Monday, January 30, 2012

In Which I List My Top 4 Fav Books

So the other day on Adam Heine's blog he mentioned his current top 5 books. Which were pretty awesome, I have to say.

I also keep a list of my top books, though for me, I can really only keep a top 4, because after that things devolve pretty quickly into chaos (especially with Harry Potter 3 and 5 both in the running).

But my top 4? Yeah, they're pretty static and have been for years.

I base this list more or less on a few things. How many times I've reread the books (because, yes, I am a person who rereads my favorite books), how many times I plan to/want to reread them again in the near future, and a vague notion of how they make me feel when I'm done reading them or while I'm reading them (short answer, extremely happy)

So, for your viewing pleasure and in no particular order, here is Sarah Ahiers's list of her favorite 4 books OF ALL TIME:

Stephen King's THE STAND

From Goodreads:

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.

And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides -- or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail -- and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.

For starters, I clearly love the apocalypse, and a plague pocy is in my top 3 pocy's of choice (zombpoc naturally being number one, followed by the inexplicable loss of technology poc at number 2)

Not only do I love this book, I also love the made for TV movie as well, which I own on DVD. I love me some Mr. King, and to me, this is his best work. I will read about Stu and Larry and Nick and Tom (M O O N, that spells Moon!) any day of the week.


From Goodreads:

A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly--she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza’s way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lives in their midst, and is determined to get his revenge

I don't know if you know this about me, but i really love ancient history. So a fiction book with Neanderthals? Yeah. I'm there.

I've read this book so many times. I've read all of the sequels (except for the most recent one, yet) multiple times as well, but this is the best one, hands down.

I love to read about Ayla learning how to use the sling in secret, learning about herbs and plants and winning over her entire family, even though she's so completely different than the rest of them. Even the villains in this are not without compassion, and it's hard to hate them when they're just people too, though people very different from Ayla, and therefore us.

And every time i get to the end, I leave heartbroken, wishing things could be different and I want to open to page one and begin reading it all over again.

Man. I wish I was reading this book Right Now.

Marion Zimmer Bradley's THE MISTS OF AVALON

From Wikipedia:

The book follows the trajectory of Morgaine a priestess fighting to save her matriarchal celtic culture in a country where patriarchal Christianity threatens to destroy the pagan way of life. The epic is focused on the lives of Gwenhwyfar, Viviane, Morgause, Igraine and other women who are often marginalized in Arthurian retellings. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are supporting rather than main characters.
The Mists of Avalon is in stark contrast to other retellings of the Arthurian tales, which consistently paint Morgaine as a distant, one-dimensional evil witch or sorceress, with no real explanation given (or required) for her antipathy. In this case Morgaine is cast as a strong woman who has unique gifts and responsibilities at a time of enormous political and spiritual upheaval as she is called upon to defend her indigenous matriarchal heritage against impossible odds

Another thing you may not know about me is that I LOVE Arthurian mythology. I took a crap load of classes on it in college (and in the most awesome one of all, we got to read this book as part of the syllabus. BONUS!)

I love this retelling. Because, again, there are no villains, just people. And though some of the people, even the heroes, make terrible and heartbreaking decisions, you can't fault them for it.

Another one where we own the made for TV miniseries, though it really barely touches the awesomeness of the book (mostly, it just has a nicely cast group of attractive men playing Arthur, Lancelot and the knights. MMMM)


From Goodreads:

It's the future, and most jobs are done by machines. Now that school is over, Lisse and her friends are consigned to a bleak neighborhood for the permanently unemployed. Then they receive an invitation to the Game, which transports them to a paradise. Is it a dream or a computer simulation? Each time they play the Game, the new world seems more and more real...

Remember when you were in school and they used to have book fairs? Which was more or less bringing a bookstore to your school library so you could buy books? I bought this book at a middle school book fair and have read it so many times I've literally worn out two copies and am now on a third. I'd classify this as MG sci-fi dystopian. It's not straight up dystopian because it has an awesome and uplifting ending.
I totally need to read this again ASAP.

So there we have it! My top 4 books.

How about you?

Tell me your favorite books and why - maybe I'll add some of them to my TBR list.


Anne Gallagher said...

Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach. Makes me think. It's also very calming.

When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn. Totally Regency.

People Like Us by Dominick Dunne. Master Storyteller.

Something Wicked by Jo Beverly. True old school romance.

Anne Ahiers said...

man i LOVE Invitation to the Game! And i bet once we read the last Clan of the Cave Bears book it's going to prompt us to go back and read the entire series all over again

Maria Zannini said...

Love Clan of the Cave Bear!

Two of my favs are:

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Vastly different books, but that's the way I roll. :)

Sarah Tokeley said...

I'm with you on The Stand, and how have I never read that last one? It sounds perfect for me.

Austin Gorton said...

i really love ancient history

Not to be pedantic (what? On the Internet?!?) but I think, knowing you like all the caveman stuff, is that you love pre-history. "Ancient History" more commonly refers to the the dawn of civilization up to the fall of Rome (or somewheres thereabouts; it's debatable). So stuff like the rise of Mesopotamia and Egypt and the Greeks is Ancient History.

But I digress...

