Tuesday, April 22, 2014

10 books that have earned 5 stars from me on Goodreads!

I love Goodreads. It’s been my favorite social media-esque site for a while because it’s all about books! I make lists of books, talk about books, read reviews and summaries, and rate what I’ve read.

Now I’m a stickler on what books get 5 star ratings. To me, a book that gets 5 stars is the top of the top, crème de la crème. It means I’m going to rave about that book to anyone who will listen, I’ll reread it, and I’ll constantly put it on the “Staff Picks” display. A 5 star is one that has spoken to me in some way, made me want to turn its pages, but I never wanted it to end, and I went through a small depression after it was done. This is a book that holds a place in my heart. Therefore, very few books receive such a prestigious rating.

Here are 10 books that have swept me into their world and claimed a 5 star rating.

1. The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

I got into Harry when the series was just coming out with the fourth book and I got hooked. I felt like a part of the story and I never wanted to leave Hogwarts. I’d become frustrated with Harry and yell at the pages for him to stop being stupid. I wanted so badly to be a part of the amazing world Rowling had created. This series is dear to me.

2. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Bryson is an extraordinary man. He’s a scholar and an excellent writer. His wit carries across the page and makes you laugh out loud. This is a book that made me adore travel writing. Nonfiction can frustrate me sometimes because I find myself slogging through, but not with Bryson. He’s hilarious and informative. On top of that, Walk takes place on the Appalachian Trail, which fascinates me. 

3. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
English countryside, a fallen family, an old castle, and a sweet, sharp young girl make for a near perfect combination in my book. Capture is a poignant book that looks at a family struggling with poverty and a coming of age story for our young protagonist, Cassandra. The book is written as Cassandra’s journal. We see how life changes for the family when rich neighbors move in down the way and life turns upside down. A bittersweet, humorous story. I love you, I love you, I love you. (Full review here.)

4. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Oh Anne! You’re just so sweet and want so much to be loved and accepted. I just adored the first three books in Montgomery’s series. I stopped after Anne of the Island because a reputable source told me the series was not as good after that. I truly enjoyed the era, setting, and spunky characters in this series. So so sweet!

5. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Many people detest this book. Understandable. The main character is selfish, but this book is about a woman who has never had her say. Who has given into the proper and socially acceptable way of doing things her entire life until finally she begins to awaken. She discovers that she has desires and dreams outside of what society says is acceptable for her gender. It’s about an individual finding themselves after years of walking around in a haze. 

6. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
I expected to hate this biography of Chris McCandless, the man who walked into the Alaskan wilds without proper supplies, and never returned. However, as I read about the journey he took and his, perhaps naïve, ideals I began to feel sympathy and even understanding for what this young man was looking for in his journey. He hung onto his ideology and it may have killed him in the end, but his life was a beautiful adventure. (Full review here.)

7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Anytime I mention P&P is one of my favorite books I feel like people roll their eyes and then stereotype me. Maybe I live up to the stereotype and maybe I don’t, but I’m always going to love the scaled back wit, sarcasm, social commentary, romance, and prose of Austen. Elizabeth Bennet is a strong female character and I continue to enjoy her humor, biting tongue, and the hunk she falls for *wink*. (Full review here.)

8. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
This book makes you feel you are in the mountains of Alaska. It is so beautifully atmospheric and the story is so subtle and mesmerizing. I fell in love with this book, with the magical realism and the folktale aspects. I loved that it took place in the woods on a homestead. You truly felt for the old couple who wanted a child and were unable to have one. And throughout the novel you continue to guess whether or not this child is a product of magic or had a family.

9. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
I do not consider myself a mystery reader, but I read Agatha Christie’s classic Poirot novel and found myself racing through. Usually I race to the end of a mystery to figure out who did it and I find that I don’t care about the actual novel, just the ending. However, Poirot is a clever, humorous character and reading about him and his process makes for an enjoyable novel.

10. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
Tolkien is a wonder. He wrote epic tales about Middle Earth, created new languages, and made so many nerds happy (myself included). Lord of the Rings is fantastic, but I adore The Hobbit because it is a little lighter and not as detailed as LOTR. The characters are funny and charming and the adventure is the perfect blend of action, dread, exciting situations/realizations, humor, and intellect. I wish I could go to the Shire. 

So there is the list of 10 of my 5-starred novels! It seems my favorite books are a little lighter, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t great stories with lifelong messages. Hopefully you enjoyed reading through this. What are your 5-starred books?

~Kristin M.

P.S.-if you are ever curious of what we're reading you can see our Goodreads widgets on the right side of the blog, and see our ratings.

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