Top 40, Part I

So awhile back ago I did a post on a book called Howard's End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading From Home by Susan Hill, in which the author chose the 40 books she'd have in her book collection, if she had to choose.

This is really, really hard.

First of all, I'm terrible with hypothetical situations, as my husband can attest to. Those stupid questions like, "If your house was burning and you could grab three things what would they be?" and "If you were a superhero would you rather fly or have speed?" make no sense to me- I'd grab a backpack if my house was on fire and shove tons of shit in it, and last I checked there was no such thing as superpowers (unless you were born in the Tarahumara Indian tribe and can run 100 miles day after day). This is just as bad- seriously, why would I ever have to pick just 40 books? Who, seriously, is going to make me whittle down my collection to that? I'd really like to know so I can kick their ass! You know how scrawny little mommies get all this incredible strength to pick up cars to save their kids? That would be me. With nunchucks.

But I said I would, and I do what I say. In order to prolong this little project and get the most posting bang for my buck, I'll just do ten at a time, in no particular order. And then I'll make a nifty little tab and put them all there. I'm super cool, I know.

Top 40, Part I

1. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder: My parents bought the whole collection from the used book store when I was about six, and I was so excited with the concept of a boxed set. This one was the first in the series, and over the years I eventually read them all.

2. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty: When I was assigned this lengthy Western in college I wasn't too happy, but then I started reading and fell in love with those cowboys. I was so overloaded with work and school at the time, but I still managed to finish my first Western- one of the only people in the class. Booyah.

3. Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle: This book is still relevant today, even though it was written over a decade ago. Living in California, I see so much racism and anger in regards to Mexicans and immigration. This book gives illegal immigrants faces and shows truths that some people may not be comfortable with. It's a timely book that will make you think.

4. Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside by Katrina Firlik: This piece of nonfiction isn't exactly the best writte book, but it serves as a constant reminder of the career path I should have taken. Regret can be positive- it can motivate you to make the rest of your life better to make up for your past mistakes.

5. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell: This is just a great piece of contemporary literature. David Mitchell is brilliant and humble; the man exudes literary capability. It's dense, it's layered, it's amazing. He will one day be considered a "great."

6. House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende: I read this book in high school, despite the inevitable parents that tried to have it banned (year after year, school after school). I feel so strongly about this book I wrote to my hometown newspaper from college when they tried to have it banned again. If Gabriel Garcia Marquez is Mr. Magical Realism, than Allende is the Mrs. I love this book to death, donkey sex and all.

7. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer: While Foer may be in a current literary slump, his debut was impressive. One of my UCLA lit professors let the class choose the final book of her syllabus (awesome idea, by the way), and this is what we decided on. I'm a sucker for first time novelists, and this is the one everyone wants to be (the six figure advance that Foer received wasn't to shabby either).

8. Spark by John Ratey and Eric Hagerman: I'm not big into the "self-help" genre, but I read this for a professional development class and was blown away. The authors examine the neurological, emotional, and biological results exercise has on people and it makes me want to work out every single day for the rest of my life. It's motivational and a real wake-up call!

A Time to Kill by John Grisham: I seriously can't believe I just put Grisham on my list, but this is at least old-school Grisham (you know, before he farmed out his work). I remember reading this on Christmas Eve when I was twelve and my parents walking in to while I was reading the very brutal rape scene thinking, "If they only knew I was reading this while they're telling me to go to bed so Santa can come!" Nonetheless, it really opened up my young eyes to the racism and brutality that exists in the world.

10. Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook: I love to cook and this has a lot of good basics that you can take and spruce up. If I can only have forty books I have to have at least one cookbook!

PS- Yes, I love the Polaroid ap on my iPhone. I like it even better when I combine it with the other photo programs I have. I had a bad day, and this was fun and made me happy, so go ahead and make fun of my 40 picture. I think it's cool.


  1. I love your list. It has a huge variety which makes it interesting. I have been wanting to tell you that since your review on the Lonely Polygamist I have been wanting to read that book...obsessing about it really. Thanks for introducing it to me.

  2. Aw, you made my little book blogging heart happy! You definitely should read it.

  3. Man, I need to read more books. My list would consist of First Grade reads such as Skippy Jon Jones and Poor Puppy. I do love Litte House on the Prairie though! I secretly want to be transported to that time period to see what life was like. So, if you could be transported to a different time period......oh forget it Ms. Non-Hypothetical.

  4. I neeed to read The Laura Ingalls one...evead Anne of Green Gables?
    I likethe movie A To Kill...I would like to read the ne one out called The Lincoln Lawyer...