This week’s topic is the Top Ten Best Books of 2016, from The Broke and the Bookish.
My top ten, in approximate order of reading (oldest to most recent):
- Works of Love – Soren Kierkegaard
- In the Land of White Death – Valerian Albanov
- Not Forgotten: The True Story of My Imprisonment in North Korea – Kenneth Bae. Reading this memoir filled in the blanks of the story of someone who’d been on my prayer list for a long time. It also shows an emotional, yet undramatized picture of the North Korean people as Bae encountered them. Despite the fear, guilt, and uncertainty that Bae experienced in his imprisonment, you find a greater sense of hope, for him and for the North Koreans. I also strongly recommend Jeffrey Donenfeld’s blog post Exploring North Korea and Running the Pyongyang Marathon, either by itself or as a companion to this book. Donenfeld’s post and photos give you a poignant context to North Korea as it was just after Kenneth Bae was released.
- The Man Who Was Thursday (reread) – G. K. Chesterton
- A Prince of Our Disorder – John Mack. Most interesting, well-sourced biography I’ve ever read: a gold standard for biographers of any era!
- An Artist of the Floating World – Kazuo Ishiguro. This is a sadly underrated book. I feel like I will be promoting it for the next ten years at least.
- Nutcracker and Mouse King, and The Tale of the Nutcracker – Hoffmann / Dumas
- The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
- Three Men in a Boat (reread) – Jerome K. Jerome
- The Heart of the Antarctic – Ernest Shackleton
Saw this over at Hamlette’s blog, and thought it would be a fun trip down memory lane. Here goes – and hope I don’t tread on any toes. 😉
- Werther from The Sorrows of Young Werther.
- Everyone from A Passage to India. (Sorry, Forster.)
- Irene Adler from “A Scandal in Bohemia”.
- Erik from The Phantom of the Opera. In all fairness, I am meaning to re-read this. During my first read, I definitely found book!Erik to be less likeable than Webber’s version.
- Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby. I get the impression one is supposed to like him, but I was left unimpressed. (I was also shocked that his undisguised racist commentary never gets mentioned in mainstream circles).
- Everyone from Dragonwyck. When I was in middle school, a friend recommended it to me, on the basis it was similar to Jane Eyre. My mother cautioned me that it sounded like a romance novel, but in my blissful ignorance I wasn’t quite aware what that meant. (Hint: think Edward and Bella in 1800s Dutch New York…)
- Mary Russell from the Mary Russell series.
- Aragorn from The Return of the King. Specifically ROTK, and maybe TTT, because I thought he was pretty cool in The Fellowship of the Ring, but less interesting as the story progressed.
- Ahab from Moby-Dick. I’m not sure antagonists are supposed to “click” with you. I do know that Gregory Peck’s portrayal brought a much-needed human/charismatic element to the character, whereas Starbuck, though different in the book from the movie, is still compelling apart from his film version. So with that in mind, I’d say book!Ahab didn’t “click”.
- Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. *gasp* Don’t click away! 😉 She is probably the best-loved heroine in literature. I just can’t honestly say I found her more interesting than many others.
I’m sure I’ve listed someone’s favorites…well, the good news is, after six (and not necessarily in the above order), I found it super hard to list the last four!