Top 40, Part 3

So, once again I return with ten of my top forty- see prior posts for the initial plan and the second installment.

Top 40, Part III

21. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White: One of my first posts was dedicated to this book, but to recap, this was the first "chapter book" I ever read when I was young. My parents bought it for me for Christmas right after I turned five and I read it that day. Once I got frosting on the jacket cover and I was very sad.

22. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall: I have also written about this book as well, but I find it incredibly inspiring (most days I need something to get my ass in gear). This book is great for both runners and non-runners, as it does a great job story telling and adding in some science.

23. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl: I love this book for so many reasons. First of all, I want to be Pessl- she's a beautiful, smart, talented twenty-something writer that got a hefty advance for this book. Secondly, it's a great coming-of-age story about a girl who lives with her father and must adapt to a new school (reminds me of the Gilmore Girls, in a way). It was extremely well thought out; Pessl names each chapter after a classic that the stories events in some way parallel. The website is really neat.

24.To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Not only is this a great book about an important time period in history, it's also the first novel I taught high school students. Not only did they like it, I realized how much I really enjoyed teaching older kids and that this was how an English class should be taught (as opposed to an anthology). It's the end of April and the book still comes up in class once in awhile.

25. The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde (and editors): Okay, I cheated- I vowed in the beginning to not use anthologies or collections, but here I am doing it. It's hard to pick just one of Wilde's (A Picture of Dorian Gray? The Importance of Being Earnest? Lady Windermere's Fan?). I took a seminar on Wilde in college and really enjoyed spending that much time on an author study. Plus it was fun to secretly laugh at the supposedly uptight British professor, whose nipple rings I could see through his white shirt.

26. Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole: This book is well-written (won Toole a posthumous Pulitzer) and absolutely hilarious. Ignatius, the main character, finds himself in countless ridiculous episodes that make you laugh and want to smack him. Beneath it all, there is a dark side to him, just like the author himself (he committed suicide long before this novel was published).

27. Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman: This is actually a parenting book that I read for professional development units, but would keep in my collection to remind myself not to raise spoiled bratty children who are closed off from the world. This book uses some science to debunk long-standing parental myths for today's society. I know, I'm not a parent, I should shut up. Honestly, I don't care- I'm a teacher and I see what happens when parents screw up.

28. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling: I'm not a die-hard, line up on opening night, t-shirt wearing kind of Potter fan, but I do enjoy the books (I'm finally almost done with the series). They're not perfect, and occasionally Rowling borrows (who doesn't though?) from other authors, but I love what they've done for children's literature. Kids reading 700 page books of well-written, meaningful prose? I'm there. Plus, Lego Harry Potter is awesome and the theme park in Florida looks pretty tempting.

29. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: When I think of this book I just smile and sigh. Zafon is a master of magical realism and quality mystery. His writing is impeccable and the subject matter of the text is actually books. I loved the characters, the "story within a story" framework, and tone.

30. Fodor's Essential Italy: Simple- I loved my first trip and I'll need this when I go back someday.

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