Top Ten Favorite Books I Read Before I Was A Blogger

toptentuesday-1I’ve only been blogging for two years and a bit so I read about a billion books before. But it’s difficult to make a top ten list of the 10 best. But I’m definitely going to give it a go. I love recommending great books to other readers and these are books I maybe haven’t recommended before so this is exciting! As always, the Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

  1. John Irving: The World According to Garp. If I have to name one book as my favorite book, this is the one. I absolutely adore John Irving’s books (or many of them, at least) and this one is my favorite. I just love the story of this one tough lady who did something unimaginable and got a child which she raised in a rather untraditional way. I love reading about Garp growing up, his writing, his marriage and children and all the twists and quirkiness which Irving puts into the writing. I simply love this book.
  2. Joyce Carol Oates: Blonde. This is one of my all time favorite books. Joyce Carol Oates is one of my favorite authors and this was the book which introduced me to her. I loved the way she wrote in this one, fictionalizing the life of Norma Jean Baker aka Marilyn Monroe. Loved it!
  3. Haruki Murakami: Kafka on the Shore. This was the first Murakami novel, I read. It is magical realism with fish raining from the sky and guest appearances from Johnny Walker and Colonel Sanders. And lots of cats. Joyce Carol Oates blows me away with her ability to go in and out of her characters’s minds, John Irving with his ability to be a quirky story teller and Murakami blows me away with his imagination and the oddness in this one. I adore all three writers.
  4. Stephen King: The Stand. Stephen King is the author I’ve loved for the longest time. I discovered him as a young teenager, read him for several years, took a break but have now gotten back to Uncle Stevey. And this is his best book. At least his best novel – On Writing is absolutely amazing too. The Stand is one of the best dystopian novels out there, if not the best. I read it years ago in a Danish translation and some years back in the improved – or at least longer – version in English. It’s one of the books that I have thought about several times in the many years between the two reads. Randall Flagg and Mother Abigail are the perfect characters to set up against each other. There is just so much in this book, so many characters to love – or hate. King also impresses me with his story teller abilities – as well as with how prolific he is and how high quality most of his output have (same goes for Joyce Carol Oates of course).
  5. John Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath. I could almost as easily have put East of Eden on this list because both these two are just amazing novels. I haven’t put Steinbeck on my list of favorite authors yet but I think I will some day in the future. The Grapes of Wrath is Steinbeck’s with his social consciousness in highest gear. Writing about the victims of the 30s Great American Depression, Steinbeck manages to both write about one family’s plight as well as the transformation of an entire nation.
  6. Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None. I love this novel. I’m not sure if I’ve ever read anything else by Christie but I’ve read this one several times and I love it. It is such a clever book about a group of people being lured to an island where they are killed off one by one. But by whom? And I don’t even like crime fiction!
  7. Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace. I could just as easily have put Anna Karenia on this list. Both are amazing books and highly recommended. Anna Karenia is more accessible, but War and Peace is at least as amazing – and gives you bragging rights (if you know anyone who cares about this).
  8. Yann Martel: Life of Pi. I adored this novel back when I read it in 2007. This story of a very ressourceful boy being trapped on a lifeboat with a huge tiger just captured my heart. And the ending – it blev me away! I read it back in 2007 so I think it’s about time for a reread as well as time to watch the movie.
  9. Georges Perec: Life – a User’s Manual. This book has been featured on so many of my top 10 lists that it’s starting to be embarrasing. But it doesn’t show up on many other people’s list so I’ll keep mentioning it, hoping others will pick it up and love it as much as I did when I read it back in 2007. It’s definitely not for everyone but I was quite taken in by it and want to read it again. It centers around one apartment building in Paris and the people living there and moves from apartment to apartment to staircase and from character to character. Love it!
  10. Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre. I think it’s time for a reread of this one. I remember loving it, I remember the plot, yet I can’t pinpoint exactly what I love about it. Hard pressed, I would probably admit to loving Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice more but I’m afraid that owes more to the BBC and especially to Colin Firth. And every book can’t have Colin Firth starring in it. Still, I loved this for it’s flawed characters, for it’s wonderful story and beautiful writing. I think I might have to reread this one soon as well!

The worst with writing a list like this is, that you feel like you have missed some obvious books. Books that you adore and love but which for some reason didn’t pop into your head at the moment of writing the list. That said, even if I have forgot some obvious ones, I love these books so they all come with my highest recommendations. And I want to give honorable mentions to a few books that didn’t make the list but which are nevertheless on my list of favorites:

  • Philip Pullman: His Dark Materials.
  • David Wroblewski: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.
  • Alan Moore: Watchmen.
  • Susanna Clarke: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

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Which Stephen King novel is the best?

So Stephen King has written 62 books – novels, nonfiction and short stories collections. 62! Now, I’m a Stephen King fan and I’ve read a lot of his books, but not all. Not all his books are good though – some are really bad. (Tommyknockers, I’m looking at you!). But which Stephen King book is the best?

So at Vulture.com, they decided to make a list of all 62 books – and rank them! So which Stephen King book do they think is the best?

They think Rose Madder is the worst of all his books. I don’t think so – I think it’s an amazing book up to a point and then it’s just … confusing. Tommyknockers – the book that turned me off reading English novels for a while since I thought it must be me being lousy at English that made the book so bad – is nr. 61 and Dreamcatcher is nr. 60. I haven’t read Dreamcatcher but the movie version is on my top two of all time bad movies (the other being Dungeons & Dragons).

Gerald’s Game is at 54. I remember it as having the 2-3 creepiest pages ever. Pages, that it took me days to read. I don’t remember anything about the rest of the book so the ranking is probably okay but those few pages …

The have Christine at 46 and Duma Key at 45. I’m not sure I agree with that. Christine – well, maybe. It was a teenage favorite of mine and I’m looking forward to reading it again to see how it holds up. I really liked Duma Key though – I liked it’s focus on art. I also really like Bag of Bones and I don’t quite agree with it being ranked as no 40.

The Dark Half is no 28 – hm. I love it when Stephen King looks at his own trade as he does in this one and he writes about an author burying his pseudonym at the same time as he gave up his pseudonym. I liked that! And if 11.22.63 is only no 24, well, then all I can say is that King has written some pretty good books since 23 of them are better than this one.

But if they think I’m going to agree with putting Under the Dome as no 12, they are so mistaken. That was an excellent book – but King messed up the ending so badly that it broke the entire book.

This is their top 10:

10. Lisey’s story

9. The Dead Zone

8. Salem’s Lot

7. The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass

6. Misery

5. Different Seasons

4. The Shining

3. It

2. On Writing

1. The Stand

I’ve read 5 of this top 10 and I like them all. I definitely agree with The Stand being the best of all King’s books – and On Writing was amazing and so was Itand The Shining. I’m also okay with The Dead Zone being in the top 10.

You can see the entire list here.

Anyone disagree with The Stand being the best King book?