December 18 13

Congratulations to me, I was the last person on earth to be tagged in the Facebook Book Meme!

(Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays to me. I’m an equal opportunity celebrator around here.)

Now, I’m not one to typically play Facebook memes. You won’t catch me going to some random country for a strange number of days or telling you what color my brassiere is or having a holiday dinner party with the first nine people in my Facebook chat list.

But books and I are likethis.

Actually, it’s funny that this meme finally came around to me, by this lovely lady, when it did. Because just this week I asked the staff members and writers at my day job to name me the best book they read in 2013, and was shocked—and sort of sad—that the majority of them hadn’t read a single book in 2013. Not one. I can’t even imagine this. I read eight books on my one-week trip to St. Lucia. Books are like oxygen to me—I could not survive without them.

I wouldn’t want to, actually.

As a writer, especially, reading is what fuels me. I started this love affair young and plowed my way right through the entire Babysitters Club series and The Little House on The Prairie series. I read Little Women until the pages quite literally fell apart in my hands—and it was different every single time. I didn’t have enough, uh, patience to get through The English Patient and I’m still kicking myself over it. I’ve written before about giving up on books, and needing to learn to do that. And I have! I have given up on several books this year alone, because my to-read list is long and vast, and there’s no room in my life for a mediocre book that might possibly get better. I learned my lesson with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo—not worth sticking it out. And, well, that entire 50 Shades of Grey situation.

The challenge here is not to list my ten favorite books, but instead, to choose ten books that have stayed with me. And to add an extra wrinkle here—to not think too hard about it.

So. Here it is.

Ten Books In Ten Minutes

These are books that got under my skin, permeated through my bones. They are books I won’t forget, for many reasons. Made me laugh, made me cry, made me think.
Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
The 19th Wife: A Novel by David Ebershoff
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
Rules of Civility: A Novel by Amor Towles
Little Women (Bantam Classics) by Louisa May Alcott
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Sleepers by Lorenzo Carcaterra
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

ten  books in ten minutes meme

Tag, you’re it! I’d love it if you would take ten minutes and tell me yours.

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  1. It hurts my brain too much to think about what 10 books to put on my list. I know I’m not supposed to think about which 10, but still, it hurts.

    Also, I’m more than happy to give you my affiliate links. *ahem*

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    That’s the challenge…not to overthink.

    (How do they work? Is there a reason I can’t have my own?)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] on December 18, 2013
  2. Yeah! I rolled my eyes when I was first tagged in that meme, and hesitated to post (and then tag my friends…ugh!!!), but I’m so glad I did. I’ve really enjoyed seeing my friends’ lists of books that have stuck with them, and many of the books on those lists have either reminded me of books I read (how could I forget Little Women??) or been added to my to-read list (Mindy Kaling’s now on my Christmas list).

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    Oh! Her book was amazing. So, so good.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Jennifer on December 18, 2013
  3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    The Time Traveler’s Wife
    The Kite Runner
    The Poisonwood Bible
    White Teeth
    Running the Rift
    White Oleander
    Wide Sargasso Sea
    The Chronicles of Narnia (you can’t pick just one!)
    Sense & Sensibility

    [Reply]

    Comment by Kerri on December 18, 2013
  4. I just finished Mindy Kaling’s book and LOVED it! I wasn’t expecting to love it so much, I thought it would just be funny, but it was so good!

    I had to go through my GoodReads, since I read a lot and I also read a lot of fluff. I also just finished Looking for Alaska, which I loved.

    But I second The 19th Wife. Also, Art of Fielding, Room, Devil in the White City, To Kill A Mockingbird, Count of Monte Cristo, The Glass Castle, Time Traveler’s Wife, Harry Potter.

    I could go on and on…..

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    She’s my spirit animal. I nodded along to so, so much of what she said.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Kristabella on December 18, 2013
  5. Maya Angelou: I know Why the Caged Bird Sings
    Arthur Gold: Memoirs of a Geisha
    Philippa Gregory: The Other Boleyn Girl
    Maeve Binchy: Tara Road
    Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler’s Wife
    J.K. Rowling: ALL of the Harry Potter books
    Rebecca Wells: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
    Billie Letts: Where the Heart Is
    Sara Gruen: Water for Elephants
    Margaret Mitchell: Gone With the Wind

    God, I love to read!!

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    Oh, oh, oh! I love SO SO many of these books. So many.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Tricia on December 18, 2013
  6. I can’t imagine not reading at all. I can go a week maybe, but that is it. I just read a book in one sitting last weekend…while fully ignoring my kids! The not overthinking it part? Doesn’t mesh with my personality. Ha. I’ll try.

    Harry Potter. All of them. I don’t care that they’re for kids.
    In the Time of the Butterflies
    Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
    To Kill A Mockingbird
    The Glass Castle
    Rise and Shine (really anything by Anna Quindlen.)
    The Help
    The Probable Future
    Bridge to Terabithia (all these years later and I still read it once a year.)
    The Orphan Train…because I just read it and it’s still in my head.

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    I totally ignore my kids to read too :)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Issa on December 18, 2013
  7. Rules of Civility is next on my list!

    - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (because really)
    - The Glass Castle
    - Confessions of a Prairie Bitch
    - The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder
    - The Weird Sisters
    - Chinese Cinderella + Falling Leaves
    - The House at Riverton (have you read this one, Ali? I think I remember you saying “The Forgotten Garden” didn’t end up being your cup of tea…this one is by the same author, but better and less of a dragging pace, imo)
    - and then like a million way tie between all my childhood favorites: Anne of Green Gables series + Little House on the Prairie series + anything Louisa May Alcott + Harry Potter + The Secret Garden + A Little Princess.

    …so this exceeds ten books. ;)

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    I know..keeping it to ten was, by far, the most challenging part of all of this…there are just too many.

    Based on your answers here, you will LOVE Rules of Civility.

    I haven’t read House at Riverton. I have it though. Maybe I will give it a try!

    [Reply]

    Comment by aly on December 18, 2013
  8. Sweet! I’m going to do this as a blog post when I have a moment and I’ll link back to you. Also, I love that you used the word “brassiere”.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Nicole MacPherson on December 18, 2013
  9. I’m offering up one because I enjoy almost everything I read. But Nineteen Minutes hit me hard and I still think about it, years later.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Alison on December 19, 2013
  10. I’m adding all these to my To Read list. I’m halfway through my 21st book of the year. Kind of my 22nd as well, as I’m halfway through To Kill a Mockingbird, but I’m listening to Little Women on audiobook while I work at my cleaning job.

    Here are my top picks for what I’ve in the last year or so:
    1. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (I read this yearly)
    2. Room by Emma Donoghue
    3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
    4. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
    5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
    6. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
    7. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
    8. All of the Harry Potter books

    and I’ll leave the ones I’m currently reading, and have already listed, for #9 and #10 because they’re two of my favourites.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Jen Wilson on December 19, 2013
  11. Do you ever read anything by Maeve Binchy? I have read most (all?) of hers and always love them.
    I can’t really make a list because for some reason, my memory sucks at titles. If I saw the book I would remember reading it, but for some reason, I can’t think of any right now. haha. I love reading other peoples lists, to get an idea what to read next!
    I think Mindy Kalings book is up next!

    [Reply]

    Comment by AMY on December 23, 2013
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