Yesterday's Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is all about books that make me think, which is perfect, because I like to think. It's one of my favorite activities, next to reading and ranting about vegetarianism, which I realize now that I haven't done on the blog in a while. I'll have to remedy that. ANYWAY. So, books that make me think. It was kind of hard to come up with a list, because so many books make me think and often in different ways. For example, in Deathly Hallows, Harry's ending speech to Voldemort made me think a lot as I tried to figure out what the heck he was talking about. The Sound and the Fury (which I will finish one of these days) made me think in that I had to struggle to have some idea of what was going on (I usually failed at this, and at the book in general). So yeah, I thought, but it wasn't fun or particularly interesting. More like brain calisthenics. Somehow, I don't think that this is what we're going for. So here are my top ten books that made think in a good, productive, potentially useful way, while still enjoying the process of actually reading a book.
1) The Cider House Rules by John Irving: This is a no-brainer for me, ironically enough. Irving managed to get me to think through and actually revise some of my earlier notions, while still enjoying a good story and reveling in the writing. A great thinker, especially considering everything going on in the United States today.
2) Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: As disturbing as this was, it gave a lot of food for thought in a "What if" and a "This could be" kind of way.
3) The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood: Same kind of thing here. Dystopia is great.
4) Marriage and Other Acts of Charity by Kate Braestrup: Totally different kind of thinker. This was a memoir that the husband and I both read before getting married and it made me think about issues of love and marriage. It's really good and I recommend it to anyone in a serious, loving relationship.
5) Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides: So this was interesting in the issues of gendered identity it brought up, as well as the attention it gave to a little-known disorder. It took a lot of thinking just to decide if I liked it (I think I did).
6) Sister Queens by Julie Fox: So this is an odd one. It's a biography of Henry VIII's first queen and her sister. What struck me about this was how strongly I was responding to the context and not to my own thoughts and beliefs. It took a lot to sort out that response.
7) Nineteen Eight-Four by George Orwell: Another dystopia! Except this one makes you wonder if/realize that it's happening right now.
8) Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh: Again, another context kind of thing and even though it takes place hundreds of years ago, it's kind of dystopian in the realization that this is where we are now.
9) A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: LOVED THIS but I wasn't sure why. Magical realism will get you every time.
10) Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf: An old favorite of mine that makes you think just to keep up and understand the characters in any way. Maybe not the most promising advertisement but it's good, I promise.