These ten books are very different. Are they my favorites? Not necessarily, but I do really love them. These are special books. For some reason, I have very specific memories of where I was and when I read these titles. They just stick out...do you have books like that?
New and old, one nonfiction selection (!), and a couple of children's titles. Classics and the obscure. Light and dark. I recommend them wholeheartedly.
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Read lying on the grass at UNCA while tightly clutching iced caramel macchiatos
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Yeah DUH. Pretty much every day of my early childhood I could be found listening to its audio version. E.B White narrates and it is perfection.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Better than movie x 100. Read this with multiple comforters piled high while in bed in our first Norwegian apartment. That was a cold, dark winter and this book was perfect.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Read during my senior of college and loved it. It's so universal, but I definitely want to read again now. And again in another 10 years and again 10 years after that.
Eloise by Kay Thompson, illustrations by Hilary Knight
Every day. All day and always.
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
I bought this book at a bookshop on the island of Santorini in Greece. I had a finished another paperback on the first half of our two week trip and need something else. It was one of the only english language titles that caught my interest. I had read A Wild Sheep Chase for a class at UNCA (THAT YOU LORI HORVITZ FOR INTRODUCING ME TO MURAKAMI) and loved it. I remember reading this one furiously the whole time we were in Santorini.
A Visit from the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan
On a plane either coming from or going back to Edinburgh. As I started the famous PowerPoint chapter, I was dubious, but by its end, thrilled.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Another audiobook that really stuck with me. I listened to this one while reading the bus and walking around Stavanger. Waiting in endless lines to get our marriage visa was not so bad with Jeff Woodman's great narration. This book also has one of my favorite quotes ever, super long, but worth it:
"What if the water that came out of the shower was treated with a chemical that responded to a combination of things, like your heartbeat, and your body temperature, and your brain waves, so that your skin changed color according to your mood?
If you were extremely excited your skin would turn green, and if you were angry you'd turn red, obviously, and if you felt like shiitake you'd turn brown, and if you were blue you'd turn blue. Everyone could know what everyone else felt, and we could be more careful with each other, because you'd never want to tell a person whose skin was purple that you're angry at her for being late, just like you would want to pat a pink person on the back and tell him, "Congratulations!"
All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
This is not available in hardcover anymore. Boo. It was one of my all-time favorites as a kid. I read it over and over and over. It's BRILLIANT. READ IT.
What was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller
Creepy and good. I got this out of my beloved Stavanger library. I remember being so completely and totally into this one that I might have missed a bus stop or two.