Saturday, 7 August 2010

Top Ten Picks: Favourite Books of All Time

This delightful meme is hosted by Jillian at Random Ramblings.

This was actually quite a challenge for me. There are so many books out there that I absolutely love, but in the end, I chose ten books that really left a lasting impression on me and that I have re-read or that I will read again.

Here is my list of ten best books I have read:
1. Gaston Leroux: The Phantom of the Opera
This is my favourite novel in the world and I am very passionate about it, I’d say. I read it only six years ago for the first time, but it captivated me immediately and it felt like love at first sight. I finally found my favourite novel because before, I didn’t really have just one favourite novel but at least five, as I just couldn’t decide which book I loved best. The Phantom of the Opera ended my dilemma. I just simply love it.

2. Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre
Jane is a great heroine, plain and ordinary, but with an incredibly rich soul and a passionate heart. The story of her life is pretty extraordinary and the book is truly Romantic in its essence. I also love the poetic language. I can easily get lost in some passages. Beautiful.

3. Anne Rice: The Vampire Lestat

This novel made me fall in love with the genre. Not Rice’s first vampire novel, Interview with a Vampire, but the second one, The Vampire Lestat. It’s classy, exciting, entertaining, as well as pretty deep. I had no idea beforehand that reading a vampire novel could actually require a great amount of thinking and feeling something else than just the vicarious pleasure of reading an exciting story. Lestat is also one of my favourite characters ever created in the world of literature. To me, The Vampire Lestat is still the best vampire novel.

4. Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice

This was my first contact with Jane Austen. I had no idea this novel was hugely popular, and that Jane Austen was hugely popular. So, my reading experience of Pride and Prejudice was really pure, with no baggage attached to it, no expectations, whereas I read all other Austen novels knowing precisely that I was reading one of the most popular novels in the world. The story and the characters are wonderful, of course, but what I appreciate the most is the pure reading experience I had despite this novel being so famous.

5. Henryk Sienkiewicz: Quo Vadis
Wow, this novel blew my mind away. I was 16 when I first read it, a little young by some standards for such a novel, but for me, 16 was the perfect age to read such a book. It opened my eyes on so many levels and reached out to me completely. It was a very intimate reading experience for me and it actually helped me shape my views on certain topics and deepen my already existing feelings for those same topics. An incredible read and a real spiritual journey, actually.

6. Tracy Chevalier: Girl with a Pearl Earring
A wonderful, innovative story, told in a simple narrative style, but it really got to me. I’ve re-read it about three times and I still can’t get enough of it. It just speaks to me. It’s a beautiful love story, although it could be argued that there isn’t actually a love story present in the novel, as even the author herself doesn’t know whether such an emotion ever existed between the painter and the maid. But it does, in my eyes, perhaps not the romantic kind, but it’s amazing how you can find your soul mate and a true friend in the person that you least expected to find it in. I guess I really love this aspect.

7. Cecelia Aherne: P.S. I Love You
When a story manages to make me cry, it deserves to end up on a list.;) That’s all I can say. True love can transcend everything, even death, and I just love, love, love this. It’s a perfect book for a romantic that I am.

8. Markus Zusak: The Book Thief
When I come upon a WW2 novel, I make a U-turn because I’m getting sick of sooo many movies based on WW2 and I don’t want to read about it, unless I have to. But Markus Zusak changed my mind. This novel is definitely one of the most poignant reads I’ve ever had – a story about life told by Death. Just – wow. I love every sentence of this novel.

9. Diane Setterfield: The Thirteenth Tale
This is a book for book lovers and lovers of beautiful words, descriptions, passages. I am both, so this book is perfect for me. It delivers a great, original story, but the way that is delivered to the reader is the delicious, plump cherry on top of chocolate cake.

10. Charles Baudelaire: Fleurs du Mal
I hope poetry collections count... Anyway, I was not a lover of poetry – until I read Fleurs du Mal. I think what I love best is the rough, raw emotions, the directness of language…Some find it violent and depressing, but I love the honesty of it. It’s a really honest work of poetry. Also, his poetry doesn’t praise beauty, it praises ugly beauty, the other side.


Unknown said...

Great picks :-) Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and The Thirteenth Tale would also be on my list!

Jan von Harz said...

Definitely would include Jane Eyre in my ten 10 favorites, and I did really like The Book Thief, but not sure it would make my top ten. I think I read Quo Vadis about 30 years ago, but to be honest I am not sure and I a couple of Anne Rices book, but never totally enjoyed them.

I will have to check out some of the other titles you listed that I have not yet read. Great list.

Blodeuedd said...

10 best books, would have to think about that.

Nice choices, I do love Jane Eyre

Julie P said...

I haven't read any of these (yet), but half of your best list is on my TBR list. I am even more excited to read them now!

Thanks for sharing....

Andi said...

Great list!!! I read Girl with a Pearl Earring years ago, and it's one I would most definitely want to re-read. Sadly, I haven't had any luck with the rest of her books, but I have Remarkable Creatures waiting on my stacks. It looks fantastic.

Anonymous said...

The Phantom of the Opera is an amazing book! Glad to see it at the top of someones list!