I love books. Ever since I was little, they've been pretty much the loves of my life. Its a slightly unhealthy obsession, to tell you the truth. I love the smell of books (especially old ones. I have a collection of Grace Livingston Hill books from the early 1900's that my grandmother left me and they smell...amazing.) I love the artwork on the covers. I love the colors. I love the creativity that it takes to finish an entire book. I just love everything about books. In high school, the highlight of every other Thursday (as I reveal my true inner nerd) was Book Jackets. Basically, if you were a bookworm (I was.) and had very little social life (Me again!) and weren't involved with extra-curriculars (outside of the occasional play practice, tada!), Book Jackets was Mecca. A circle of nerds (and baked goods) discussing what was good in literature (the classics, of course. And some of the lesser known new stuff) and what was not (i.e. Twilight, which we all agreed that, while good for a warm fuzzy feeling, was possibly one of the most abysmal pieces of literature to grace the planet. Terribly predictable and horribly written.)
That being said, I will divide into categories. Because, once again, I can't pick just one.
The Classics: Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte
Tortured love on the moors. Brooding, angry, bipolar men. Stuck-up, snobby, tempermental women that give us a bad name. Fifteen storylines and twelve characters with the same name. A required accompaniment of SparkNotes the first time you read it. Such are the elements of possibly the best book ever written.
Contemporary: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
If you are a perfectly decent human being, do me a favor. Never, ever, in your lifetime watch the movie version of this book. In fact, if there's a movie version of any of Jodi's books, don't watch it. But if you must watch one, please, oh please, don't let it be this one. This book will make you cry like a little baby girl. Because it's heart-wrenching, but an excellent, excellent book. And thought provoking. But the movie, no. They changed the ending (which is just wrong. Read the book and you'll understand why) and they cast Cameron Diaz. Epic fails all around.
The runner up for this category would have to be Handle With Care by the same author. Both books deal with genetic ethics (painful flashback to Senior Project), but in a narrative way. Both are mind-blowing and both require a truckload of Kleenex on hand.
Epic Awesomeness: Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
I honestly don't know how to categorize this book other than just that. Epic Awesomeness. And I couldn't just not mention it. Mind-blowing. You doubt? A quote.
"I want you to understand something. I want you to understand that God has never been nor ever will be invented. He is not a product of imagination. He does not obey trends.. He was answering your prayers because he is a God of compassion... Your problem is not that God is not fulfilling. Your problem is that you are spoiled."
Mhmm. Chew on that for a while. And then go read the book.
Also, a lifetime of thanks to Chantell for bringing Don Miller onto my radar.
Series: Ashley Stockingdale by Kristen Billerbeck
Literary masterpiece? Absolutely not. Girly, warm-fuzzy, single-girl-moderate-desperation read? One hundred percent yes. I got these books a few Christmases ago from my Aunt Shana (as is tradition. Always with the girly chick-lit books. I love her for this.) and have since read them about five times a piece and the third book in the series has probably gotten a little more mileage than the first two. The books also went through a phase in which they were passed around to about three or four girls in the youth group, under death threats if they were not returned quickly and unharmed.