When I wrote recently about a book that somehow managed to become one of my personal top 5 reads ever, I came up with the idea to create a page here to keep an up-to-the-minute list of the best books I’ve ever read. It took me a bit longer to figure out exactly how I wanted to do it, but I ultimately settled on a list of the top 15 books I’ve started and finished. When I look at my list there are a couple of things that surprise me. 1) How far down Harper Lee’s masterpiece is (she’s barely hanging on for a spot!) and 2) Michael Connelly DOES NOT WRITE METIOCRE BOOKS.
I thought of just sharing the list in this post, but the page has links to everything I said about some of those books immediately after I read them. Now go and take a look for yourself and tell me what you think! Or, tell me some of the best books you’ve read? Maybe we have some in common!
Today’s Top Five Wednesday topic is the best books I’ve read outside my comfort zone, which is definitely mystery. I probably had 6-7 books in mind when I came up with my list, but I ultimately stuck with the required five books. I’ve actually talked about all five books at some point either on here or in previous videos, so there really should be no surprise this time around.
Now watch: It’s quick!
What are the best books you’ve read that fell outside your literary comfort zone?
It seems so trivial to write about books after what I’ve written about on here during the last week. But here I am.
Something I find rather odd is how books, movies, and music by or about celebrities sell extremely well immediately following their death. I don’t see why this always seems to happen. I mean, shouldn’t you already own that stuff if you’re that much of a fan?
It just makes me wonder. It makes me wonder if people really have any interest in these people or if they’re just trying to fit in with what everyone else is doing. Prime examples from recent memory are Harper Lee, David Bowie, Prince, and now Muhammad Ali.
Obviously people can do whatever they like, but at least be genuine. Eh. Maybe everyone is genuine and I have no idea what I’m talking about.
Have you ever rushed to the store to buy a singer’s music, an actor’s movies, or an author’s books immediately after their death? I haven’t.
Harper Lee was known for shying away from the spotlight. And for living a rather normal lifestyle for someone so renowned. But in 2012 a kid became paralyzed after a hockey injury. And Lee was asked via personal letter to sign first editions of her book to help with his future medical bills.
Over the course of several months five signed first editions of her book were sent to the player and the family is just now revealing what happened.
You see, there’s so much that’s been said about Lee in her final years. But THIS one thing tells me more about her than any of the others. She kept to herself, but she wasn’t oblivious of the outside world. She may not have liked the spotlight, but she was still a human being just like the rest of us. And I’m afraid that fact is sometimes forgotten.
PS: the family asked several authors for the signed first editions, and at least one author refused completely.
An American icon died today. And even though today is video day and I have a new video for y’all, I felt that I should write one more post about Harper Lee.
I’ve written extensively over the last year about the Pulitzer Prize winning author. Mostly because she popped up in the news for the first time in years and I finally got around to reading To Kill a Mockingbird. But you know what my first thought was when I learned of her death? Some of you will know it. It was that she wouldn’t be taken advantage of anymore.
I’m not upset or critical of her for only writing one book during her lifetime (I still don’t consider Go Set a Watchman anything more than a draft that was never meant to see the light of day). I don’t fault her for not relishing in the media attention she received as a result of her book. And I don’t blame her for her second book coming out.
Harper Lee did in one book what so many people fail to do in a lifetime. She changed lives. Imagine what it would have been like reading her book for the first time in 1960. Depending on your personal ideology and mindset the book would have been eye-opening or repulsive. But when we read it now it gives a glimpse into the ugly history of the southern United States. We all know that not everyone living during the period was racist or experienced racism in their day-to-day lives, which is why her book is so important. It shows the bad in people during the period, but it also shows how good people really were. There were millions of Atticus Finch’s all over the country, but not everyone was fortunate enough to know one.
I won’t thank Harper Lee for writing a masterpiece. Instead I’ll thank her for doing her part to ensure that a terrible time period in the history of this country is never forgotten. So thank you, Ms. Lee. May you rest in peace.
I’ll leave you with my To Kill a Mockingbird video from last year.
First, you have to guess. Of course. So go ahead.
Before I saw the top 20 list I’d have said *gulp* Go Set a Watchman. I have been very open about being against just about everything this book stands for. But in the back of my mind I’m still thinking of those million books sold the first week. Not too many books doing that. So even with all my reservations about ever reading the book, I’d still have guessed that.
But it was only #3. Here’s the top 20:
1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
2. Grey by E.L. James
3. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
4. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
5. Memory Man by David Baldacci
6. Make Me by Lee Child
7. Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham
8. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
9. Dead Wake by Erik Larson
10. Silent Scream by Angela Marsons
11. 14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
12. Old School by Jeff Kinney
13. Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford
14. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
15. Adult Coloring Book: Street Relieving Patterns by Blue Star Coloring
16. The Liar by Nora Roberts
17. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
18. The Crossing by Michael Connelly
19. The Stranger by Harlan Coben
20. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
When I read through the list I see no surprises. This may be because I’ve been working in a bookstore for four months, but even I hadn’t I’d still not be surprised by any of these. There are some books that we cannot keep in stock at the store. We’ll get a copy or two of something and they’ll be gone in a day or two. Sometimes this happens with older books, but most often I’ve seen it with newer releases. Which is understandable.
Did the bestselling book of the year on Amazon surprise you at all? Or any others from the top 20?
Every year Goodreads has its annual Goodreads Choice Awards. They’re voted on by users of the site in a number of categories. There are several rounds of voting to come up with the eventual winners.
I have a Goodreads account, but I don’t use it. The site serves no purpose because I track all my reading on my own, and I don’t care what others are reading or about their recommendations. But I saw the top fiction book and had to talk about it.
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.
What a joke. The book has a rating of 3.34 on Goodreads. 3.4 on Amazon. 3.8 on Barnes and Noble’s website. So I’m struggling to see how this book has been named as the top fiction book of the year. The math doesn’t really add up. I don’t think there’s a conspiracy going on, but I’m just not seeing where all these people who voted for it have been. Or if they read the same book as everyone else.
Am I the only person who thinks this is a little odd?