Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Fun With Lists!

Friends of the blog know that sometimes I like to make lists. (See: Things to Avoid and Non-literary Characters.) I make lists in my real life too. Pros v. Cons lists, Things to Do lists, Amazon Wish Lists, and I only evaluate my "favorite" of anything in the form of a Top 5 List.

So, it should come as no surprise that I love Flashlight Worthy Book Recommendations, a site devoted to presenting you with the best books for pretty much any occasion or reason. I particularly enjoyed the recent "Most Challenged Books of 2009" list, in which three of my favorite books appear - The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Catcher in the Rye, and To Kill a Mockingbird. (I should say that with books, I do not have a Top 5 List, but rather I break them up into multiple Top 5 lists based on genre, nostalgia, cultural relevance, etc. Yes, I have issues.)

Anyway, Flashlight Worthy Book Recommendations has inspired me to create a new list, but unlike the professional list-makers, I won't be focusing so much on "the best" as I will on "my favorites." So, I present the Top 5 Books I Find Flashlight Worthy:

1) Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H. P. Lovecraft. This is a huge book. Not one to travel with or take on the subway. But it is the perfect book to curl up with under a sheet in the dark and scare the pants off yourself! H.P. Lovecraft did literary horror first, and arguably the best (funny how that usually works out, isn't it?).


2) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Yes, it is one of my favorites, as I mentioned above, but I assure you I'm not being biased. This book still works for the purposes of this list. The creepy mystery behind Boo Radley is certainly flashlight worthy, but there are also the many layers behind the plot and characters to unravel in the dark.

3) In the Woods by Tana French. Like Mockingbird, this book has multiple layers of mystery going on. (See also: The Likeness). Not only does French offer a page-turning whodunit, but she also slowly reveals an eerie mystery within the main character.

4) Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz. OK, this one seems obvious, but with a combination of nostalgia and a self-explanatory title, I defy you to find me a more flashlight worthy book. If you haven't read this since childhood, go revisit. Or, read it in a pillow fort with your own kids. I used to be convinced that the girl with the ribbon around her neck was one of my sister's friends (because she said she was), so I can no longer think of this book without thinking of how much my childhood was traumatized by it.

5) Pretty much anything by Stephen King. Seriously. There's a reason Joey Tribbiani keeps his copy of The Shining in the freezer.

What do you all think? As you can see, I went with mystery and horror when I think of flashlight worthy books, but I guess that doesn't always have to be the case. What are some of your favorite books to read in the dark?

3 comments:

  1. Great question! My Top 5 Flashlight Worthy Books are:

    HOUSE OF LEAVES by Mark Z. Danielewski – Creepy, imaginative, and fascinating!

    THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver – It’s so well-written. Probably my most favorite novel ever because each character’s voice is so unique.

    THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman – Loved this book!

    CLOUD ATLAS: A NOVEL by David Mitchell – Another quirky, fascinating book I couldn’t put down.

    ENCOUNTER WITH TIBER by Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Science Fiction Author John Barnes – Loved this book! Complicated science that would have been great to ponder slowly under the late-night glow of a flashlight.

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  2. Ooh! Love this question. I can't really think of a top 5, but two would definitely have to be Lord of the Flies and Misery. Lord of the Flies because the tension just seems to swell throughout the book to the point where I can't put it down. And Misery because Stephen King is the "King" of suspense. :) Can you imagine being helpless and depending on a mentally unstable person to take care of you? Just typing that question gives me chills!

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  3. I don't think I've ever read by flashlight, but by candlelight, sure. Favorites for this would be anything Stephen Kind or Dean Koontz, Minette Walters novels. She's really good at suspense and weird. I also like a pretty word by candlelight, so I'd add John Steinbeck (my favorite right now).

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