"If you think classics are dull, or if you think you saw everything important in the James Dean movie, think again. Cathy is my favorite antagonist. A few of her misdeeds include: seducing a teacher when she is just a teenager, setting the family home on fire while mom and dad are asleep, and attempting an abortion on herself. The list goes on but you get the picture!"
"Really long novel but beautifully written, by Mary Anne Evans (pen name was George Eliot). Set in the early 1800s, themes include women and their status in society, the nature of education, marriage, and religion, and politics. Evans makes observations on the human condition that are real, moving, and unforgettable."
"I do not pretend to be an expert on Shakespeare but I've read my fair share in college and grad school, and I've taught it. Othello is my favorite, and reading it in its original form is a treat. Of course, this is a play first but you can also buy it as a short novel. And if Cathy is my favorite female antagonist, Iago is my favorite male antagonist!"
"Set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution, this Dickens story is my favorite (#2 is A Christmas Carol). My favorite protagonist in fiction is Sydney Carton, and I love this book."
"A wonderful little mystery, set in a big, creepy old mansion, with an unnamed main character who has just married the man of the house. Rebecca, his first wife, is the title character, and she is present in every aspect of the story, every thought, every nuance, even though she is dead. A fascinating read!"
"My favorite Wharton story, it is all about social mores near the turn of the 19th century. An upper class couple in NY is getting ready to be married when into their world comes a woman who has been touched by scandal. A wonderful story, one that makes it easier to appreciate just how much society has changed in the U.S."
"Henry VIII was one of the more odious men in history, not just an overweight, overmarried glutton, but truly a despicable man to the people he should have cared about the most; this book was heavily criticized for portraying him in too good a light. However, those critics missed the point: if Henry himself had written his autobiography, this is exactly what he would have written."
"She is one of my favorite authors, and this is her best novel, a story about family relationships and how difficult they can be, love and friendship. A wonderful story! My husband and I often disagree about which novels we categorize as "great," but even he agreed with me on this one."
"This one has been done, if I'm not mistaken, as a play, as well as at least two theatrical versions. The one version of it with Robert Wagner is quite good but the novel is much better. Probably my favorite mystery ever."
"This is not as good as A Kiss Before Dying but it is quite good - a very intense whodunit. Be sure you have the stomach for it, though - the violence and the sexuality are both kinky and quite graphic."
"Another favorite from Ms. Siddons, this one is about the South and how it is divided, not just by race, but by money and status. A beautifully written story, there are moments that are shocking, I mean real humdingers, and other moments that are overwhelmingly sad, but worth it."
"James McBride writes of growing up with an African American father and a Jewish mother, and how society perceived him, how it treated him, and ultimately, embraced him as a bestselling author. Highly recommend."
"Another of my favorite historical fiction novels, this one is about Marie Antoinette. Very detailed without ever being boring, and so well written, you can actually feel what the characters are feeling."
"Another of my favorite writers, this is Binchy's best. All about a family and their relationships, set in Ireland, as most of her stories are, and incredibly well written. I couldn't put this one down."
"I attempted choosing my favorite Roth novel but I love them all so instead I just chose the last one he wrote (at least, I think it is - it is the last one of his I read). All of his novels share certain attributes: incredibly well written, characters that are human (at times you love them and at times you hate them), authentic stories that are a pleasure to read."
"Another great novel of historical fiction, about Edward II, King of England in the 1300s, but updated and set in Ireland. The style of writing and the fact that she makes it in first person from each of the character's points of view, only makes it all the more absorbing."
"Denise Mina's novel are really good, and they contain elements within them that suggest she is on her way to being one of the best mystery writers ever. In this one, for instance, the opening chapter is one of the most compelling and saddest I've ever read. As for whodunit, I couldn't figure it out. Highly recommend!"
"An unnamed narrator/protagonist walks us through the intricacies and difficulties of her life without a father or husband in 17th century Persia, and writes in exquisite detail about the labor of love that was required to make carpets at that time (which is where the title of the novel comes from), and makes the reader feel that she is with her the entire time. Terrific novel!"
"I like Stephen King's novels, especially those that are not just about the horror. This is his best. Not only is it not just about the horror, it's about much larger issues, like the struggle between good and evil. A terrific book."
"Yes, the same S.E. Hinton who wrote The Outsiders, this is a book for those of us who are all grown up. Do not let the genre of this novel fool you - I never read about vampires or that kind of foolishness, and I was shocked when I brought this home and realized what it was about. But I am so glad I gave it a chance! It is a really good novel."
"Yes, it is a play, and one of my favorites. Walter and his family are expecting an inheritance, one which Walter's mother wants to use for a down payment on a house after years of raising her family in a tiny apartment. While owning a home is one of the American dreams shared by many, regardless of race, for this family, their race causes obstacles to pursuing that dream."
"I thought if I included one of my favorite plays, I should also include my favorite books of poetry. Ms. Madgett's poems are exquisite, all of them. For the record, my favorite of hers is 'Tears.' Powerful poem!"
"Another wonderful poet, this is the best collection of her work. My favorite poem by Ms. Giovanni is 'The World Is Not a Pleasant Place To Be.' One must read it to appreciate it - it is not as hopeless as its title suggests."
"My all time favorite poet, and if I had to make a list of my favorite poems by Mr. Hughes, it would include his most famous, 'A Dream Deferred,' as well as 'Suicide's Note,' 'Dreams,' and 'I, Too, Sing America' - each of them, like most of his work, tremendously powerful."
"OK, clearly this turned into more than a list of novels after #25 so I'm including a work of nonfiction. As a practicing Quaker (not just one who attends Meeting but one who, with her hubby, often leads Friendly Discussion, chairs a committee, etc.), I am admittedly biased towards anything about the Religious Society of Friends. This, however, is the best book on the subject that I have read."