Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cristi's Top 10

Lolita: I think this book will remain one of the most endearing, heart-wrenching and honest love stories throughout the entire history of civilization. I'm not kidding.

The Great Gatsby: This novel is so entertaining. It also takes place in an historical and cultural context that I have always found fascinating. I'm sure that at any moment if I picked up this book to simply browse I'd end up reading it again without putting it down.

Sometimes a Great Notion: Ken Kesey is not one of my favorites but this book is chock full of fascinating characters, warped logic, tragedy, reasons to be hopeful, and beautiful Oregon scenery! I particularly liked that he gives voice to different characters under no particular rule or pattern... The story is so rich and alive.

To the Lighthouse: If I had to choose someone to be the author of every book that was to exist on the planet, it would be Virginia Woolf. Her style is so original that everytime I read something of hers I find myself thinking "Yeah, this is cutting edge!" yet this one was published in 1927. Her narrative feels intimate yet complicated and peculiar, which I find so compelling and relatable.

Cold Mountain: by Charles Frazier. This is such a great read. This one came highly recommeded to me and though I thought it was going to be ultra cheesy I started reading and was immediately drawn in, particularly by the detailed descriptions of each setting. Frazier's writing is so good and I loved each of the sub-plots along the character's journey home.

The Awakening: Kate Chopin. This was probably the first book that I read without stopping. I couldn't put it down. In fact I seem to remember my inability to look up from it causing some major ruckus between Mich and I when we were in high school!? I still think about it occassionally and remember feeling like no one had ever written a female character like Edna before Chopin.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Milan Kundera. This book is just so good.

Extremly Loud and Incredibly Close: Not only is this story gut-wrenchingly sweet and also sad, it is hilarious. I was giggling or laughing out loud every five words. If there are post-modern sub-genres, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" could fall under Extremely Endearing works. I usually find post-modernists' use of other media a tad gratuitous or uninteresting, but his seems entirely appropriate given the hero's age. There is a generation of kids with a bottomless pit of information accessible to them. It is interesting to see how the boy uses this information as a medium in his process of coping.

100 Years of Solitude: Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Of course, an epic. I love the language. I love magical realism. I love that this book is also so deceptively simple. I will read it many more times before I become any closer to understanding the depth of Marquez's craftmanship.

Catcher in the Rye: This book is like Gatsby, for me: a classic, well-written novel that I'll read again and again. And of course the teenage angst element was particularly compelling over the years.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Dan's Top 10

So my list is definately more teenage books because thats what I read, but I do have a few classics on here.
Like Lisa's these aren't in any particular order.
Harry Potter!! Definately! My favorite is the sixth, couldn't really tell you why, maybe because of all the romance -when you keep reading you'll see I totally dig chic books : ) - Anyway, I can't wait for the 7th!
The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown: This guy writes like its real, and it really pulls you in. I couldn't put this book down. It has less gore and grossness than the prequel (Angels and Demons) so I like it better, besides that it's just better : ) It has a lot of cool history and its set in Italy mainly so that makes it interesting. And the scenes in the Louvre are really interesting.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd: A sweet story of a girl saving her "stand-in mother" from jail and going to live with 3 sister bee keepers. The three women teach her about life, especially the life of her deceased mother. It's a great mother-daughter-sister kind of book.
Pride and Prejudice: A classic with my favorite things romance and hunky guys. just kidding about the guys thats only in the movie : ) Anyway, I love Mr. Darcy after you find out he's really not a jerk : ) I was a litle bored of this book at first but after around the middle it seemed more interesting and now I love it.
The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix: These books are fantasy/magic/dead coming alive kind of books and they're really good! Cheri, I would definately recommend them to your older children. They're kind of creepy but I don't think they would get nightmares or anything. Anyway, the main character is a girl named Sabriel and her last name is Aborsen but that is more of a title than a name. Before she was the Abhorsen her father was. The Abhorsen is someone who fights the alive/dead things. It's kinda of a complicated plot, so just take my word for it, its good!
Little Women: Again another chic classic. I love Little Women!!! I cry every time Beth dies, in the book or movie. The book is a bit different than the movie (I know it should be the other way, but I've seen that movie too many times) but it still is a great story.
Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez: Lisa thanks for giving this to me!!! This is about Anita de la Torre, a 12 year old in Dominican Republic. Her family is involved in a secret, i guess you could say, society working to overthrow the country's terrifying dictator. The things she writes in her journal have to be erased directly after they are written so as not to incriminate family members because almost daily secret police search her home for evidence. Her family is forced into hiding and finally escape to America. There theri life is better but there is still a tragic loss that alwaays makes me cry. This book is really good. I can't even describe! It's just really good. : )
Anne of Green Gables (along with Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island). Super cute. Anne is so funny and I just had to keep reading because in every book I would be waitingfor her and Gilbert to get together and they never would! : ) The movies are pretty much the same, but I still liked the books alot.
Ender's Game: Probably the only science fiction book I have ever read, but it was way sweet. INTENSE! Ender Wiggin is a genius! I really don't like the people that run everything, they aren't very nice, but Ender makes up for it by saving the world!
The Keys to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson: This is also a chic book but its pretty appropriate for this blog. Its about 3 sisters. 2 of the them really fall apart when their dad dies, so the middle sister has to be the mother becuase their mom has to work ALL the time. So the book is about there personal struggles but in the end they come closer to each other and she gets the guy and all that jazz. It's really good.
So thats my ten! Sorry if I made it too long! Love you guys lots, danlee xoxo

