Saturday, July 9, 2011

What is your All-Time Favorite Book?

I have not been attending my book club meetings of late. I can't even remember the last time I read a book. Actually, that's not true. I can. It was this past January, while bed-ridden after an unpleasant C-section experience. The book was Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom", which, if you have seen the sheer size of the book, kept me occupied for most of my 6-week recuperative period. That was it. The last book I read. I have still been buying books, mind you. They're just piling up higher and higher on my bookshelf.

One of my three overflowing bookshelves

I have always loved to read. Anything and everything. Chick-lit, biographies, contemporary fiction, memoirs, classics. I was one of those kids who would hide a small flashlight in bed with me so that I could catch up on the Famous Five's latest adventures under the covers when I should have been sleeping.

So why am I not reading now? Well, it's because when I read, it usually takes me a while to really get into a book, and that means I want to be reading more than just a few chapters in one sitting. It's hard to do that now until my baby boy is fast asleep, at which point I'd rather be watching bad reality television or stalking my favorite blogs.

According to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll:
- In one year, the typical American reads four books. 
- One in four adults reads none.

I have always prided myself in making the time to read more than the average person but this year I am way behind. I had better get a move on it if I hope to even hit the average. That means I have 5 more months to read another three books. So, I need three amazing reads; no time for duds, and that's where you come in. Your all-time favorite book. A loaded question, I realize.


I'll start it off by listing my top 5 favorite books. So here goes:

1. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
- This book was my class reader in the 11th grade. I am so glad it was because I don't think I would have read it otherwise. I love the whole 'Count of Monte Christo' throwback. The thwarted love interest protagonist returns, richer and more powerful,  and attempts to win the society woman he loves who had rejected him for his lowly social status. All set in the backdrop of the decadent excess of the 1920s. Love Fitzgerald!

2. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
-Magical, fantastical, bizarre. I think that's all I need to say.

3. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
- I have read this book so many times and it never gets tiresome. I love how the author infused such individuality to the personalities of these five exceptionally strong women. You read the book and can almost immediately relate to one of them.

4. The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen
- I love reading about dysfunctional families, and have no qualms admitting it.

5. Palace Walk - Naguib Mahfouz
- Naguib Mahfouz is probably one of my favorite writers. This book is the first of a trilogy, and in my opinion, his greatest book. A family saga, it is full of vivid characters, drama, intrigue, and political themes, literally transporting you into the heart of Cairo.

Honorable mentions in the books I have read more recently (in the last year):
One Day - David Nicholls
Little Bee - Chris Cleave
Freedom - Jonathan Franzen

Question: Now it's your turn. Do you like to read? What are your top 5 favorite books? Or if you have one, what is your all-time favorite book?