Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wonder Wednesday #135 (Top Ten Adult Novels)…

Wonder Wednesday:

Challenge:  Just Try to Put these Novels Down!
“Top Ten Adult Must-Reads”

*I originally wrote this post for the Nerdy Book Club.  

*After submitting it, we realized this post was geared toward adult novels and the Nerdy Book Club Blog focuses on middle-grade and young-adult novels.  

*I decided to save it for my own blog and post it today.

*My true passion for reading lies with adult novels and here are some of my most favorite.

When reflecting on my reading life, what I know for sure is it began with adult novels.  Once I finished college, I slowly began to read adult fiction books.  The more I read, the more I craved these incredible stories of family, friendship, loss, love and survival. 

While continuing to read “big people” books, I also began to explore the world of middle-grade stories.  These young people novels brought me as much joy as my adult novels.  In the last couple of years I’ve also started to read young-adult books.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out how much I enjoyed this type of fiction. 

My current reading life always consists of at least one middle-grade novel, one young-adult novel, and my true passion one adult novel.  The more I have connected with my “nerdy” friends, I’ve learned many of them don’t read the “grown-up” books because they are spending so much time with the younger novels.  I know how hard it is to find time to experience all of these beautiful stories, but it is my goal and passion to spread the “love” of adult fiction. 

Here are ten of my favorite novels that will forever remain in my memory, soul, and heart.  When and if you find some extra time in your already busy reading life; I know you will find great satisfaction with these stories…

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

This incredible story wove its way into my heart this past fall.  It is a major undertaking to read, but is like nothing else I have ever read.  The book follows the lives of four college guys after attending the same school.  One of them has a past that he would rather not share with his friends, but learns you can’t put the past behind you until you deal with it.  After reading the last line, I was emotionally spent, in a reading coma, and didn’t let go of these characters for several weeks after this one of a kind reading experience. 

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb

This novel has been my all-time favorite book of all time since I read it back in 1997.  It is another major read, but once you start I guarantee you won’t be able to put it down.  I remember sharing it with everyone I knew and had so many of my family and friends reading the book.  There is no author like Wally Lamb and his ability to tell a story.  The plot follows identical twin brothers with one of them suffering from Schizophrenia.  The reader will experience their present day life and also travel back through time to learn about their ancestors and how their lives affected these two men. 

Eddie’s Bastard by William Kowalski

Billy is left on the front porch of his grandfather’s broken down home.  He was left there by his father and never knew his mother.   His grandfather, Thomas, has no business raising a baby, but really has no choice.  As these two spend the next years together, Billy learns of his family’s history and how it created a long line of brave men with a hidden magical spirit.  This story brought me pleasure, joy, and a curiosity of what is real and what may me magical. 

Coal Run by Tawni O’Dell

Tawni O’Dell is another favorite adult author.  She has a special talent for writing an engaging fictional story.  This time she takes us to Coal Run a mining town in Pennsylvania.   The “Great Ivan Z.” has returned to Coal Run after being gone for ten years.  He was their star football player, but the last years have not been kind to him.  Upon his return, he learns that his “buddy” is about to be released from prison.  Ivan works to settle back into life here, but both his secrets and the secrets of those around him brew to the surface causing problems for everyone involved. 

The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha

This book kept me up until 2:00 AM because I could not put it down.  Thank goodness I didn’t have to go to work the next day.  The Stanleys have the perfect life with two wonderful children.  When one of their boys is shot and killed in their home, life will never be the same.  When the killer is caught and sentenced to die, Irene Stanley refuses to let this tragedy define her.  She begins a friendship with the man on death row and each of them will forever change each other.  There were several moments when I had to wipe the tears away to focus on the words in the book. 

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

I know there was a lot of controversy surrounding this “memoir” with James and Oprah.  I had actually read the book before Oprah picked it for her book club.  I remember reading it one summer day by my pool and I could not put it down.  The story was mesmerizing and I had never read anything like it.  James has such a unique style of writing and I enjoyed reading about his journey to get clean after years of alcohol and drug abuse.  I felt like I was right there with him and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.    

The Turtle Warrior by Mary Relindes Ellis

The Lucas family has a farm in Wisconsin.  It has been run into the ground because of  John Lucas and his drinking.  He has also been abusive toward his wife and two sons.  After the older brother James leaves to fight in Vietnam, younger brother Bill is left home to protect his mother.  I read this novel years ago, but it has always held a special place in my heart.  It is just a well-written story that takes the reader on a beautiful emotional journey.  It is a must read for all adult readers.  Bill will be a character you won’t soon forget.    

gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

I don’t remember how I learned about this book, but I do remember stopping by the bookstore on my way home from school on a Friday.  I started reading it right away, read it Friday night, and finished Saturday morning.  There were no points in the story where I could put it down.  The “action” started on page one and didn’t stop until the very last word.  The plot was completely engaging and kept me guessing throughout the entire book.  I have told many people about this book and they all have enjoyed it as much as I did.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

One of the best books I’ve ever read.  When I first heard that the story was told from the point of view of the dog, I didn’t know if that would work for an adult fiction story.  Well, it did work and worked really well.  The reading experience was awesome and one of those stories that I just couldn’t stop reading.  When I got to the end of it, I was completely in tears and so emotionally drained.  This will definitely be a book that I will probably reread in the future.   If you are a dog lover, then you definitely have to get this novel in your hands. 

The Buffalo Soldier by Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian is another one of my favorite adult authors.  What I like best about him is that each of his novels are so different from each other.  This story brought me so much joy.  The Sheldon’s lost their daughters in a horrific accident.  Two years later they take in a foster boy named Albert.  He is ten years old, African American, and has been through many foster homes.  He believes this is just another stop on his journey.  After bonding with the couple and a neighbor man that shares historical stories with him, Albert just may have found home.  This novel sits proudly on my bookshelf and is one that I always  recommend to people to read.  It contains fiction writing at its best!   

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