Monday, May 2, 2011

Six of My Favorite Books

Ok, now THIS is what I'm talking about! I love to read more than I like anything else in the world. I have been waiting for this one! But, I'm a day late because I had issues yesterday and that's for another blog post. It involves actual divorce shit.

For me, a favorite book is one I can read over and over again. Sure, I waited at Barnes and Noble until the midnight release party for the next Harry Potter book, but I've never re-read any of them. These books are ones I can pick up and read when I have nothing else new to read. These books are the books I'll read INSTEAD of the new books I have to read. These books are the tried and true and save for the Percy Jackson series, have all been read in excess of ten times or more. Percy Jackson is hard because it's a series and if I read one I have to read them all, and they're fairly new to me, so the series has been read twice.

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck A poor farmer marries a slave from the House of Hwang, the richest family in town. She's ugly and quiet, but a hard worker. Together they build up the farm until they eventually move into the "big house" themselves. This chronicles their journey from poor to rich and the hardships they had to endure to get there, famine, war, begging. It shows the often cyclical nature of money and how it can blind even the most modest farmer once he has it. It shows what a poor family can endure and what they will do to stay alive. One of the most haunting parts of the book is when there is famine, and they're all starving, and their stores raided by their neighbors leaving them completely without food, O-Lan the wife gives birth. Her husband hears the baby cry, and then stop abruptly. He goes in and his wife says that there is no worries, it was just a slave child (That's what they called girls, because they were raised by their family, only to be given away to their husbands family to serve them) and when he walks in he finds the baby with a bruise around it's neck. The mother to save the baby from starving as she wouldn't be able to give milk since she was starving, chose instead to kill her.

Memoirs of a Geisha By Arthur Golden This book is just fascinating to me. I've read it so many times. It's like reading a painting, the author does such a great job describing in such detail every little aspect of geisha life (A white American man no less!) and the pain and suffering and joys and triumphs a geisha can experience. The love/hate relationship so many of them had with the lifestyle. Such an honor to be chosen and accepted, but they sacrifice so much for the honor. Being a geisha often affords a woman a certain freedom that other women don't have, but yet your life is run by the Mother of the okiya you live in and the men who buy your time and attentions.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger This is about as romantic as I get. The concept is really cool. A man can suddenly disappear and travel through time yet he has NO control over it. Usually only back in time, rarely forward. He warns himself of things that are going to happen. When he "goes" he leaves everything behind. He arrives wherever he ends up naked. He comes from the future and meets his wife as a little girl. But when he meets his wife as an adult, he hasn't met her as a little girl yet, but she has known him since she was like six, an older version of him. He disappears on his wedding day and an older version of himself marries his wife. He has to learn to survive by picking locks and stealing clothes when he's ends up somewhere. He and his wife try to have children, but the babies just *poof* disappear out of her womb, as they have the same ability. It's an amazing book and hard to describe.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker By God, if you think the movie is harrowing, the book is more. If you think the movie is upflifting, the book is more. The movie can't even begin to touch the story that Alice Walker was trying to tell in this book, and the movie is one of my all time favorite movies! Yet, again... the BOOK IS MORE! I think everyone knows the story of Celie, Nettie, Albert, Shug and all the rest from the movie, but honestly, there is so much that Steven Speilberg couldn't squeeze in there. But, he did an amazing job.

The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Roirdan Yes, I am going to say it. I am going to proclaim this out loud!! PERCY JACKSON IS BETTER THAN HARRY POTTER! There, I said it! I just like the concept more, probably because I have always loved mythology and to apply greek mythology to modern times, well that's just wicked fucking cool. Basic concept here goes.... The gods of Olympus are still around, and they move with the times. So, Mt. Olympus isn't actually in Greece anymore, it's in America. On top of the Empire State Building to be exact. The gods still get busy with humans. The humans get preggers. They pop out demigods or "heroes". The heroes have no idea they're heroes. They all have ADHD and unable to sit still because they're always battle ready. They all have dyslexia because they're hard wired to read ancient greek (Like the saying "its all greek to me?"). Love this series and they've recently added a Roman Mythology element that I am TOTALLY digging. Can't wait for the next book!

Feast of All Saints By Anne Rice... One of her few books that doesn't involve anything supernatural. It's a great book about the population of gens de couleur libres (Free people of color) in New Orleans before the Civil War. They were this kind of "middle" race of people between the slaves and the whites. They were the offspring of the slave owners and their slave mistresses. It was common for these offspring to be freed and they lived rather rich lives for many generations, marrying other gens de couleur libres, or the woman would often become mistresses to rich plantation owners. The story centers around Marcel and Marie whose mother was brought to this country from Haiti after the slave revolt. She becomes a free mistress to a rich plantation owner who dotes on her and their children. Marcel and Marie live a fairly carefree and rich life. Marie can easily pass for white, Marcel has blonde hair and blue eyes, but his hair is kinky and he's darker. The world turns upside down as the children grow up and they find that they are not as accepted as they assumed they were by the white people, their father included.

So there. A short post turned into a typical long winded one. Awesome. And now I'm going to spend a fortune on getting Kindle copies of these books anywhere since I've moved.

Happy Reading! If any of these books piques your interest and you decide to read them, please let me know. I'd loved to discuss them with you.

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