Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Book Recommondations

When I read a book, I devour it. I lack all self-control in pacing myself. When I get a good book, I can't put it down until it's done, and then I turn the storyline over in my head for days afterwards. I often dream about what I'm reading. Sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night, I lay there recounting the plots to books I read years ago. All of these are reasons that, since going back to work, I have not really read anything for pleasure. Not to mention the fact that I've been knee-deep in reading materials for my classes. But one of my New Year's Resolutions was to read at least one non-school book a month, so I'm working on it.

Please note how sad it is that the English teacher has to make an active effort to read one book a month. But like I said, when I read, it consumes me. Meals, chores, grading, conversation, sleep--they all fall off my radar when I'm reading a good book. My dad and my stepmom have a "reading contest" ever year, and my stepmom won for 2008 with the total of 7 or 8 books a month times 12 months. This is my dream.

My bookshelf upstairs is already sagging with books that I have purchased (or have been given to me) and I am quite anxious to read, although some of them have sat there since we moved into this house 2 years ago, and some of those were on my "to read" shelf at our old house as well. That being said, I'm always on the lookout for more good reads. I am currently in the thralls of Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, which is both so good and so disturbing that I can hardly tear myself away from it to get the girls up from their naps, write this blog, or change out of my pajamas.

Here's my question to all of you--and an excellent opportunity for you to de-lurk by leaving a suggestion. :) What is the best book you have ever read? Why did you like it so much? Why do you recommend it? Leave me a comment or drop me an email to amypfan at yahoo dot com.


Alicia said...

Black Boy by Richard Wright and Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo...and I get to reread them every year because I teach them.

Cathy said...

Anything Harry Potter, I absolutely cannot put them down.

SlyGly said...

Les Miserables by victor Hugo. The stories diverge and intertwine, minor characters become major ones, character arcs rise and fall, and categories of enemies and friends get blurred and confused. There is romance and hatred and revenge and forgiveness and lots of running for your life.

But really, my favorite book is usually what I'm reading right now.

Dorothy said...

Hi Amy :-) I have come out in support of "de-lurking" week. I saw your blog posted on your facebook page.

Anyway, it was actually the question about books week that prompted me to post. You HAVE to read "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger. It is impossible to describe, but so wonderful. If you get a chance to read it, let me know what you think.

Moonwatcher said...

"welcome to the World, Baby Girl!' by Fanny Flagg is such a touching story (stories really). I love that it's written in two different time periods that weave together. I love so much more. I read the rest of the Fanny Flagg books because of it and they are all great but Welcome to the World is above and beyond. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Jenibug7 said...

OMG- I can't choose!! Can I just give you authors?? Ok, I think my all time favorite might be John Ortberg "The Life You've Always Wanted". I think "The Shack" may be tied for #1. Anything by Francine Rivers is phenomenal, but particularly The Mark of the Lion Series. I love Liz Curtis Higgs fiction. Too many to list!!!

Joe said...

Glynnis already mentioned Les Mis...and there are so many favorites to name just one! So...a few of my favorites from the past five years or so:

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

They are all fun, inventive stories, and the writing is super-duper.

Jim said...

I feel your pain. Reading law school text books takes up so much of my time that my eyes can barely stand to read for pleasure. Trust me- reading the law doesn't count as pleasure reading. To answer your question: anything by Terry Pratchett, particularly novels in the discworld series. He basically uses a fantasy/sci-fi world to parody our human experience. Soul Music and Small Gods probably top the list, although everything he writes is good. Making Money just came in the mail today and I'll probably get a chance to read it after finals in April.

Melissa said...

The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver. It's a story that's kind of about nothing but ends up being about everything.

Circle of Friends, by Maeve Binchy. Made me realize that Jack is a human universal.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Diane here. Actually your dad read 87 books in 2008 and I had read only 84, but going by page count, I read a few thousand more pages, so technically we can call it a tie:) Off the top of my head, here are a few favs:

Memoir- "The Glass Castle", Jeanette Walls

Fiction- "Nineteen Minutes", but I love all Jodi Picoult books

True Crime- "The Stranger Beside Me", Ann Rule [I loved all 30 of hers}

Christian- "The Case for Christ", Lee Strobel

Deep Thinking Christian, "Mere Christianity", C.S. Lewis

Most Confusing- "Paradise Lost", John Milton [I'm not done yet!]

Political- "How I Accidentally Joined the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and Found Inner Peace", Harry Stein

Worst book- "Here's the Story . . . " [the Marcia Brady autobiography] In my defense, I liked the Brady Bunch TV series, but I guess being about 5 yrs old when it started, I'm wasn't a great judge of acting. The book is worse than the acting!

And the best part, Amy, you can borrow any of these books!


Ginny said...

Hi Amy,

I love your de-lurking week idea, might have to try it myself, but my blog is much less popular than yours :) and I kind of like it that way. As an English teacher and a mom, I understand the necessity to read for work rather than for your own pleasure. When I do find myself picking up a book at the bookstore, I always think, "Would this be a good book for my classroom library?"

Seriously, though, I've read way more childrens books in the past few years... I think we average about ten new library books each week. That counts for something, right?

One recent read I found powerful, "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak, connected with the Holocaust Literature course I will be teaching next year, haunting.

:) Ginny from Oregon