Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I'm So Happy Were Recommended To Me

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Considering how big a book nerd I am, I actually don't have that many bibliophiles as friends, so many of my book recommendations come, sadly enough, via Amazon. However since beginning my blog I've added countless books to my TBR pile thanks to all the wonderful bloggers out there with their wild and eclectic tastes and fantastic affinity for reviewing them and inspiring me to check them out. Unfortunately I'm yet to read many of those recommendations so at the moment I can't really say whether they're good or bad recommendations -though I'm sure they'll all be great! So here  are my top 10 recommendations that I have read, in no particular order. 

1. I am Legend by Richard Matheson
This was recommended by my wonderful horror obsessed boyfriend, who on our first date after hearing about my love of all things spooky and horror related said "well you've read I am Legend right?"when I replied in the negative he launched into a 10 minute speech in why I simply must read it.  This is probably one of my favourite recommendations ever, I devoured that book like a starving orphan and was absolutely amazed by it. It is so dark and bleak and so incredibly evocative. I've since passed this recommendation on to everyone I can imagine liking the book, and even to some who I never thought would. 

2. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Before the Harry Potter craze a friend of mine demanded that I read the book she and her brother had just finished and loved, and with that she passed over the first Harry Potter novel, all burgundy and blue with little gold stars and that delightful brown haired and bearded wizard on the back. I have a secret to admit, when I began reading Harry Potter I was bored and actually skipped from half way through the first chapter to about chapter 5! I quickly got interested and reread the parts I'd missed and a long term relationship was born! Interesting personal Potter fact number 2, because of the timing of my reading that first book and my subsequent raving on about it and wildly recommending it to everyone and anybody myself and my best-friends at the time thought we were responsible for the madness that soon swept the globe! It is at this point I'd like to point out that I was 12 and obviously had an inflated opinion of my position in the world!

3. The Stand by Stephen King
I've mentioned in an earlier post that this was a recommendation from a bookseller while I was on holiday and picking up a second hand copy of Misery for my flight home. He told me that The Stand was King's masterpiece and he wasn't wrong. I carefully sought out the original copy (it was later resold in a shortened version) and devoured it over a weekend, avoiding people, sunlight and food for most of that time. This recommendation re-established my faith in booksellers, they certainly know what they're talking about! 

4. From Hell by Alan Moore (graphic novel)
Last year I had to create a graphic novel for one of my classes and as I ran over my idea with my boyfriend he said that it sounded like it had similar themes and ideas as From Hell. I'd seen the movie adaptation years earlier and couldn't remember anything except that Johnny Depp was in it so I bought a copy from the bookstore to take a look at. If anyone has seen this graphic novel you know that it is HUGE, like, I need a forklift to carry it from my (now reinforced) bookcase to my bed. Though some-what cumbersome to hold and read it is a superb story told with the simplest of illustrations. Best of all it is riddled with conspiracy theories about Jack the Ripper. Aside from crop circles and the JFK assassination those are my favourite conspiracy theories!

5. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
My motivation for reading this wasn't from one recommendation alone rather it was a culmination of curiosity on my part urged on by the endless reviews by bloggers online. I'm glad that I was finally motivated to read this novel because wow, what a novel! Humbert Humbert is both the most sympathetic and disgusting character I think I've ever come across and Nabokov's prose was so beautiful that I often forgot that I was reading a story about pedophilia and Humbert's insane obsession with Lolita.

6. Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis (graphic novel)
Ellis is now my favourite graphic novelist and I devour his series as often as I can, but until 2 years ago I had no idea who he was. Once again it was my amazing boyfriend who recommended it on that fateful  first date. Upon hearing of my dedication to Hunter S. Thompson and his work he said there was a graphic novel based upon him. I nearly died! Transmetropolitan isn't so much based on HST but the character of Spider Jerusalem certainly derives much inpiration from him. Lucky for me Tom had the whole series and I read them faster than he could hand them to me. I can't believe I haven't reviewed them yet, expect that in the near future. 

7. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
Can I consider a film adaptation a recommendation? When I first saw this film in high school I was so impressed and when I found out it was based on a book I was determined to read the book that could inspire such an insane film. Turns out the novel is even better, more twisted, more confusing, more fulfilling and much more sinister than the film could have ever hoped to be. So began a new love for Palahniuk and his special brand of filth fiction which lead me on to authors like Irvine Welsh and a whole new world of writing. 

8. Lord of The Rings by J.R.R Tolkien
I have to credit this to the movie adaptation also. I'd read The Hobbit and loved it years earlier but I'd always shied away from LOTR because my mum had been terrified by it when she read it as a girl (Gollum was the main culprit). As my literary sounding board I took her fear as a measure of how afraid I'd be by it and chose to stay far away. Luckily the movie came along and I love, love, loved it and was motivated to pick up the books. My friends (those gals I'd devoured Harry Potter with) all raced through them together, relishing all the minute details Tolkien included and the array of fantasy creatures. I had to reread the first of the trilogy again last year for a uni class and was saddened that first, very few people had read it and then later, that so few people enjoyed it. I've left fantasy fairly well alone since I first discovered  LOTR because I've always found that most fantasy novels just end up sad imitations of LOTR, but it is a rich genre that when done right is so incredibly imaginative and full of life and deserves to be read more often.

