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Jane Eyre and Other Unforgettable Characters

October 16, 2012

One of the greatest stories ever to touch my life is Jane Eyre. Today marks the anniversary of the novel’s publication back in 1847, and to celebrate I decided to pay homage to my top 10 favorite novels (at least so far). Here they are in no particular order:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte  (1847)

I remember feeling so empowered after reading about this mistreated, yet strong, female protagonist. I’d like to think I’ve learned some things from Jane. She will always be one of my heros!

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (1989) 

Despite his small stature and his unusual voice, the peculiar Owen Meany believes he’s an instrument of God and after reading this you will too.  It’s Irving’s best work, and I’ve read quite a few of his novels.

My Antonia by Willa Cather (1918)

A writer friend was spot on recommending pioneer woman Cather’s work, as I’m attracted to that period in American history, as well as masterful writing.

Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow (1987)

Suspense at its best – I was on the edge of my seat til the final pages.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1998)

Imagine an arrogant missionary dragging his wife and daughters to The Congo in a quest to “save” the natives.  Things don’t quite work out the way he envisions.

I know this Much is True by Wally Lamb (2003)

Possibly the longest book I’ve ever read.  About three-quarters of the way through I remember throwing it across the room and then literally sobbing to the final pages.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (2006)

I loved Jacob’s innocence and how he conducted himself amidst the crazy carnival life – only one aspect of this eloquently written story.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937)

A short classic tragedy that is a must-read, yet unfortunately the only Steinbeck story I’ve ever completed (did I just admit that?).

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin (1960)

Read when I was a sheltered 10-year-old, this haunting true story opened my eyes to a world of prejudice I didn’t want to think existed.

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian 1997

My most recently read book. I was amazed at how Mr. Bohjalian nailed this stirring story from a female perspective.

I wonder if any of these great books would make up your top 10?  If so ,why?  If not, which ones would? Just like you,  I’m always looking for a compelling read.

With Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao on my desk, I may have to expand my list to a top 20 soon!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Brando permalink
    October 16, 2012 8:17 pm

    I recommend reading one of last year’s critical favorites, There But For The. I have never created a top ten, so I cannot say if it would be on it, but it is one of the more recent reads that has refused to vacate my mind (for about 8 months). Also, having seen Jane Eyre on this list, I recommend this NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/09/books/jane-austen-society-of-north-america-meets-in-brooklyn.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 about the Austen convention, which was held in NYC this year.

    • October 16, 2012 8:51 pm

      Hi Brando: Thanks so much for your comments. I will definitely check out There But For The. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is one of of my favorites (possibly for the future top 20 list). There was a time when I couldn’t get enough of her and the Bronte sisters. I guess that’s why they are the classics! 🙂

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