(B)4: A Top Ten List

(B)4. (B)est (B)ooks (B)efore (B)logging (as hosted by The Broke and The Bookish). Which is, of course, 95% of all the books I’ve read because this blog is still in its infancy.

To give you a rough idea of what this list might look like if I were being absolutely honest: Jane Eyre, The Painted Veil, Empire Falls, The Hotel New Hampshire, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Bag of Bones, Middlesex, etc., etc.  But in the interest of holding your interest (and not repeating myself), I’m going to share books that I enjoyed before I started blogging, but I rarely write about. I tried to choose books that are fun in one way or another because I’ve been in such a bleak mood as of late (it might have something to do with the blizzard outside – I can’t complain about the adult snow day though).

Best Books Before Blogging

10. Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon. Good book, good movie, fantastic soundtrack (with a really wonderful Best Original Song).

9. The Crow Road by Iain Banks. I think I’ve mentioned this a time or two, but I love reading books with characters named Rory. Did you know I’ve never actually met another Rory in real life? There is even a famous Rory O’Connor (obviously not me).

8. Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis. Ellis is well known for his violent imagery and is often criticized for it. I have a high tolerance for dark fiction, but there are parts in American Psycho that are even too much for me. For example, I used to think Godiva chocolate was enjoyable. Now…minty. However, I’ve always found the last page from Less Than Zero to be beautiful:

There was a song I heard when I was in Los Angeles by a local group. The song was called “Los Angeles” and the words and images were so harsh and bitter that the song would reverberate in my mind for days. The images, I later found out, were personal and no one I knew shared them. The images I had were of people being driven mad by living in the city. Images of parents who were so hungry and unfulfilled that they ate their own children. Images of people, teenagers my own age, looking up from the asphalt and being blinded by the sun. These images stayed with me even after I left the city. Images so violent and malicious that they seemed to be my only point of reference for a long time afterwards. After I left.

7. The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham.

Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.

6. The Stand by Stephen King. I couldn’t leave Stephen King out altogether, The Stand is one of my favorite novels, though the miniseries desperately needs to be remade. I keep hearing rumors about Ben Affleck wanting to direct it. That would be good.

5. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. A modern, must read classic and not just for men (ahem, Esquire).

4. Blithe Spirit/Private Lives/Hay Fever by Noël Coward. I’m particularly fond of Private Lives and Hay Fever, the latter’s humor is timeless.

(Hay Fever) You kissed me because you were awfully nice and I was awfully nice and we both liked kissing very much. It was inevitable.

3. The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers. I always thought if I ever had a daughter (I don’t and it’s not in the foreseeable future), then I’d name her Frankie (Frances) after the main character in this novel.

2. Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene. It’s a political satire and a black comedy about a vacuum cleaner salesman turned reluctant secret agent. This has Rory written all over it. I cringed typing that last sentence, but it doesn’t make it any less true.

1. City of Thieves by David Benioff. Save yourself from a bullet in the head by finding 12 eggs. If that tagline isn’t enough to convince you, the author is also the executive producer, showrunner, and writer for HBO’s Game of Thrones.

What’s the best book you’ve read that you’ve not discussed on your blog?

43 thoughts on “(B)4: A Top Ten List

  1. Seems like I’m going to have to pick up City of Thieves. And I honestly can’t think of a book I haven’t discussed on my blog. Those top ten lists sure do you in.


    1. I only didn’t include because it is one of the books I talk about all the time. I thought it was amazing and touching and everything good literature is supposed to be. It was the first Russo book I read and I’ve now gone back through and read every book he’s written, Empire Falls is his best, but all are very good.


  2. I have avoided the The Stand mini-series because everyone has told me it’s terrible, but I desperately want it to be remade because it’d be *fantastic* as a series. Have you read the graphic novel adaptation? It’s pretty close to the book (or at least the parts I’ve read so far) and helps fill that gap that the crappy series leaves!

    My Top 10 List


    1. I haven’t, I’ll have to check it out. The miniseries has a few good moments, but mostly I’d give it a miss. I would cry tears of joy is Ben Affleck signed on to direct.


    1. I didn’t know if anyone would come back if I recommended Irving again. I figure if they’ve seen my list more than five times and haven’t added Irving to their TBR stack – there’s no helping them.

      If these are among the ones you haven’t read, I think you’d like 10, 7, 4, 3, 1. Skip 9 and 5, and you could do worse than picking up The Stand (it IS the story of complex family relationships in the face of a devastating disease!).


  3. I love your list, it has a lot more variety than the other ones I’ve perused today! The Stand…classic. And yes, I would love to see a new miniseries, I am really not a fan of the Lieutenant Dan one.


    1. Lieutenant Dan…that made me laugh. My one big character problem was the casting of Molly Ringwald as Frannie. Frannie was a tall blond 20 year old…they couldn’t have gotten slightly closer (plus she whined a lot in the series).


  4. I’ve actually read more of the books you decided not to include, and some are definitely among my favorites: Owen Meany, Hotel New Hampshire, MIddlesex, etc. The Stand is one that I need to reread. It’s been way too long! I love me some good, complicated Stephen King.

    My TTT


    1. The ones I didn’t list usually make my list every week, so I switched it up a bit. I don’t like these ones as much (that’s not to say I don’t highly recommend them), but if I mentioned John Irving again I didn’t think people would visit me anymore.


      1. LOL. I know, I get to be a broken record about certain books as well, so I tried to take a different approach this week.


  5. I forgot about Wonder Boys! Limiting to 10 was very difficult to me. I also left off Middlesex. I’ve been meaning to read Cormac McCarthy and Carson McCullers…there are always so many books to read!


  6. http://froodianpseudoanalysis.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/ich-liebe-gern-das-liebster-award/

    Hello! I gone done an’ nominated you for a thing called a Liebster Award, which is apparently the internet version of one of those chain letter things.

    If you accept, here are the rules:

    The Rules

    1. The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
    2. Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.
    3. Each blogger should answer the 11 questions given to you.
    4. Choose 11 new bloggers to pass the award on to and link them in your post.
    5. Create 11 new questions for the chosen bloggers.
    6. Go back to their page and tell them about the award.
    7. No tag backs.

    I didn’t make the rules.


  7. Yay, The Stand! My second favorite King book. And Iain Banks’s The Wasp Factory has been sitting on my bookshelf unread for about 15 years. Have you read that one as well as The Crow Road?


    1. I did enjoy Th Wasp Factory, though it is one of the more disturbing books I’ve read – in a good way. Bag of Bones is my favorite King, followed closely by IT and The Stand.


  8. I… haven’t read any of the books on your list (I’m so ashamed!). That said, looking at your *other* list (the honest one), I can say YES to JANE EYRE and a couple of others. I’m intrigued by a couple of these titles – and I’ve been meaning to read a couple of these authors for yearrrrrs. Thanks for sharing! I love know why people hold books up as favorites.


    1. Jane Eyre is absolutely one of my favorite classics. The only thing that’ll save you from shame now is to read at least one of these – I (almost) guarantee you could read any of these and not think they were terrible.


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