Monday, May 13, 2013

in which I ramble for hours about my favorite books

Please be warned before starting to read this post:

This is a subject I can fully expound on, and I have, so please be warned before reading this, I wrote on and on and on, and this is crazy long. So please be sure to have enough time and a cup of tea/coffee handy, because you will need it. :P Or, your other option is to skim through some of them and find the titles that interest you. Personally, I would opt for the last option. ;)

Recently, a lovely sweet amazing girl (aka Hannah Elise,) who also happens to be one of my very favoritest people on earth, requested that I do a post on my top ten favorite books. Thank you so much Hannah for forcing me to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. It was awful. Trying to pick a favorite book, I have heard, is almost like picking a favorite child. So, favorite ten books, is like picking your favorite ten children in the world… Devastating, because it’s almost certain that you’ll leave out one of the best.  Ahem… anyway… :) (No, actually, she knew I was having huge inspiration leakage in my brain right now, and I wasn’t coming up with anything creative to post about, so she was trying to help. ;)  So without much more ado, I present a long post about books. Because I’m a bookworm and a writer. Welcome to my world. Enter only if you are willing to get lost in worlds that don’t really exist, and fall in love with fictional characters. You must also be willing to have your heart broken many times, and learn to return to your own world on occasion for necessary things like eating and sleeping and the occasionally housework.. Welcome to the world of Words and Manuscripts. Enjoy your stay, my friend.

     Ahh, books. They become friends when yours are all busy with growing up and life in general, comforting when you’re sad, calming when you’re angry, real when you need an escape, painkillers when you just want to scream. Everything about a book is special, mesmerizing and captivating; from the particular smell that always accompanies opening a book, to the way the pages sound as you turn them. Books are beautiful. (Unless it’s Twilight or some other disgusting story that someone with a very sick mind thought up. Then it doesn’t deserve the title of Book. My very humblest apologies to those of you reading this who actually likes those and other books like them. I am extremely blunt about my opinions when it comes to stupid things, especially movies and books. If someone is going to go to all the trouble of writing a book, editing and publishing it, I believe that it should be worth reading. Not worthless trash. There’s my opinion. I rest my case. J )

     I have no idea how many hundreds and hundreds of books I have read over the last ten or so years since my mama taught me to read. I do know that I have always burned through books at a ridiculous rate, and that sometimes, my parents took away reading for punishment, because that’s what hurt the most.
     I started this year by making a 103 in 2013 list, and one of the things on the list was to keep a list of every single book I read during 2013. haha hahahahaha. Sorry. It’s just that, me even thinking that would be possible is funny.  It was impossible, and I knew that when I wrote it on the list, but I was dreaming big. Really big.  WAY TO BIG. J  Besides, if my mom were to know that I read 500 books or something in 2013, I think she might faint. And that would probably not be a good thing. So, I shall not keep a reading list of all the books I have read this year.
     Instead, I love to buy my favorites, so that I can go back and reread and reread the books that deserve my affection.
     So… I hate that word. I tend to use it all the time to move on to a new topic, and every time I use it, it drives me insane. I need to sit down and actually figure out a better way to move on, so that I don’t have to use so anymore… J
Behold, I present, in no particular order, and completely unable to say which is best, my list of 10 favorite books. Hannah, you must understand how grueling and complicated this assignment has been. Be warned, I am going to try to think of something equally hard for you. *evil laugh*

10. Little Women.- Louisa May Alcott
     Just where does one start with this master piece? How does one go about summarizing in a few sentences or paragraphs one of the most amazing works of literature of all time, not to mention one of the best loved books as well. Louisa May Alcott must have been a very interesting woman, and I would have dearly loved to meet her and her family. I wonder what the real Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy were like. Jo is such a real character, one you can identify with and I suppose that is why people love her so much. She has problems, faults, and she does the most ridiculous things, but through it all, she doesn’t lose sight of herself, who she really is. She is always doing most unexpected things, saying something awful (Christopher Columbus!!), and writing about things she has no idea about. And she never seems to be able to grow up at all. And then she had to go and turn down Laurie and marry the Professor. Honestly, that breaks my heart every time I read the story, even though I know I should love him. I just have issues with young girls marrying old guys, you know? It always creeps me out. But other than that, this books simply delicious, and I cannot tell you how many times I have read it. All the way through, and bits and pieces here and there when I am in the mood for something in particular. Jo is truly one of my bestest friends. And Laurie. Let’s just say that I will never get over Laurie, not if I live until I’m 102. J

