Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Top List: Books

A lot of my friends read books. I mean, like, read them because they love to read. I think book lovers generally just find each other. I'm fairly non-discriminate in friends that read. Just read. And love what you read and tell me why. One of the great joys in life is sharing something I enjoy with another human, and having the same interaction back at me.

I thought I'd make a list of books I find myself always recommending. Just a list with a few thoughts. I'll leave the reviews to the experts.

My all-time favorite of forever book is . . . .

Those of you that know me will not be surprised when I say "Rebecca" by Daphne du Maurier. It's haunting and romantic and beautifully written. Some of the characters are a bit flat until you realize that's the idea/purpose. And I love when I finish a book and I can keep thinking about it and it keeps my brain engaged. Ten points to anyone that can tell me the main character's first name.

For other book lovers . . . .

The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde, starting with "The Eyre Affair." Any author that can bring together time travel, literary detectives, dodos and
master criminals is awesome. And frankly, anyone else that gets the punny name "Millon de Floss" is going to be one of my best reading friends. Other favorite punny names: the villains Jack Schitt and his half brother Brik Schitt-Hawse.

"Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" by Robin Sloan has only one flaw for me: it's too short. I love the characters and the melding of modern technology and old-fashioned hidden secret conspiracy. It's a relatively recent addition to my bookshelf and I'm glad it's there.

"The Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins is a story told from the viewpoint of several different characters, but unlike other multi-narrator novels, each of the narrators in "Woman in White" only carries the story once for several chapters and then it shifts to another narrator. It's a mystery and a love story and even has an evil count!

"Gentlemen and Players" by Joanne Harris tells the story of a boys' school from two different points of view - a veteran teacher that has been teaching at the school for many years and a new teacher that had been at the school as a child. Be prepared for an awesome twist. I hit the twist and was suddenly flipping back and forth trying to figure out where I had missed something.

"The Two Faces of January" by Patricia Highsmith is one of the lesser known novels by a master of crime novels. "January" tells a crime story from the viewpoint of the criminals. There is no mystery; you know exactly who did what and when. "January" tells the story of the criminal self-destruction. It's set mostly in Greece and surrounding islands, but not the sunny and bright Greece I always picture.

"The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster is my favorite children's book and probably fed my love of puns and riddles. Milo, bored with everything, finds a toy car and tollbooth in his room and, driving through the tollbooth, finds himself in another land. His adventures take him through Digitopolis and Dictionopolis, from the Isle of Conclusions (you can only get there by jumping... get it?) to the Castle in the Air. One of the most beautiful sections is when Milo meets Chroma and his symphony of sound.

Next time you read a book that you love, or if you have an old favorite, please send it on to me. Or at least tell me what it is.

In knitting news, stripes are still big with me. And the next project will progress from striped color to striped texture. Keep it up, stitchers.