Since 1989, I have been keeping a list of books I've read and rated them according to my enjoyment level. Here I list some of the "10s" I've given over the years--books I've often recommended to others or have given as special gifts.
POSSESSION A Romance By A. S. Byatt
This is my favorite book of all time. It's a brilliant and compelling literary romance and mystery where clues can be found in old letters, journals, and university libraries. Two modern academics research the story of two Victorian writers, and in so doing, they find love over multiple generations. Byatt richly weaves together these stories.
THE SHADOW OF THE WIND By Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A boy in Barcelona tracks down a mysterious and obscure author of a rare book--and becomes part of a gothic-thriller plot. This book transported me to the mysterious investigations and colorful characters of 1950s Spain. (*** July/Aug 2004)
ANGLE OF REPOSE By Wallace Stegner
This beautifully told story-within-a-story chronicles a marriage in the 1800s, pioneering, love, trust, and ambitions.
TO DANCE WITH THE WHITE DOG A Novel of Life, Loss, Mystery, and Hope By Terry Kay
A recently widowed old man in the Deep South finds himself alone and lost except for the appearance of a white dog, visible to him but not to his confused and concerned family. Touching and heartwarming.
THE BOOKSHOP By Penelope Fitzgerald
With a modest inheritance, a widow plans to open the first and only bookstore in a small village in Suffolk, England. This charming story introduces a vividly portrayed set of characters.
ANY HUMAN HEART By William Boyd
This book follows the artistic, intellectual, and emotional life of the fictitious Logan Mountstuart, a British writer experiencing all that the 20th century has to offer--from literary movements to both world wars. Witty and precise, Boyd's novel...