Five Things Friday - My Favorite Stories EVER

Don Quixote, Brussels
Creative Commons License photo credit: Simon Blackley

I’ve always been a reader.  And I always tend to have a book – a real one – close by.  This morning I had a lot of time in morning traffic to think about what stories continue to resonate with me even years after reading them.  This is in no way a definitive list, but each of these stories holds a place in my heart.  Here they are in no particular order:

1.   Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – I can’t say that I had a great experience with my first Steinbeck book, Grapes of Wrath.  In fact, it was a very boring read for me at the time.  Maybe if I went back and read it as an adult I could appreciate it on a different level.  However, Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men caught my attention immediately and it had nothing to do with it being a quick read.   I was mesmerized by Lennie and George’s friendship from the beginning.  I had the pleasure of teaching the book to my 10th grade students many years ago.  If you look in my copy you’ll see notes in the margins, highlighter splashed all over passages that speak to me.  It’s a book I can go back to again and again.

2.   Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes – DQ is probably one of my favorite literary characters – the ultimate dreamer, the ultimate gentleman.  His search for purpose and beauty in life, though at times, tragic is a beautiful reminder to all of us to “dream the impossible dream”.  I like to think that we all have a little bit of DQ in us – dreamers at heart – all of us in search of that sense of purpose.

3.   Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – This book was everything that I wanted it to be – an escape into an impossible world, an adventure, and a trip back to my childhood where magic simply was.  I have read it three times – two for myself and once aloud to Jacob when he was 8.  I’m sure I will do the same for Nicholas.  In fact, I read all the HP books to Jacob, except for the last one and I plan to do that this summer.

4.   Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – An impossibly romantic book and once again there’s the whole tragic thing going on with Catherine and Heathcliff.  Heathcliff’s dark and brooding manner was a huge hit with me in high school and again in college.  What is it with the whole dark and mysterious thing that gets me so?

5.   Dracula by Bram Stoker – Yeah, I had to throw a vampire book in there.   The book that started it all for me.  My vampire obsession has grown steadily over the years following suit with Ann Rice’s Lestat and more recently Stepanie Meyer’s sullen Cullen, Edward.  Again with the dark and brooding.  I am aware that I have issues.

I guess it’s pretty clear that I prefer drama to light comedy.  No big surprises there for any of you who really know me.  Hey, at least I’m consistent in my darkness.

So what book would you recommend to me?  Is there a book that resonates with you so much that you could read it again and again?  I’d love to know.

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