Drum roll please…Kathan’s top 10 books

So, for no reason other than boredom I was thinking about my favorite literary books – and I decided to make my own Top 10. I’ve read most of these twice (or more). A couple are more recent reads, but most are works I read many years ago…and they still resonate with me today. I didn’t include any nonfiction in my list.

So here goes, in no particular order:

  1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery…a completely enchanting story about a young orphan girl who endears herself to everyone she meets.
  2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath…a disturbingly written book about a young woman suffering from mental illness in the early 20th century.
  3. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen…I could list all of Austen because she’s my favorite author, but this story is at points terrifying and sad, and is more complex than many of her other novels.
  4. The Bible by various…many believe it’s a true story (as I do); but regardless, it’s a book full of history, drama, conflict and redemption and speaks truthfully about the human heart.
  5. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger…this book was the first “grown up” novel I read; it made me want to become a writer. A bitterly written coming-of-age story about a teenage boy.
  6. Hind’s Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard…a few of my faves are allegories like this one. It’s dreamy and totally sweeps me into the story every time I read it.
  7. It by Stephen King…the scariest book I ever read (The Shining is probably scarier, but I couldn’t bring myself to read it after I saw the movie). King is a great storyteller and a master of description.
  8. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers…this book is about as close as I’ll get to a romance novel. It’s a heartbreaking story of a man that marries a woman whose heart can never be faithful to him. A lovely story for men and women.
  9. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan…an allegory written in the 17th century by a man imprisoned for his faith. I read it in the original Olde English and it was fantastic and I don’t recommend the ‘modern language’ version. It’s regarded as one of the most important pieces of English literature but I am surprised how few people have actually read this work.
  10. No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith…this book inspired me to go on to read all of Smith’s books. It’s a simple and relaxing story, perfect while sipping a lemonade on your back patio.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Natasha
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 08:30:02

    Mansfield Park is not one of my Austen favorites. I kept wanting to shake Fanny — well, everyone in the book, really. I agree that it’s more complex than others but I really didn’t like that much edge in my Austen.

    Thanks for reminding me of Anne of Green Gables. I loved all the Anne books when I was growing up. You should visit P.E.I. if you haven’t yet on a pilgrimage some time.

    Might be time to reread The Bell Jar. It’s been a while. I did skim through Catcher in the Rye again after Salinger died.

    I tried the first Ladies Detective Series book and didn’t like it, but it’s probably a decent beach book.


    • kathanink
      Mar 26, 2010 @ 09:16:49

      I like the edge in Mansfield b/c it’s a departure for her…but I love all of her stuff for different reasons, I suppose.

      I LOVE Anne, and it’s my dream to visit PEI. I didn’t read them until I got into my 20’s (I never even heard of them!), but they are so sweet and lush, and I love how Anne’s head is so full of dreams. The PBS films from the 80’s are good, too.

      As for McCall Smith, I think you either like him or you don’t, so don’t feel bad if you don’t. 🙂


  2. dayner
    Mar 25, 2010 @ 23:38:24

    Redeeming Love! Got it! I’ll look for it.

    Mansfield Park wasn’t one of my favorites. I’ve only read it once, maybe I should give it another look. I had trouble getting into Fanny, she was a little too ‘good’. I don’t mean good, but I can’t find the right word. Do you know what I mean.
    I had a friend recommend another Alexander McCall Smith series the other day, I can’t remember the name though.
    I have The Bell Jar on my list and I want to reread The Catcher in the Rye. It’s been a long time and I’ve been thinking about it a lot since Salinger’s death.


    • kathanink
      Mar 26, 2010 @ 09:13:53

      I guess I enjoyed the darker nature of Mansfield Park because it’s a departure for Austen. The PBS movie (2009?) was really good. If you don’t read the book, at least watch the movie.

      Smith has a few other series…Isabel Dalhousie (they’re OK, but I have read them); the 44 Scotland St books (I like these better and they are sort of humorous); and the Portugese Irregular Verbs (very smart & funny, and short). All his books other than No. 1 Ladies’ take place in Scotland. I think you either like McCall Smith or you don’t.

      Neither The Bell Jar or Catcher in the Rye are terribly uplifting books. But they are excellent literature and great at characterization, which is why I think they should be read.


  3. darksculptures
    Mar 25, 2010 @ 16:39:32

    I really want to read The Bell Jar. I’ve heard so much about it and all positive.

    I have read, IT, The Bible, and Catcher in the Rye. The others I haven’t. There are so many wonderful books and so little time.


    • kathanink
      Mar 25, 2010 @ 20:33:58

      I have to recommend Redeeming Love to Dayner, cause it’s sort of a romance novel. It’s soooo good.

      You MUST read Mansfield Park! Well, I just say that b/c I’ve read all of Austen’s works at least twice. 😀


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