Books I’m so happy were recommended to me

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the BookishThis week’s top ten tuesday is:

Books I’m So Happy Were Recommended To Me

(all those books you probably wouldn’t have picked up without a good recommendation)

1. 84, Charing Cross Road

Now, not to offend anyone, but I can’t for the life of me remember who recommended this book to me. But whoever you are, out there in my life, I love you. Ever since I read it last year, it has been a book that I have treasured unconditionally. I have loaned it out, bought multiple copies as gifts and recommended to many other readers in my life. Its a beautiful little book that introduced me to a writer that is now one of my all time favorites. After I read all her books, I googled Helene Hanff and was heartbroken to realize she died in 1997. If I had known of her sooner I would have found her and given her a hug for her books.

2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

My friend Kathy recommended this to me. To be honest, I already owned it. It was sitting on my kindle for months before she wrote me an email that said “you must read this immediately!” I thought it sounded familiar and lo and behold, it was on my kindle already. (anyone else compulsively download books you heard were good and then forget about them?) So one dreary day I sat down to read it and it was surprisingly lovely. It made my day. It was so amusing and comforting that I couldn’t help but be extremely thankful that she pushed me to read it when she did. Who knows, it might have still been sitting on my kindle if she hadn’t.

3. In a Sunburned Country

My father told me that since I love traveling so much I’d enjoy Bill Brysons books. I randomly picked up In a Sunburned Country as my first Bryson. I laughed so many times from this book. I was giggling at the bookstore as I read it and my friend kicked me under the table multiple times to shut me up.  I couldn’t help but wonder, where had this man been all my life? Were his books sitting on the shelves all these years while I passed them by? What a horrid thought! I went out, bought, borrowed and checked out all his other books one by one.  After reading them all though, In a Sunburned Country is still my favorite and it inspired me to travel to Australia for 10 days and see what Bryson talked about. I had never thought about going to Australia before reading it and after reading it, I couldn’t help but buy a ticket. I think it was a year later when I actually got to go, but I had Bryson’s words in my head the whole time. I’ll never forget that.

4. Sleeping in Flame

When I was a fresh-faced young lass who had only read literature and some fantasy handed down from my dad, my sister gave me this book by Jonathan Carroll and said she thought I’d like it because it reminded her of me. To this day I’m not quite sure what she meant by that (read the book, you’ll be confused too) but I think she meant was that it reminded her of something I’d enjoy. And boy did I. Reading Jonathan Carroll was an experience I’ll never forget. His books were surreal, inspiring, beautiful, terrifying and most of all, completely unexpected. I never knew how his stories would end or what would happen next. In Carroll’s world, anything and everything goes. No book ever left me with the same feeling. Some of them would end on a note that made me smile for days, some would horrify me to the point where I thought I’d have nightmares. But that is what I love about them. They are so unique, no one could write Jonathan Carroll’s books but him.

5. Jane Eyre

Oh bless thee Jane, for teaching me not all ‘classics’ are boring things full of conversations and subtle machinations. When I was younger I avoided a lot of the ‘classics’ and went straight for the literature and fiction. Jane Austen made me feel like all classics would be these long conversations that intertwined into a happy ending. Her books were good, but they were all the same flavor. Eventually, I was bored. Then someone told me to read Jane Eyre. I hesitated, daunted to think I’d be reading another english romantic novel because so often when you hear ‘austen’ you also hear ‘bronte.’ But I picked it up anyway and went for it like the open minded champion reader I am. I was so happy! Now here was a novel with some imagination. There was darkness, gothic settings, nightmares, death, betrayal, drama and yes, there is some love when all else is lost. Jane taught me that not every classic is an ‘Austen’ and I am endlessly grateful.

6. Prodigal Summer

My younger sister did not actually recommend this to me per say, it was more of that she was reading it incessantly one day when we were together and like many slightly obsessive book lovers, I couldn’t help but wonder what it was, who it was by and if it was good. I kept peering as it curiously. I’m sure I was annoying as hell. She then told me it was one of her favorite books and she reads it a few times a year. That was enough for me! I went out and bought a copy later that week and have never looked back. Barbara Kingsolver has become one of my favorite authors. She is another I’d love to sneak up upon (or you know, meet at a signing, either way) and give a nice big hug. I love her books. I actually did not love The Poisonwood Bible (insert gasp here) but I think it was because I read it after Prodigal Summer, Animal Dreams, The Bean Trees and her other books. The Poisonwood Bible may be her most famous book, but I don’t believe it is her best. Kingsolver will always shine through to me in her other books in a way she never achieved in Poisonwood.