9. They Love To Laugh – Katherine Worth
     This book has always been one of my favorites, and my mom’s too. I think she reads it once a year, (or so.J) and I read it typically twice, and then read my favorite parts all the time. It’s a simple book, not at all like Dickens, or Dumas’s work, but the sweetness of the story pulls you into itself, and you find yourself emotionally attached to the sixteen-year-old orphan and the sweet Quaker doctor and his family who takes her in as a daughter. You find your heart breaking into pieces when Martitia believes her love is lost on a man who could never love her, and finds herself the cause of Doctor David’s financial problems, although he would never dream of telling her that. And then on top of it all, oldest brother, Jonathan, is in love with the perfect, (but big nosed) Quaker in the closest bigger city. The woman who can do everything and never seems to make a mistake. And, to top it off, she can talk politics with the best of them. You find yourself chuckling at the Feast of the Dog, and the boys who never seem to cease to tease her.    
     This book is sweet, simple and captivating.

8. October Baby – Eric Wilson
     This is a recent favorite book. I watched the movie first, and when I found out that there was a book out as well, I knew it would be fantastic. Everything about the book is amazing, and honestly, if you’ve watched the movie and like it, read the book. There is so much more there. They explain the back-story more, and there’s more emotion, (if that’s possible. The movie is pretty emotional! J), and it is very well written. I don’t read many modern books, because it is just really hard to find good, clean, well written books that aren’t corny, (excuse the ridiculous word, please!), and are worth reading. Most modern writers are writing junk, because that’s what people are willing to spend time reading, and their books fall into the Twilight section. (See paragraph two of this article, line ___. J)
     Everything about Hannah is down to earth and real. She’s hurting, angry, confused and stubborn. And in love. And one of the things I love most about this book, that in the end, she finds herself; the real person she is and is supposed to be. She realizes that life is beautiful, even through all the pain and confusion. And she learns to let go. That’s what I love about October Baby. That and Jason + Truman. They’re both pretty cool, peeps.

7. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
     Jane. Sweet, honest, innocent Jane. And hurting, forceful, broken-hearted Mr. Rochester. They’re the perfect couple, once you get to know them (and the lunatic wife dies of course.). My mom doesn’t like this book, because she says it’s creepy, but I haven’t ever noticed the creepiness. (Let me know your opinion on that subject, yes?) I love when writers allow you to feel the pain, and confusion and heartache along with the character. Because that means that they are a wonderful writer, gifted and excellent at what they do. (A Side Note: I have had some disappointments with Charlotte and some of her other books. I don’t think she wrote as well with some of her stories, and she was a little predictable as well, but still excellent with some of her work.) Jane is just the sort of person I fancy I am. An introvert, not breathtaking gorgeous (haha), a bookworm, simple, and capable of loving deeply. J Yes, Jane and I get along just lovely.

