Monday, March 16, 2009


Kirsten invited me to expand my horizons past reporting Charlie news and do a book list, and I think I took her a little too seriously. Or I haven't written anything interesting other than Charlie stuff and Leave of Absence policies in way too long.
Because putting this out there isn’t the same as making a personal recommendation for a book, please don’t pick up any of these books and then hate me if you hate them. I will try my best to flag any that might not have content suitable for all readers, but if you really want to know about a specific book, ask me. I love nothing more than talking about books.
Oh, and I included a section on “Children’s Books” because I love, love, LOVE children’s books (in addition to adolescent literature) and because it is my list and I wanted to. But, because there are millions of children’s books, this section is cut extremely short, with just a few that might be lesser known. And, frankly, the whole thing is cut far too short. I have been writing this for days and I know that as soon as I hit publish, I will think of something else HUGE that I have left out, but this will have to suffice for now.
Books I love, by genre:

High Fidelity – Nick Hornby
This is quite possibly my favorite book ever. I love what it says about relationships. (Nick Hornby is a British magazine columnist and I love all of his books and also his music columns as published in his book "Songbook." Because of his status as a British author, his books contain some profanity, so don't pick it up if that is a deal breaker for you. And for the record, About a Boy is pretty clean, as far as the profanity goes.)
A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
My favorite Dickens. Basically speaks for itself. Also enjoyable - the movie version with Prince Humperdink as Charles Darnay/Sydney Carton. Although it made my teenage crush on Sydney Carton wane a little.
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
What is a book list without Austen? I enjoy all her books, but this is the most basic, so it is a good starting point if you have never enjoyed her before. My life goal is to get Greg (and Sara!) to watch the six hour version with me. But, as Greg says “if there is no Kiera Knightley, what is the point?”
Confessions of a Shopaholic – Sophie Kinsella
There are five and the first three are fabulous. The last two are worth reading, but not the best ever. Read the first two at least before seeing the movie. This series may be literary "junk food" but that does not mean I don't love them. Because I do!! (Some bad words. Again, British authoress.)
The Princess Bride – William Goldstein
You’ve seen the movie. Read the book!
The Four Loves – C.S. Lewis
I really do love everything I have ever read that is Lewis, but this one might be my favorite.

Young Adult Fiction
Twilight – Stephanie Meyer
The Princess Diaries – Meg Cabot
There are ten of these books and I love them all. And I SAID it was Young Adult Fiction, I KNOW we aren't talking Shakespeare here, so no mocking me allowed.
Danny, the Champion of the WorldRoald Dahl
I can’t even talk about this book. Just read it. This one IS a blanket recommendation (even though you still can’t get mad if you hate it. But if you do hate it, I am sorry for you!)
MatildaRoald Dahl
Ditto. But I am double-triple sorry for you if you hate this book.

Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog – Mo Willems
I love all that is Mo Willems, a former writer for Sesame Street. His books are so entertaining. Also on the list, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, and not just because our family loves naked mole rats. His books are interactive and fun for the parent to read too.
The Napping House – Audrey Wood
Charlie is the wakeful flea in our napping house. This is an older book that my parents read to me as a kid, so I love it.
Goofy Minds the House
Classic quandary of whose job is harder, mom’s or dad’s? I seriously love this book and it is out of print. My husband bought it used for me for my last birthday, but I think it should go back into print. This book has no author because when Disney hires you, you belong to them. Therefore, you get no byline; it is just listed as “Walt Disney Presents: Goofy Minds the House.” It is messing up my formatting, but whatever.

Short Stories
Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
David Sedaris kills me. He is so dang funny. Of his several published memoirs, I think this is my favorite. He talks about growing up in South Carolina, but it is really just his funny experiences that read like fiction you are enjoying, it isn’t really his actual life. In other words, it doesn’t read like an autobiography, it is just the random, every day things that happen to a person put into funnier words than I could ever say.
The Best of Roald DahlRoald Dahl
Some people are unaware that Roald Dahl wrote fabulously funny short stories for adults along with his children’s books. While just as wonderful as the children’s books, they are not as universal, and one might find some questionable content.

Queen Bees and Wannabes – Rosalind Wiseman
This book explains a lot about my high school experience. (Just kidding. Sorta. Right, Selina?) The book that the movie Mean Girls was based on. (And I didn’t put it in non-fiction on accident; the author is a counselor to adolescent girls and wrote a book about them. They just took the concept of how mean girls are and some of the experiences she writes about and turned it into a fictional movie.)
Happiest Baby on the Block – Dr. Harvey Karp
Ways to soothe your screaming newborn. Liked it. Used the tips.
The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
I have enjoyed all three of Malcolm Gladwell's books, but I think this is my favorite. You have to read him to understand, but his books are just so fascinating! Not the most "well written" books in the world, but again, you read it mostly for the interesting trivia and such he has in there!
Baby Proofing Your Marriage – Stacie Cockrell, Cathy O’Neil, and Julia Stone
I just read this and it made me laugh at least. I am not the only person who discovered it is harder to be a wife after you are a mother? YAY! (Again, minor profanity and perhaps a little bit of advice that some of my blog readers might not agree with, but funny and a little bit relieving that there is a whole community of irritated women out there. And, for the record, I adore both my husband and my child and I love being wife/mother, but sometimes I do want to scream. Or at least talk loudly.)


Melanie said...

You gotta love Roald Dahl. He was Ryan's favorite author so we have all of his books. One of my treasures is Charlie & The Chocolate Factory read by the author. I love the way he reads it. He goes fast and doesn't stop for chapter breaks.

Kirsten said...

Yay for your list!

I'm going to put High Fidelity on my to-read list. I love all things British so hopefully I won't hate it and therefore hate you. Oh I'm adding the Princess Bride too cause I've heard that book is fantastic. I cannot bring myself to read Twilight however...can't, can't, can't. Now matter WHAT anyone says. And, you know how I felt about David Sedaris. Adam read it and was disappointed too, what is wrong with us?

Kiersten said...

"but sometimes I do want to scream. Or at least talk loudly." I love it. Also, anyone who hates Roald Dahl's Matilda is a grinch and should not be allowed around children. Also also, I read several of the books on your list (Nick Hornby and the Shopaholic Books) because of your recommendations, and they were great!

Stacy Lawrence said...

can i just give an amen to the jane austen and the roald dahl options? pride and prejudice is my favorite big girl book and roald dahl is my favorite little girl author.

Sel said...

1. Mean Girls was SO not our high school. It could have been. But it wasn't. It was TOTALLY my undergrad.
2. I also love Gladwell.
3. I like lists.