The Booker Award and My Top 5 Books of All Time

The real world is overrated, anyway!

One of my favorite blogger friends over at nominated me for yet another award, this time “The Booker Award,” which can be given to any blogger who devotes at least half of their posts to reading.

While I’m never good at fulfilling the chain-letter-esque nominations and keeping the ball rolling, I will finally reveal my top five books of all time! I know a lot of you have been waiting with anticipation!

In order from greatest to oh-my-god-why-are-you-still-on-my-blog-and-not-reading-these-books-right-this-second! A few I reviewed for Masterpiece Monday, so click the links to learn even more!

5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (1847). This novel combines two of my favorite things: Victorian literature and star-crossed romance. Many people despise the lovers Catherine and Heathcliff for their often selfish, cruel behavior towards each other, but I can’t get enough of this tragic tale of true–albeit, angsty–love. Heathcliff is the perfect brooding lead, and Bronte does a fantastic job on character development for the two generations of these families. Not to mention, she includes critical discussion of social and racial issues of the time period. Can you believe Wuthering Heights was the only novel she ever published? Talk about the literary jackpot!

4. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005). I first read this novel my freshman year of college, and I’m still a die-hard fan. When the movie adaptation came out a couple years ago, it gained a boost of popularity, and I would literally stop people in the bookstore if they were looking at it and say, “Don’t even think about it. Just buy it.” And if you don’t take my word for it, TIME named it the best book of 2005, and among the top 100 English-language books since 1923. I can’t really tell you anything about it without spoiling the story, but trust me, it’s breathtakingly haunting. Movie also highly recommended!

3. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien (1954-55). I hesitated in determining where to place this series on my list, because I have a multifaceted opinion of LOTR. I truly believe that it is the greatest story ever created; however, I do not believe that it is the greatest written story ever created. I admit that Tolkien was more of a historian than an author, and I understand that many cannot swallow his dry, textbook-like style. I should also be honest with my fellow book bloggers: I watched “The Fellowship of the Ring” and then read the whole series before the sequels were released. I know, blasphemy! But I think that no matter how you come to this story, it’s worth it, because once a Ringer, always a Ringer!

2. Demian by Hermann Hesse (1919). This is probably the least known novel on my list, and I owe it to my English teacher senior year of high school for introducing me to it. Translated from its original German, it’s a coming-of-age story of Emil Sinclair, who befriends a enigmatic young man named Demian. Demian teaches Emil about philosophy, religion, and finding your true self. It’s a short read, but my absolute favorite to re-read, because I learn something new each time. If you’re looking for something mentally stimulating and completely engrossing, this is it. Total life-changer.

1. His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman (1995-2000). Hands down, favorite series of all time. Many critics label Pullman’s trilogy for children, but this modern adaptation of Milton’s Paradise Lost is anything but childish. I walked into a bookstore one day in middle school, suffering from Harry Potter withdrawals, when the cashier recommended the novels. I bought the Del Rey mass market paperbacks (which were located in the adult fantasy section, by the way), and since then, nothing has influenced my life so profoundly. These novels motivated me to question the status quo and think for myself, so on the off chance that Pullman stumbles upon this post, I want to say thank you. If my writing can affect someone a fraction of what His Dark Materials has done for me, then I can die happy.

I know that I can sound a bit dramatic, but who can’t when discussing their all-time favorite books? Of course, I’ve got decades of reading left to do, so this list may be subject to change. You never know!

I would LOVE to hear your top five books–we have to help each other in making our to-read lists even longer, right? So many books, never enough time!

27 thoughts on “The Booker Award and My Top 5 Books of All Time

  1. It is a great list, except I am one of the few who do not understand the appeal of Never let Me Go. It is in Times 100 but i also question their choices. I ahave been trying to plow thru some of those books and WOW – boredom overcomes me. I found Never let Me Go fine but not great. Tell me why the appeal is so great?

    • Yes, Time’s 100 is heavily influenced by the Western canon (as most literary masterpiece lists are), so I’d take it with a grain of salt. It’s hard to describe why I love “Never Let Me Go” so much. I fell in love with Ishiguro’s writing style, and I think the novel’s topic is timely. People call the book “science fiction” at times, but I think of it more as discussing an issue that might be very real in the near future. Without spoiling anything, I learned so much from the characters about love, loss, and the temporal nature of life. It’s a story that stays with me, and it breaks my heart every time I read it.

      If you’d like to try Ishiguro again, I highly recommend his “The Remains of the Day.” It’s about a butler who served a Nazi-supporter during WWII, and his mental conflicts between morality and loyalty. The movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and it’s just as amazing.

      What would your top 5 books be?

      • I read Reamins of the Day and that is why I gave Never Let Me Go a try. I did enjoy the book, I just never foud it to be the impressive book people hold so dearly to. I slao never thought of it as sci-fi, but would not be surprised to have it happening in a community near you soon! It was WAY better than the movie.
        Hmmm my top 5, Off the top of my head without much thought – here we go. Books that have struck a cord or stayed with me as I move along.

        5. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. My Great Gram was friends with this author so I wanted to have a peek into life on the Island, and fell in love with Anne and Diana. The series is one I have read many many times.
        4. The Sun Also Rises – I think Hemingway must be in the mix. I love the journey from Paris to Pampaloma. He was a driving force in my need to go to Paris.
        3. Tara Road – Maeve Binchy. There is something about her early writing style that just sends me over the moon. I re-read this novel every couple of years or so. Every time I get a different perspective. I love how her characters flit from novel to novel so you can keep up with them. Lately her Father Flynn books have bored me to tears, but I still love all the old Quinton gang.
        2. The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan. Odd choice and if I had a longer time to think, this may not make the cut. It is a novela really, yet so moving and powerful. It struck a cord in me and I often think of the nameless characters as myself.
        1. Without hesitation, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The gal was a feminist and strong woman before it was ever okay to be one. I am continuously struck by her choices and her character development. I particularly enjoy her nasty characters like Mrs. Dashwood in Sense and Sensabity. That woman would anger me until I had to stop reading for a while. When a author makes you feel…that is what attracts me.

        • I also enjoyed The Lover’s Dictionary; it was such a unique romance. I’ve just blogged about Hemingway, and although The Sun Also Rises was not my cup of tea, I enjoyed his short stories. Definitely want to go to Paris too! And I think enough people have recommended Pride and Prejudice to me that I’m determined to give it a second chance one day. I couldn’t finish it the first time, and I’ve got to finally find out what I’ve been missing! 🙂

          • That is what great about books. Everyone has a different perspective! It use to stress me out thinking i should be reading the book with buzz – but now I read for pure enjoyment. What I enjoy is not what others in enjoy and thats ok – but I love to know the WHY you enjoyed it! But never ever will I understand the 50 shades thing. Never ever ever…..

  2. I’ve never read nor heard of Demian, but I love all the others. My top five are maybe: 1) 1984 2) The Passage 3) Shadow of the Wind 4) Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 5) Anna Karenina

    • It was really hard not to include 1984, because it’s such a mind-blowing read. I must get to Anna Karenina soon–can’t get enough of the ‘fallen woman’ stories! Thanks for sharing your list!

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