Recently I was asked to list my top ten favorite books. I could easily have listed 100, but I did manage to limit myself to the following:
Mixed Marriage by Elizabeth Cadell – a laugh-out-loud story with a timeless portrayal of family. It’s one of the rare books that has me laughing out loud every time I read it.
I Do Not Come to You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani – Remember the flood of email scams from Nigeria? This book gives us a look at the other side – why Nigerians initiated the scams. Read more about it here – http://emandyves.com/etcetera.html
Alphabet by Kathy Page – Ms Page was a writer in residence in a prison in England and this book is a gritty tale of one young illiterate prisoner in a high-security facility. He learns to read and write and begins an illicit correspondence with a series of women. Strong, eloquent, tightly constructed.
A Cup of Tea by Amy Ephron – The writing style is exquisite. Every single sentence is to be savored. Here’s one: “It would be easy to say the war has made us do things we otherwise wouldn’t have.” Another. On the corner, there was still the shape of the woman standing under the streetlight. It was more than an accident of death and a length of pavement that separated these two women.
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett – What happens when the Queen of England decides to borrow a book from the mobile library? So well written and lovely humor. The Queen talking to a servant – “None of his friends liked the dog, ma’am.” “One knows that feeling very well,” said the Queen, and Norman nodded solemnly, the royal dogs being generally unpopular.
Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen by Glen Husar – My little blog story may do justice to this amazing YA novel. I was a teacher and principal in junior high school and this story rings so true. http://ow.ly/pk2CC
Griffin and Sabine series by Nick Bantock – Beautifully illustrated by Mr. Bantock, it’s great fun to take letters out of envelopes and enjoy such great art as you read. There’s a mystery here too. Is Sabine real? Is Griffin a split personality? Or is he crazy?
The Forty Days of Musa Dagh by Franz Werfel – A heartbreaking story of people who try to survive against terrible odds. Gabriel Bagradian—born an Armenian, educated in Paris, married to a Frenchwoman, and an officer doing his duty as a Turkish subject in the Ottoman army— leads 5,000 Armenian villagers to the top of Musa Dagh, "the mountain of Moses." There, for forty days, in the face of almost certain death, they will suffer the siege of a Turkish army hell-bent on genocide.
Clash of Civilizations Over An Elevator In Piazza Vittorio by Amara Lakhous – Wonderful satire of immigrants’ life in Italy. Publishers Weekly says, “Intriguing psychological and social insight alongside a playful whodunit plot, exposing the power of fear, racial prejudice and cultural misconception to rob a neighborhood of its humanity.”
The Blue Castle by Lucy Maude Montgomery. – A gentle old fashioned love story by the author of Anne of Green Gables. Colleen McCullough was accused of plagiarizing this book when she published The Ladies of Missalonghi.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid – Intriguing look into the mind of a young man educated in the US on an international scholarship program. Presented in the form of a monologue, Hamid's second novel and holds the reader intrigued. At the end is the question of "what happened?" and "why ?" as the protagonist, Changez, turns away from success in America to anti-American activity.
Have you read any of these? Did you like them? And, what would your Top 10 list look like?