Friday, October 18, 2019

Let's Talk About: My FAVORITE Books Part 2!

From the comments I received you guys seemed a little surprised/disappointed in my favorite books #10-6, ha. My favorite comment was from Erika who said some of them seemed like 'run-of-the-mill grocery store paperbacks'. Thanks a lot! {grin} Our favorites are what they are and sometimes it doesn't always make sense, I guess! I do think #5-1 will make a little more sense though.


DescriptionIn 1939, as Hitler casts his enormous, cruel shadow across the world, the seeds of apartheid take root in South Africa. There, a boy called Peekay is born. His childhood is marked by humiliation and abandonment, yet he vows to survive and conceives heroic dreams–which are nothing compared to what life actually has in store for him. He embarks on an epic journey through a land of tribal superstition and modern prejudice where he will learn the power of words, the power to transform lives, and the power of one.

Why I Love It: One of my high school English classes watched this movie, and I enjoyed it so much that I immediately read the book and LOVED it. It was such a fascinating story of a world I knew so little about. Years later, I re-read the book wondering if I'd still like it as much, and I did. It really is a powerful read with a great message.

DescriptionScottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord ...1743.

Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of a world that threatens her life, and may shatter her heart. Marooned amid danger, passion, and violence, Claire learns her only chance of safety lies in Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. What begins in compulsion becomes urgent need, and Claire finds herself torn between two very different men, in two irreconcilable lives.

Why I Love It: Yes, I'm cheating and putting a whole series in 1 slot. It's my list, ha. [Now to be clear, that description is just for book 1.] I first read Outlander for book club. I don't know that I would have picked this up on my own otherwise - to me, the descriptions read like a super cheesy romance novel with time travel thrown in. And I'm sure most of you would think that sounds right up my alley but it sounded a little too cheesy, even for me. Well, I'm glad it was chosen for book club because it was PHENOMENAL, and I devoured the other 7 books in the series - I think the shortest story is over 600 pages and the longest over 1,100. Diana Gabaldon is a brilliant author {brilliant overall, she has a Ph.D. and you can tell how much she researches to make these books historically accurate}. She has created a rich, intricate world with characters you want to know so badly! Jennife {who picked the book} and I agree that Jamie is the best male character in fiction we've ever read! Book #9 should be out later this year, and I can't wait to get it!

DescriptionThe timeless, bestselling four-part epic that began with the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove takes readers into the lives of Augustus McCrae and Woodrow Call, two tough-as-nails Texas Rangers in the heyday of the Old West. [The link gives you the summary of all 4 books if interested.]

Lonesome Dove description: Augustus 'Gus' McCrae and Woodrow Call are retired from the Texas Rangers and settled in the border town of Lonesome Dove running the Hat Creek Cattle Company. They are visited by their old friend Jake Spoon, who convinces Gus and Call to gather a herd of cattle and drive them north to Montana in order to start a cattle ranch in untouched territory. Gus is further motivated by a desire to see the love of his life, Clara Allen (nee Forsythe), who now lives with her children and comatose horse-trader husband in Ogallala, Nebraska. On the way to Montana they travel through wild country full of thieves, murderers, and a lifetime's worth of unforgettable adventure.

Why I Love It: Growing up, I remember my dad watching the Lonesome Dove miniseries on TV every year. I thought I hated Westerns so I always rolled my eyes at him, but early on in my dating years with Brent, he made me watch it, and I LOVED it. {The miniseries is also on my Top 10 movies list.} I read all 4 books my Freshman year in college, and it's another set of long books ranging from 500-750 pages, and I fell in love with Gus and Call. The stories of their lives during and after their years as Texas Rangers in the 1800s were fascinating - I mean Lonesome Dove won a Pulitzer Prize, so I'm not the only one who thought so - and the characters had such personality. I've always been proud to be a Texan but this series just amplified that pride so much ha. Sidenote: if you decide you want to read these, the order they were written in - and I think best read it - is not chronological. So you read it Lonesome Dove [written 1st, 3rd chronologically], Streets of Laredo [2nd, 4th], Dead Man's Walk [3rd, 1st], and Commanche Moon [4th, 2nd]. Of the 4, Commanche Moon was my favorite. I think these would be so great to read OR to watch the miniseries which is on Netflix! I love the music so much, it gives me chills every time I hear it. Brent even watched it with Trent last summer, and he loved it too. The miniseries also has a lot of big names in the cast - Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover, Diane Lane, Angelica Huston, Robert Urich, Rick Schroder, Chris Cooper, and Steve Buscemi - talk about a cast!