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Lisa's Top 10

Well, let's get this party started! Here's my top 10 (in no particular order):

The Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien): It's hard to imagine anyone not loving this book, fantasy geek or not. It’s a great piece of literature—universal in theme, epic in scope, and I dare anyone to find a fictional world more thoroughly and brilliantly brought to life than Middle Earth.

The Mill on the Floss or Middlemarch by George Eliot—I couldn’t pick. Middlemarch is the better book, but The Mill on the Floss was one of the first Victorian novels I read as an English major, and it solidified my decision to focus on the 19th century. It’s a tragic novel that demonstrates the powerlessness of the unwed Victorian woman like no other.

Except this one: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. This novel, like many of Edith Wharton’s, is about a woman struggling against rigid social conventions (you'll notice a theme here...). The language is remarkably beautiful (if you’ve seen Martin Scorsese’s Age of Innocence, you know what it’s like to read Edith Wharton), and the heroine, though she really screws up, is sympathetic. I love Edith Wharton, and this is my fave.

Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck How did I get through six years as an English major without reading this book?! I just finished it a few weeks ago, and if I had to pick the American novel, this would be it. The language is so poetic and rhythmic--totally unique--yet I can't think of a more hard-boiled representation of America’s “have-nots.” The Joad family’s insistence on human dignity, no matter how desperate their situation, is the book’s most compelling theme.

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. I’ve read quite a bit of Latina "chic lit" in my time, and this one stands out from the crowd. Earthy, magical, and wildly passionate. Super fun to read.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: I haven’t read this one since high school, but it’s stuck with me all these years. A must read for kids from 1 to 92. Well maybe 12 to 92. It’s an inspiring story about a quiet hero standing up to injustice while his children learn not to judge Boo Radley by his creepy cover.

Persuasion: This is the first Jane Austen book I ever read, and it remains my favorite. Anne is her best protagonist, I think. She is older and wiser than Emma or Elizabeth Bennet, and such a good soul you can’t help but root for her.

House of Spirits: Isabel Allende is a prolific author, and not everything she writes is particularly good, but I really loved this book—her first novel. Wonderful, strong (and strange) female characters colliding with a tyrannical patriarch—what could be better? This book is powerful and totally captivating.

Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston A book about a black woman’s quest to discover herself and to live on her own terms, not as one man’s mule or another’s ornament. It's a rich and reflective novel, and an unusual love story.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville: I had so many girly books on my list I thought I better throw in something with a little more testosterone. Moby Dick is one of the most impressive books I’ve read. Even though I didn’t find it all that gripping, it’s really REALLY cool. Captain Ahab’s mad quest for revenge against the white whale is a great story, and the historical details of the whaling ship alone are (surprisingly) interesting enough to make the book worth reading.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Well here it is... our book blog! Any suggestions on formatting? If there's anything you'd like to change, just email me.

I thought Cheri had a great idea to launch with our all time favorites, so why don't we all make that our first post. Should we say Top 10?