*Friday’s Five Books is a bi-weekly post on Between the Covers that highlights book recommendations from the reading community.
The most important thing in my life, of course, are my two sons. Running a close second are books! An avid reader, since early childhood, and book collector, my home library numbers at over 3000 books, with fiction at 2000+. A major history buff, I have a great passion for historical fiction. I’m also a huge fan of the horror and fantasy genres, but you will often find me reading just about anything, except perhaps erotica or books strong on romance. As a writer, I am working on my first novel, which may end up being a historical horror mishmash…who knows! I am a blogging addict, with 9 blogs total, two of them being book review sites: The True Book Addict and my horror blog, Castle Macabre. My writing blog is The Story Inside Me, and I also have a year-round Christmas blog, The Christmas Spirit. Yes, I am a Christmas fanatic and I am a voracious reader of Christmas literature. And, of course, no serious book lover and writer could be without a cat and so I have my faithful black cat, Alice, by my side. You can also catch me on Twitter @truebookaddict, and Facebook.
Since I am technically an eclectic reader, my five books are quite a mix. I’ll start with my favorite book of all time.
The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice
Anne Rice has been my favorite author for over twenty years and will remain so forever. Yes, I’m that loyal. The Queen of the Damned, the third book in her Chronicles of the Vampires, was the book in the series I read first. At the time, I had no idea that it was part of a series until my mom pulled Interview With the Vampire from her shelf and told me that it was, in fact, the first book in the series and that Queen of the Damned was the third book. Long before Twilight appeared in Stephenie Meyer’s dreams (I’m not hating on Twilight…honestly), Anne Rice was the quintessential ‘Queen’ of the vampire genre. Her vampires were gorgeous, evil, and complex. She wasn’t afraid to tackle themes of homosexuality or religion in her books and the central character through all the books, Lestat, struggles with being a monster and rediscovering his humanity. The Queen of the Damned is my favorite book because it reveals the history of the vampires’ existence. Give me a history and I’m hooked. I’ve read it four times and I’m sure I will crack it open again in the future.
A favorite in historical fiction…
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Long before it was made a selection in Oprah’s Book Club, I was recommending this book to anyone and everyone who would listen. A piece of advice, listen to your librarian when she/he recommends a book. I owe that librarian for introducing me to one of my favorite books of all time. Ken Follett, an author known for his thrillers surrounding espionage and the like, took his interest in the history and construction of cathedrals and crafted a story surrounding the construction of a cathedral in the Middle Ages and the people who lived and worked in the surrounding town. A story full of rich historical detail and characters who endear themselves early on, The Pillars of the Earth is a book that is easily enjoyed, whether you’re a history buff or not.
A new favorite in fantasy…
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book I) by George R.R. Martin
I have long been a fan of the fantasy genre and over the years have read many great fantasy novels/series. But the book that took me back to the delight of my first discovery of fantasy is A Game of Thrones. I cannot believe that the book has been in existence for fifteen years and I just discovered it in 2011. It has all the elements of epic fantasy with a distinct medieval feel that appeals greatly to my interest in the historical. I am looking forward to continuing with the series.
Oh, the horror….
Yes, I like to be scared. A lot. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many books that genuinely scare me (darn it). An exception is Hell House by Richard Matheson. Yes, he wrote I Am Legend, also an excellent book, but Hell House is a horror masterpiece, in my opinion. The book is very well-written which makes the scary elements even more surprising. I found myself getting lost in the prose and then…wham! To say I was scared is an understatement. I could not sit and read this book without having all the lights on. The sheer creepiness might have had my hair standing on end. I didn’t look in the mirror. *wink*
A timeless classic…my favorite…
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Many dismiss Little Women as a book only suitable for young girls and, true, I did first read it when I was about nine or ten years old, but I have read it several times since and it has never lost its appeal. Maybe it’s because a story surrounding the importance of sisterhood speaks to the side of me that cherishes the relationship I have with my own sister. Or perhaps it’s Jo’s tenacity in bucking the conventions of the time to become a writer. Or it could be the poignancy of a sickly and selfless sister who dies way before her time. Actually, it’s all of these things and so much more. Alcott recognized the importance of family and love, and though the book is set in the Civil War era, it’s themes are as relevant today as they were yesterday. Anyone who has not read Little Women is missing out on one of the most wonderful reading experiences a person can have.
Thank you for the recommendations, Michelle! I have The Pillars of the Earth on my TBR pile, and I really need to re-read Little Women (I haven’t read it since I was very young). Of course, you know that I share your love of Anne Rice’s vampires, too. Good stuff!
**If you choose to purchase any of these titles using the links below, I will receive a small percentage of the sale (to be used toward site maintenance and buying more books).