A Reading Rut - my top five books of all time

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Real Estate Agent with HER Realtors

Carole Cohen started a book meme on ActiveRain.  

Carole tagged Bonnie who wrote BookTagged  Bonnie tagged me.  My Top Five books of all time?

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Library_book_shelves.jpg                                                   I like books where I like the characters, or don't like the characters...but I really feel like the author has introduced me to the characters, not just a name and a physical description.  Most of the books I like the characters are a bit quirky but the author develops the characters and their interaction.  Like movies for me there does not have to be murder, violence, sex, or action to hold my interest.  I like subtle interaction between characters rather than high drama, in most cases.  Most of the books I really like are about families.  Most of the books are about forgiveness, forgiving, not forgiving... Most are about faith and fate, many of the books I've liked have been historical.   

OCR: Obsessive Compulsive Reading? I have always been in a rut when it came to reading. If I found an author I like I read all of the authors books.  This meme made me look to see who wrote the 'All-of-a Kind Family' books that I loved as a child.  It was a series of stories of five Jewish sisters and their family in NYC in the beginning of the 20th century. I easily find the books without knowing authors or titles with the miracle of Google. I find they were written by Sydney Taylor.  As I got older I read all of Maud Hart Lovelace's, Laura Ingalls Wilder's and Louisa May Alcott's books.    

I worked in public libraries in high school and college.  I come from a family who are bookworms (OCR.)  I've been healed (of OCR) I don't read a lot of new books anymore, but I do sometimes reread books I liked. 

I do read other books if people hand them to me and say "read this!"  That has been the majortiy of my reading the past five years or so.  I do read short stories more now than novels or non fiction books.  I like "stories."

My 5 All Time Favorites or most read books: 

'The Bible' -   I never really read The Bible... really sat down and read it until 1995 (although I had it read to me bit by bit  for years... previously.)   I still can't claim to have read it cover to cover.  I've tried. I do read this book more than a lot of more recently written books lately.  Reading this book has probably cut into the time I used to use to read novels.

'A Prayer for Owen Meany' - I have read most but not all of John Irving's books (recent ones have not been read) First time through I could not put down 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' and I have reread it.  It is about two boys growing up and their freaky families.  A lot of 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' is set in Sunday school and church.  I think the book is about faith, fate and social justice.  

I've also read Irving's 'The 158-Pound Marriage', 'The Cider House Rules', 'The Hotel New Hampshire', 'Setting Free the Bears', 'The Water-Method Man' and 'The World According to Garp'.  I think Hotel New Hampshire was the one I could not read the first time I tried it. I tried again later after a time and liked it.

'Saint Maybe'  I have read most of Anne Tyler's books, the last couple published I have not read.  First time through I could not put down 'Saint Maybe.' It is a story about faith and fate and responsibility.  It is a story about a young man who takes on responsibility for his brother's family and step family.  He becomes a member of the 'CHURCH OF THE SECOND CHANCE.'

Look at a  list of books written by Anne Tyler, subtract all but the last three and I have read them all (OCR.)

'Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age"  by Kevin Boyle.  This is the only thing I have read by Boyle.   This book won the National Book Award for non fiction.  It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and other awards.  This is the story of  a black physician's family who buys property in a "white neighborhood" in Detroit. Earlier in his life the main character lived in rural Florida, then went to school at a school  just west of Columbus Ohio and then to Howard University in Washington DC for medical school.  He and his wife travelled in Europe also.  I found the descriptions of how integrated or segregated life was at the time (Jazz Age) in various communities in the US and Europe fascinating. It was such an important time in Detroit with the auto industry flourishing it was interesting to read about that community and how it compared to the south and other communities.  There was a historic trial in this true story that has become  virtually forgotten. Detroit had forgot it?  Outside of Detroit it was well known at the time but long forgotten less than a  century later.  Clarence Darrow who was involved in the Scopes Monkey Trial a year or two earlier was a main character in the court room but this trial was forgotten by America.  

Boyle is a history professor at OSU. This is a book I was handed and told "Read This!"

