Sunday, March 4, 2012

Top Ten Books - the list is completed #6 through #10

I have been surprised at just how long it has taken me to finish this listing, especially given that I did the top 100 songs in 2 days! In any event, the last books are:

#6 Winnie the Pooh / The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne   I did receive these books when I was a child and I read them then but it was not until I was in my 30s and I reread them that I understood the poetry.  These books are actually for adults. You'll find yourself sighing at their beauty and sweetness on every page. 

#7 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck  - the most beautifully written book I've ever read.  I'm glad we studied it at university. It deserves to be studied.  Amazing.

#8 A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving - for me, hands down, the best opening lines every written.  You really must read this.  It could never be made into a movie (at least properly) as the character of Owen Meany lives completely in the reader's mind's eye.

#9 Scandalous Risks by Susan Howatch - this is not a 'bodice ripper'!  It is the first book of Howatch's Starbridge series that I read (it's actually not the first of the series but being a rebel I didn't want to start with the first).  I loved the main character, Venetia Flaxton.  We were friends instantly when I discovered her favourite drink is Veuve Clicquot!  The whole series weaves together stories of various clergy from the Church of England, connected to a English area named Starbridge (which of course does not exist in reality).  I have been very fond of how main characters in one book are minor characters in another book...almost like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.   All books about England have a special place in my heart but this first one about Venetia and how she falls in love with the Dean of Starbridge who is quite a bit older than her.  Extremely well written - don't be fooled by the title or book art!!

#10 Almost any book by Timothy Findley  I'm cheating on this last one because I would be heartbroken if Canadian literary treasurer Timothy Findley was not represented in my top 10 books.  I met him, years ago now, at a book signing...oh okay, more specifically I said a few words to him and him to me at a book signing.  I loved, loved, his memoir Inside MemoryWhen my friend and I got to the front of the line I was positively giddy.  I don't remember what he said but he wrote all over the dedication page of my book - much more I might add than anyone else's book!  I got outside and opened it to read the words of wisdom and wit that I was to treasure for the rest of my life.  What did it say? I have no idea - the penmanship is completely and utterly indecipherable!  Truly!  It's basically a flat line with small bumps...oh well!   You will not be disappointed in any way if you read these selections of his (luckily they are printed and not in his handwriting):
  • The Wars (his masterpiece really)
  • The Telling of Lies
  • Famous Last Words
  • You Went Away (novella - brilliant)
  • Inside Memory: pages from a writer's notebook
So that completes the list!  Thanks to KD Rush  for giving this idea some enthusiastic plugging.  Please do visit his wonderful website to see all the other book suggestions.  As KD says, you will have your reading list completed for the year in no time!


  1. Grapes of Wrath very nearly made my list. Or Cannery Row. I love Steinbeck.
    You know, I've never read Winnie the Pooh? But I did have his collection of poems, Now We Are Six. I was a huge fan of that as a kid. My mom brought it for me when I turned 6. Aww.

    1. Erin, your mom sounds like she was a wonderful person - and she certainly raised a talented, charming daughter. That's lovely she gave you the book when you turned 6. I hope you reread it now. It'll hurt a little but it will mean so much. Hugs and as always thanks for commenting. I always enjoy reading them!

  2. Wow, I'm sorry to say that I have not read any of these. I missed the Grapes of Wrath in school and never picked it up on my own. Although it's been on my 'to read' list for several years, I've just never gotten around to it. Next year, and hopefully I can work a few others on this list in. My blog may be nothing but book reviews next year. ;-)

    Thanks Jo-Anne! Great list.

    1. KD,the Grapes of Wrath will mean as much to you as it does to me. I know it will:))

    2. There are quite a few books that I consider classics that I feel guilty for not having read. The Grapes of Wrath is at the top of the list. It's defiantly on my next reading list.