Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Top Ten Books that Affected Me Strongly

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme is to list 10 books that I had strong emotions about...strong emotions includes all possible emotions, not just positive.  At first I thought that would be a problem for me...all I do is gush about the books I've read.  Then, as I began making my list, I realized I did actually have some negative reader reactions.  Yay, me!!
Anyhoo...here's my list for this week:

1.  The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - I sobbed...literally sobbed through this one...I only read it bc my oldest read it and then encouraged me to read it as well.  I don't do well with storylines that feature child abuse, murder, violence etc. unless the child's part is an underlying storyline...an investigator searching for a notorious childkiller would be different unless, of course, there are descriptive portions of the child being abused...I just cannot handle it.  I still have not seen this movie and will not.

2.  The Awakening by Kate Chopin - I didn't read this one until I was in college...I was in a Literary Criticism graduate class actually, and the teacher was a man, a very traditional literature snob.  He was not fond of me from the moment I walked in the door because I had gone through the "teacher program" instead of his lit program.  He tried his best to ignore me for most of the semester, and became even colder to me when he couldn't stump me with his questions when I presented on The Awakening as my graduate assignment for the class.  I turned in my final essay for the class knowing that my grade was on the borderline of an A and a B.  I made a B.  I was a teaching assistant at the time, so I asked him to put my graded final paper in my mailbox only a few slots away from his own so that I could see what I missed.  He sent me a simple reply, "I'll have to read it first."  In other words, I have the power, and you'll get what I say you get.  While I was certainly not oppressed by this teacher the way Edna was, I completely understood Edna's justification for her final action.  An oppressed life was not the way she chose to live.  So many people don't get that about this book.  I don't see it as sad, and I don't see her final act the way we see it today.  To me, Edna's final act is one of defiance...and a very loud message to the rest of the world.  The experience taught me to be strong and to stand up for who I am...no matter what anybody else thinks, says or does to knock me down.

3.  The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyne Mitchard - a child goes missing in this novel...and the mother's life is never the same...even when the child is found years later.  I did see this movie...cried through it too.  I promise I'm not a cryer...I actually feel weak when I do, but I just can't handle this stuff.  You'd think I'd learn my lesson.

4.  Affinity by Sarah Waters - Affinity made me mad.  I was totally and completely confused when I finally finished the book.  I probably wouldn't have finished it if I hadn't been reading it as a Read Along. I'm actually still confused and really can't even tell you what really happened. Everybody gushes about Sarah Waters and I sooo wanted to like this one...

5.  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver - My copy of Kingsolver's year of eating locally is so worn from study, binder breaking, highlighting, red pen marks.  I've always been concerned about what I eat, and I know that eating healthy means as close to the natural product as possible.  But, Kingsolver's family experiment really brought home to me just how important being aware of environmental influences and the consequences of human interference with nature are to our own personal health and that of our family members.

6.  Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert - I've read a lot of mixed reviews on this one...and I don't care.  I loved it.  I don't care if she was a spoiled woman who could take a year off and travel.  I totally get the wake up and realize you're not where you want to be, gotta change something or I'm gonna die thing.  I can't take a year off my job and go traveling, but I can read through her experience and know that lots of women go through times like this.  I loved the descriptions of all the places she went and the time that she spent there.  I have not seen this movie because I so don't picture Julia Roberts as the author.

7.  The Secret Short Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer - absolutely, completely hated this book.  I like the Twilight series, but this short story was pointless...and dumb...and I suspect just another way for somebody to make an extra buck or two.

8.  New Moon by Stephenie Meyer - I'm sorry, but Bella's ridiculous zombie like behavior throughout this book got on my nerves...seriously.  I didn't like the movie any better.
9.  Micah by Laurell K. Hamilton - I'm an Anita Blake fan...and this series has sustained me for quite some time...BUT...I wanted to throw Micah in the trash.  When a series author releases a book with the same characters in the series...but the book is not actually a part of the series, it irritates me to no end.  At least Janet Evanovich lets her readers know when a "Between the Plums" is published. GRRRRRR!

10.  Traveling with Pomegrantes by Sue Monk Kidd - I feel so mean when I talk about this book.  I actually listened to the audiotape of this one, and it's very possible that it was the author's voice I disliked so much rather than the book itself...and I'm from Mississippi!!!  I won't ever know though because even as I type this I'm cringing as I remember her trying to tell this mother/daughter travel story.  I didn't even finish this one...and it's actually the only one on this list that I absolutely could not bring myself to complete.

Next week's theme is Top Ten Books I Read that Were Outside My Comfort Zone


  1. This is a great topic this week. I don't do these memes because I have memory problems, and couldn't come up with five, unles I had a month to think about it! But for the most part we would be in agreement, except for switching Affinity and Eat Pray Love. I love Sarah Waters and I loved that book. She is a master of pulling the rug out from under our feet though, so if you didn't know it was coming, I can see where you would be mad.

  2. I loved Sue Monk Kidd is The Secret Life of Bees but I didn't like her second book and it sounds like her most recent is one I will skip, too. There are way too many good books out there to waist time reading bad ones (or listening, as it were.)

    My Head is Full of Books

  3. Sandy, one day, when I'm not so mad, I'm gonna go back and read Affinity...no idea when that will be though.

    Anne, I wish I could pinpoint exactly what it was about Kidd that bothers me...I could claw a chalkboard though just thinking about her voice :(

  4. Isn't that funny how you think you don't have strong feelings … but then when you start thinking about it. it call comes rushing out!

  5. I read the first third of Eat, Pray, Love and just never finished it. It was cool to read descriptions of the places she went, people she met, and food she ate, but the "character" was kind of ridiculous. Seriously, she leaves her perfectly nice husband because she's bored? I just have a hard time having sympathy for that.

    My favorite "descriptions of far-off places and food" books are actually the Under the Tuscan Sun books, by Frances Mayes. She did it first, and she did it better.

  6. I know.. Lovely Bones was so ridiculously intense.. and such a horrific subject matter..

    I haven't read Bree Tanner but I'd imagine the same thing as your thoughts.. another way to make some money off the franchise.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Michele | My Top 10

  7. I view Bree Tanner as a money grab and nothing else - which is why I refuse to buy or read it.
    Great books this week. I'll be sure to have a box of kleenex with me when I read The Lovely Bones!

  8. The only book out of the ones on this list that I have read is The Lovely Bones, and I totally agree with your assessment of it. Now that I know that these books affected you strongly, I need to see about adding a few of them to my list! Great collection here today, for lots of different reasons!

  9. I loved reading this! Some of the books I've read, others not so much. But I'm always fascinated by people's strong reactions to books and why and how mine would be similar or different. Intriguing!

  10. What a wonderful range of books! I loved this list -- you cracked me up! I too found Affinity confusing and frustrating -- I'm also baffled by the Waters love.