It's been awful quiet around here! And it's not that I haven't been reading, but I can't honestly say I've been reading anything worth writing a review about to share with the world. That's quite a drought of quality books for me, since I last posted all the way back in July -- goodness! I won't make any grand promises for daily or even weekly posts, but I think I will promise myself (and you) to read more books that get me excited, rather than falling into the trap of only reading books I feel I "should" be reading that clearly don't leave me feeling very inspired!
Anyway, as I was thinking about my lack of posting and the sad state of my current reading list, it was quite ironic that today of all days I came across a weekly blog feature over on the Broke & the Bookish. They host a topic each week and this week just happens to be "The Top Ten Books That Made You Think." While nothing I've been reading lately qualifies, answering this question has reminded me about the types of books I'd like to be reading more of. Truthfully, these are the books that have become some of my favorites because they really draw me in and stay with me long after I've turned the last page. So without further ado, my very first Top Ten Tuesday List:
1. Before I Die, by Jenny Downham -- This one is about a 16 year old girl dying of cancer. Not only did it make me think, it truly made me feel. (And cry buckets of tears, if I'm totally honest.) A totally brilliant book that stayed with me long after I finished it.
2. You Against Me, by Jenny Downham -- This book poses all sorts of questions. To quote my own review, "Just how far would you go to protect someone you loved? How important is family loyalty? What would it take for you to turn your back on your own family? When the pressure is on, would you do what is right or what is easy? Does love really conquer all?" I'm convinced that no matter what plot or characters she writes about next, Jenny Downham will ALWAYS write a book that makes you think and that's precisely what I love about her.
3. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins -- I didn't think it could possibly live up to the hype, but it absolutely does. For days after reading this book, I couldn't stop thinking about what I would do if I were Katniss. Could I sacrifice myself for someone I love? Would I have the courage to fight back against such a corrupt government? What would I do if I were placed in an arena and told to kill or be killed? It's the type of book that addresses so many important issues and just had my mind racing.
4. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett -- This book brought a difficult period in American history to life for me. It made me think about how cruel humans can be to each other and the audacity of some to dare think themselves superior to others based on something as insignificant as skin color. It also made me realize how easily one person's evil can spread and how every single person's actions matter. There is a lot of food for thought in this one, especially for those of us who've only read about the Civil Rights era in textbooks.
5. Heaven is Here, by Stephanie Nielson -- This is a memoir written by a woman who has survived the unimaginable. It not only made me wonder if I could ever live through what she lived through, but it also opened up my eyes and taught me about the culture and family life of a typical (non-polygamist) Mormon family which was quite foreign to me. It really got the wheels turning in my head, trying to understand a point of view and a way of life different from my own.
6. The Journal of Best Practices, by David Finch -- Not having a lot of first hand experience with people on the Autism spectrum, this book was a real eye-opener. It made me think about all the difficulties some people experience just to get through a normal day. It also made me wonder if I could ever be as supportive as this dear man's wife!
7. The House at Riverton, by Kate Morton -- This book has an ending that literally screams the question, "What would you have done?" I won't give anything away, but the conclusion of this novel left my mind reeling for days.
8. The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton -- I spent a good hour flipping back through this book after finishing it, piecing together the answers to all the questions going through my mind. Maybe not as dramatically as in The House at Riverton, but this one also poses the question, "What would you have done?"
9. The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton -- Kate Morton is the master of secrets and secrets in novels tend to breed questions. By the time the whole sordid truth comes out, you can't help, but ask yourself how you would have handled things. (All of this author's novels have a major elements of mystery, so it's hard to describe the questions they pose without giving too much away, but if you read them, you'll know what I mean!)
10. Tomorrow When the War Began, by John Marsden -- No review for this one, but its one of my all-time favorites. It is the first book in a series by Australian author John Marsden. The series is about what happens to a group of teenagers when their country gets invaded and they have to figure out how to survive in the outback. As the series goes on and they start to fight back, they have to make a lot of hard decisions and you can't help but wonder what you would do if you were in their shoes.
If you ask me, books that make me think also make me write better reviews. As it turns out, these books have inspired some of the posts I've been most proud of and I don't think that's a conincidence!