6. Christy – Catherine Marshall.
     Christy. You want to know why I love this book so much? Because it’s so beautiful, I suppose. No, not the cover or pages, my copy is plain, and red (which is a color I don’t particularly love.) And the font is boring, and there aren’t any pictures or decorations at all. But it’s beautiful. The people, all of them, are beautiful and so raw. Fairlight Spencer, who delights in running off to the woods and finding the beautiful simple things, leaving dishes and laundry behind, because they just aren’t as important as the beauty that waits to be discovered. Dr. Neil McNeil. *Swoon*. The man who was sent to Scotland to follow his dream of Medicine, yet came back to help his backwoods people. The man who is complicated, blunt, and angry at God for taking his wife and child away, yet works tirelessly on the things he set out to do. Alice Henderson. The woman who has a right to hate, yet learned to forgive, and works tirelessly to bring help to the stubborn people who need it most, even the guilty. Christy Huddleston. The girl who gave up being a pampered rich girl in Ashville to teach school, at the age of nineteen, in a one room schoolhouse, with 69 students of all grades. The girl who begins to understand what it means to help people. The girl who is confused, and naive, and holds Alice on a pedestal. 
     Yes, this book is beautiful. And so thought provoking.
5. The Harvester – Gene Stratton Porter
     Let me just state right here up front, that this book is breathtaking. And the way romance stories should be, not rubbish like Twilight and Nora Robertson books. (Refer to Paragraph 2 line ___ J) You have a man, David, who is a herbalist, a man who earns his living by gathering herbs and roots in the woods and dries them, and then sells them to druggist all over the country. (Pharmacists. Not druggies. J) This is his living, instead of normal things like accounting or farming, because he loves being able to help heal people. One night he has a dream. A girl, tall, with dark hair and amazing expressive eyes, comes to him, and gives him a kiss. Not your stupid average peck of a kiss, mind you, but a real, take your breath away sweet kiss. David, or Harvester, as he is called, realizes he must find her. Just a little while later, he sees her. But she is thin and sick looking. He loses her, and is unable to find out who she is and where she lives, but he starts to remodel his home, making it beautiful and fit for a bride. He spends extra time on her bedroom, making it the most beautiful thing you can imagine. He orders clothes and everything a girl could ever dream of, (now that he has seen her and knows approximately how tall and wide she is. :). He eventually found her, but she is scared, she can’t understand why this man would help her. Besides, her aunt is dying because she no longer has the will to live, and her uncle is angry and abusive. Harvester begins to help her, slowly and gently, making sure he doesn’t scare the 24-year-old girl.  Then her aunt dies, and she is left with an abusive Uncle, with no one to turn to, and very sick. David wants to help her, and having no other option, he asks her to wed him, explaining that he would have waited and courted her properly if there was any other way to keep her safe, but the wasn’t. He then explains that he will give her one year to fall in love with him, after marrying her, basically having her as an honored guest in his home. And if after that time she still does not love him, he will release her from her vows. Ruth agrees, having no other option to turn too. She is too sick to try to live on her own.
     I shant tell you any more of the story, because it really is too precious to sum up. But I will tell you that your heart will break, but that is what is wonderful about books, really.
     I just love this book. The raw emotions and sweetness.

4. The Count of Monte Cristo. Alexander Dumas.
     I shall not go into all the details of this story, because it is 1,200+ pager, but I will tell you that if you ever want a very interesting revenge story with the cleverest plot changes and characters, than this book must be read!! I must say that I have only read it once. But because of its length, I am sure you will forgive me for adding it to my top favorites list. J It is strange, I’ll admit that, and perhaps the revenge is not exactly Christian-like or proper, but honestly who can blame Edmond, really. Who can be angry with him for the hate that fills his heart? No one can truly judge him, after all that he suffered.
     Please put this wonderful work on your reading list and enjoy it immensely. And get yourself lost in the world of Edmond, ‘kay?

3. Shepherd of the Hills – Harold Bell Wright.
     There’s actually a movie of this, and guess who stars as Young Matt? John Wayne. I have yet to see it, but I think John would fill the part perfectly of the Young Giant. Young Matt is huge and strong and caring, and he loves Sammy, the beautiful, extraordinary, tall woman. Just tall enough for Matt. Or, that’s what he thinks until Ollie Stewart (the slimy little city boy) comes along. ;) He isn’t worthy to touch the ground Sammy walks on, and Young Matt knows that, but for some reason she is engaged to the guy. But a shepherd, a very, very strange shepherd, makes his way into everybody’s lives, changing the way they think about things, and Sammy becomes his pupil… And I’m not going to say that everything turns out all right in the end. Because we have an entire gang of creepy guys, and two dads that don’t make it and leave their kids behind, and one of those children doesn’t live until the end of the book. But despite the sadness, this book is priceless. The story is stirring and rich.  They may be backwoods, but they are profound and full of love. This story truly is a masterpiece. I highly recommend all books by Harold Bell Wright. Shepherd of the Hills has a sequel, The Calling Of Dan Matthews, which I highly recommend as well, although not quite as highly as this book. My copy is 105 years old, and falling apart, but I will never get rid of it. It will be one I pass on to my kids. J

2. Emma- Jane Austen
     Again, where does one start with a book like this one? Emma is probably my favorite of Austen’s characters, out of the books I have read so far, because she is so very obviously flawed. She makes some terrible mistakes, but Knightly sticks with her through it all, coaching and scolding her the whole time. But through the book, Emma begins to see that her decisions bring problems, and her meddling hurts people. And she stops, because she changes. I really appreciate that Jane didn’t make Emma perfect in every way, and then get the amazing guy because she’s so perfect. Emma was wrong, and she realized it and she changed her behavior, which is more than I can say for other ones of Jane Austen’s characters. (Northanger Abby. *hint hint* ;)
     So I love Emma and I adore Knightly. Because he is so sweet and wonderful. And I don’t even mind the fact that he is quite a bit older than her even a little bit!!!

