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The Naked Page

Author Jamie Sobrato's Diary

12.23.2005

Books We Love to Love

I will admit, I always cringe when people ask me what my favorite books are, or worse yet, who my favorite authors are.

I have trouble with the idea of "favorite authors" because I feel like it puts too much pressure on me or the author or someone to love all the books that author has written, and I really believe that that some of the best creative people can also be some of the most inconsistent. It's hard to be creatively brilliant all the time, and it's impossible to have every book strike a chord with a majority of readers.

And with favorite books, that changes based on my stage of life and whatever message I might be open to hearing at that particular time. Plus I can never remember all the great books I've read, so I'm probably always leaving some important ones out.

Some of my favorite books are memoirs. I realized recently that while I explore the world of fiction, I really have a huge fascination with reality. I adore photography--photos of real people and things--I can sit all day watching people, and I love reading people's real stories in memoir form. So that's why it's not all fiction on my list:

Here's my probable top ten in no particular order. This list is subject to change at any moment based on whatever mood I'm in:
1. Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
2. Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
3. What's Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges
4. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
5. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
6. Naked by David Sedaris
7. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
8. How Stella Got Her Groove Back by Terry McMillan
9. A Widow for One Year by John Irving
10. The Tales of the Otori trilogy (okay, okay, this is 3 books): Across the Nightingale Floor, Grass for His Pillow, and Brilliance of the Moon, by Lian Hearn (and mark my words, these books will be made into movies someday, and they will knock everyone's socks off)

I'm always a sucker for fiction that deals with issues of faith, unusual life choices, or just plain weirdness. I know, I know, not exactly the expected list of a girl who could talk about panties and sex all day, but I guess since I deal with light, fun topics in my own work, I like to read something different in other people's work. I love authors (and books) that can make me laugh and cry, preferably both.

Now it's your turn. List your top ten favorite books, or authors, or both.

11 Comments:

At 6:32 PM, Anonymous bethany said...

Okay I am bending the rules and allowing series as one choice. I might do an author list later, if anyone else does.
Oh and mine ARE in order of importance for the time being.

1. The Lord of the Rings by Tolkein
2. He, She, and It by Marge Piercey
3. Ender's game and sequels by Orson Scott Card
4. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
5. Kushiel's Dart and sequels by Jacqueline Carey
6. The Giver by Lois Lowery
7. The Vampire Chronicles Anne Rice
8. The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
9. The Talisman, IT and the Stand (cheating here, I forgot my Stephen King)
10. A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin
11. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
12. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
Oh, I forgot Stephen King's Dark Tower Series 1-7 I love those.

 
At 8:52 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Okay, Bethany, since your book recommendations are always good, I'll start working through reading your list...very slowly given my current lack of reading time, but I will get to them all! You are the one who told me about The Stand years ago, and I had that on my top ten list but took it off at the last second just because it tied with another book.

 
At 10:41 PM, Anonymous Theresa said...

I forgot to include George R.R. Martin in my list. Brilliant books! I really loved Robert Jordan for a minute, but once you realize the story will never end, I got tired of it. Same with Terry Goodkind, and of course his books are a blatant rip off of Jordan.

I also love Stephen King, but I think he tends to fall apart on his endings. It always bugged me that Penywise ended up being a giant spider. But I loved Needfull Things.

I also read all of the Vampire Chronicles, but I tend to get tired of the gothic style after awhile. Though Poe never got old to me. I used to read a lot of Poe, and nobody does gothic better.

Ender's Game was really good, but for some reason I never got to any of the sequels. I'm reading a book by John Ringo right now called "There will be Dragons" that I think could be high on my SciFi list. So far so good anyway.

But I can tell in general that my taste is a little different than Bethany's. I tried to read the Dark Tower books, but couldn't get into them. And I've tried to read Lord of the Rings three times, but get bored out of my mind each time. Loved the movie though.

 
At 6:30 AM, Anonymous bethany said...

