Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Things You’re Thankful For (it can be bookish or not). I went with bookish. As you might imagine, this is a really really really hard topic to narrow down. These aren’t necessarily my top ten favorite books ever (although they’re up there), but each left its mark in some major way. They’re listed in alphabetical order, and all of the links lead to Goodreads.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
There aren’t enough words to describe how much I love this book. It’s also always a huge hit with my students, many of whom are reluctant readers. I only use one chapter in class, and they always ask for more (if I could assign the whole book, believe me, I would).
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
I think this is the first “school book” that I ever took seriously (and that was in college, which is a terrible and kind of mortifying thing to admit!). It was also my first Morrison book. I think it was just kismet: the book came to me at exactly the right time and we clicked.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
I know. You are shocked.
Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros
A big chunk of my MA thesis (on images of Mexican immigrant motherhood in Chican@ literature) was based on this book. The storytelling is fabulous. It’s one of my favorites.
The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
I read this in one of my philosophy classes in undergrad and I immediately fell in love with it. It’s the book that made me realize that Tolstoy was totally not daunting, and then I went for Anna Karenina.
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
This is quite possibly the greatest book ever written. It’s a masterpiece that left me speechless many times over.
This Bridge Called My Back edited by Gloria Anzaldúa and Cherríe Moraga
This is the book that introduced me to Gloria Anzaldúa and Cherríe Moraga, both of whom have written life-changing Chicana feminist works. It’s out of print, so you’ll have to pry my beat up copy from my cold, dead fingers.
Tumford the Terrible by Nancy Tillman
I’ve read Tumford to my nephew more times than I can remember. I’m pretty sure my he’s sick of it now from reading it so much — there’s an entertaining sequel, but it’s not the same — but it was great bonding time while it lasted.
Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
I’m not vegan (I’m vegetarian), but I like vegan cooking and I’ve turned to Veganomicon (aka The Vegan Bible) more times than I can count. Mushroom gravy. Yum.
Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender
I’m pretty sure this was my first ever collection of weird short stories, introducing me to a whole new genre — is “weird short stories” a genre? — that I adore. I have read many weirdos since then, but Willful Creatures is a) legit awesome, and b) my first Bender, so I love it extra.