I too love The Stand, though it's not my favorite King (definitely in the top though). And considering I also love Arthurian mythology, I should really read Mists one of these days.

My top four, in no particular order: Old Man and the Sea, Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, End of the Affair and American Gods.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm sure the book version of Clan of the Cave Bear is far superior to the movie!
I can only think of two favorites off the top of my head - Terry Brooks' Sword of Shannara and Preston and Child's The Relic.

TL Conway said...

I'm terrible with these kinds of lists. Just terrible. But, I LOVED The Stand (tv movie version) and I imagine the book is better.

I'd maybe put The Argonautica on my list. Or The Odyssey. And probably Pride and Prejudice. I'll have to think about some others.

Finally, I knew AJC was amazing and all that, but knowing that he listed The Relic makes me smile. You know, it's one of those books that you don't know if anyone else has read but you really enjoyed it? No? Maybe that's just me...

vic caswell said...

man oh man! i read THE STAND when i was thirteen and loved it... but now i can't remember it (i swear! i have early onset alzheimer's or something)

clan of the cavebear- i saw the movie as a lil'one and loved it, then. but again i can't remember it anymore... but i do have a pre-history story that i've wanted to write since grade 9.

i love arthur, but have never read mists...
and i've never heard of the last one.

so... i think i need to be adding some books to the ole' tbr!

ummm... some of my favorites (that maybe just maybe might interest you given the subject matter of these other ones): city of ember (MG dystopian-ish), inkheart (MG- fantasy-ish), a long long sleep (YA scifi-ish), and hate list (YA contemp- cuz' i'm recommending it to EVERYONE!) :P

later sweatypants!

Angie Paxton said...

Not to be creepy, but I think we might be literature soul mates. Your top three are on my list of top five, not is the same order, but there nonetheless and the whole Harry Potter quandary, I'm with you on that as well except I can't decide between number 4 and number 7.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I've read the first three books on your top four. Interesting choices. I don't think I would make the same ones but I guess that's all subjectivity, right? In my top four would have to be Neuromancer by William Gibson.

Slamdunk said...

You know it is a good book, as you said with Clan, when you get to the end and you are heartbroken and screaming for more.

My book tastes are odd and would not interest many people. I do save an old-torn up copy of Michael Shaara's Pulitzer "The Killer Angels" under the bed that I pull out and read a page from time to time just to be inspired. When someone like film producer Ken Burns, who had no interest in Civil War era history, talks about how the book changed his life--I am proud that at least a few recognize greatness.

Enjoy your day Sarah.

Matthew MacNish said...

Whoa. I'm completely shocked I haven't even heard of one of these. The fourth one. I'll have to look into it.

DL Hammons said...

The STAND is the only one I've read. It was a very good read. :)

Hart Johnson said...

HA! You and I have some common ground on the reading. I've read three of these (all but the last) and The Stand and Mists of Avalon may not make top 4, but they would certainly make my top 10 (I like Cave Bear, too--it just ranks a little lower--I have had both my kids read it): TV recommendation available on Netflix: there is a BBC show called Survivors that is flu epidemic survivors that is pretty darned good--I happen to LOVE this story set-up, and if you are a Stand fan, I suspect you will, too.

Southpaw said...

The Mists of Avalon is in my top books too.

Unknown said...

Clan of the Cave Bear!!!! LOVE that book and just passed it on to my 13 yo son. When he finished, he declared it one of his top faves of all time. Great list, Sarah!

Catherine Stine said...

Chime by Franny Billingsley-voice, mood, plot, setting, all magical!

Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest-master of psychological horror/magical realism, some darn funny characters and scary ghosts!

The Romantics Pankaj Mishra--most gorgeous ill-fated romance ever, set in India

Jesus's Son by Denis Johnson-about a bunch of drug-addled weirdos--just proves that great literary writing can elevate a story to the stars.

The Position by Meg Wolitzer-funny as h*ll-the family fallout from having parents who wrote a similar book to the Joy of Sex (and photographed themselves in the positions). Study Wolltzer for seamless plot.

These are a few of the best.

Catherine Stine said...

I've gotta read The Stand!

Christine Rains said...

The Stand is one of my all time favorites too. I haven't heard of that last book you mentioned. I've got to check it out now. Another of my all time favorites is the Harry Potter series. I love that world.

Lola Sharp said...

Nice choices! I've read (and loved) the top 3, but I've never even heard of that last one. I'll have to read it now.

Happy February...and Happy Birthday Month to you and Anne. :)

Ninja Girl said...

Hey Falen,
I haven't read any of these, but that last one looks promising. Awesome and uplifting ending? For Dystopian??? Yes, please :) Plus, the cover's pretty rocking. Hope you're having a great week!
Ninja Girl

M Pax said...

I've read all but the last one. I really loved Clan of the Cave Bear and Mists of Avalon. Great reads.

Joan Crawford said...

I am reading the Mists of Avalon right now! Now that I wrote it down, it seems like that is only exciting for me!

Sarah Ahiers said...

oh no, it's exciting for me too!
So many great characters in that book

Talli Roland said...

Monica Hughes! Monica Hughes! I love Monica Hughes. I think I read all of her novels, including this one. Yay! I discovered her in school, too.

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