Six Recommendations

October 15, 2009

I decided this morning that I wanted to make a list of ten books I’ve covered in this blog that I would wholeheartedly recommend. Not my favorites, because there are a lot of books — Tracy Park, for one — that I love too much to be able to think about them objectively. I’m not totally sure I’m looking at these objectively, but I do think they’re good, and I can’t see any reason why people shouldn’t still be reading them. I’m a little bit sad that I was only able to come up with six, though. Keep in mind that my standards, as usual, are incredibly inconsistent.

  1. A Woman Named Smith. Obviously. This is the book that made me start this blog. It’s just…fun, and occasionally touching, and full of reasons not to be forgotten. And my appreciation of Sophy Smith increases every time I reread it.
  2. The Indiscreet Letter. Go ahead and read it. It’s short. It won’t take long. It’s hard to say what makes this one such a favorite of mine, but I think it’s the idea of all these strangers on trains being incredibly honest with each other, and connecting across class boundaries and social convention.
  3. The Wide, Wide World. I honestly don’t understand why this book isn’t considered a classic. Okay, so there’s a lot of semi-distasteful religious stuff, but people should either deal with it or look past it, because this is such a foundational piece of American literature, and kind of a good read, too.
  4. Keineth. It wonderful to see a book for kids that’s neither condescending or too insistent on growing up. There’s nothing very unusual about this story, except its charm and its sense of freshness in the face of clichés.
  5. Somehow Good. It’s so deeply involved in it’s own historical moment that I sort of understand why no one reads William De Morgan anymore. But it’s also really good. And it’s so rare to find an author who can make a silly and melodramatic storyline so convincingly low-key.
  6. The Riddle of the Sands. I’m reluctant to put this here just because I read it so recently and haven’t really had time to let it sink in, and also because it’s a little less forgotten than the others, but I was so impressed by it. It’s apparently the first ever thriller, and — well, it’s kind of thrilling.

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