7. My Reading Life

I reviewed this a couple entries ago, as Shannon at Books Devoured sent me this as a RAK this month. I loved it! I was so happy that she sent it to me because it introduced me to a wonderful new author. I haven’t gotten to ready any more Conroy yet, but I can’t wait.

. . .

I can’t think of any others right now, so I guess its my top 7 books I am so happy were recommended to me! But those are the ones that stick out in my memory, so I figure those are the ones that really matter.

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28 thoughts on “Books I’m so happy were recommended to me

  1. I actually just purchased a copy of Prodigal Summer! Now I’m REALLY excited to read it! I did love The Poisonwood Bible, but it was also my first Kingsolver and I read it in a class, so we were able to get some really great discussion going from the book, and it really just… worked somehow. The only other Kingsolver I’ve read is The Bean Trees, which I also adored.

    I keep hearing about 84 Charing Cross Road, but now I’m definitely going to need to pick it up!

    • Yay I’m so glad! Prodigal Summer and 84, Charing Cross Road are books I’m always telling people to read. I’m not sure why I didn’t like Poisonwood Bible but I think it just read so differently from her other books that it was hard for me to like. I should prob give it another chance, but yes! Read both, you’ll love them!>

    • We went to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart. About 3 days in each, plus traveling. It was great and I wish I had more time there! I’m still planning on another trip back, I just haven’t gotten to do it yet!

  2. Now i want to read 84 your #1 book. Something about the title, Prodigal Summer that intrigued me, i will have to write that one down. Happy Reading 2 U

    • Thanks Sidne! I hope you enjoy it. 84 is a lovely little book of letters that were written between a bookseller in the UK and a Hanff here in the US. If you like books about real people, and about the love of books, you’ll really enjoy it.

  3. How, how how could I have forgotten _84 Charing Cross Road_ on my list? *headdesk* I remember getting the recommendation from another book, but I don’t know where either.
    Great list.

  4. HAHA its ok! I know! Its hard to remember sometimes. We have so many people telling us all the time what books are great, it starts to blur together sometimes. 🙂

  5. I too have read the GUERNSEY Book and loved it, as well as JANE EYRE and 84 CHARING CROSS. But for the life of me I can’t remember who recommended them or if I stumbled across them on my own. Good list. I posted mine today as well.

  6. What a great collection of titles! It seems we have very similar taste 🙂 I also LOVE Bill Bryson and am waiting for the perfect time to pick up Sunburned Country, so I can savor it. My favorite one so far is Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid – I giggled my way all through that one.

    I also loved Jane Eyre and Prodigal Summer.

  7. I’ve read 4 of the seven books on your list, and loved them. Prodigal Summer is on my TBR list, I’ve never heard of Sleeping in Flame, and I’ve had Bill Bryson’s books on my list for years but have never gotten to them. I’ll definitely have to dig them out now.

    • Yes! DIG DIG! Jonathan Carroll is definitely an acquired taste, not everyone I know likes his books so I don’t often recommend them but I really enjoyed them when I was younger. Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country and Prodigal Summer are must reads! I re-read those books every year for fun.

  8. Aww I’m sorry you find Austen boring =( I know a lot of people think they’re all the same, but I’ve read them enough times and taken enough classes that I see a difference lol — especially with Mansfield Park. There is something very unsettling about the “happy ending” of that novel.

    I’m totally with you on Jane Eyre — it’s an AWESOME book. How do you feel about Wuthering Heights? It’s got a similar Gothic vibe. I’m not as big a fan of that one though. I need at least ONE character I can like in a story — and every single person in WH is a self-centered jerk. UGH.

  9. I guess boring was the wrong word, I read them all in a row and they felt too similar. I felt like I always knew what would happen at the end, even with the suspense. I liked Jane Eyre a lot because you didn’t really know that.. anything could happen. There was no element of “this is going to work out fine without anyone dying or being maimed” lol Yea WH was hard to like, you have to like SOMEONE.. i liked the book but it got under my skin.

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