Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday #3: Top Ten Best Debut Books

The Broke and the Bookish has a weekly meme called Top Ten Tuesday, in which participants list their top ten answers to the weekly theme.  This week the theme is the Top Ten Best Debut Books. 

These are my choices, listed in no particular order:
1- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
I bought this book in England and it is the copy I read, not the American copy It was, simply, magical at a time when I needed a little magic in my life, so I have a soft spot for Harry and always will..

2- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
What can be said about a perfect novel other than that it is perfect.

3- Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg
There is something about the theme of loyalty in this novel that just resonates with me.  It is also an interesting look the power of narrative as one woman discovers who she really is through the story of the lives of other women.

4- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
I read this in the 8th grade for school. My social studies teacher caught me reading a novel called A Summer Place which I had bought in a used bookstore somewhere for a quarter. She took it away from me, called my mother up to school and they decided I should read Gone with the Wind instead since we were studying the Civil War. She never should have given back A Summer Place to my mother…

5- Carrie by Stephen King
Carrie revealed a dark side to my nature I never knew I had, but appears at times when I find myself saying “O, to be Carrie for a day!”  Fortunately, it doesn't happen often.

6- The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
My Latin teacher used to call this the least read best selling novel, in part because of the Latin. I read it and found it to be an excellent example of postmodern fiction in which form and content are seamlessly woven together. (Shameless Plug: Professor White wrote, with his wife and a friend The Key to the Name of the Rose including an English translation of the Latin, which I only mention should you be thinking of reading a little Eco.)

7- Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) by Dorothy Sayers
Lord Peter is one of my absolute favorite fictional characters and this is an excellent debut book, but of course, the crème de la crème of Wimsey books are those with Harriet Vane.

8- The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
Not a book that seemed to catch on, it was a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers choice. I read it and found it a fascinating look at how a person becomes a home grown terrorist - scary in light of today's world.

9- Year of Wonder: a Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks
A story about the plague of 1666 in England, Brooks creates a microcosm of the wider world at a time when it had one foot in superstition and the other in science, using the isolation the town of Eyam chose in order to contain the plague outbreak there and the personal development of the female narrator. It was riveting.

10- The English Patient by Michael Ondaatie
I loved this book and not just because Ralph Fiennes starred in the movie, although that didn’t hurt. I liked the way Ondaatie played with the postmodern idea of the fluidity of identity and nationality mixed with deception.

There are so many debut books that I could include, but the list is limited to ten.  Nevertheless, I include some runner ups:
1st Runner Up - Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
2nd Runner Up - The Help by Kathryn Stockett
3rd Runner Up – The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini

1 comment:

  1. Love Wimsey. Can't stand Harriet Vane. She seems very fanfictionish to me.