11 January 2009

Favorite Books from Back in the Day

As I receive repeated requests to recommend books, I thought I'd mention some of my old favorites. I read far dirtier books now. These are all books you can read with Grandma.

Christy - Young woman teaches school for a mission in Appalachia (pronounce it correctly with me: A-puh-LATCH-a). I had to read it a second time, knowing how it all played out, to reconcile myself to the conclusion. There was a TV series based on the book that was filmed not far from my parents house in Tennessee. The book is much better than the TV series.

Homesick: My Own Story - Biography of Jean Fritz, the author, who was born in China to American missionaries but longed to meet her grandmother in America and roller skate and be an American, which she does when the family flees China in 1927.

Mrs. Mike - Fictionalized account of a true story about a 16-year-old girl who marries a Mountie. I first read this in the 5th grade and immediately decided that I needed to move to the Northwest Territory and marry Mike. Did not matter that he was already married and, by the time I read the book, dead.

Rebecca - The classic romantic suspense novel of a young woman who becomes the second wife of Maxim de Winter, famous owner of the Manderley estate, living in the shadow of Maxim's first wife until the Great Secret is revealed. Annotations of this novel always sound trashy, but it's a great book that became a Hitchcock movie.

Up a Road Slowly - Young adult novel about a girl who lives with her spinster aunt, following the death of the girl's mother. When I was a little girl, I felt a special kinship with Julie, the protagonist, because she had a much older sister she adored just. like. me. Lovely coming-of-age book about family relationships.

Maggie-Now - 1958 - In middle school, I named my cat after the main character in this novel from the author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It's a family story revolving around a girl named Maggie-Now who lives with her father, brother, and husband in Brooklyn in the 1940s. When I was growing up, I really loved the descriptions of the Jewish bakeries and the work in the New York butcher shops.

The Nun's Story - Good luck finding this one. It was also published in the 1950s and follows a young woman through her admittance to a convent, assignment as a nurse in the Congo, and departure from holy orders to join a resistance movement.

If you want newer recommendations, the best books I've read in the last couple of months are

The Graveyard Book - YA novel by Neil Gaiman about a boy raised in a cemetery by ghosts.

Shakespeare Wrote for Money - Compilation of Nick Hornby's book review columns from The Believer. I like Nick Hornby. If you've never read his nonfiction before, also read Songbook and his other two column compilations.

Love Walked In - Contemporary novel about a little girl abandoned by her mother and taken in by her father's girlfriend. I read this one several years ago and just recently reread it, after reading the sequel, Belong to Me. I think the author has a lovely writing style.


HAH said...

Christy and Up a Road Slowly were two of my favorites too. I cannot tell you how many times I have read "Christy", but for awhile I would read it annually.

I just read Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society this weekend and will now be recommending it to everyone who will listen!

thanks for your recommendations -- I always find something that interests me.

eliana said...

I have read MRS. MIKE soooo many times, how funny. I don't think it would hold up so well if I read it again now but maybe I will try. Like all your other devoted followers, always thankful for book ideas so gracias.

MBC said...

HAH--Isn't Guernsey fantastic? It was definitely my favorite book last year.

Eliana--Yeah, I haven't read any of my old favorites in at least 5 years, and I worry that I might find them less than fabulous if I were to try reading them now.

Yankee Girl said...

Thanks for the new list. There is a young woman in my ward who knows I love to read and gives me lists and lists of books to read. This is great because I'm a fan of Young Adult books. The problem comes when she asks me for recommendations and I realize that I read 'far dirtier books' too--of course this sweet young woman is perhaps just a wee bit sheltered as well. So anyway, now I have some books to read and then pass on to her.

Yankee Girl said...

Also, I read Belong to Me on your recommendation and absolutely loved it!

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