Okay, I have to say that there was no giant spider in the book IT, that was the crappy made for TV miniseries. The ending was a little X-rated, but I though the fact that they were all destined to forget each other and their friendship was very poignant.

Ender's Shadow (Bean's story) is probably a better book than Ender's Game in my opinion.

Jamie since you love reading about relationships I would recommend He,She and It or Tigana. And everyone should read Flowers for Algernon 3 times. I do the short story version with my class.

 
At 8:58 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Okay, I'll try those first. I do still have The Giver on my shelf that you gave me, waiting to be read. I've started it a few times but keep getting weighed down by the darkness of it. I WILL get through it though--when I'm in the right mood for that kind of book.

 
At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Theresa said...

I haven't read IT in years, but for some reason I thought he did use the spider in the book. I'll have to look at that again.

But truthfully, I always felt King had a hard time figuring out how to end his books. I remember reading the Tommyknockers and feeling let down that way. Though I think Bag of Bones ended ok. Obviously, endings aside, I still keep reading Stephen King.

I also tried to read Tigana, but it was another one I had a hard time getting into. But I find that my taste changes over time, so I tend to keep books like that to try again later. Some of the best books I've ever read were one's I've shelved for awhile.

Btw, have you guys ever read Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet? That's a really good historical fiction, most people I've ever talked to who have read it loved it.

 
At 11:25 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Another question you can answer, that is sometimes more interesting than all-time favorites, is what are the best books you've read recently?

For me, Gods in Alabama comes to mind as one I recently could NOT put down. Excellent first novel about a white woman who goes back to her hometown in the deep south, with her African-American boyfriend, to face some dark secrets from her past.

I also recently finished The Time Traveler's Wife and loved it, though it did drag a bit at times. I felt the ultimate progression of the love story was worth getting through the slower parts. It's about a man who suffers from an unknown chromosomal abnormality that causes him to time travel to different parts of his life spontaneously, though most of his travels revolve around spending time with the love of his life, a woman he "first" meets (not exactly true because of the time travel part) when she is a small child and he is a grown man, and he gets to watch her grow up, be her first love, her first sexual experience, and the man she marries, etc. It's a really unique kind of love story and very bittersweet.

A great chick lit novel I recently read was The Big Love by Sara Dunn (?) though I was a little disappointed by the ending. It was still well-written and funny enough to recommend.

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Theresa, funny you mentioned Pillars of the Earth. Bethany gave that to me a few years ago to read. I know she loved it. I didn't get into it right away and set it aside, but I still intend to go back and read the whole thing. There was something dark about the beginning (abandoned child?) that I couldn't handle as a new mother, but I am getting more able to handle dark things again.

 
At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Theresa said...

Pillar's is a tough one to get into, but it's rewarding as you finish it. It does stand up as one of my all time favorites.

I can't think of anything I've read recently that really excited me. I like Greg Iles, and I read his most recent one, and it was good, but not one I'd go out of my way to recommend.

I'll have to go look at my bookshelf and try to remind myself of the really good ones.

 
At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Sherry said...

Okay, it is a bummer that I have no memory cells left which means I can't remember the author the day after I read the book. I say this because I am reading some really great books, but I read so many that I can't always keep up with every name. I think it is the menopausal brain syndrome...

I like some of the big names: Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Anne Rice (the earlier vampire series and as A. N. Roquelaure), Terry McMillan, and of course, I am really enjoying Jamie's books (just finished your last book - awesome!).

Ah, and then there is Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series - I still laugh when I think about chicken and dogs...

I am really enjoying the Blaze line more so than the others, and the new writers are great(I am SO sorry I cannot remember all of your names...I read some many books it is hard to keep up with each of you.)

I tend to stick to genre - contemporary romance, Christian & cultural romance (Amish), erotica (Black Lace), and romantic comedy.

Off to read some new books!

 
At 12:57 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Uh, Mom, the rule is, you're always supposed to list me FIRST as your all-time favorite author ever! You're my mother. You have no choice in the matter.

 

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