and 1. Little Dorrit- Charles Dickens
     Amy Dorrit is the perfect heroin. She is sweet, selfless, and sweet. And Arthur is another man whose difference in age with Amy I don’t mind a bit. He is to amazing. And I haven’t read the book in a while, or else I would really expound upon it, and unfortunately I don’t own it at this time. (Hopefully that shall be remedied soon!! J) But I love that her sweetness doesn’t change while she was in the prison taking care of her father, or when they finally had money and went to Europe and were rich people again. I also really love the different characters that Dickens uses to tie the story together. It gets sort of crazy when he introduces the three hundredth character that pertains in the end, (that may be a little exaggeration. ;) and when you get to the end of the book you understand everything perfectly and every single character makes sense and the book wouldn’t finish right if they hadn’t been there. Dickens was a very clever writer, very, very clever.

And so there you go, Hannah. J I must admit that this was exhausting and difficult and only took me over three hours, but I think it was worth it, because it helped me put down on paper (internet…whatever)  why I love books so much, and why I love certain books so much. So, (there’s that awful word again!) CONGRATULATIONS to anyone who actually made it all the way through. There should be a prize. J

     Now that I have rambled and rambled for hours about my favorite books, I am extremely curious what books my readers love and their reasons behind those books. I would love to read your comments about favorite authors and books. And you certainly don’t have to get quite into as many details as I did. I just couldn't help myself, you know?

     And while you’re commenting, does anybody have any modern authors to recommend, who are very clean, yet write well? I get burnt out reading the classics all the time, but have a lot of trouble finding any modern authors who are still clean. (I.E. people who talk in plain English all the time, and don’t go into as many details as Charles Dickens.J)

Okay, have a perfectly lovely day, my dears!!


  1. Wow! I'm so popular I have my own tag line now! :)

    In reading through the first paragraph: I was so flattered and happified that you called me such nice names. And then I got to the second sentence, and I suddenly realized that you were probably being sarcastic. Hannah is crying now.

    In reading through the bold paragraph: Please don't do anything too cruel to me. And I won't tell you what I have in mind, because otherwise you WILL do it and I will cry forever.

    On Little Dorrit: ugh, Dickens has a problem with creating too many characters, I think. Well, maybe he just loved people or something.

    I'm so sorry this took you THREE hours! I didn't mean to torture you to such a degree ;)

    Thanks for doing this, and for giving me a couple new names for my list! :)

  2. I would totally recommend The Mitford Series by Jan Karon. I'm not sure when they were published, but they are SO good! It's all about Father Tim the Episcopal priest who lives in Mitford. Go over to my blog for more detail--I did my top ten too! Another one is anything by Janette Oke. They're mostly prairie-western-Christian-romance and they're REALLY good! There's like 9 different series!

  3. haha, @ Hannah Elise, I wasn't being sarcastic until the SECOND sentence, so all those things WERE true!!! :)

    @Emma, thanks for the suggestions. I'll have to look into the Mitford Series. I love Janette Oke too. She has some amazing stories and I have read a ton of them. I love her style.

  4. @ Becca Anne: Thank you then :) You are way too nice and I can't believe you think those things of me.

  5. I absolutely love Jane Eyre! I am so in love with it, I buy every copy I see. :)
    And no, I never noticed the 'creepiness'.
    you have inspired me to do this same thing on my blog. I have a collection of favorites, some right next to me on my book shelves. :D They deserve some attention again. (It's been exactly a day since I pampered them. Too long friend, too long! :D )

  6. Yes, LOVE these books. Especially Jane Eyre, (okay, maybe not, but I just read it for the first time *gasp* and am still swooning over it;)). Ah, modern authors. Since the question you asked about them sounds like a question I would ask, I don't have many, but I'll give a few suggestions: 1. T. A. Barron *I LOVE all his books, good description, unfailing plot:)*
    2. Susan Cooper(I think she'd be considered modern...) *though some of her books are slightly inappropriate, she really is an amazing author*.

    All for now:)


  7. I love ALL these book (and movies) They are the best!!!!!!!! Emma and little dorrit! ugh, the best!!!! :) loving ur blog too!


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