Monday, September 13, 2010
A Writer's Favorite Books to Read
As a writer, I am often asked by readers what are my favorite books, own not included.
This is actually a question I enjoy answering as I have long been an avid reader and have found my life and writings shaped over the years by wonderful, inspirational, educational, and otherwise meaningful books.
I will list my all time top five books in no particular order...
THE FATAL SHORE: The Epic of Australia's Founding by Robert Hughes tells the history of Australia's colonization with British convicts bearing the brunt and Aborigines being the most affected adversely as a consequence. Having always had an interest in Australia and its similarities to America, including its colonization by the British and uprooting of Native Americans, I found this book to be fascinating and enlightening.
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD by Thomas Hardy is a true classic. From published in 1874, it tells the story of beautiful farm owner, Bathsheba Everdene, and three suitors, dishonest and unrequited love, and tragedy. Highly recommended. For honorable mention, I also enjoyed Hardy's absorbing 1891 novel, TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES.
84 CHARING CROSS ROAD by Helene Hanff is a great read from a different era when correspondence (or snail mail) was still in vogue. It is the true story of a twenty year transatlantic pen friendship between a New York writer and a London bookseller. Having always enjoying the art of personal correspondence (though admittedly this has taken a bit hit in the digital age), I found this book to be thoroughly entertaining, funny, and poignant at times. The book was later made into a movie, starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins, as well as a play.
CELEBRITY by Thomas Thompson tells the tale of three high school seniors, a terrible crime committed and covered up, and the reuniting of the three former friends twenty-five years later as the price for past sins must be paid. I found this novel of how secrets can catch up to you no matter how long it takes and what paths your life has taken quite engrossing. Similar novels that captured my fancy include THE LAST CONVERTIBLE by Anton Myrer and CLASS REUNION by Rona Jaffe.
REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier is a wonderful gothic novel that kept me captivated with its passion, suspense, and engaging characters. I also enjoyed the author's mystery novel, MURDER ON THE CLIFFS.
I admit that I have yet to embrace ebooks, having not read a single book on my computer, Kindle, Nook, etc. Though I expect it is only a matter of time before I begin to make the transition, I still enjoy the old fashioned way of reading a good hardcover book while sitting comfortably in my favorite chair or a paperback while waiting for hours at the airport or enduring hours on a plane.
What are your favorite books?
Do you prefer print books or ebooks in today's times?