and has been since I was 10 years old. I discovered the joy of reading with this book and the entire Harry potter series is, for me, is one of the absolute best and most enjoyable reads of all time. This was the series that turned me into a bibliophile (oh look big word!) and it will forever remain my favourite. It has something for everyone, be you adult or child and even now I constantly re-read it. If you have not already read it, what the heck are you even waiting for?!
And that’s it folks!
Okay, so I’m sad to bring this list to an end, sigh… I left out so many of my favourites in order to cut down the list to ten only, I still feel rather conflicted about whether I should have put Pride and Prejudice Vs. Avalon. But whats done is done, let me know if you would like me to make a longer list with all the ones I left out!
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