Saturday, October 27, 2007

Favorite books

Disclaimer: I apologize that none of the titles are punctuated correctly, but for some reason this computer will not allow me to italicize or underline in Blogger.

David's mom recently made a list of her favorite books for someone, and I thought that it would be fun to do the same for my blog. Books have always been a huge part of my life: my parents read to me religiously when I was little, and as I have grown I still enjoy reading.

Mostly, I enjoy realistic fiction books. When I was in high school, I took it upon myself to become really well-read, which meant that I spent most of my money buying books from the "Classics" section in bookstores. This carried into my two majors: Classics and English, where I focused on World Literature. Now I have a big book collection that is finally nestled in three bookcases in our house. Now I feel like I have read many of the Great Books, but I have nobody with whom I can discuss them since my husband is a fantasy fanatic. Boo.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett- This has always been one of my favorite children’s books. I love the character of Sara Crewe because she was always so optimistic and creative.

The Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder- The best children's book series written. Ever. Plus, they are beautifully illustrated.

The American Girl Series- There are lots of books in this series, but I learned a lot of history from Felicity, Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly (yes, I am that old: those were the only American Girls when I was little).

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech- This book is about Salamanca Hiddle and her struggle with finding her mother. I love this book but hate reading the ending because it makes me sob every single time! If you have never read this book, you should sit down with it (even as an adult) because the writing is beautiful and there are many wonderful themes.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll- This book is an act of creative genius. I love it. And the movie does not even come close to doing the book justice.

Franny and Zooey, Nine Stories, and J.D. Salinger’s other books- Franny and Zooey is about a brother and a sister grappling with religion and their place in the world. It is amazingly written: I have not read it in a while, but I believe that the entire store takes place within a span of a few hours. Nine Stories is a collection of nine stories (bit of a surprise, huh?) in which the characters (again) grapple with their place in the world. J.D. Salinger is hard to explain—you kind of have to read his stuff and from there acquire your own interpretation of his works.

Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen¬- Beautifully written and beautiful books. I enjoyed reading them so much…they are mostly easy reads.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera- While I was in Prague, I made David read this book with me and we would discuss it via e-mail. I think that one of the reasons why I love this book is because it is set in Prague during the Communist era. It is also infused with philosophy, which I love. The recurring theme of the book is whether humans should choose to live lightly or heavily. Again, even though it is translated, it is beautifully written and invites the reader to examine his or her own life from a different perspective.

Night by Elie Wiesel- This book is about a young boy’s journey through the Holocaust and its aftermath. Again, I cry throughout the entire book, but it is so worth it.

Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky- I took an entire year of Russian Literature and this was one of my favorite books that we read. I especially enjoyed the look into the mind of the main character and how he suffered with the tension of murdering another.

Anna Karenina by Tolstoy- This book was my other favorite from the Russian Lit class. I remember loving all of the characters and not putting the book down until it was finished.

On Free Choice of the Will by St. Augustine- I am Catholic, and I really wish that more Catholics (and anybody else interested in the religion) would take Medieval Philosophy. It was a wonderful undergraduate course and really helped me understand the roots of many of the church’s teachings. This was my favorite text that we read during the semester.

The Symposium by Plato- This was one of my favorite books to read during my undergraduate education. My first read was for a Greek Literature course, so it was just really fun to read and discuss the book on a more superficial level. The second read was for a Greek Philosophy course, and I really enjoyed learning how to understand the philosophy. If you decide to read this book, I would highly recommend getting some sort of supplement to aid your reading, because it will be much more interesting!

The Aeneid by Virgil- Unlike many of the other foreign books on my list, I have had the privilege to translate this work myself. And let me tell you: it was amazing. Being so engrossed in such an ancient text was a wonderful experience, and I would highly recommend it to anybody. However, if you are not into learning Latin and translating this book, I would still read it because it is full of adventure and a wonderful story about the founding of Rome.

Strength Through Peace¬- This is a collection of essays that generally focus on how to lead a more peaceful life. It was so interesting to me to read about how violence is such a large part of our mindset, whether it is going to war or even thinking violent and negative thoughts. It has many different sections and really promotes a pacifist point of view, but I would recommend it to almost anybody who enjoys thought-provoking literature.

The Bridget Jones Series by Helen Fielding- This is a fun set of books that I love. Right now I am re-reading the second book again. They are so easy to read and also hilarious—I literally laugh out loud while reading them. The books are about Bridget Jones, a young, single woman living in London. Not everybody would find them amusing but I love them.

The Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella- This is also a group of “fun” books. Becky Bloomwood, a loveable but sometimes not-so-good-in-the-common-sense-department character, struggles with managing her checkbook, getting married, finding out she has a sister, and having a baby in this series.

Welp, there you have it: a very long list of my favorite books right now. It is three pages long, but I certainly enjoyed compiling my list! What are your favorite books?


kisa said...

I love book lists! And even though I am a so-called "fantasy fanatic," I have read several of these and agree that they are splendid. Of your choices, I think that Pride and Prejudice, Little House on the Prairie, and On Free Choice of the Will are my favorites.

kathy said...

Abbie, I am so glad you wrote this post! My sister was just making fun of me for keeping a book listing and describing all the books I read and listen to! She said I must be the only person who does that, but it is a big enjoyment for me. Most of your books are over my head, but this very
week I am listening to and enjoying again Little House in the Big Woods in my car!