9. The Lives of Christopher Chant by Dianna Wynne Jones
One of my mum's friends used to send me a book for every birthday when I was younger and she had fabulous taste. She sent me The Lives of Christopher Chant which was actually a prequel to the original Charmed Life for my 11th birthday and I adored it. Thanks to her wonderful knack for picking up YA fiction I was introduced to one of the best fantasy/magic series ever created and I've been reading and recommending it ever since!

10. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Just for a twist I thought I'd include my least favourite recommendation EVER. So many people tried to bully me into reading this book and I finally caved in and read it, and subsequently hated it and wanted to rip every single copy into 1000 little pieces. I've already   written about my hatred for this series twice on this blog (here and here) so I won't do it again now!

So there you go, my interpretation of this week's top 10. What did you all have on your list? 


  1. I've been meaning to read Lolita for a long time now. It intrigues me, but I'm also so incredibly put off by the main character.

  2. I'd have to have strong recommendations for Lolita and Fight Club to ever get past my aversion to these books. Not my cup of tea.

    Here's my gratitude list: Top Ten Books I'm Happy Were Recommended to Me. I hope you will stop by!

  3. Lord of the Rings, Fight Club, Harry Potter, all great! I hate Twilight too. I was also bullied into reading it (people kept saying ITS SO GOOD YOU MUST READ THIS) and it was just awful. I still don't understand the fascination with that series. To each their own, I guess.

  4. It really is one of those books that divide the masses. You can't like it, you either love it or loathe it!

  5. What a great list! Most of these are already on my TBR and I can't wait to read them! :)

  6. The Stand is one of my favourite King books. I've read it a few times and it never gets boring.

  7. Surprisingly, I have not read From Hell yet, and I'm a lover of graphic novels. I'll have to remedy this fact! ;) I need to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, too, but I'm just intimidated by it's sheer size. Someday, though! Thank you for sharing and for visiting! :) New follower!

  8. I totally forgot to answer your question, too! I haven't read the sequels to Howl's Moving Castle yet, but I'm working my way to them. :)

  9. I've heard great things about Fight Club. I've been wanting to read it for a while, but my TBR list keeps growing.

  10. Lolita for the win! I learned about it in 11th grade from the Police song "Don't Stand So Close (To Me)" and I read it the following summer. It was a life-changing book because it taught me the power of words to change our perceptions.
    Great list!

  11. Wow! You really hate Twilight if you keep bringing it up and bad-mouthing it as much as you do. While I agree that it's not the best written book, I'm glad I read it because it catapulted me into the world of reading.

  12. The Stand was my favorite Steven King book. I've heard I am Legend is really good, better than the movie. I'll have to try and get my hands on a copy to see for myself.

  13. From Hell was really good. I've always found the "Who was Jack the Ripper?" debates to be really interesting. Have you read Patricia Cornwell's Portrait of a Killer? I think her theory of who the Ripper was sounds pretty legit. Nice list!

  14. @Jenni, as much as I dislike Twilight I do have to give it credit for launching quite a few people into reading, and luckily most people seem to move on to books of a better quality IMO. I suppose my real problem with it isn't the actual book or the people who read them- I completely understand why people do, the story sucks you in, but the fact that it is touted by so many as some piece of fantastic literary work that'll go down in history as a work of art/wonder. As long as people admit that it has faults I'm happy to forget about it, and I'll admit most book bloggers who enjoy it do admit that, it's just all those twi-hards who refuse to accept that this is anything less than the holy grail who make my skin crawl. That and how much it destroyed vampires for me!

  15. @couchpotato I haven't read Patricia Cornwell's book but I have heard about it. I'll have to give it a go!

    @Birdie That idea of words having the power to change our perceptions is so spot on, I have always though that but haven't been able to verbalise it quite so eloquently!

    @DJL The size of LOTR is daunting but once you pass through about the first third of the first book (alot of description about the environment) it really flies past and before you know it it is over! Don't let the size put you off, even if you end up disliking them, it's a series worth a read!

  16. I've never read anything by Stephen King, but The Stand I is the recommendation I hear the most. I have a mass market copy though that just seems like an uncomfortable read. Petty, I know.

    Check out my list here

  17. I can definitely accept that. While I was obsessed with it for a very long time, I did realize that it had flaws. And, when I read it again, I sometimes cringe, but I still like the story for some reason. Like you said, it draws you in. But, I'm having way too much fun reading other books to read it over and over again. I know there are some that won't read other books because they feel like they're cheating on Twilight. That just blows my mind.

    When I was a frequenter of the Twilight Lexicon, one of the threads asked if they thought Twilight would ever become a classic. My answer was a resounding no, even at that time. I don't understand how people can think that. But, I guess time will show them that Twilight is nowhere near classic caliber.



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