Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic asks us to share ten books that we enjoyed but rarely talk about. Sometimes it’s easy to get in the habit of discussing and recommending the same handful of books pretty frequently, letting so many other great books fall between the cracks. I’m so glad that this week’s topic is an opportunity to highlight some of the books that we haven’t given enough attention recently. Here are ten books that I enjoyed but should definitely talk about more often:
Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence. I listened to this book over the summer, and it had such an impact on me. In this book, librarian Annie Spence writes letters to many, many books that she’s had experiences with over the years. Most of these books are ones she has read, but some of them are ones gifted to her by long ago ex-boyfriends, ones recommended by friends, ones that happened to be sitting in clear view on a bookshelf in a room when something important happened in her life. This book actually inspired by new way of reviewing books in which I write letters to the books I read (you can check out my letter to this book here).
The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald. This is my most recent read on this list–I read it last semester–but there haven’t been many chances to talk about it since then so I thought I would include it in this list anyways. I read it when I had just moved to my apartment for law school but didn’t know anyone in the town yet. I felt as though I shared Florence Greene’s (the protagonist) solitude and sense of waiting for something to happen. It’s a short, tranquil, languid novel, but one that is also charming, quaint, and beautifully written. I will definitely try to find ways to bring it up more on this blog! (My review.)
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. This is one of those books that I had known about for AGES before I finally read it during the Reading Rush this past summer. I was familiar with Sandra Cisneros’ writing from some of her short stories I read in various Spanish classes over the years, but this novel is by far the best of her work that I’ve read yet. It’s moving and eye-opening and heart-wrenching and bittersweet and beautiful and honest. Because I read it in a flurry of other books during the Reading Rush I tend to forget to mention it. Must change that! I think it’s one of those books that everyone should read. (My review.)
Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf. I was assigned to read this book for my Virginia Woolf tutorial when during my year abroad at Oxford, and I distinctly remember reading it and thinking: This is my favorite Virginia Woolf novel. The historical context in which it is written is fascinating, the writing itself is beautiful (as her writing always is), and it just struck a chord with me when I read it. I think this novel is so, so underrated and often overshadowed by Woolf’s other more popular works, such as Mrs. Dalloway, A Room of One’s Own, and To the Lighthouse. I highly, HIGHLY recommend Between the Acts!! (My review.)
My Ántonia by Willa Cather. I used to talk about this novel all the time on this blog, but I feel like I haven’t mentioned it much recently. My Ántonia is one of my all-time favorite classic novels. It is beautiful and moving and just so thought-provoking. Willa Cather is also such an interesting writer (if you’d like, you can check out the post I wrote about visiting her grave a few years ago.) I absolutely recommend this if you’re in the mood to read about growing up, transitioning through phases of one’s life, nature, and SO MUCH nostalgia. (My review.)
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass. This autobiography holds a very, very special place in my heart. Not only is it an incredibly inspirational, eye-opening, striking memoir of a former slave’s escape to freedom, but it is also one of the text’s that made me realized how interested I am in the art of representing oneself through language and the structure of writing itself. I am confident in saying that I wrote more essays about The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass during my English degree than any other text. (My review.)
Butterfly Burning by Yvonne Vera. This novel was another incredibly important text to me during my English degree because it was the catalyst for what ultimately became my honors thesis. This harrowing narration of a woman’s life around the time of the Zimbabwean War for Independence is lyrically written yet hauntingly unsettling and heart-wrenching. Would absolutely recommend Butterfly Burning as well as Yvonne Vera’s other books! (My discussion of postcolonial literature.)
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. I read this book years ago and was just so captivated and excited by its fun energy, unique premise, and witty humor. I remember reading this for the first time ages ago and thinking, Why isn’t everyone talking about this book?!?! I’ve since read the sequel, which was excellent as well. If you’re a fan of fantasy, secret dangerous bureaucracies, or incredible women characters, I would highly recommend reading The Rook. (My review.)
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. This is one of the strangest, most perfectly planned, thought-provoking novels I’ve ever read. I was assigned to read it in my AP English class when I was a senior in high school and now, over five years later, I still find myself thinking about it sometimes. It’s one of those books that seems so bizarre and random until you get to the very last scene–and then suddenly everything makes complete sense. A Prayer for Owen Meany also has one of the most surprising, striking endings of a book that I have ever read. (My review.)
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. I read this book back in middle school, and while I don’t remember much about the plot specifically, I remember absolutely adoring this book and going back to reread it multiple times. If you’re in the mood for a great YA contemporary read, definitely check this one out! (My review.)
What are some books that you enjoyed but don’t talk about that often? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!