I feel like I never blog about books enough, seeing as “books” are one of the four things I profess to loving in my blog profile. I remember seeing a Top [Number] book list in someone’s blog a while back, and I always meant to write about my own favorite books.
(And for the record, I am all for keeping the printed book around. The other day I had a quasi-nightmare that I had a Kindle. I know it’s cool and tech-y and lightweight but there’s something about throwing a well-loved paperback in your bag and reading it on the train.)
If you’ve read all of my Top 3 books, you might notice that I have a thing for books that somehow capture the essence of life. These three are my favorite books because I just relate so strongly to them, and they are so beautifully written and constructed.
1. The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
There is something magical and indeterminably lovely about The Little Prince
, even though I am only ever able to read the translated English version. It tugs at my heart every time I read it—just reading the Wikipedia summary
of this book makes me cry. It captured my heart when I was too little to understand what made it so beautiful and I still love it to death; so much that, in fact, that I end up succumbing when it’s used for cheap marketing gimmicks
2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
I don’t know how to explain why I love A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. At face value you might say nothing remarkable happens in it; there are no shocking plot twists and it’s the literary equivalent of a picture album. But somehow Betty Smith has encapsulated the poignancy of childhood and growing up, of understanding life and heartbreak of all kinds, and her prose is so starkly beautiful—not flowery, mind you, but every word is so well-chosen it’s astounding.
3. The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Namesake is a more recent discovery of mine but it is such a beautiful book. It has the same illustrative prose and naturally disjointed style as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn but applied to the first-generation American experience. It captures so well the pain and loveliness and haphazard maturity that comes with being trapped between cultures.
“Honorable Mention” favorite books: Lolita, by Vladimir Nabakov (such an insidious journey), The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, and of course, the Harry Potter series, because I can never stop reading them and still have the scary ability to quote entire passages at a time.