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1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee--My pick is TKAM because it is just one of those really great comfort reads for me, and what better time to read it than the summer? Plus I've got the audio narrated by Sissy Spacek, which I can just throw in my car whenever I want.
2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte--I read this one in seventh grade for the first time, and even though it took me a while, I loved it. I actually read this because I read about the big twist in a different book, and it sounded good. I was right!
3. Emma by Jane Austen--I've read almost every Austen book thanks to a Jane Austen class in college (which was awesome, by the way), and this is my favorite. I love how flawed yet lovable Emma is, and the romance is my favorite. Plus, this was the basis for the movie Clueless. (Team Josh.)
4. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery--This remains one of my favorite books to this day. I wanted to be friends with Anne when I was growing up, and I would name different parts of my yard like Anne does. Plus, who doesn't love the Gilbert/Anne romance? I remember buying this book at the book fair in third grade and then deciding it looked too long. Then I decided to read the Great Illustrated Classic, and I remember thinking I didn't want Anne's adventures to end. So I dug out the unabridged copy and started over!
5. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller--People either love or hate this book. I think a lot of it has to do with whether they are able to follow the various strings of the plot. This novel is full of memorable characters--even the secondary and tertiary characters are supremely entertaining. It truly exhibits the madness of war and of blindly following orders. I laughed and cried and applauded.
6. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck--This novel hold a special place for me. Steinbeck does a great job of setting the scene in Oklahoma and I think it helps explain why Oklahoma is the way it is--it never recovered from the Depression. That said, the Joads' journey west to California is heartbreakingly entertaining. It's hard to believe that this stuff actually happened, but it definitely did. This one talks about the resilience of people and says a lot about the strength of women within the family.
7. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway--This was my first experience with Hemingway. I really enjoy the story of this novel. I haven't done a close reading of it--which means I really need to soon--but I can't help but get caught up in the story. There are moments of action that make you catch your breathe and there a moments of happiness that also make you catch your breath. Definitely need to re-read soon!
8. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway--This was the third Hemingway novel that I ever read. I love reading about the 1920s ex-pat scene and this perfectly fit the bill! It made me want to run away from home and travel around Europe. Like The Great Gatsby, this novel also explores the emptiness of life except following ex-pats living in Europe! It has some interesting characters. I like how Hemingway weaves in his own experiences into his novels. They make for a rich reading experience.
9. East of Eden by John Steinbeck--I love this book! Steinbeck retells the story of Genesis in this novel and also weaves in his own family's history. He creates an overwhelming sense of place and extremely deep characters that touch your lives and wriggle their way into your mind. Lee is one such character. He's stayed with me for over four years. I am partway through a re-read of this novel and am very much looking forward to picking it up again.
10. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain--I'm honestly kind of surprised that I included this novel. I had a horrible experience in a single-author course as a junior in college and haven't been able to pick up any Twain since. But this novel is a perfect satire! It points out the hypocrisies in human nature. As an outsider living within society, Huck cuts through the bs, which makes him the perfect narrator. It's a truly American story. And I think I can finally read it again.
These are our favorites. What are yours?