10 of My Favorite Books


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I have LOTS of books — two full shelves worth, and that’s me being conservative due to our house being tiny. I love a whole bunch of those books but decided to narrow it down to 10 favorites. There’s a bunch that almost made the cut, but these are the first ones to come to mind. All awesome in their own ways.

1. Rockabye: From Wild to Child by Rebecca Woolf. I absolutely LOVE this woman. I’ve been reading her blog, Girl’s Gone Child, for YEARS, and her writing style is just… so perfect. This book is everything I wanted it to be, and I devoured it in a matter of hours. I was actually pretty sad about it — I should have spaced it out AT LEAST over a few days, but I couldn’t help myself. The description from Amazon: “Rockabye is the lively memoir of a spontaneous young city-girl who becomes unexpectedly pregnant. That city-girl is Rebecca Woolf, who at 23, after the “holy shit, I’m pregnant” realization, decides to keep the baby, marry the boyfriend (in Vegas no less), and figure out how to wed her rock n’ roll lifestyle and impending motherhood.”

2. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. Honestly, everything by Mary Roach is amazing. She always writes about topics that are super interesting and often a bit morbid (Spook is all about the afterlife, Bonk deals with sex, Gulp is about the alimentary canal…), and she’s so fucking FUNNY. The description from Amazon: “Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers—some willingly, some unwittingly—have been involved in science’s boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.”

3. Bongwater by Michael Hornburg. This was a high school favorite of mine and I still have such fond memories from reading it. The description from Amazon: “Bongwater is a novel that wavers along the solar eclipse of the American Dream, a neo-Beat, grungeoisie love story that has all the authenticity and none of the pretension of its forerunners, a book that will be for the slacker generation of the nineties what Bright Lights, Big City was for the wannabe eighties. Young, rebellious, and vulnerable, Michael Hornburg’s unforgettable characters trace the subtle outlines of a misunderstood generation. Moving from Portland to New York City and back again, and written in precise, startlingly original prose, Bongwater is in the tradition of the Beat classics The Subterraneans and The Dharma Bums.”

4. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I have yet to see the movie version of this book just because I can’t imagine it being anywhere close to as perfect. The book is just so haunting and wonderful. The description from Amazon: “So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on earth continue without her — her friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unraveling. Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, THE LOVELY BONES succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy.”

5. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. Another childhood favorite. I must have read this book at least 10 times growing up. I wanted to be Harriet so badly and regularly ate tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches in her honor. She’s also the reason I started journaling, which has carried over to me blogging in this more modern age. So fantastic. The description from Amazon: “Harriet M. Welsch is a spy. In her notebook, she writes down everything she knows about everyone, even her classmates and her best friends. Then Harriet loses track of her notebook, and it ends up in the wrong hands. Before she can stop them, her friends have read the always truthful, sometimes awful things she’s written about each of them. Will Harriet find a way to put her life and her friendships back together?”

6. Godspeed by Lynn Breedlove. Oh god I LOVED this book in high school. My copy has so many passages underlined and highlighted, so many pages dog-eared and tattered. The description from Amazon: “Jim is a speed-freak bike messenger whose devotion to her drug habit rivals the intensity of her adoration for Ally, her brilliant stripper girlfriend. When she’s forced to choose between drugs and the girl, time and again she succumbs to her addiction-but somehow she’s still unable to attain the ultimate high she seeks. After losing her messenger job, Jim works first as a downwardly spiraling drug dealer, then as a roadie for a touring all-girl punk band, and engages in short-lived halfhearted romances while pining for Ally. She winds up staying in a squat house in New York City when the roadie gig ends, and finally begins cleaning up her act. But upon eventually returning home to San Francisco, Jim finds that things have changed in a way she can’t reconcile. It’s only then she realizes the ultimate rush can’t be found in sex, drugs, violence, or even Ally-the source of her rapture is something else entirely.”

7. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. It’s hard to resist any book with a title such as this. I’m a fan of Dave Eggers in general but this book in particular is fantastic. The description from Amazon: “The literary sensation of the year, a book that redefines both family and narrative for the twenty-first century. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is the moving memoir of a college senior who, in the space of five weeks, loses both of his parents to cancer and inherits his eight-year-old brother. Here is an exhilarating debut that manages to be simultaneously hilarious and wildly inventive as well as a deeply heartfelt story of the love that holds a family together.”

8. Drown by Junot Díaz. The book that made me fall in love with this brilliant author. The description from Amazon: “This stunning collection of stories offers an unsentimental glimpse of life among the immigrants from the Dominican Republic–and other front-line reports on the ambivalent promise of the American dream–by an eloquent and original writer who describes more than physical dislocation in conveying the price that is paid for leaving culture and homeland behind.”

9. White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Confident and brave and hard to put down. The description from Amazon: “Epic in scale and intimate in approach, White Teeth is a formidably ambitious debut. First novelist Zadie Smith takes on race, sex, class, history, and the minefield of gender politics, and such is her wit and inventiveness that these weighty subjects seem effortlessly light. She also has an impressive geographical range, guiding the reader from Jamaica to Turkey to Bangladesh and back again.”

10. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. Another book that helped to shape my childhood. I remember this book in such vivid detail, and I can recall feeling as if I was there with James… the sights and feelings and smells were almost palpable. The description from Amazon: “After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. Inside, James meets a bunch of oversized friends—Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, and more. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the great adventure begins!”

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