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:
- 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!
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – Probably my favorite of all of Dickens’s novels.
- 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.
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Didn’t everybody read it in high school? And didn’t everyone love it?
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Still one of my all time favorites!
Great books I was forced to read in my college:
- Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – The writing is so beautiful and lyrical.
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – My first exposure to Toni Morrison’s powerful work.
- The Giver by Lois Lowry – This was required reading for my young adult literature course, and became one of my YA favorites.
- 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.
- 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.
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 my favorite books featuring travel, travel of any kind whether it’s airplanes, cars, or by foot – travel across town, through time, or across the world – these are books about travel that I liked.
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – Although I found Gilbert’s story annoying in some regards – in reality who can take a year off to focus on themselves while traveling around the world – I did love the stories of her travels. Her stories of her time in Italy, India, and Bali were amazing tales of what it’s like to become immersed in different cultures around the world.
- Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson – Ginny gets a ticket to London from her deceased aunt along with 13 little blue envelopes that she needs to open at various points throughout her trip. What will follow is an adventure throughout Europe that will teach her about herself and her aunt and give her new perspectives on life.
- The Cliff Walk: A Memoir of a Job Lost and a Life Found by Don J. Snyder – When the author loses his job at Colgate University as a professor, with three kids and another on a way, and receives over 100 rejection letters he ends up building a house in Maine and working as a day laborer to support his family. Both a personal and a physical journey it was a moving memoir.
- Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer – Harrer’s memoir tells the story of the time he spent in Tibet after escaping from the British during WWII. He gains acceptance within the Tibetan culture, ultimately becoming a friend and tutor to the Dalai Lama, fleeing the country with him when the Chinese invaded. A wonderful and beautiful story with amazing insights into the Tibetan culture.
- Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger – One of my favorite novels ever – and if we’re talking about travel why not talk about time travel? This is the story of Henry, a librarian who travels through time (and not voluntarily) to meet up with Clare, an artist who is living a normal life. The story of their love, crossing through time, is told artfully.
- Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – I love Steinbeck and this is one of my favorites. A heart-wrenching tale of the Joads during the Great Depression as they are forced to leave their home in Oklahoma and travel to California to seek their future.
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac – It’s been a long time since I’ve read this book – but isn’t it the ultimate road-trip book? Sal and Dean wandering their way across the country, free, hippies, and all the things that sound romantic until you realize they’re really not? That eventually they tire you out and drag you down?
- Born to Run by Christopher McDougall – McDougall provides an engrossing story about ultra-runners, from scientific research to the Tarahumara Indians in an isolated part of Mexico that run hundreds of miles, to a race between those very natives and the world’s best ultra-distance runners. An interesting story with travels all over the country and an in-depth look at an isolated and private tribe within Mexico
- Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye by Rachel Joyce – Harold is recently retired and living in a small English village with his cranky wife when he gets a letter from an old friend who is dying of cancer. Instead of stopping at the post office to send his response he keeps walking, deciding to walk across the country to deliver it personally. I found the book to be humorous, poignant, and charming.
- Abundance of Katherines by John Green – I have admitted to a love for John Green and this is one of my favorites. Colin, a former child prodigy, has only dated girls named Katherine (and always with a “K”, never a “C”), and has been dumped by all of them, nineteen times. He takes off on a road trip with his best friend in search of a provable Katherine Theorem. What follows is funny and insightful, a story of friendship, love, and figuring out who you are.