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.

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

She felt an enveloping happiness to be alive, a joy made stronger by the certainty that someday it would all come to an end. Afterward she felt a little foolish, and never spoke to anyone about it. Now, however, she knows she wasn’t being foolish. She realizes that for no particular reason she stumbled into the core of what it is to be human. It’s a rare gift to understand that your life is wondrous, and that it won’t last forever.”

Top Ten Book Quotes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, we’re supposed to go back and choose a past topic we missed the first time around. I decided to do Favorite Book Quotes because I always write down quotes I love and want to share them. I have a very, very long list of quotes I like, so here are a few of them that I dug up for this week.
. . .

1.) There are all kinds of silences and each of them means a different thing. There is the silence that comes with morning in a forest, and this is different from the silence of a sleeping city. There is silence after a rainstorm, and before a rainstorm, and these are not the same. There is silence of emptiness, the silence of fear, the silence of doubt. There is a certain silence that can emanate from a lifeless object as from a chair lately used, or from a piano with old dust upon its keys, or from anything that has answered to the need of man, for pleasure or for work. This kind of silence can speak. Its voice may be melancholy, but it is not always so; for the chair may have been left by a laughing child or the the last notes of the piano may have been raucous and gay. Whatever the mood or the circumstance, the essence of its quality may linger in the silence that follows. It is a soundless echo.   – West With the Night

2.) Soon the maroon-throated howls would echo back from the other trees, father down the beach, until the whole jungle filled with roaring trees. As it was in the beginning, so it is every morning of the world.- The Lacuna

3.) Then no matter where you are, in a crowded restaurant or on some desolate street or even in the comforts of your own home, you’ll watch yourself dismantle every assurance you ever lived by. You’ll stand aside as a great complexity intrudes, tearing apart, piece by piece, all your carefully conceived denials, whether deliberate or unconscious. And for better or worse you’ll turn, unable to resist, though try to resist you still will, fighting with everything you’ve got not to face the thing you most dread, what is now, what will be, what has always come before, the creature you truly are, the creature we all are, buried in the nameless black of a name.   And then the nightmares will begin. – House of Leaves

4.) Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love. – Neil Gaiman

5.) I would stare at the grains of light suspended in that silent space, struggling to see into my own heart. What did I want? And what did others want from me? But I could never find the answers. Sometimes I would reach out and try to grasp the grains of light, but my fingers touched nothing. – Norwegian Wood

6.)  They call it ‘the whispering of the stars.’ Listen,” he said, raising a finger for silence. I could still hear the tinkling and craned my neck to see what it was. Zhensky laughed. “No, here. Look.” He formed his mouth into a wide O and exhaled slowly. As he did, I saw the cloud of breath fall in droplets to the ground. That was the sound I heard: our breath falling. “It’s a Yakut expression. It means a period of weather so cold that your breath falls frozen to the ground before it can dissipate. The Yakuts say that you should never tell secrets outside during the whispering of the stars, because the words themselves freeze, and in the spring thaw anyone who walks past that spot will be able to hear them. – The Geographers Library

7.) “Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”  – Carlos Ruiz Zafón

8.) For I knew what he meant. We all have our sorrows, and although the exact delineaments, weight and dimensions of grief are different for everyone, the color of grief is common to us all. “I know,” he said, because he was human, and therefore, in a way, he did.  – The Thirteenth Tale

9.) When despair for the world grows in me
And I wake in the night at the least sound
I fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
Rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
Who do not tax their lives with forethought
Of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
Waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and I am free.    – The Peace of Wild Things

10.) As it grew warmer, big flakes of snow settled on the ground, on the red brick-dust, on the crosses of the graves, on the turrets of abandoned tanks, in the ears of dead men waiting to be buried. The snow filled the air with a soft grey-blue mist, softening the wind and gunfire, bringing the earth and sky together into one swaying blur. The snow fell on Bach’s shoulders: it was as though flakes of silence were falling on the still Volga, on the dead city, on the skeletons of horses. It was snowing everywhere, on earth and on the stars; the whole universe was full of snow. Everything was disappearing beneath it: guns, the bodies of the dead, filthy dressings, rubble, scraps of twisted iron. This soft, white snow settling over the carnage of the city was time itself; the present was turning into the past, and there was no future.  – Life and Fate

West with the Night by Beryl Markham

There are all kinds of silences and each of them means a different thing. There is the silence that comes with morning in a forest, and this is different from the silence of a sleeping city. There is silence after a rainstorm, and before a rainstorm, and these are not the same. There is silence of emptiness, the silence of fear, the silence of doubt. There is a certain silence that can emanate from a lifeless object as from a chair lately used, or from a piano with old dust upon its keys, or from anything that has answered to the need of man, for pleasure or for work. This kind of silence can speak. Its voice may be melancholy, but it is not always so; for the chair may have been left by a laughing child or the the last notes of the piano may have been raucous and gay. Whatever the mood or the circumstance, the essence of its quality may linger in the silence that follows. It is a soundless echo.