Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the gals over at THE BROKE AND THE BOOKISH. Today it's Jamie's turn. Use this link to check out what other bloggers are listing and talking about under this week's topic.
Top Ten Recommended Books: (In no particular order except as they pop into my mind.)
1) CAPTAIN BLOOD by Rafael Sabatini. For this fabulous recommend, I thank the COMMON READER catalogue which first brought to my attention the books of a writer I was not familiar with. I've read THE SEA HAWK and plan on reading, SCARAMOUCHE soon as I can get a copy. Just absolutely wonderful swashbucklers filled with adventure and daring do. I absolutely love them. And if you haven't seen the film version of CAPTAIN BLOOD with Errol Flynn, I recommend that as well. (Also THE SEA HAWK with Flynn and SCARAMOUCHE with Stewart Granger.) "He was born with the gift of laughter and the sense that the world was mad." The unforgettable opening sentence of SCARAMOUCHE.
2) LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfield. A book I would normally not have read (I don't read a lot of YA) except that a friend in Colorado sent me a copy and boy, am I glad she did. I loved this little steampunk adventure - my first, and not my last. Love the whole idea of alternate history anyway and the creatively inventive use of steam engine machinery. Victoriana with air travel and curious weapons of mass destruction - sort of.
3) HIS MONKEY WIFE by John Collier (who also wrote the screenplay for the classic, THE AFRICAN QUEEN.) Recommended by Nancy Pearl in her second volume of book recommendations, MORE BOOK LUST. A book that I might never have known about otherwise since my library doesn't have it and I'd never heard of it before. Set in 1920's colonial Africa, HIS MONKEY WIFE tells the tale of a chimp named Emily who falls in love with her owner, a young British twit of a school teacher named Alfred Fatigay. When Alfred goes home to get married - he is affianced to a totally unsuitable woman (who will make his life a living hell), Emily (whom he has brought along as a kind of maid for his fiance) does all she can to derail the marriage. Did I mention that Emily is a great proponent of Emily Bronte? As Nancy Pearl says in her recommendation: "From the first line of the introduction all the way to its oh-so-satisfying (and romantic) last sentence, this not-nearly-well-known-enough novel will warm the heart of even the most cynical reader. I totally agree.
4) ACQUA ALTA by Donna Leon. Another gift from another friend, another great series discovered. I've yet to read the rest, but I'm gearing up to scoop them all out of the library this summer. I'll be spending time visiting Venice, solving mysteries with the intrepid Commissario Guido Brunetti - at least in my imagination. I wish I were really going to Venice, but this is the second best thing.
5) The books of G.M. Ford, including the Leo Waterman series and especially the Frank Corso series. Corso is a disgraced journalist, an anti-hero in a series of very dark, offbeat, noir-ish books set in an around Seattle. The Waterman books are more humorous and remind me of my recent read of Brian DeSilva's book ROGUE ISLAND. (If you like DeSilva, you'll also like the Waterman books by G.M. Ford.) First book in the Corso series: FURY. First book in the Leo Waterman series: WHO IN HELL IS WANDA FUCA? Both series recommended by a good friend in Seattle.
6) LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL by Thomas Wolfe. Recommended to me eons ago, by my high school English teacher, Miss Eisenberg. An eye-opening, life-enhancing book that taught me many things about writing and about the appreciation of writing.
7) CRYPTONOMICON by Neal Stephenson. Recommended by Nancy Pearl - she said it's one of her all time favorite books. She was right. It is also one of my all time favorites. A book I would probably not have read except that that she was so enthusiastic about it. This is a gargantuan book full of ideas, eccentric and otherwise. Stephenson is known as the 'king of cyberpunk'. I read the book anyway. LOVED IT!!! You can teach an old dog new tricks. HA!
8) THE WINTER QUEEN, MURDER ON THE LEVIATHAN and THE DEATH OF ACHILLES by the Russian writer, Boris Akunin. Highly recommended to me by my friend in Seattle (who also recommend G.M. Ford). These books are slow in coming since they're written in Russian and it seems to take forever to translate them into English. The policeman Erast Fandorin (one of the great character names in literature, I think) appears to be a kind of government operative who goes about solving crimes in turn of the century Russia. Wonderful books, very different from anything else out there. My favorite: MURDER ON THE LEVIATHAN.
9) BY A SLOW RIVER by Philippe Claudel. Recommended by the same friend in Seattle mentioned above. An enormously moving book with a heartbreaking surprise of an ending which you will never forget. A tale told from memory, a book that takes place in a small French village within hearing distance of the guns of WWI. A brilliant book that crosses the line (if that line exists at all) between literary writing and mystery.
10) DADDY LONG-LEGS by Jean Webster. An epistolary novel (I love them!) recommended by Nancy Pearl in MORE BOOK LUST. You've probably heard or seen the charming MGM musical film with Leslie Caron and Fred Astaire, now read the book. It is as charming and engaging in its own way. Written in 1912, it remains a lovely, gentle, romantic read.