Top 10 Must-Reads

As what should be a requisite for all avid readers, I am now doing my very first Top 10 Must-Reads. I'm sure that it will not be my last. But for 2009, I must say that these are my favorites:

1.The Sherlock Holmes Series: the brightest, smartest, most brilliant, incredible detective of all time is Sherlock Holmes. If your mother asks why you are reading it in the middle of the week, just tell her that it is a wonderful logic course. I have found my unreasonable mind actually trying to observe and deduce. Amazing. I just finished the second volume (not a happy moment) and am very sad that all those wonderful mysteries are solved. If only Conan Doyle hadn't wasted so much time on other matters. This has become one book that I really could not live without. (Note: I was about to consider petitioning Sir Conan Doyle to resurrect Mr. Holmes yet again when I realized that--well--he's dead so it would be rather useless.)

2. A Tale of Two Cities
: by Charles Dickens. Though this book starts out slowly, the supreme sacrifice and love in the end is worth anything. I am putting an excerpt here from the ending because it can certainly speak for itself. The setting is in a cart headed for the guillotine, the speakers are a young woman and a man.

"It cannot be, my child; there is no Time there [in Heaven], and no trouble there."

"You comfort me so much! I am so ignorant. Am I to kiss you now? Is the moment come?"


She kisses his lips; he kisses hers; and they solemnly bless each other... She goes next before him--is gone; the knitting women count Twenty-Two.

"I am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."

...it swells forward in a mass, like one great heave of water, all flashes away. Twenty-Three.

Yes, this is a must-read.

3. David Copperfield: Arguably one of Charles Dickens' best novels, David Copperfield is loosely based on the author's own life. After surviving an abusive boyhood, David Copperfield narrates his journey to manhood, with many loves, losses and lessons .The plot is stellar and each character has a memorable personality--for good or bad.

4. Ivanhoe: is the well-known historical fiction novel by Sir Walter Scott. Set in the time of Richard Couer de Leon, this book paints a remarkable and exciting picture of life during the Middle Ages. With many memorable heroes and heroines, a dilemma between reputation and unrequited love, and many rousing fight sequences, this book ranks high.

5. Watership Down:Though a visceral reaction to this tale by Richard Adams might be "it's about...rabbits???" it really is a book that no library of the brain ought to be without. It is the tale of the journey of a band of dauntless rabbits who leave the safety of their home warren at the seeming whim of a young one who predicts tragedy. They make the harrowing journey to a paradise for rabbits. For more, please read my review.

6. The Mystery of Edwin Drood: a murder mystery written by Charles Dickens--up to the twenty-second chapter. It was sadly interrupted by the poorly-timed death of the author (after all, we'll never know how it was really supposed to end). It has been concluded many times but my favorite one (and dare I say the only one I've read) is by Leon Garfield. The ending is very startling yet--I'm just going to shut up now.

7. Mere Christianity: a book written by C.S Lewis--not a novel, yet a gripping read. It is written so well and so down-to-earth that you can almost hear Lewis' kindly English accent talking to you. It explores the many different facets of the Christian life, bringing new insights to dilemmas and discussing commonplace topics that everyone knows but doesn't give much intelligent thought to.

8. Around the World In 80 Days: the classic written by Jules Verne, Around the World in 80 Days will ring in your memory for many a year. It follows the extremely punctual (if not slightly eccentric) Englishman, Phileas Fogg on an impromptu journey round the world--with a return date exactly 80 days from departure. The book details the culture and geography of many countries in the world.

9. The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch, The Lantern Bearers: these three books are a series written by Rosemary Sutcliff. Starting with the Eagle of the Ninth, which is about a young Roman centurion, the books covers the history of Ancient Britain from the height of the Roman Empire's power over Britain to its fall and the rise of the real king Arthur. These books really fascinated me with the history of England, especially her Ancient times.

10. The Scarlet Pimpernel: This book by Baroness Orczy tells the tale of an Englishman who takes condemned Frenchmen from under the guillotine's shadow during the French Revolution. The rebel government employs an Englishwoman living in the center of London society to search out and reveal this man. A fascinating story, it has quite a lot of the flavor of A Tale of Two Cities and a dash of the mysterious content of Sherlock Holmes.

I hope that you've enjoyed this post, and I hope that it has inspired you to want to read these books.

I am also advertising for people who also have read and truly enjoyed these books...I would LOVE to discuss them!


Marian said...

nice list!! I've read five of those, and I have been thinking about reading Edwin Drood. I could go on and on about the Sherlock Holmes series, my favourite for the past 6 years or so (always will be, too)... What did you think at the end of The Final Problem? I remember being very sad, and really surprised in The Empty House.

The Sherlock stories are a great way to learn about people, good and bad, and like you said, about logic/deduction! For a time, I tried doing my own deductions in real-life, lol. Have you seen the Jeremy Brett films? If so, what do you think of his version?

The Scarlet Pimpernel is a rather lengthy series; the only other book in it I've read is Eldorado, but that one's good, too. Have you seen the '82 Scarlet Pimpernel movie? It's really well done.

Lucie Manette said...

I was SO excited to find that you loved Sherlock Holmes as much as I do!!!! I absolutely HATED The Final Problem--partly because I didn't have volume two (which contains The Empty House) for a long time after. In fact, I had read that the Final Problem kills Holmes, so I didn't read it until I absolutely couldn't stand it. I was very sad. Until I read the Empty House. I was dancing.


