Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cream of the Crop

No matter how much I read, it's not enough to satisfy the inner book beast.  My literary-tapeworm hungers for MORE!  So, the first six months of this year I read 59 books:  12 nonfiction (I like learning), 18 regular old adult fiction (and some were actually good), 24 junior fiction (I have 4 kiddos.  I'm pre-reading for them.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it), and 4 classics.  Four.  (That is NOT enough, for those of you who may be confused right now.)

So can you guess what the tapeworm is hungry for?  Classics.  That which I don't make enough time for.  Those books that--although I love them dearly, though they receive more 5 stars ratings from me than any other category of books--always fall to the back burner when life gets crazy.  Honestly?  Those are the TBR books taunting me from the shelf.  The others are patient...these classics cry for more attention.  Goal for the next half of 2010?  Make time for more classics.

The best books I've read this year so far, books that I would actually recommend with my whole heart, are:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  Everyone else is saying it, why can't I?  Fairly quick to read, great authorial voice, entertaining, AND something to think about.

The Underneath by Kathi Appelt.  Junior Fiction, winner of the Newbery Honor.  I read this book aloud, (consider that if you decide to read it--reading aloud lends itself to a more dramatic, intense experience) to my 11 year-old son, 9 year-old daughter, and 5 year-old daughter (...although it was too intense for her gentle soul and she often left the room.)  There is something different about this book.  I still don't know if I've wrapped my mind around it, but my kids say it's the best book we read aloud all year.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen.  *sigh*  This was the last remaining book of Jane Austen's published works that I hadn't read.  And may I say it was delightful?  Fanny Price wasn't simpering, pious, and pretentious.  She felt deeply, I believe, and is often misunderstood.  Reminded me most of Sense and Sensibility.

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver.  I seriously need to read more of Barabara Kingsolver's books.  The two I've read (this and The Poisonwood Bible) have enchanted me.  Not necessarily in the storytelling, but the writing.  Her writing makes me cry because of its beauty.  There.  It's proven.  I'm a language geek. (See my full review)

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.  I can't hardly think about this book without wanting to cry.  I wish I'd written it.  It's so beautiful, so real.  I'm thrilled that it's still selling enough copies to be on Target shelves, this is one everybody should read.  (See my full review)

The HelpThe UnderneathMansfield Park (Penguin Classics)The Lacuna: A Novel (P.S.)A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (P.S.)


  1. Yeah, girl, get those classics!

  2. That is an awesome list...I've been umming and aaahhhing about reading The Lacuna but you have convinced me!
    I've always liked Mansfield Park the least of JA - I think because I find the Fanny/Edward relationship just a little creepy!

  3. @Jane--I'm reading The Master and Margarita right now. Bizarre-O! Where's my Tolstoy?

    @Lyndsey--I don't know why Fanny/Edward didn't bug me (???) Now that you've got me thinking about it...hrmm...


I'd love to hear what you have to say, leave a comment!