Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book post created by The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. It moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. I don’t participate very often because I’m not very creative, but sometimes one of the topics will catch my eye!
The topic for February 13th is: Love Freebie (Romances, swoons, OTPs, kisses, sexy scenes, etc.)
Well, I don’t do romance. I don’t mind realistic romance in a novel, but I dislike novels that are about romance. So I figured, if we’re going to talk about love, why not talk about the books I love?
I’m only going to choose five books to keep this post from being insanely long. So without further ado, here are the top five books I love!
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
This is my all-time favorite book. I’ve read it three times, I think. I first read it in the summer of 2002 as preparation for my Advanced Placement (AP) English Language and Composition class my junior year of high school. I immediately fell in love with the character of Francie, a smart and observant girl who loved reading and going to the library, and who told a big fib to be able to go to the school of her dreams. I have nothing in common with Francie except my love of reading, but this book spoke to my heart.
“From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood…On the day when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived.”
Hot Lights, Cold Steel: Life, Death and Sleepless Nights in a Surgeon’s First Years by Michael J. Collins
I stumbled across this book in the summer of 2009 when I was just starting my clinical rotations for pharmacy school. The story of a doctor’s years as an orthopedic surgical resident at the Mayo Clinic, the book immediately drew me in with its outlandish, but true, stories. Dr. Collins is also a very gifted writer. I often found myself laughing out loud when yet another of the family vehicles bit the dust or feeling somber as difficult decisions had to be made regarding a patient’s treatment options. This is one of the most human of medical memoirs I’ve ever read.
“I was a little more hardened, a little more seasoned, but the suffering of a little boy still got to me. And yet I knew if I wanted to be a surgeon I was going to have to get used to some harsh realities…Yes, I needed to be compassionate, but I couldn’t let my compassion paralyze me. I had to believe in what I was doing. I had to believe in the essence of a surgeon’s art: that a scalpel can heal every bit as much as it can cut.”
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
I’ll admit I picked this one up because of the hype. But it was well worth it. Few books make me cry, and this one did. The best way I can explain my feelings about this book is my Goodreads review: “I’m an emotional person, but I’ve never had a book make me *sob* before. At first I thought this was going to be a funny book about a grouchy old man (which, ok, it is to an extent.) But this book is so much more than that. It’s a book about love, but not in a mushy way. It’s a book about doing the right thing above all else. It’s a book about having principles and sticking to them. It’s a truly special book. I’m even going to make my husband read it, and he’s not much of a novel reader. But to a weird degree, I saw my husband and myself in the book (despite the 30-year age difference between us and Ove and Sonja.) The sick wife. The principled husband. And a cat.”
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Sometimes I’m a real glutton for punishment, because this book also made me cry, even though I knew how it was going to turn out. But this is one of those books that everyone should read: a doctor facing his own mortality from lung cancer in his 30s. An extremely rare thing to happen to a previously healthy non-smoker. This is a truly beautiful book. Heartbreaking, yes, but one you will never forget once you’ve read it.
”At home in bed a few weeks before he died, I asked him, ‘Can you breathe okay with my head on your chest like this?’ His answer was ‘It’s the only way I know how to breathe.’ That Paul and I formed part of the deepest meaning of each other’s lives is one of the greatest blessings that has ever come to me.”
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
This is another book that should be required reading for every human being. I can’t believe I made it through 31 years of my life without reading it! In this book, Corrie tells of her family’s role in the Dutch resistance during the Nazi occupation of Holland during World War II. The family hid Jews in their home and smuggled stolen ration cards to other families who were hiding Jews. But one day, they were found out and sent to prison, and then Corrie and her sister Betsy were sent on to the concentration camps of Vught and Ravensbruck. Corrie saw firsthand the evidence of God’s love and forgiveness, even in such horrible places when God seemed distant.
“Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him….Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness….And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.”