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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Top Ten Books I HAD To Buy…But Which Are Still Sitting On My Shelf Unread

toptentuesday-1Oh my. I’m definitely guilty of this. I often buy books that I’m desperate to get my hands on – and then, they just sit on the shelf, sometimes for years, before I get around to reading them… It’s silly, really. Or maybe not because the chance of me reading them is bigger when I actually own them than if I first have to go out and buy them. Of course, this approach means that I have a list of 200+ books which I own – and haven’t read yet … So this week’s Top Ten list is right up my alley – the difficult part is actually to narrow it down… As always, the Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

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  1. Erin Morgenstern: The Night Circus. I think I have mentioned enough times how excited I am about this one and how scared I am that I’ll end up not loving it…
  2. Benjamin Hale: The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore. I was so intrigued by this one when it came out. Still am. Just haven’t read it yet, for some reason.
  3. J.K. Rowling: The Casual Vacancy. So this one, like the first two books on this list, are books I put on last weeks list of Top Ten Books at the Top of my Spring 2013 TBR List so hopefully, I will get around to reading this one very, very soon. I’m really curious to see what J.K. Rowling can do with something outside the Harry Potter universe!
  4. Monica Ali: Untold Story. I was so excited about this one that I had my friend buy it to me when he visited Copenhagen and Denmark’s best bookstore, Politikens. Of course, that didn’t mean that I actually read it…!
  5. Margaret Weis: The Dark Disciple Trilogy. Yes. This one is rather embarrassing. Not only did I buy one book and then let it just sit and gather dust on a shelf, I bought three. On three separate occasions. And two of them in hardcover because I just couldn’t wait to read them…! So I now have a trilogy where the first and third volume is in hardcover, the second volume is a paperback (and not even a pretty trade paperback) and I have owned them for years and haven’t read them … Silly, silly me.
  6. Steve Martin: An Object of Beauty. I love Steve Martin. I think he is hilarious. And I’m interested in art and fascinated by the art world so of course I wanted this book. And then – just nothing. Never have gotten around to actually reading it…
  7. Yann Martel: Beatrice and Virgil. I looooooved Life of Pi so when Yann Martel published this book, I had to have it immediately. And then … well, it got some bad reviews and I just never read it. Still want to. Someday.
  8. Per Højholt: Auricula. On September 7th, 1915 at 4.09 pm there was a sudden silence all over Europe. 9 months later, a lot of women gave birth to a child – and an ear. The ears go out in the world and visits artists like Kafka and Duchamp. Højholt spent 23 years writing this book apparently and it just sounds weird and quirky – and I want to read it! Bought it years ago – never got around to doing anything but putting it on the shelf…
  9. Anne Rice: Christ the Lord – Out of Egypt. When I saw this, I was so excited. Anne Rice of vampire fame writing about Jesus. I just had to own it. And since – meh. I’ve kind of lost interest in this one. I hope that I will pull myself together and read it – but it’s not looking good so far.
  10. Ali Smith: There but for the. A man locks himself in a room in the house where he attends a dinner party – and he refuses to leave. Soon, he becomes some sort of phenomenon because everybody want to know about the man who has locked himself in a room in someone else’s house. I think this sounds like a fun plot with lots of potential to turn into something really special

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