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Book lists: how social media improves my life

December 12, 2013

Recently I got tagged in the Facebook game of “ten books that stuck with you” or “the first ten books you think of” or whatever, and I decided to call my list “ten books I love” and then, of course, listed eleven because who can deal with such arbitrary rules?  I am not ordinarily a list-maker when it comes to books. As we all know, it would be easy to make ever-so-many-more-than-ten lists of different kinds of books that “stuck with us” or that we “love” in different ways, or even that we thought of and remembered how much a part of us they are when someone else mentioned one.  So in the end, I think, it’s worth making a short list occasionally, and sharing it with friends who might not have read all of the books you think are worth reading.

The other thing that happened to me recently on Facebook is that I took a quiz about how many children’s books I’d read, and I’d read all but three. One of those I wasn’t interested in (Hugo Cabret. It has pictures. Tell me what’s so wonderful about it besides the pictures if you really think I should read it). Another is a tale from another land, more easily available now than in days gone by (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon). The third one I hadn’t heard of, and it turned out to be one of my favorite kinds of children’s books–it has a protracted happy ending, lots of animals who are important to the plot, and a holiday theme.  The book is The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge. If you haven’t read it, find it and remedy that.

Here’s my list for what I called “The 10 books I love thing,” in case you like an occasional short list as much as I realized I did when I saw one from a friend who had Anne Carson’s The Beauty of the Husband on her list, which made me think that if she likes it and I haven’t read it, I’d better get on that! Certainly these are books I love, but they are also the first approximately-ten books I thought of, books that are a part of how I see the world:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway
A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy

Let’s bring a little of the carefree social-media feel to the blogosphere–feel free to list a few books you love in the comments or on your own blog (with a link to this post, perhaps?) and let’s continue advocating for just a few of the many books that have made us the madly enthusiastic book lovers we are!

29 Comments leave one →
  1. December 12, 2013 12:32 pm

    I’m hopeless with lists and the like, especially when asked to name books at short notice. I was at a presentation today where we were asked what the first book was that really moved us. I mean, I’ve been reading for over 60 years I can’t remember which order I read those great books in back then and certainly not on the spur of the moment. The interesting thing about your list is that it contains one of my all time favourites and one that I simply can’t cope with to save my life. Which just goes to show how individual readers are.

    • December 12, 2013 12:40 pm

      A lot of folks have been going back to children’s books for the ones that first “moved” them. That would be a list of its own, for me!
      Now I’m intensely curious about which one you can’t cope with, and which one you love.
      I know there are a lot of people who can’t cope with Wuthering Heights. I love it, though, and am unrepentant.

  2. December 12, 2013 12:44 pm

    Oh, The Invention of Hugo Cabret really is a terrific novel. It’s beautifully told, in both words and pictures, and well worth reading. Better than the movie, I think. And Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is also actually quite innovative–it’s a modern novel that links together a number of traditional tales, but in a contemporary way. And, unlike most children’s books, it is almost equally interested in the parents’ story as the child’s. I think you should put them both on your list!

    • December 12, 2013 10:32 pm

      Okay. It’s not too hard to talk me into reading a children’s book; for one thing, it doesn’t take long.

  3. December 12, 2013 1:44 pm

    I like the nuances of slightly different wordings of what the list is supposed to be… “stuck with you” is different from “influential” is different from “love” is different from “best.” If I gamed the system just right, I could probably make all four lists with no overlap. 🙂

    • December 12, 2013 10:33 pm

      Yes, that’s what I was thinking… I could make ten lists! Although I wouldn’t go down the road of “best.” That way lies madness.

  4. December 12, 2013 9:01 pm

    I have been reading Watership Down to my ten year old son, and it has been going well.

    • December 12, 2013 10:34 pm

      My kids read that in middle school, so I haven’t reread it as an adult.

  5. December 12, 2013 9:10 pm

    Back in 2007 I did something like this… I called it the Top Ten Books Bloggers Can’t Live Without and then I did up a list with the top ones from all the lists that people sent in. I actually considered doing it again last year or so because there are so many bloggers around now, but I never got around to it…

    • December 12, 2013 10:35 pm

      “Can’t live without” –there’s another interesting category!

  6. December 13, 2013 11:16 am

    Another one here who has read Hugo Cabret. The pictures are beautiful, yes, but so is the story and they way the pictures and text combine to tell it.

    Some favorite books of mine that popped into my head: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    • December 16, 2013 10:44 am

      Okay, okay about Hugo Cabret. I think sometimes I just get irritated when adults gush over a children’s or YA book. Stupid to let that make me miss something good, though.
      I like the first three that popped into your head, all British!

  7. December 13, 2013 2:27 pm

    Ha — I just read The Little White Horse, too, for the same reason, and also loved it. I restrained myself from giving it to Maddy, who was supposed to be writing a paper but was herself deep in The Blue Sword.

    • December 16, 2013 10:45 am

      But it’s holiday-themed, to some extent, so you can give it to Maddy when she gets home next week! I’ve already pushed it on Eleanor, who had as good a transatlantic flight as one can expect and made it home before the snow and ice got too bad.

      • December 16, 2013 2:08 pm

        I’m so glad she made it home easily! (Or as easily as she did, anyway.) It must be great to have her home. Yes, I think I will give LWH to Maddy — she will love it. I may stick it in her stocking.

  8. December 14, 2013 8:10 pm

    Oh, I loved The Little White Horse. And also Hugo Cabret — it’s creative story telling. AJ introduced me to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon — he read it in school last year.

  9. December 15, 2013 6:17 pm

    All but three, really?? I’m so impressed. I had read maybe 79 of them, although some of the ones I didn’t read were books I’ve avoided by choice. Like Johnny Tremain. Screw that book! I theorize that it is terrible!

    • December 16, 2013 10:47 am

      My third grade teacher read Johnny Tremain out loud to us every day after lunch one winter. I loved it. I lived for that half-hour.
      And yes, Ron and I have always loved and collected children’s books.

  10. December 17, 2013 3:45 pm

    I attempted this ‘Ten Books that Stuck’ list but I couldn’t remember one of the titles or author and then I went on a goose hunt trying to find it so the list remains, incomplete. One needs to be in a good mood to do this, I think. (and I only scared 30 on that kid’s books list. Very disappointed that Ralph – the Mouse and Motorcycle book wasn’t listed.)

    • December 17, 2013 5:57 pm

      One of your books didn’t “stick” hard enough! There are lots of other book quizzes at the site where I got the children’s book quiz; one of them might be more to your liking.

  11. December 19, 2013 2:31 pm

    ditto on hugo. it’s delicious.

    this post may finally spur me to do the 10 book list…

    • December 20, 2013 8:23 am

      Do the list! Think of it as recommending the books you love to other people who will read them!


  1. Books we love most | Necromancy Never Pays
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