Top Ten Tuesday: Books that I loved so much, I wish there were more just like them

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s rather convoluted top ten title really got me thinking. Which books have I been really annoyed about finishing? Which have I heard about others reading, and got jealous because they get to read them for the first time?

This list is in no particular order…

1. ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte

My all-time favourite, and it’s got it all… the windswept Yorkshire moors, a tale of forbidden, tormented love, ghostly hauntings, digging up a grave because you can’t live with the grief… Okay, so I’m a fan of a melodramatic love story and rather partial to a graveyard (and Kate Bush, but that’s almost unrelated).

I first read this as part of my A-level English Literature course, and I’d never read anything like it. The raw passion and fatalistic plotline left me screaming at Cathy not to be so bloody stupid, and at Heathcliff not to be so pig-headed. It’s one of the great literary tragedies that Emily Bronte died before getting the chance to write another novel.

2. ‘The Green Mile’ by Stephen King

I’m pretty certain that this is the only supernatural, death row, UTI-based novel out there, and I enjoyed reading it virtually in one sitting. What a great way to spend a day though!

3. ‘The Diary of a Nobody’ by George and Weedon Grossmith

Probably the funniest book I’ve ever read. It’s a late Victorian telegraphic account of a fool and his mundane life. Doesn’t sound great, but if you like ‘The Diary of Adrian Mole’ or ‘The Importance of Being Ernest’ then this may well be book for you.

Cover of The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith

4. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee

Like many, I was introduced to this novel as part of the GCSE curriculum at the age of 15 – which, incidentally, is absolutely the right age to be reading it. I couldn’t believe that the racism it revealed to us was a representation of what actually happened. This book was adult and raw and sad and lovely all at the same time.

As a Teacher of English, I’ve taught this many times, and classes love it. Boo hiss to Michael Gove deciding that only Literature written in Great Britain was worthy of being on the GCSE English Literature exams. A whole generation are now failing to be introduced to novels like ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘Of Mice and Men.

Can a book be replicated? Well, think back to how excited were we all when the lost novel of ‘Go Set a Watchman’ was released a few years ago. And then how hugely disappointed. Nope – there is nothing like this novel and nothing like reading it for the first time.

5. ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ by George Orwell

My now-husband wooed me with both ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ and ‘Brave New World’. We were just good friends until he lent me these two books and then I decided that someone with such impeccable taste in books was surely boyfriend material. And he had a car.

Dystopian nightmare that has eerily become our own modern-day hell. Utterly terrifying and yet utterly brilliant. (The book, not my marriage).

Cover of Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

6. ‘Gone With the Wind’ by Margaret Mitchell

At over 1000 pages, this is not exactly a light read. Until a few years ago, I’d never seen the film, and never read the book. I’d never had any inclination towards doing so, assuming that it was all just hype and most likely a silly romance. Then I noticed that it was always in those ‘100 books to read before you die’ type lists, and it made it onto by TBR pile – where it sat for a few years until finally getting read.

Wow! What a novel! The two main characters are pretty-much unlikeable, its themes of slavery, war and inequality are dire, and its backdrop of the American Civil War is not something that particularly interests me, and yet it is one of the most engrossing, absorbing books that I’ve ever read.

Cover of Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

7. ‘The Remains of the Day’ by Kazuo Ishiguro

This is a tale of romance in older people, which in itself is somewhat unusual. It is quiet, reserved and muted. It is both heartbreaking and beautiful and I don’t think that I’ve ever read anything so sad.

8. ‘The Universe Versus Alex Woods’ by Gavin Extence

A teenager drives back from Switzerland with his best-friend/elderly neighbour’s, body in the passenger seat. And so it begins! As you’ll grasp from the premise, there’s an awful lot of dark humour in this novel, but there’s also a lot of warmth and some wonderful central characters.

Cover of The Universe versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

9. ‘The Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern

This novel is dreamy and magical, and I really wish that I could read it again for the first time.

10. ‘Charlotte’s Web’ by E. B. White

One of the joys of being a parent is being able to share books with your children. I’d never read ‘Charlotte’s Web’ myself as a child, but thoroughly enjoyed reading it with my own children, and watching how it captured their imagination. They cared so much about Charlotte and Wilbur, and couldn’t wait for the next chapter. I found myself looking forward to the next chapter of this one as much as they did.

25 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books that I loved so much, I wish there were more just like them

  1. A great list. I just read ‘The Remains of the Day’ by Kazuo Ishiguro and loved it. I would add The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. A boo that will stick with me forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My mom got Gone With the Wind for me to read when I was young, and I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Remains of the Day has always been one of my favorites; I was sad no one else in book club liked it. Now I’m off to see if I can find The Universe Versus Alex Woods…it looks perfect for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I read “supernatural, death row, UTI-based novel” and cracked up. (Full disclosure, though, I’ve only seen the movie and have no idea how it compares to the book.)

    I bought To Kill a Mockingbird when I was younger, maybe near the end of high school, because of how much I liked it when I read it for school (an unusual circumstance for me with required reading). It’s been many years, and I’ve not re-read it, so I don’t remember much more than the basics. It’s on my list to read again soon though.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Terrific list. There were a couple I’d never heard of (The Universe Versus Alex Woods and Diary of a Nobody) so will check them out. I think I would add Kindred by Octavia Butler to my list. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ah, a Kate Bush fan! I have to admit, I love the Kate Bush version of Wuthering Heights much more than I ever loved the book. 🙂 I love seeing Charlotte’s Web on your list. What a wonderful book! I loved it as a child, and loved seeing my own kids react and respond to it when we read it together.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I do wish I could read Charlotte’s Web and 1984 for the first time again. 1984 was high school required reading, and I was amazed at how realistic the book was. I also want to read Gone With the Wind one day. The length is very intimidating. Hmm…I had to read To Kill a Mockingbird for school around age 13/14 and definitely didn’t love it, but I do believe it is a book that should remain in school curriculum.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What a fantastic list. I’ve read six of them, that’s a lot, I hardly ever have that many in common with another blogger. Will have to keep an eye on you. 😉

    Thanks for visiting my TTT earlier.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I totally agree. We find more great books that way. Not that I need to. My TBR pile would go up to the rooftop if I would stack the books.

        Great to have met you.

        Liked by 1 person

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