DescriptionHarry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That's because he's being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he's really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny. [Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone]

Why I Love It: Okay so everyone knew these had to be on here, right? I had never heard of Harry Potter until a Young Adolescent Literature class at A&M that I took as an elective - another thing that should surprise absolutely NO ONE. At that point, the first 3 books were out, and I found out my mom had all 3! She bought them because so many of her elementary students were raving about the series. I ate them up and read them numerous times over the years. I remember when the last book in the series came out - such a bittersweet moment - I couldn't wait to finally find out how Harry would defeat Lord Voldermort, but I was so sad to see almost 10 years of my reading life come to a close. Brent called me during a really critical part and I was bawling my head off and wouldn't talk to him, and he was so annoyed at me. DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND HARRY IS IN MORTAL PERIL??? I've now had the pleasure of deep-diving into the books through the Binge Mode podcast, which is PHENOMENAL, and reading the series with Trent. My love for these books grows year-over-year and I am so excited to read them again with both Drew and Paige.

Starting book 7 with Trent last month!
*second highest # of likes on IG this year ha*


DescriptionThis is the tale of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled, manipulative daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, who arrives at young womanhood just in time to see the Civil War forever change her way of life. A sweeping story of tangled passion and courage, in the pages of Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell brings to life the unforgettable characters that have captured readers for over seventy years.

Why I Love It: My second Pulitzer prize winning book! A sweeping story is definitely the perfect way to describe GWTW. I read this in high school and can distinctly remember being about halfway through and thinking I really needed to savor this book because I had found something truly special. I never wanted to finish it! After I finished, I had an entire wall in my room decorated with movie memorabilia - which honestly I don't like anywhere near how much I love the book. Janet and I even went to a display at a museum in Austin called The Making of Gone with the Wind a few years ago, which was so cool to see. This was the first truly epic book I ever read - where the history, descriptions, characters, plot, everything were so deep and rich, and I fell in love with a fictional world. I can't even imagine what would have to happen in a book for it to take over the #1 spot!

So what do you think of my Top 5? Do I redeem myself from #10-6? Do you have all-time favorite book?? I might have to do 1 more post for some honorable mentions for some books that could have almost made the list! I hope I've inspired you to read one of these books that I love so much - my top 10 list that is actually 25 books. {grin}


Emily said...

I maintain that all your favorites seem vastly different than the books you read now or that I’d expect you to read (exception being Harry Potter). They seem very nostalgic (which is how I am with music; all my favorites are 15+ years old). Like if you compiled a favorites of books you read in the last 5 years, I feel like it’d be a totally different type of book?

Erika said...

I agree with Emily's take above!! Though I don't think these feel as 'off-brand' as the 6-10 selections!! Also, I fully support counting a full series as a single book. Of these, I haven't even heard of Power of One, and that does sound like something that would be right up my alley, so I'm going to check that one out! I've long been intrigued by the Outlander series but have never tried it! Now Lonesome Dove does surprise me a bit more. I don't really think I know many folks who've read these (or talked about them anyway). I don't know if I want to try them out or not, haha. Obviously I am on board with HP. And then I'm there with you on GWTW. It was my FAVORITE BOOK EVER through high school and college and I reread it many times, and I also had an obsession with collecting all the collectible stuff, etc. Now that more time has passed and I'm a little more aware of the problematic depictions and tropes in the book, I question whether I would still enjoy it as much if I read it. I've taken it off my mental top-whatever lists just because I feel like I wouldn't, but maybe I should try and see. At any rate, I do still feel very nostalgic about it!!