If I had a million dollars, I'd build you a school.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My Five Favorite Books of All Time

This post by fellow edublogger The Scholastic Scribe reminds me that I have promised on couple of occasions to post my top five books list. Now that we are into summer reading season, it seems like a good time to follow through. I have previously written about the books I think students should read in school. These books are my personal favorites, and not necessarily things I would require in school.

One Hundred Years of Solitude
I know a lot of avid readers who have found this book too much to get though, but every time I read it, I find something new to love about it. It is one of those books that contains something to satisfy every part of my love of reading, and the prose is just magical, even in translation. If I was trapped on a desert island with only one book, this would be it.

Midnight's Children
For me, Salman Rushdie is the best author writing in English right now, and this is his greatest work. Winner of the Booker of Bookers as the best book to win that award in the first 25 years of its existence, it tells the story of the 1,001 children born between midnight and 1:00 on the night of India's independence from Britain, each born with a magical ability; and especially of Saleem Sinai, born at the stroke of midnight, whose ability is to communicate telepathically with the other 1,000 children. It's another one of those something for everyone kind of books.

The Lord of the Rings
Long before Peter Jackson made them hip, I grew up on the ultimate fantasy nerd classics. I first read these books starting back in elementary school, and have long since lost track of the number of times I have read them. My best association with them is reading them aloud in the car to pass the time as three friends and I drove through much of Italy, Germany and France over a two week period back in grad school. The fact that we were still friends after that many hours in a Ford Focus is a testament to the power of fiction.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
My mom gave me this book this year for Christmas after hearing Junot Diaz interviewed on NPR. Somehow she thought that a book written in a mix of English, Spanish and Spanglish (yes it's a different thing from the first two) about a hopelessly romantic, nerdy kid who loves Dungeons & Dragons and The Lord of the Rings would resonate with me. She was right. Winner of this year's Pulitzer Prize, this is one of the few books I read before it won a major award.

A Prayer for Owen Meany
A small kid who speaks only in capital letters, a love/hate relationship with the game of baseball, life in a New England boarding school, and a narrator who has moved to Canada, but can't break his addiction to ranting about American politics, what more could you ask for. I first read Owen Meany in high school, and it's been up at the top of my list ever sense.


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Melissa B. said...

Oh, I love Owen Meany--100 Years, not so much so. Lukewarm on Lord o' the Rings, but I'm going to check out the other 2! Thanks for sharing--BTW, don't forget my Silly Sunday Sweepstakes tomorrow--I've got a pretty funny snap this week!

Josh said...

I read Oscar Wao before it was published! (It's published by Penguin, so there was an ARC laying around the office.) It's pretty amazing.

This list reinforces my desire to read One Hundred Years of Solitude and Midnight's Children, both of which were already on the to-read list.