Actually, I haven't seen the Jeremy Brett versions, but I hear that they're very good. I have seen (I really liked) one of the old ones with Basil Rathbone. It's really kind of funny, but he looks exactly like I thought Sherlock Holmes would. :)

I haven't read Eldorado, but I've heard about it (probably from you, lol.)

DEFINITELY read Edwin Drood....it's just about as good as Sherlock Holmes!!!

Marian said...

I like both the Rathbone and Brett versions, but for some people, Jeremy Brett *is* Sherlock Holmes. :) Most of his film versions are very, very true to the books, so I'd highly recommend them. Some of the last episodes aren't so great, like The Three Gables, and some are pretty bad (IMO), like The Last Vampyre, but the Adventures and Return DVD sets are excellent. There is a fast-forward scene (artist's model) in Final Problem, but besides that the Adventures and Return are pretty clean viewing.

Anonymous said...

WOW!! i have never read any of those...

My sister said that Micheal Strogoff is a great book by Jules Vern.

My farorite book/series is REdwall by Brain jaques.

Moriah said...

I'm reading Mere Christianity and it is very interesting. He is a very strong Christian. It is a must read.

Lucie Manette said...

Moriah: I agree! (love your profile picture, by the way!)

Anonymous said...

Hello Lucie!
A very well put together list. I've read Sherlock Holmes, and feel just about the same. And I'd have to chime in on the Jeremy Brett versions; I've only seen a few, but I loved them. I haven't read half as much Dickens as you, but I probably should :). You know that I loved Watership Down; and I rememeber Mom reading "Around the World in 80
Days" a while ago, which I also really liked. Lizbelle has read Rosemary Sutcliff, but I have not. My favorite from your list has to be Mere Christianity (because you know what an avid C. S. Lewis fan I am). It is abosolutely excellent.

Liza said...

I just voted in your book poll, and I tell you, it was not easy! I love Sherlock Holmes, A Tale of Two Cities (it made me cry!), David Copperfield, Ivanhoe, Around the World in 80 days and Watership Down all so much! But I finally decided to vote David Copperfield. :)
Love your blogs! Keep it up!

Gina said...

Great choices! :-)


Lucie Manette said...

@ourspareoom: Thanks! I'll have to try to get a hold of those Jeremy Bret ones!

@Liza: Thanks for your comment...I'm glad that it was hard, if you know what I mean ;)

@Gina: Thanks for your comment...can't wait to get a look at your blog!

Moriah said...

I awarded you!

Liza said...

Yes, I do know what you mean!

Marian said...

Re: Sherlock Holmes

@Lucie: Is this the one you've heard of:


If so, it's coming out on Christmas Day, and you can see a version of the script (may not be the latest version) here:


From what I've read and heard, they've made their version of Sherlock Holmes some things that Sherlock Holmes most certainly isn't. :( One thing I particularly can't look past is the *cough* scene with him and Irene Adler; it's about half-way or less into the script, and that's where I stopped looking at the script. I haven't seen the trailer, and I don't plan on the seeing the movie, myself. Watch some of the Jeremy Brett episodes, instead. :D Many of them are great to watch the first time and for re-watching, too (You'd probably love Red-Headed League!).

I think I've got the Newly Annotated book(s) from the library before, but I don't know if I looked at it much. I have the Barnes & Noble Complete Sherlock Holmes books, though, and the Encyclopedia Sherlockiana. :) What did you think of the Annotated one?

Anonymous said...

Hey Lucie... I keep trying to comment on your other blog and it won't let me! I just wanted to say great new avatar... I love the song that it quotes. And you're tagged!

Nana said...

Hi Lu!
I just found this blog. I didn't know about it until I was reading your profile. That is so cool that you are homeschooled! I am too! I just love it. So much flexability. It's great.
I absaulely LOVE Sherlock Holmes! I just started reading it for the second time. I think my favorite story is the 5 orange pits, or the scandel in Bohemia.
I have read most of around the world in 80 days. It was great! I'm sorry I didn't get to read the end. I our vacation house, there are a bunch of books. We came home before I got to the end. *sigh* I know I can get it from the library, but I thought I would save it for a special treat next time we are there.
Someone I know through blog world told me I should read a tale of two cities, and now that you recommened it I'll have to read it for sure!
I must say, I have not read any of the others but will have to add them to my list!
What do you think of home schooling? What would you say is your favorite subject. If I had to guess what your favorite subject was I would say, music or literature. Am I right???

Lucie Manette said...

I'm glad you stopped at this blog, Nana! Around the World in 80 Days is really wonderful, certainly worth going to the library and finding! And if you love Sherlock Holmes, I'd stop by Marian's blog..."The Real Sherlock Holmes." It's going to be great! (She was the first commenter on this post.)

Moriah said...

I awarded you!

Jo-snazz said...

I've only read two of those! I guess it is time to go to the library. A tale of two cities sound wonderful, but the main character doesn't....die...right?! :-) Just kidding, I'm sure it will be great.

Ashley Fastle said...

Hi, I just found your blog. Great job! have you read the grapes of wrath by John steinbeck. I feel like that BOOK needs to be on your list. It is quite a classic and also East of Eden by steinbeck as well. I loved your list.
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