6.04.2012

Making the Cut {Fiction}

Oh wow - this was was difficult to keep short. I kept thinking of good books that I would love to read over and over, and then I thought that perhaps I should narrow it down by genre! But in the end, I selected a few of my favorites (and an author or two), and did my best to keep it brief. In the interest of time, I'll jump right into it, okay?

{1}


The Source by James A. Michener
The first half of this book was assigned reading for the Biblical Archaeology class that I took during my freshman year at Gordon College. I finished the assigned section, but was so sucked into the story by that point, I finished the second half over spring break. Since then, I've read this 1088 page book two more times, and am just about ready for a fourth reading. I love how Michener ties in the historical stories with the modern day archaeological dig as they move through each layer, working their way up through time. Well written, interesting, and certainly worthy of the re-read list.

{2}


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
It should come as no surprise that this story is making my list of re-readables. I learned about this book after joining up with Jessica for her Booking It program in 2010. Several of the participants recommended this novel, and I skeptically ordered a copy to see if it was really as good as they said it was. It was even better than they claimed. It took me less than 24 hours to finish the tale of the good folks on the Isle of Guernsey during the second world war. I adored the use of letters to tell the story and the way that I got sucked into the lives of these people who had been overtaken by German soldiers. One reason that it's so believable could be because the premise of the story is based on fact (Guernsey actually was held by Nazis in WWII). This is one work of fiction that is worthy of being re-read and then passed around.

{3, 4, 5, & 6}


J.R.R. Tolkien Boxed Set (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings)
So, the set shown above actually has the Lord of the Ring trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King), as well as the book that started the adventure: The Hobbit. J.R.R. Tolkien was truly a master at his craft. He was a lover of languages who chose his words carefully. I often think of him when I read books that have been written in the last ten years - books that writers fill with drivel and cursing rather than utilizing the bounty of words in the English language. I wonder what he would think about such "works of fiction". I suspect he would shake his head and say that there is nothing new under the sun.

{7}


The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about this book, read this book, or - at a minimum - seen the film based on this book; but just in case you're one of those who have been "meaning to pick it up, but just haven't", then let me use this space to tell you about what you've been missing out on. I'm a big skeptic when it comes to "popular fiction". In fact, when everyone else is talking about a book, that's usually reason enough for me to raise an eyebrow and allow my inner cynic to surface. However, when Jessica put The Help on her 2011 Booking It list, I decided to give it a chance. I don't know how she did it, but Kathryn Stockett managed to get inside the minds of middle-aged, prejudiced, Southern white women, emotionally disturbed, politically-geared males, and seriously funny, scared for their lives, dark skinned nannies and housemaids. She brilliantly captures life in the South for two races, two genders, and two economic levels during one of the most embarrassing times of U.S. history.

{8}


A Skeleton in God's Closet by Paul L. Maier
This book is one of the few stories that I've read where I never saw what was coming. In fact, when my friend recommended that I read it (15 years ago), he actually said that I would want to throw the book away at some point while reading it - and he was right. I just couldn't imagine how they were going fix what they had done in the writing of this story. The twists (especially if you are a Christian) are shocking, but don't give up - read it to the end and I think you'll understand why it made my re-readable list.

{9, 10, 11, & 12}

C.S. Lewis
So this is one of the situations where I simply had to go with an author as a favorite re-read. Rest assured, he'll show up again in future lists, but it's simply too hard to select one or two favorites from his collection of works. The books you see up there include his Space Trilogy (Out of the Silent PlanetPerelandra, and That Hideous Strength), and the complete Narnia collection (although I prefer separate books to one giant book, but they have a good price on it). You'll note that I haven't even mentioned The Great Divorce or The Screwtape Letters but it goes without saying that I would consider those worthy of any list of re-read-ables. Lewis, like his friend Tolkien, was a master at his craft, and any book with his name on it is worth trying - at least once.

{13}

My Man Jeeves and Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
I have to give props to my childhood friend, Beth, for getting me hooked on Jeeves. Although I haven't seen the television series with Hugh Laurie, it's on my list to watch (seriously good reviews on Amazon - has anyone seen it and can you give a thumbs up/down?). The best part is that these, and a whole list of other books by Wodehouse, are available for FREE download to your Kindle (for PC or other reading app, too), so you can try them without spending any money! {Happy Dance} Though, for the record, I think they are worth spending money on because I love the dry sense of humor (very British).

{14}

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Is anyone really surprised that this made my list to re-read? You already know about my life-long love of all things mystery, and because of that recent post, I almost considered skipping this on the  list. But I just can't - my copy has been read far too many times and it legitimately earned it's spot. I only drew the line by deciding to skip listing all of the Agatha Christie books that I have read more times than I can count, but consider this my way of slipping her in as a favorite author as well. The stories of Sherlock Holmes and his faithful friend, Dr. Watson, have never failed to give me a pleasant afternoon, especially when there's a cup of hot tea close at hand. 

I told you, it was hard to keep this "short" and I'm still missing so many of my favorite works of fiction, but this should give you a bit of an idea of the types of books that make my re-read stack. 

What would make YOUR fiction list?


For more book recommendations, make sure you check out the June Booking It post that Jessica is hosting at Life As MOM.

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There are more than 400,000 words in the English language. My only request of you is this: Use them wisely.

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