Alas, we have arrived at fiction! Beloved to my heart. So beloved in fact, that it shall take three days to arrive. Today is part I: miscellaneous fiction. Tomorrow and the next day will be my favorite subcategories of fiction, each with so many titles they need their own post. Enjoy!
Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austin
Illustrated edition. My favorite book of all time. I own four copies, and have read them I suppose at least thirty times. It’s like a comfort object at this point, like watching and re-watching a favorite movie, but in book form. For the record, I’ve never watched the movies because I don’t want to spoil the magical images in my mind of Lizzy Bennet and Mr. Darcy. They are perfection.
Skinny Legs and All
by Tom Robbins
Hands down, the best fiction book I read all year. You will LOVE IT. It actually made me feel better about humanity, at a time when I was pretty sure we were all going to hell in a hand basket.
I’ll warn you (though this may not be your experience) that Tom Robbins books always take a couple chapters for me to get into. But once I’m twenty or thirty pages in, I’m captivated and the way he tells stories is wildly unique and magical.
Harry Potter (Series)
by J. K. Rowling
If you don’t know and love HP by now my words won’t have any effect, I suppose. I have read them all at least ten times, and am re-reading them now (I’m on book 5, Harry just started the D.A.) because I was craving the story. Hogwarts is my vacation home.
The Magicians (Trilogy)
by Les Grossman
My first thought on reading this series was that it was like Harry Potter, but for grown-ups (complete with sex and drugs). The story is so complex and interwoven and multilayered, I wonder how people’s brains come up with stuff like this.
Cry, the Beloved Country
by Alan Paton
This book moved me. It’s so beautifully written, empathetic and insightful, from a perspective that isn’t always heard from. It touches on family dynamics, generational differences, modernization and coming home again.
by Roald Dahl
I love Roald Dahl so much (his childhood memoir, Boy, is awesome) but this is my favorite of his children’s stories. I learned a lot about imagination and fun from this fellow.
The Golem and the Jinni
by Helene Wecker
This one was recommended by my eighth grade English teacher, whose book recommendations are my absolute favorite. I’ve never read a book she recommended that I didn’t like. In this one, a creature made of clay befriends a creature made of fire. I became so attached to these creatures.
The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd
The last time I read this book I was up until 2 in the morning to finish it, sobbing by lamplight as the words on the page spoke soothing tones to my heart. If your soul needs a bit of TLC allow me to recommend this book, a bar of chocolate and a snuggly blanket. One of my favorite gems I think of often: “‘There is nothing perfect,’ August said from the doorway. ‘There is only life.’”
Where’d You Go, Bernadette
by Maria Semple
My most vivid memory of reading this book bursting out laughing in the bathtub, because I couldn’t not. My husband had to come in to check on me to make sure I hadn’t gone crazy or drunk. If you want to know how funny, I’ll just tell you that Maria Semple wrote for Arrested Development, Mad About You and Ellen.
by Andy Weir
Maybe you heard about the Matt Damon movie, which is great but doesn’t hold a candle to this novel. The amount of detail is rich and fascinatingly realistic for a tale that is woven from imagination. I never want to get stuck alone on Mars but I sure liked reading about a guy that did.