"To Kill a Mockingbird"  I first read it in high school and have reread it and watched the movie so much I know the lines.  We studied it in 10th grade English and it has been a favorite since.

Books I have been reading for years and may never finish:

'The Fountainhead' by Ayan Rand I just don't get it. 

'War and Peace' by Tolstoy  I love Russian history but I can't keep the characters straight.

'Lady Chatterly's Lover' by D. H. Lawrence

"HTML 4 For Dummies"  I've only been reading this one for about 16 months unlike the others... I got a lot out of PC's for Dummies... I read that cover to cover.

I tag Teri Lussier, Mary Pope-Handy,  Tracy Santrock, Missy Caulk, Tina Kreminsky (a Columbus Blogger she writes Green Buckeye and another more personal blog... Oomsomethingorother),  Toby BoyceDavid Childress and Ann Cummings.

The meme instructions from Carole:

" Please pick your Top Five books of all time, and tell us why you like them so much. Are there books you find yourself revisiting? At some point in your life did you find a book so enthralling  you had to read it from start to finish without putting it down -- even if that put your entire life on hold for a day? You can use any criteria for favorite books and the only thing I ask is that you describe why you like the book so much.  Personally I think it's only a slightly difficult exercise because narrowing it down to five might be tough. Of course you can take some creative license and make the list longer :-) 

***When you post, please come back here (Maureen's blog... entry "  A Reading Rut -  my top five books of all time" at least one of my memee's have posted their's on Carole's but not mine  boo hoo) and link to your blog. You can post this on any blog 'home' you choose, but please come back  and link to it here so we can all find it more easily and also see what books we should add to our reading lists!

Please tag or meme a few people after you are done so we can learn about them too."

Or don't tag others....

Put a link to this entry please!  

Or don't....

Thanks!

 

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Rainer
54,559
Art Blanchet
On the Outside Lookin' In - Sebastian, FL
Stranger in a Warm Land

Hello Maureen,

Funny you should mention books this week.  My utterly undefinable genius son sent me the following books on CD and with orders to buy an iPod and listen to soon.   I received it two days ago.  They were on his back-up DVD he wanted me to care for...(wink).

Atlas Shrugged

The Best of Isaac Asimov

Circle

Collapse - How Societies Choose to Fall or Succees

The Fair Tax Book

Freakonomics - A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Guns Germs and Steel

A little diversity here?  Patternless? - That's my boy!  Someday he'll be the King of Cognitive Science and teach the entire world about enhancing the human brain in thinking and communication and  information absorption/distribution.

 While I prefer reading print, these will do for a while.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

For Christmas he sent this, thinking I could enjoy it.  The introduction to the forward to this book was mind-boggling as the author ties Johanne Sebastian Bach (music), MC Escher (fish ties - my level of appreciation), and Kurt Godel (math) together in their work.  It hurt my brain just reading the title. 

My son over-estimates the true nature of my quest for knowledge - and the time frame within I work and live.  Now that he is well past seventeen he discovered I have a brain, but now thinks it has an unlimited capacity to absorb information. 

Godel, Escher, Bach: an eternal golden braid
Book 1306/Completed: 7/24/1987

LC Control Number:99192374
Author(s):Hofstadter, Douglas R., 1945-
Published/Created:New York: Basic Books, c1999.
Description:23, vi-xxi, 777 p.: ill. ; 23 cm.
ISBN:0394756827 (pbk.)
Notes:Includes bibliographical references (p. 746-756) and index.
Subjects:Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750.
Escher, M. C. (Maurits Cornelis), 1898-1972.
G?del, Kurt.
Metamathematics.
Symmetry.
Artificial intelligence.
LC Classification:QA9.8 .H63 1999
Dewey Class No.:510/.1 21
Links:Publisher description

Ohhh - the phone conversations my son and I have - pains my wonderfully ordered and pragmatic wife just to overhear MY half...

What if he finds out the truth that he has surpassed me so completely!? (He probably already knows...)

If anyone has read this book, I will have that person contact my son and be Dad for a Day.

Thanks.

Art

Aug 03, 2007 04:14 PM #16
Rainer
26,741
inactive AR account
Dayton, OH

Oh yeah, I've read that one. Great study of ..um... you know...

