(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. Want to make your own list? Clicking the image will take you to this week’s post. Happy listing!)
This week’s challenge is to create a list of books that elicited strong emotions, whether they be positive or negative. I generally have positive reactions to what I read, but not always, as my list proves. Check it out:
1. Good Omens (Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett) – This book was my introduction to both Gaiman and Pratchett, and it blew my mind! Now I’m working my way through Pratchett’s Discworld series, and I know I need to read some more Gaiman soon.
2. Helter Skelter (Vincent T. Bugliosi and Curt Gentry) – The story of the Manson Family, its leader Charles, the horrible murders they committed, and the trials that put them behind bars. This book gave me nightmares when I first read it in high school, and it’s an incredible read.
3. Anything by Erma Bombeck – I love this woman and everything she ever wrote.
4. The Gift: Poems by Hafiz, the Great Sufi Master – I’m not a huge fan of poetry or religion, but this book of 14th century poetry made me enjoy both. At times hysterical, romantic, and sad, I loved this book.
5. The Grand Sophy (Georgette Heyer) – Although not the first of Heyer’s books I read, this one is probably my favorite so far. Sophy is just such a great character, there are some ridiculously funny moments, and it’s all amazingly well-written.
6. March (Geraldine Brooks) – A book written from the perspective of Mr. March, father of the March girls of Little Women. The story follows him through his time in the Union Army, as well as his young adulthood and the time he spends in the hospital after being wounded. The descriptions of the abuse of slaves, the horrors of battle, and the insane guilt Mr. March feels made the book very heavy indeed. The chapters from Mrs. March’s perspective were particularly difficult, and the entire novel made me at turns nauseous, sad, scared, and ultimately uplifted.
7. A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue (Wendy Shalit) – It was nice to read a book in which neither slut-shaming or “separate genders, but equal” was a motif. Most third-wave feminists consider Shalit to be setting women back a few decades, but I don’t see how “having sex like a man” is going to make women equal to them. It’s a different perspective on feminism, and one that I can appreciate, even if I don’t agree with all of it.
8. The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss) – I’d forgotten how much I love high fantasy until I read this book earlier this year. Amazing.
9. Graceling (Kristin Cashore) – I can’t help it, I’m a total fangirl. I’ve never seen a character like Katsa in a YA novel, and I love everything about her. She’s a strong feminist role model in a genre where gender stereotypes reign supreme.
10. Nightshade (Andrea Cremer) – And speaking of gender stereotypes, ugh. I can’t even begin to enumerate the ways in which I despised this book. I wanted to heave it through a plate glass window and then off a cliff. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
11. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) – Like a soap opera, but even more incomprehensible. Everyone has the same three names, the main character has zero likeable qualities, and there’s more drama than a girls’ high school locker room. Awful!
That felt good.
Your turn. What books made you laugh, cry, or so angry you saw red?
12 thoughts on “Top 10 Tuesday: Books About Which I Feel Strongly”
I’m right with you on Helter Skelter and March…Helter Skelter absolutely frightened me to death…I think it was the first time I realized that evil was alive and well in the world. I’m an American Lit. lover and Little Women is one of my favorite stories of all time…I didn’t care for March himself; he made me angry…but I loved the book.
I have to agree with you about Helter Skelter; I’d never read much about true crime before I read that book in high school, and I remember being almost nauseous while reading it. I just couldn’t (and still can’t) believe that anyone could do things like that. It was an awful, awful thing, and Manson is a twisted person.
I love Little Women as well, and part of the reason it was so hard for me to read March was because its tone and subject matter was so wildly different from Alcott’s novel. March dug right into the more horrifying aspects of war and slavery; Mr. March wasn’t a particularly sympathetic character, but the book was fantastic. Geraldine Brooks is a great writer.
Hmmm, well I loved Graceling and hated Wuthering Heights so now I’m worried about reading Nightshade but excited to get to The Name of the Wind.
Happens to me all the time, Jenny. Reading reviews is fun, but they can sometimes ruin a book for you. 🙂
I honestly didn’t expect to hate Nightshade as much as I did. But the more I thought about it, had conversations with people in the comments section of my review, and read other people’s reviews, the more I realized that I genuinely think it’s a terrible book. The story’s fine, the characters are fine, but the sexually possessive males make me cringe, and the gender stereotypes were just too awful. I don’t understand why so many people seem to love the book.
Oh, Name of the Wind was excellent! I hadn’t read a fantasy book with such depth in years, and it was quite an experience.
I couldn’t have provided a better commentary on Wuthering Heights! I’m also (slowly) working my way through the Discworld series and loved Mort and Guards! Guards! About to start Night Watch.
The thing I’ve noticed about Wuthering Heights is that people either love it to pieces, or completely loathe it. I’m firmly in the latter group, obviously. I prefer Charlotte’s writings much more, and have Anne’s Agnes Grey on my TBR list. We’ll see if the third sister can help redeem the family. 🙂
I haven’t read a whole lot of the Discworld series yet, but I’m completely in love with both Hogfather and the Tiffany Aching/Witches story arc. Pratchett’s one of the best authors I’ve ever read. How does he come up with it all?
Great list! I loved Graceling as well, and I’m curious about The Name of the Wind. I didn’t *hate* Nightshade, but I found myself very disappointed by the ridiculous protagonist. I have no interest in continuing with the series. And… in TMI mode, I read “Helter Skelter” as a girl — like I was 10, because I found it on my brother’s dorm bookshelf when he was about to graduate from college. It gave me nightmares and convinced me I was going to be involved in some weird murder. Horror!
I’m totally a Cashore fangirl. It’s kind of embarrassing, actually. 🙂 You should check out Name of the Wind — it’s a great story.
I’ve taken too many Women’s Studies classes, and am too much of a feminist, to deal with Calla Tor. Thank goodness I didn’t spend any money on the book! I won’t be continuing with the series, either.
I think I knew at least something about the Manson murders as a kid. It’s obviously a big moment in American history, so I’m sure my mom or a teacher had mentioned it before I read the novel. But reading descriptions and seeing photos was scary, and then learning that Manson convinced these people to commit these crimes because they thought he was Jesus…that was terrifying.
I loved Katsa and Graceling (I can’t wait for Bitterblue!) but I also loved Nightshade – I only hated the horrible cliff-hanger ending.
The Manson novel sounds like it would be nightmare inducing. The fact that it’s what really happened – the fact that something as horrible as that could ever happen – is scary in and of itself.
They just keep pushing the release date for Bitterblue back further and further, and that makes me sad. 🙁 Hopefully they’ll put an actual date on it soon.
Yea, definitely a huge cliffhanger at the end of Nightshade. For me that just sealed my dislike of the novel; I could hardly get through the first one, I wasn’t even going to consider waiting around for the next! Too many other great books to read.
Helter Skelter was really frightening, especially when I read it for the first time. A lot of people say that the 1960s ended that day in 1969; a lot of innocence was lost, and most people couldn’t even handle it. But I couldn’t help but see the story from a psychological perspective (and neither could the author). It was fascinating to read about how Manson was able to hoodwink all his followers, and have them so under his thumb.
Haha, I love your description of Wuthering Heights!
It’s so true! It’s a horrible book! 🙂