Thursday, May 18, 2006

Top Five Favorites

Jennifer Smith Richards, of The Columbus Dispatch, interviewed me yesterday, and asked what my five most favorite books are. That is such a hard question. My five personal favorites? The ones I like most to recommend? New books? Old books? Fun? Artistic? I thought a lot about this, and came to the conclusion that I should have told her the five books that I have read repeatedly and will no doubt read again.

Here's the list I gave her:
The Phantom Tollbooth (1961) by Norton Juster
Anne of Green Gables (1908) by L.M. Montgomery
The Luckiest Girl (1958) by Beverly Cleary
The Dark Lord of Derkholm (1998) by Diana Wynne Jones
Candy(2005) by Kevin Brooks

The first three stand, although if I were really honest with myself, I would list Lenora Mattingly Weber's A New and Different Summer instead of the Cleary. The same type of book, though.

Upon reflection, I would have to replace the last two, which I liked but won't read again (and don't own copies of), with Julie Edwards' Mandy (1971) and Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes (2005). At number six, I'd have to put Mary Norton's The Borrowers (1953).

The most influential book in my life has been Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (1953). I always feel so trite when I say that, but it's true. I read it in freshman English in 1979 and to this day cannot leave the television on for noise. I frequently ask students not what their favorite book it, but what book they would commit to memory if all books were banned. I would be The Phantom Tollbooth, which is why I always state that it is my favorite.

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