Metamathematics.
Symmetry.
Artificial intelligence.

What he said.

So what's this kid's name? We need to know so when he becomes famous for developing a system for ridding world of several previously unsolvable problems, we can all say "I know his dad!" And call you up to congratulate you on a job well done. ;)

Or we can blog about. :)

 

Aug 04, 2007 08:56 AM #17
Rainmaker
1,476,142
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Thanks Art ... when your son comes up with something for "enhancing the human brain in thinking and communication and  information absorption/distribution" let my brain be one of the first on the list for enhancement.  It needs it.

Teri: You're right  we can say say we knew his Dad, Art a smart guy!

Aug 04, 2007 11:48 AM #18
Rainer
474,397
Bonnie Erickson
Tangletown Realty - Saint Paul, MN
You've quite a list here, Maureen.  I have to admit I've never read or seen "To Kill a Mockingbird".  I should fix that problem in the next few months.  The irony is that blogging takes up a lot of reading time.  I'm with Lenn on that.  Before the Internet . . .
Aug 04, 2007 04:27 PM #19
Rainer
26,741
inactive AR account
Dayton, OH
Bonnie- TKAM was the book chosen last year in Dayton public library's citywide reading project. There were about 5 books the citizens could vote on to read for book groups, most newer 'classics' and Mockingbird won. It was a bit surprising on one level because everyone figured it was such a classic- who hasn't read it- but in the end, the best beloved won out.
Aug 04, 2007 11:07 PM #20
Rainmaker
339,712
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Hi Maureen - OK, here's my list, and I tagged a few more, too.

Thanks for what you wrote about the lists I shared on Real Talk.  I think Chris Newell started the first one I responded to, and you're right about it being started to change the topic, whatever it was at that time.  And I think I responded to another thread about the same thing at some other point. 

I'd forgotten about the furniture comment - good memory!!   I still have stacks of books and magazines sitting there, different ones than back then, except for a few that I like to keep close at hand when the mood to thumb through them strikes me.  One of the books on my list of five is one of those that I like to page through once in awhile.

Ann

Aug 06, 2007 03:20 PM #21
Rainmaker
1,476,142
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Thanks Ann and thanks for posting it to my blog as instructed. I will always remember about the funiture comment, don't remember who made it but it is stuck in my brain about you.

Aug 06, 2007 09:17 PM #22
Ambassador
517,135
Tracy Santrock
Fonville Morisey/Santrock Realty Group, Inc. - Cary, NC
Raleigh - Cary Realtor/Broker In Charge

Hi Maureen,

This TAG will take some thought.  I'm not an avid reader but do enjoy reading.  I must note that Bible reading is tough- Good for the soul but I don't think I'd ever read it cover to cover.  

 

Aug 09, 2007 03:08 AM #23
Rainer
3,775
a b
c - Tucson, AZ

LOVE Irving.  When I find an author I like, I tend to go through all of their work before moving on to someone new.  same with Vonnegut, Heller, Tom Robbins...

Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time, anyone?

Aug 09, 2007 07:56 AM #24
Rainmaker
1,476,142
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate
Ok you are taxing my brain Kelly.  I probably read Catch  22 and Slaughter House 5 (five?) before I was 18... I am sure if I could remember them they'd be up there on my list but my brain turned to mush at some point since.  So I just read and reread the same books.... 
Aug 09, 2007 08:13 AM #25
Rainer
54,559
Art Blanchet
On the Outside Lookin' In - Sebastian, FL
Stranger in a Warm Land

The Housechick ~ Tucson Realtor Kelley Koehler

"Life is no way to treat an animal." - Kilgore Trout (how true, how true...)

Slaughterhouse Five (my first Vonnegut) was supposed to be an anti-war novel, and in some ways, it was.  However Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun was not to be misinterpreted a whit and got Trumbo on the Commie List in the 50's.

