My sister recently sent a message to her family and friends on Facebook asking to share the ten favorite books one has read. It was a fun exercise, but I did not spend a lot of time in my response. I came up with a couple books that I consider my all-time favorites, and then filled out the list with titles that I could retrieve from my memory.
So in fairness to me, and my love of reading, I went back to the journals I’ve kept in recent years listing every book I read. I wrote short “book reports”, much like the ones I would write for my sixth grade English teacher Mr. Spence.
I ended each report with a one-to four star rating. What follows is a top ten list of favorites from the past few years. As with most of my top ten lists, these are not listed in any particular order.
- Florida Roadkill by Tim Dorsey. This novelist has created a couple of wacky characters who roam the highways of Florida. It’s an acquired taste, but I found this and at least one other from the series to be quite entertaining in a “good in small doses” kind of way.
- The Cider House Rules by John Irving. I’m a big fan of the movie starring Tobey Maguire andMichael Caine. So I read this simply to judge whether the old saying, “if you liked the movie, you’ll love the book” was true. It was.
- The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. The holocaust is the backdrop in this novel about friendship and compassion for others. Disturbing, as most stories tackling this top are, but an excellent work.
- Seven-hundred Sundays by Billy Crystal. A deeply personal book about the comedian’s dad, who passed away when Billy was fifteen. Billy had seven-hundred Sundays with his father, and he shares lots of laughs and tears in this memoir.
- Appaloosa by Robert B. Parker. I’m a fan of this popular author of the Spenser series, but this western just connected with the side of me that wants to ride the range and take out the bad guys. I was particularly struck by the point of view being that of the deputy, and not the main character of the sheriff.
- Light from Heaven by Jan Karon. This is on my list because I like holiday novels and I enjoyed the Father Tim series by this author. This is a nice story that does not fall into the usual holiday novel form where everything is buttoned up by Christmas Eve.
- My Losing Season by Pat Conroy. Non-fiction account of the author’s youth and adolescence seen through his love of the game of basketball.
- Completing my top ten list is the book I’m reading now. Or maybe the book I read after this one. Who knows? Life is a journey, and books are the waypoints.
Steve Newvine Lives in Merced