My Top Ten Amazing Books

tenbooksI am an avid reader.   My mother can tell you funny stories about how I tried to eat and read at the dinner table at the same time.  I LOVE to have a book in my hand, and have frequently been found reading under the covers at night.  These days I just do it with my phone instead of a flashlight.  Recently I am addicted to audiobooks and have found that a great book makes even the tallest pile of laundry seem smaller!  I often find myself wandering around my house with one ear-bud in looking for something to clean, because I can't just sit and stare at the wall while I am listening to an audiobook.  I get my books from Audible.com, but more about that later.

I thought each week I would post a list of 10 of my favorite books from a specific genre.  Can I really have that many favorites? YES, YES I CAN!  But to start it off for this week I am going to list my 10 favorites across all genres:) This list could go on and on and on, but I will keep it to ten for today.

And I would LOVE it if you would post your favorites in this category as well, that way we can all come up with some new books to read and enjoy:)

My Top Ten Amazing Books!

Persuasion, by Jane Austen

I never get tired of this old classic!  Pride and Prejudice is a favorite of mine, but there is something special about Persuasion because the heroine is so UN-Typical.  She is quiet, unassuming, and kind.  She isn’t beautiful, or plain- but her goodness makes everyone love her- even if she can be “forgettable”.  They take advantage of her over and over again, and she just smiles and takes it, never judging and never allowing it to make her feel less.  At a very young age she is persuaded NOT to marry the boy she loves because he is not rich or influential.  She is young enough to allow those stronger and more forceful to make her decisions for her, and spends years regretting that, but not depressed and destroyed like modern heroines I will not name.  The book is about how that young man comes back into her life, and how she watches him become the most eligible bachelor, while she is now a “faded spinster”.  Its a slow read, but worth finishing!  This is no “Twilight” insta-love story, but a story about a slow burning, yet long lasting love that withstands the test of many many long years. It also has many poignant lessons about taking responsibility for our own choices.  LOVE this book.

Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson consistently amazes me with his ability to create a new world with new ideas. These worlds not only draw you in with their artistic rendering through words, but also make you think, and challenge some of the very fundamental elements of our society and our ideas, without being ABOUT anything that exists in our world at all.
Elantris tackles the idea of gods that are created from a random happening. They have magic that the rest of society doesn’t have and because of that they are glorified and separated from society. When those same gods start to decline and become ugly and their magic no longer works they are locked away from sight. Not because they are contagious (because they are not) or because they harm others, but because society is scared of them, and the idea that it could happen to them at any moment. What happens when these people are locked away and what happens when someone challenges their depraved way of life is what this book is about- but its also about what happens when someone OUTSIDE challenges the way that those outside think of those inside….confused yet? Sorry- its a very elaborate plot with a beautiful love story. Let me also highlight that this love story is realistic- which I also adore. Its a love that developed from exchanging letters over a long period of time-no “insta-love” here!
Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving by Lorille Craker

Love this book!  The author studies the Amish and the reason they have survived financially sound while the rest of the nation has struggled with a recession.  I got so many great ideas from this book, and it also made me feel good about things I am already doing.

One Second After by William R. Forstchen

This book isn’t necessarily one I LOVE, but it’s one that changed my life.  Its a fictional story that follows a family in Western NC after all electricity in America shuts down. (basically)  Its an intriguing read with realistic characters and scenarios that get your mind spinning, but it also includes science to back up the basis for the story- so it doesn’t seem *quite* so fictional.  I went from occasionally buying a few extra cans of food, to really having a good supply of food to support my family for at least 3 months. I still don’t think an apocalypse is coming tomorrow, but this book really makes you think, and question how you would provide for your family in a time of crisis, whether economic, financial, or personal.  Not only our family, but many we know, have lived off of the food they had stored during times of job-loss, or personal tragedy.

A Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

This is a beautiful story, with a main character who is SO HUMAN and flawed, that you almost want to hate her at the beginning!    You get a unique opportunity to see her grow up and recognize herself and the power that comes from not trying to be what others expect.  At the beginning she is overweight, in the extreme.  She wishes to be thin and willowy, and one of the things I love about the book is that although she does learn not to solve her problems with eating, and becomes HEALTHY, she never becomes SKINNY.  I also love that her love interest loved her before she lost weight, and really SAW her for what she was; a powerful and amazing woman.  This is a fantasy, and has magic and all that- but it also incorporates religion in an intriguing way that I really enjoyed after figuring out the symbolism.

FableHaven by Brandon Mull

This is a children’s book, and it is fabulous.  The first book is very childlike and is written for children, but its a good read for any age.  There are 4 more books that gradually increase in plot complexity and character development, much like Harry Potter.  This series has a unique way of incorporating magic into the real world, and teaching life lessons that every child needs and SHOULD learn, but without shoving it down their throats.  I would recommend reading the first book aloud to your younger children, and reading it with your older ones.

Anne Of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Everyone girl and woman should read this series, they are the standard by which all other children’s literature is upheld.  Whimsical and endearing, you will laugh at and with Anne and her adventures through growing up.  Again, a great read-aloud to your children, and a wonderful audio book to listen to for adults.  This is not a “stay up all night page turner” like you are used to, I know.  But we need more books that make us want to be MORE, to be BETTER, and to make the world a better place.  Reading these books will not disappoint, but inspire.

Uglies by Scott Westerfield

I read the dystopian stuff, since there is so much hype I had to know what it was all about.  If I am genre-hopping I suppose I must include a dystopian novel.  Uglies is by far my favorite.  It lives up to my ideal of really making you think, and question how you view yourself.  It is a more mature read, and I wouldn’t recommend it for YOUNG readers, without adult conversation to guide.  These series cover topics like drugs, and cutting.  They mostly address the issue of beauty and what it really means.  I did love these books, and think they can really open some great topics of conversation.  I much prefer them to some of the more recent dystopian novels.

Holes- by Louis Sachar

This one is really directed towards kids, but what a great story!  This book teaches wonderful lessons, but does it in such a way that little boys won’t even realize they are learning.  The movie is cute, but the book has a unique way of telling the story in a voice that really appeals to kids, and adults alike.

The Count of Monte Cristo- Dumas, Alexandre

Yes, this is a bit more ambitious read than the afore-mentioned books, but it is one of my very favorites!  There are very few books I can read and re-read, but this is one of them!  A story of a man who is betrayed and destroyed completely, who lives his life for the sole motivation of revenge.  The book follows his path to revenge upon those who took everything from him, but shows how he comes to realize completely that revenge does not provide the solace he expected.  Masterfully written with beautiful imagery and characters that you can really believe.  Do not judge this book by its more modern movie adaptation.  The movie was GOOD, but changed the story in many MANY ways.  Both are enjoyable, but for entirely different reasons.  Anytime you are craving a classic- give “The Count of Monte Cristo” a try.

So, there’s my list as it stands at the moment.  What are YOUR favorite books? And why?

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Aleesha Bake - You know Renee, I haven’t read Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, its totally going on my “to-do” list!May 7, 2014 – 12:44 am

Denise - These are some of my favorites as well as a few new ones. Thanks for the reviews! I am always looking for a new good read.May 6, 2014 – 10:46 pm

Renee - What a great list! I always say one of my favorites across all genres is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (and the rest of the books in that series.) It’s probably the funniest book I’ve ever read, and there are decent life lessons, one of the most important being, “Don’t Panic.” Who doesn’t need that written in big letters on the back of all the best How-To guides?May 6, 2014 – 10:45 pm

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