Aug 09, 2007 08:46 AM #26
Rainer
54,559
Art Blanchet
On the Outside Lookin' In - Sebastian, FL
Stranger in a Warm Land

Also a fave is One Flew Over the Kuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey - a "man-book" if there ever was one.  "Chief" is the narrator in the novel.  So many themes (really a psychotic thriller in some ways) addressed as well as a slam in general against the psychiatric profession and the inept system which ultimately cannot be resisted or altered. 

And it spawned a classic flick that totally does the book justice- watch it some time and just for fun pick out the character actors who are still busy today since that movie played 32 years ago.  Now there's some acting!  Nicholson and Fletcher (she won an Oscar) are superb in their roles.  When you can get an audience to hate you without resulting to one overt act of violence, you have acting ability to spare!

Aug 09, 2007 08:56 AM #27
Rainer
26,741
inactive AR account
Dayton, OH

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues! There is one line from that book that I cannot repeat here, but I will never forget. funny funny book

Johnny Got His Gun? Oh. So intense. And now all I think of when I hear that is Metallica. Ouch.

graphic says "lovi-lovi" I'm not sure what to make of that

Aug 09, 2007 08:58 AM #28
Rainmaker
1,476,142
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Art: Wow I read 'Johnny Got His Gun' too...  and forgot all about it.   You and Kelley (I see I spelled her name wrong above ) are going to make my brain pop. 

Tracy :  Take your time.  I took three or four months on the media blog that a Columbus blogger tagged me on, there are no time limits.  For some reason the media diet meme was so personal... (what radio station you listen to tells a lot about you, the kind of TV shows you watch....)  more personal than the  5 things no one knows about me that I have done three times now.  I did this one quicker, but I considered not putting The Bible on because...  Or putting on Cider House Rules  rather than Owen Meany

Aug 09, 2007 09:00 AM #29
Rainer
54,559
Art Blanchet
On the Outside Lookin' In - Sebastian, FL
Stranger in a Warm Land

Maureen  -  If the Bible is significant to you, it just is.  Ain't no crime being religious (in the US, so far), whether one day a week or seven...  Doesn't hurt to remind ourselves, either.

 

No more fun - open house here in 2 hrs and it's me flying solo in the cleaning department - scoot.

Aug 09, 2007 09:08 AM #30
Rainmaker
1,476,142
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

You are right Art.  I was going to leave it off because of some of the conversations on AR earlier this year about civil rights / fair housing but decided it is one of the books I read the most now.  I am not telling anyone here or anywhere to read it or believe it.  I am just saying it is a book I read a lot.  I admit I read the Koran too.  Or I have a copy.  I looked at it on Saturday night, read a bit of it. The Bible is hard to read but the Koran  is even tougher for me...  

'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' I read that one long ago too.  

Aug 09, 2007 09:27 AM #31
Rainer
62,574
Nick M.
Certified Residential Appraiser- West Palm Beach Real Estate - West Palm Beach, FL
Realtor-Appraiser in West Palm-South Florida Real Estate Appraiser

Hey Maureen. I clearly haven't read as much as you, as i never really developed that skill. this book meme thing is kind of like a peek into others 'soul' (so to speak).. although i haven't read the Bible as much either, it is interesting once you get into it and start piecing the timelines together. thanks for sharing :)

 

Aug 11, 2007 04:41 AM #32
Rainmaker
1,476,142
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate
Nick there are interesting characters I just wish the authors had done more character development or maybe more description of the characters,   Obviously it is a different style of writing than today.  Or a bunch of different styles of writing depending on who the inspired writers were.   It's hard for me to read. Thanks for the comment.
Aug 11, 2007 09:29 AM #33
Rainmaker
244,379
Michelle DeRepentigny
Success Realty - Athens, GA
Broker Athens, GA
I now know what disease I have - OCR, thanks for giving it a name and for sharing your fabulous list.  I almost had Irving on my list, but he got knocked off by a book that made me cry this year.
Aug 23, 2007 04:57 PM #34
Rainmaker
1,476,142
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate
gee thanks for the comment Michelle where are my manners? 4 plus months  lag... talking about memes again and I had to come see if I tagged Ann Cummings on this.  Of course I did.
Jan 14, 2008 02:39 AM #35
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