My Top Three Favorite Books
Everyone has their different tastes when it comes to books, myself included. Though this list doesn’t necessarily have to be made, any top three like this does show a lot about a reader’s personality. The opposite could be true to, and will probably be another post at a later time. However, this one is about my favorites.
I’ve added next to each title the number of people
who gave these books one-star reviews on Amazon.
I always find it interesting to know how greatly
other’s opinions differ from mine.
3) The Great Gatsby (239 one-star reviews)
Anyone who has read a little bit of my blog will have noticed I use this book often for my comparisons. It’s not surprising why. It is one of those books, for me, that still rings as a landmark or turning-point in my life as a reader as each one of these books on this list signifies. For this one in particular, I had to read it as part of an English correspondence course in high school. Easily, it blew me away. I didn’t know an author could write like this. On top of it, Gatsby, the man himself, changed my view of what a person could be. I don’t know about the rest of you, but after reading this book, I wanted to be ‘Gatsby.’ Only now, in my middle age, do I see how disappointing I am to that dreamy teenager and maybe even to Gatsby himself.
2) Crime and Punishment (69 one-star reviews)
Again, this book came and changed my view of the world. It entered my life by accident while I was very sick in university. I knew I’d have some time on my hands with summer vacation between my freshmen and sophomore year, so I picked up the mad Russian for some ‘light’ reading. It took me five days to finish it, which, looking at the page count, I did not think possible beforehand. Besides being a book that set standards with motifs that have been ripped off every since, it defined, for me, youthful thinking and defiance. Clearly, I read it at the right time.
1) Mrs. Dalloway (31 one-star reviews)
In no way was this list meant to be chronological, but surprisingly, it is. I stumbled upon this after my semester abroad. I had little money left over, was heading into my final year of university—my fifth!—and Woolf jumped into my life. I reread it voraciously, underlining nearly every sentence. Again, I had no idea a human being could write this way, and, on top of that, still have their readers understand it. I’ve read Joyce—and enjoyed him—and have heard Woolf felt eclipsed by his genius, but in no way do I feel he bested her. Mrs. Dalloway was a thousand times more enjoyable than any of his books. Though, also a million times more readable as well.
Honorable Mention: J.D. Salinger (Catcher in the Rye) (423 one-star reviews)
Even though this is supposed to be my top three books, J.D. deserves to be on it. He is not a book; however, his writing style and content seem to me like an ever-present background that other writing juxtaposes. He is the green screen for weather reporters—always present, rarely noticed. Though all of his writing is important to me, Catcher in the Rye, I feel, is too often overlooked or registered as some whiny teenage novel, which it isn’t. First, every other piece of writing by Salinger comes with his unbelievably wrought, over stylized sentences that make my head swim. But Catcher is the rare piece that diverges from this. He created a new style for it, one to fit the protagonist, and for this reason I feel many readers overlook it. It is a book about spirituality—not teenage angst. He wrote at a time before teenagers had perfected the art of angst, yet, sadly, we now look at it through our present milieu and overlay far too much of ourselves on it.
Classics in a top three book lists!—not surprising, but I hope some of you agree with my choices. If not, please feel free to add your thoughts below. I’d love to not only hear where I’m wrong, but which ones you feel outrank my own. Thanks!