Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Top Ten Tuesday: Book Recommendations
Posted by JaneGS
This is my first time doing the Top Ten Tuesday meme, hosted this week by The Broke and the Bookish. I was intrigued by the category because I tend to not recommend books unless specifically asked, though I do give books as gifts, which is tantamount to recommending a book. I recommend books I think someone will enjoy rather than ones I think everyone "should" read, which would be a completely different meme list.
Disclaimers aside, here's my list as best as I can remember in no particular order.
Pompeii, by Robert Harris - I have recommended this book several times (to my husband, daughter, and sister-in-law). I love reading about Ancient Rome, Pompeii in particular, and Robert Harris is a great thriller writer. I have yet to be disappointed in one of his books. One of the best historical novels about Ancient Rome, in my opinion.
Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin - I have recommended this book to lots of people online, but my husband actually is reading it based on my raving about it. So interesting, so well-written and tight in focus and theme. An excellent book about the Civil War, Lincoln, and American politics.
Middlemarch, by George Eliot - I really think this is one of the best Victorian novels around. It has a large cast of characters, something for everyone, an interesting set of stories that both interweave and run parallel, and beautiful writing. Plus, Eliot is such a sympathetic narrator that I find her voice to be kind and gentle despite the very human failings she documents in her story. I don't know how many people have taken this recommendation to heart, but it's on my list when someone says they want to read a Victorian novel.
Cannery Row/Sweet Thursday, John Steinbeck - there is something so warm and quirky and utterly American about this set of novels that I love so much. I find them to be wonderful comfort reads and among my favorite books of all time. I often recommend them to people who want to read classic American fiction and just can't face the thought of reading Moby Dick, or The Scarlett Letter, or even The Great Gatsby.
Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara - I've heard this described as the best war novel ever written. I haven't read many war novels, but it is a fantastic book. In it, you live in the minds of the major players of the battle of Gettysburg, and come to understand both sides of the problems between the States. Excellent book regardless of whether you like reading about war, or history. Compelling and well-written.
A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson - I love his travel books, but I find myself recommending this book over them because not everyone cares for his snarky writing which is mostly absent from this fascinating book about science, nature, the world, society and how things work.
This Organic Life, by Joan Gussow Dye - this book was a game-changer for me. It inspired me to garden more purposefully, eat locally, think about where my food comes from and at what cost, and what I can do about it. Plus, it has the recipe I use for tomato sauce, which I make every summer and which lasts (frozen in the freezer) until my next crop of tomatoes is about to ripen. I have recommended this book countless times when people ask me about gardening, canning, freezing, etc.
Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen - one of my favorite books about Austen's works, hands down. I've read it cover-to-cover 4-5 times, and have loaned it out, recommended it, earmarked it, and refreshed my understanding of Austen particulars with it more times than I can count. Love this book!
Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons - I vividly remember the first time I read this book. I had spent my teenage years reading D.H. Lawrence until finally the melodrama just made me roll my eyes. Years later I discovered this book, and had a rollicking good time laughing at my younger self and enjoying the parody that CCF is. A wonderful book that I have given to most of my siblings to enjoy and is usually a top recommendation to blogger friends.
The Help, by Kathryn Stockett - I have recommended this many times to friends, family, internet bloggers, and anyone who's looking for a good story with interesting characters who face real moral/ethical dilemmas. I enjoyed it immensely, and feel it tells a powerful story about courage, identity, society, family, and friendship.