It won the Pulitzer Prize. Lee’s talent for narration is unsurpassed. The novel is full of warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality. Atticus Finch is probably one of the most enduring and endearing fictional characters ever developed. Scout, Jem, Dill and Boo are unforgettable and beloved characters to me.
2. Gone with The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
What can I say? I was born and raised in the South. Scarlett O’Hara is one of the most infuriating characters ever created, yet I loved her. The story is concerned with the moral and psychological growth of its protagonist, and she is influenced by the events of her time. All the characters are rich, and the novel very readable. It must be! I’ve read it 10 times, and by the way, I named my son, Rett. (Close enough to Rhett, don’t you think?)
3. The World According To Garp by John Irving
I adore John Irving and read everything he writes. Garp was the one that made me a life-long fan. It focuses on death, gender roles and sex, but Irving makes you laugh for some of the most inappropriate reasons. It shouldn’t be funny, but it is. I always take away unforgettable phrases from his novels. In Garp, it’s “In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases.”
4. Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
More of a travelogue, the book is the depiction of a 1960 road trip around America that Steinbeck made with his French standard poodle, Charley, in a camper. I read it slowly so I could savor it. It holds such wonderful passages about his love of Montana, how he rediscovered San Francisco and how much the Middle West surprised him. It’s always been one of my treasures from a great writer.
5. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Just put Papa’s name on anything, and I’ll read it. To me, it’s the premier American war novel filled with love and loss.
6. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
To me, this is one of the most romantic stories I’ve ever read. I don’t care what critics say, I couldn’t put it down.
7. Giant by Edna Ferber
I was so swept away by this epic novel that captures the essence of Texas over the life and times of cattleman Bick Benedict, his young society wife, and three generations of large land owners. It had it all for me – love, power, cattlemen and oil tycoons.
8. A Dog Named Skip by Willie Morris.
I love it because it’s a classic story of a dog and a boy in small-town America. I was transported back into the 1940s and followed a small dog bring a shy, lonely boy out of his shell. Anyone who has loved and suffered through the death of a beloved pet will understand. As far as dog stories go, I put Marley & Me and The Art of Racing in the Rain right there with it.
9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
I read everything that the Bronte Sisters wrote. This is my favorite. At its core is the enduring love between the heroine, Catherine Earnshaw, and her father’s adopted son, wild Heathcliff, and how their love eventually destroys their lives and those around them. It’s a very tragic love story but a great classic.
10. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
You’re going to say “What?!” on this one. But, at the time that I read it, it was the most terrifying thing I had ever read. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. King is the master at description, and like he says, “I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.” He’s responsible for my love of vampires and all things that go bump in the night.
So, I've shared my top 10 favorite books with you. Tell me yours!