Tuesday Top Ten

top ten swoonTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists??

So this week’s challenge was to list the top ten books that make me swoon…  The problem?  I’m not really much of a swooner…  So these may not be swoon-worthy so much as great love stories.

  1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – Rudy & Liesel, young, innocent love…
  2. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – Clare & Henry throughout time…
  3. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – Scarlett & Rhett – frankly my dear…
  4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Daisy & Gatsby, poor, poor Gatsby…
  5. Fault in our Stars by John Green – Hazel & Augustus, so sweet & so sad…
  6. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – in all their quirky teenage wonderfulness…
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – And her doomed love for Count Vronsky…
  8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – Catherine & Heathcliff wandering the moors…
  9. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – The tree & the boy…
  10. Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare – Not my favorite, but how can it not be on the list???

The Great Gatsby

gatsbyI read The Great Gatsby in high school and it was OK.  It’s interesting what some years (and I’m not talking about how many!) can do to your perspective because I just finished reading it again and I loved it.  I think the beauty of the book, and the sadness of the story, are wasted on most high school students.  The future still looms far in front of them, full of opportunity and time and chances.  It doesn’t elude them, it’s still in front of them, still something to reach for and achieve.  There is no melancholy yet for their youth, for the chance to be young again and make different choices, to set the path right.

Yet in spite of all that the characters have been through, as jaded as they should be, I was struck in some ways by their innocence.   Gatsby’s unwavering belief in his love for Daisy and its ability to overcome all other circumstances reminds me of the hopefulness that exists in the young.  It’s just that they don’t have any reason to believe differently yet, and Gatsby does.  Even Daisy’s heartlessness and cruelty is wrapped in its own kind of confusion and innocence.  It’s not like she means to ruin anyone’s life…

Some of my favorite moments…

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” 

Not only shouldn’t we judge Gatsby, but we shouldn’t judge Daisy, or Tom, or any of them.  Because there are all kinds of advantages, not all of them monetary, which impact the way people behave.  It reminds me of a conversation I recently had with my kids about my son’s frustration with what he perceives as rampant apathy among some of his classmates – remember kid, you don’t know what their life is like, or what yours would be like if you were them…

And so heartbreaking:

“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.” 

‘Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning ——

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.’

Wednesday WWW

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WWW is hosted by Should Be Reading

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Wednesday WWW

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WW is hosted by Should Be Reading.

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Tuesday Top Ten

top ten forced

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists?? So this week’s challenge was to list the top ten books we were “forced” to read – either for class, a book club, or because some friend insisted that it was the best book ever!  All of mine come from coursework, whether during high school, undergrad classes, or my MLIS classes.  These are the books that I probably never would’ve read on my own, but ended up being favorites because someone forced me to read them! Great books I was forced to read in high school:

  1. East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – I had an English teacher when I was a sophomore who was a huge fan of Steinbeck, and now I am too!
  2. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – Probably my favorite of all of Dickens’s novels.
  3. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare – My first attempt at Shakespeare when I was a freshman in high school, and the first time that I realized how wonderful his stories are, and how readable they can be.
  4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Didn’t everybody read it in high school?  And didn’t everyone love it?
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Still one of my all time favorites!

Great books I was forced to read in my college:

  1. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – The writing is so beautiful and lyrical.
  2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – My first exposure to Toni Morrison’s powerful work.
  3. The Giver by Lois Lowry – This was required reading for my young adult literature course, and became one of my YA favorites.
  4. Maus I & II by Art Spiegelman – I’ve never been into graphic novels, but this was also part of my YA literature course and I was captivated.
  5. America by E.R. Frank  – Another book from my YA lit class, and also the most difficult book I have every read, but also one of the most powerful.