Tuesday, August 25, 2015

5 Books My Best Friend Should Read

I think I saw this posted on Facebook: 5 books my best friend should read and I loved the title. So much about who we are can be tied up in the books that have moved us and sometimes I think relationships can change when you share books.

Once Carolyn introduced me to Lord of Scoundrels and Georgette Heyer and Lisa Kleypas, we had an even greater bond because we shared a love for these books. And we still share books and learn more about each other in doing so.

So, here's my list of 5 books my best friend should read because they are all that to me.

Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres

Do not bring up the movie: this is all about the book. And admittedly the book's ending was a let down but none of that matters. I have never been more charmed or cried as hard in a public place as when reading this book.

And I mean, I sat on a loaded bus, tears running down my face and gasping for breath during this book.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

I love magic realism and I love romance and I love good writing most of all, so this book was like an endless ice cream cone on a sweltering day.

The characters are all so finely drawn and the touch of magic in their lives made so much sense that it was a world I never wanted to leave. And even her follow up book, First Frost had much of the same charm.

Read it. Just do. Trust me.

Crazy For You by Jennifer Crusie.

This is my go to comfort read. I've read this book maybe 40 or 50 times since I discovered it and I could read it and will read it 100 more times. It's perfection from beginning to end and in so many ways I can't name them all.

But I will say that the slow disintegration of Bill as he goes from sad to crazy is just so well done.

I love this book in ways I can't explain. People who don't get it, well, I just don't get them.

Early Autumn by Robert Parker.

I love the Spencer mysteries by Robert Parker but toward the end the books lost a lot of the great writing that made them so amazing and relied a lot more on the feelings the readers had for the characters.

Early Autumn is the book that brings a sullen, teenaged boy into Spencer's life and changes everything. Spencer has to teach him how to be independent because his family is broken and how to become a man because his childhood is over.

It's beautifully written and has a depth regarding growing up that touches me deeply. It makes me think of the song from Into The Woods: Giants in the Sky. When the boy suddenly realizes that life has changed and he can't go back to childhood because there are giants in the sky.

Just writing about the book makes me want to reread it. Which I think I'm going to do tonight.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein.

Heinlein as a human being is problematic to be a fan of since he was racist, misogynist and wrote positively about incest. But this book is in my top 5 because he might have been a horror as a human but this book is beautiful and makes me think.

The depiction of the moon as a penal colony that became its own country (Australian, huh Lea?) and the difficulties faced.... there's a sentient computer, group marriages that work, a society based on the concept of There's No Such Thing As A Free Lunch...

These are my 5 books.

Most of my books are digital nowadays but all of these are paperback and on my keeper shelf. There's also Primal Scream, a book about primal scream therapy that I only read once but moved me so deeply that I keep the book as a talisman of sorts. There's A Friendship, an exchange of letters between Dan Rowan (the comedian, half of Rowan and Martin) and John McDonald, author of the Travis McGee series. I loved both men and their correspondence was smart, deep and a little heartbreaking when the friendship fractured.

Carolyn: your turn. Let's see them.


  1. Yep, that's us, a penal colony. Maybe why so many people are dicks...


  2. (Ms Lea, that doesn't explain how so many USians are dicks)

    So, I have not read Heinlein because despicable human being, but now you've made it so hard!

  3. I used to read Heinlein many moons ago, back in my teenaged years, but I can't remember anything nefarious in his writings. But then - teenager, heh. Plus this was pre-internet and most folks knew nothing about the authors except what the publishers wanted us to know. The one book of his that has always stuck in my mind is The Tunnel in the Sky. It's a juvenile book, but not too young for adults.

    My favorite Crusie is Bet Me, but I won't be picking it for my five, there's just not room for it. :-) I loved Garden Spells also and IMO none of her subsequent books have matched this one. It is special.

    I've not read the other two, but will check them out. I believe you've mentioned them to me before. I'll try to get my list up tomorrow.

  4. AL, maybe it's something they learnt on the ships coming from England? It is a very long voyage after all and the entertainment back then would have been bad lol

    I've not heard of these books and I can add them to a list but who knows when I'll get to them. If I do, I'll be sure to let you know what I think too Ms Lori