Hello, dear readers! My, it's been a while since I've written a blog post. I was actually in Branson all of last week, so I scheduled my posts (insert evil laughter here) and it's honestly quite refreshing to sit down and write to y'all.
Anyway. Christmas happened. It was a good Christmas, and one of my presents was a poster called a Novelogue. Basically, it has the titles and authors of 100 books on a scratch-off book shape. When you read the book, you scratch off the gold part to reveal a colorful cover. You can also rate the book and list your favorites.
I found that, out of the 100 books listed, I've already read 15 of them. I'll try to rank them for you, worst to best. Here we go!
#15: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I might be cheating on this one--I read the graphic novel for a college class. Atwood is certainly good with words, but the whole concept of the book was just giving women something to feel oppressed about. Far too feminist for my taste.
#14: Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. I grew up watching the animated movie based on the book, and I've read the book exactly once. I didn't want to read it; my mom insisted that it was a classic that deserved my attention. It does have some good themes about friendship and death that kids need to learn. Not a bad book, certainly, but not one I particularly enjoyed.
#13: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling. I actually just finished reading this while on vacation! The characters have great names, and the book has the best opening line I've seen in quite some time. Rowling doesn't have the way with words that other authors do; it might be because she's writing for such a young age group.
#12: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle. This book presents a very unique way of looking at time travel and features some very interesting (and occasionally weird) characters. It's aimed towards younger readers and isn't nearly as impactful as some of the other books on this list.
#11: Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. I remember reading this book a long time ago, and I like the themes of family that run throughout the story. It's certainly a cozy book that will make you cry (maybe).
#10: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. Considering that Twain's hometown was only a few miles away from my mother's, I'm practically obligated to like this book. And it's a good book. It's been a while since I've read it, though, so I don't feel qualified to critique the novel.
#9: Animal Farm by George Orwell. C.S. Lewis and I agree that this book is actually better than Orwell's more famous 1984. Reading this (delightfully short) book showed me what communism is actually like, despite what certain political parties try to tell us. The ending sentences chilled me.
#8: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. While hilarious, this book has one pretty large plot hole that prevents it from being higher up on the list. (If you've read the book, you might also be asking yourself why the all-powerful mice didn't stop the destruction of Earth.) A great book nevertheless.
#7: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I grew up with this series, and while I didn't enjoy it as much as the Little House books (which was criminally excluded from the Novelogues poster), I found myself quite enchanted with the entire series.
#6: The Road by Cormac McCarthy. The only good book to come out of the same college class that forced me to read The Handmaid's Tale. And dang, this book grabs you by the emotions. You really, really care about what happens to the main character and his son, even though you never find out what they're named. I might have cried at the end.
#5: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. One of the few classics I've read of my own volition and genuinely enjoyed, this book gives great insight into human nature and the mind of children.
#4: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. You might be wondering why this book by my favorite author ranks so low. The answer? I'm not sure. It's a great book. Perhaps Narnia became too much like a home for me to look at with eyes of wonder, the same way I read the next book on our list.
#3: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Holy crap, Middle Earth is amazing. At least this version of it is, with less walking and fewer council meetings than The Lord of the Rings (which I'm not enjoying nearly as much).
#2: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. The last few chapters had me on the edge of my seat. I was stumped until the final reveal. I can definitely see why Agatha Christie is only outsold by Shakespeare and God.
#1: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. The ending had me shook for at least three days, and the description of Tellson's Bank is one of the best descriptions I've read in my life. A Classic that you hardly feel like putting down (except for maybe once or twice in the middle)? Yes please. This might be the best novel I've ever read, and it's certainly my favorite Classic.
Which books deserve to be higher on my list? Which are too highly praised? Let me know in the comments below! And, as always, don't forget to hop over to Amazon to purchase your own copy of Where the Clouds Catch Fire or Where I Stand (which will doubtless make it onto the next edition of Novelogues). God bless, and Happy New Year!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.