This may be the easiest Top 5 Wednesday topic I’ve seen in a long time. Initially, I thought I would talk about books that I loved before I started blogging, but then I realized that would be a little too easy. My blog has not even reached it’s one year anniversary yet (October 23!), so it would not take much to look back to the past year or two and pick a few favourites. Not only that, but I’ve already covered those favourites in several posts (which can be found: 2015, Goodreads Around the Year 2016, PopSugar 2016, and Book Riot Read Harder). Instead, I decided to go back a little further and talk about some of my favourite books from before I started participating in reading challenges.
Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.
1) Atonement by Ian McEwan
I actually can’t remember when I read this book, but I decided to read it quite a while after seeing the movie, which I really loved. The movie was released in theatres in 2007, but I did not see it until much later when it came out on DVD the following year. This book is about a young girl named Bryony who mistakenly accuses her sister’s lover of a crime, and the consequences of this accusation for all three of them throughout their lives. I thought this book was beautifully written and it was a very powerful and memorable story. It was by far one of my favourites, and just as strong as the movie.
2) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
When I first started university, I decided to use my time between classes to read some of the books that I’d been meaning to read for a long time. This was one of the standout books that I remember reading during that time, and one that I absolutely devoured. This book is about the relationship between Henry, a man with a genetic problem that allows him to unexpectedly time travel to important moments in his own life, and Clare, the young woman he falls in love with. I was pretty surprised to find that so many people have issues with the way the relationship is portrayed in this book since Clare first meets Henry when she is a child. Personally, I had no problems with how their relationship played out and I thought the book was compelling and an amazing story. I think I’m due for a reread of this one!
3) My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
This was another book that I devoured between classes. For some reason, I can never remember if this or Mercy was the first Jodi Picoult book I ever read, but either way, she immediately became my favourite author. My Sister’s Keeper is about a young girl named Anna who was conceived specifically to be a bone marrow match for her older sister who is dying of cancer. Anna decides to sue her parents for control of her own body and the ability to choose for herself if or when she wants to donate more to her sister. This book is a complex, controversial family story told from multiple perspectives. It raises so many ethical issues and questions about our rights, familial obligations, and how far people will go to save their child. It is a very powerful book, and I would highly recommend this (and just about anything else by Jodi Picoult).
4) The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
I have always been a little obsessed with Tudor family England. When I was younger, I loved the Royal Diaries series which were fictional diaries written by famous royal women, including Anastasia Romanov, Marie Antoinette, Elizabeth I and many others. This series started my love of historical fiction and the Tudors have always been a favourite. If I recall correctly, I also read this book after seeing the 2008 film version and I loved Philippa Gregory’s writing style! Like most historical fiction, I’m sure there are some inaccuracies but the book seemed to be quite well-researched. My approach to historical fiction has always been that it is meant to be an introduction to the topic, but not the only source of information, so I usually like to go back and fact-check afterwards to see how much was actually true. This book was an account of the life of Mary Boleyn, the lesser-known sister of Queen Anne Boleyn. I knew nothing about her beforehand, but I found this book a great introduction and a very interesting story on its own. It definitely left me interested in finding out more.
5) The Help by Kathryn Stockett
I remember taking this book with me one year on summer vacation and devouring it at the hotel, but I can’t remember exactly when it was. I believe I read it somewhere around 2013 or 2014, making it the most recently read of all the books listed here. I was on the fence for a long time about reading this one because I was not sure how much the story would appeal to me, but the book quickly proved me wrong! This book is about a young woman named Skeeter who decides to write a book with the black servants in her town in Mississippi about the realities of their lives and the people they serve — the good and the bad. This book drew me in immediately with its compelling characters, and I fell in love with the writing style. It was by far one of the best historical fiction I have ever read, and I am so glad I gave it a chance!