Top Ten Tuesday (44)

11 Sep

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Make You Think

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely folks over at The Broke and the Bookish post a top ten list topic so that book lovers like you and me can pour over our shelves and make our own lists. You can check out all the other Top Ten Tuesday‘s on their site!


Is it awful of me to say that I like reading books that DON’T make me think? My mind is constantly running about a million things at once, so sometimes I like to read books that give me–and my brain–a break. It’s one of the reasons I have such a huge soft spot for fluff and trashy romance novels. That being said, I think it’s pretty impossible to read as much as lots of us do and not find meaning in things–even the lighter fare. I will say that the things I think about when I read tend to veer away from really big picture issues of humanity kinds of things. I think more about personal things, emotional stuff.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

So obviously these books offer lots of things to ponder: our reality-TV-obsessed culture, our insatiable desire to see things go badly for other people, what it’s like to have fear for the government that is supposed to be protecting and caring for its people. I thought of all of these things in between building my case for being Team Peeta forever. But one of the things that always stood out to me while reading was the difference in the extravagant lifestyle in the Capitol vs the harsher poverty of District 11. Reading about haves and have-nots is always interesting and important because it always seems that the have-nots don’t let things lie.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

WAAHH GRIEVING. There’s probably going to be a few books on this list that make me think about death and dying and grieving for lost loved ones. This book, and Conor’s journey to accept his mother’s sickness as well as his feelings about it made me think of how hard it must be to know that a loved one is dying and having to live with the warring feelings of fear at having to lose them and wishes for them to be at peace.

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

I am morbid or something, yes? All the dying! But I think I can explain it: Reading about death doesn’t always make me sad. Well, most of the time it does. But I find myself drawn to lots of books about death and dying because it makes me think always about all the things that make my life so wonderful. THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE does a pretty legit job of illustrating this dichotomy.

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

What a great book about first love. You know, the kind that is powerful and devastating and that takes you until awhile after it’s finished to see clearly. But there are other great thinking points in this book, the biggest of which is found in the person of Tik Tok, a man who dresses like a woman–more of a truth about who he is than a choice–who bears the worst of a wandering Englishman’s religion-based views of right and wrong.

Small Damages by Beth Kephart

I think that I loved this book because of the way it made me think about teenage pregnancy, and about how young girls who get pregnant and decide to keep their babies basically have lady stones, even if they wind up making mistakes and being stupid or immature. What this book makes me think about even more is family: what it means, and how your family doesn’t have to be the people who are related to you, especially when those people turn their backs on you.

Any Harry Potter Book

So many things to think about in Harry Potter world. I think that these books, though, are a really great encapsulation of what is so great about children’s literature, and how the best of it doesn’t presume that kids are incapable of doing great things. Of being smart and thoughtful and brave.

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

I know, I know. More dying. But this book made me think about not taking things for granted, and not being afraid to face things that might be hard. Taylor, the main character, slowly learns both of these things and more, and for me they’re important lessons, and things I always appreciate thinking about.

The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge

THIS book is pretty outstanding, not only because it’s fresh and clever. It’s definitely thought-provoking, raising issues about racism, prejudice, and colonization. One of the foundations of this story is how the Lace–a totally unique indigenous people–are completely misunderstood by the rest of the islanders. It’s really deep-thought kind of stuff.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

There are lots of YA books that are basically girl power written down. This book, though, is a truly great example of it. Katsa is a badass for sure, but she’s also really modern in her sensibilities about being a woman, marriage, having a family. She doesn’t feel the need to compromise her principles, and Po doesn’t ask her to.

Pieces of Us by Margie Gelbwasser

Sigh. This book is not an easy one to read, nor is it entirely pleasing. It’s pretty bleak, upsetting, and terrible. But the issues! There’s lots of things to think about in this book, one of the most glaring of which is the issue of rape, victim blame, and how external shaming prevents young girls who are assaulted from feeling safe enough and respected enough to speak out. It’s a powerful message.

13 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday (44)”

  1. Lisa September 11, 2012 at 12:33 am #

    GRACELINGGGGGGGG. Feminism! Fantasy! Epicness!

  2. megtao September 11, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    I don’t think it’s bad to enjoy reading books that don’t make you think, but I think it’s also important to read books critically…even the fluff books. It’s tiring though, so it’s nice to take a break every once and awhile and just read a book to read it.

  3. Melissa @ Harley Bear Book Blog September 11, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    I agree with hunger games and Harry potter. They’re classics. I haven’t Read any of the others. Great list. Here’s mine

  4. Quinn September 11, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    I’ve only read 1 book (well 7 actually) on your list: Harry Potter. HP made it on my list as well. I think HP makes you think about so many things. I also think HP is so wonderful is because even though there are all these magical things, the wizards still have to deal with problems and issues that we do (lack of money, love, loss, etc…)

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  5. wingedcreature September 11, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    Great list! I really wish I put The Sky Is Everywhere on my list. Harry Potter! Surprisingly, it doesn’t seem to be too popular of a choice today. But there’s so much going on in HP, and I love that you have friendship and loss and making the right choices even when it’s really hard.

  6. Vikk @ Down the Writer's Path September 11, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    Well, for someone who balked a bit at the start, I thought you came up with a solid list and great reasons. I may have to take a second look at some of these titles. 🙂 I agree about the Potter books. I think a lot of people assume it’s all entertainment but there’s a lot of heady stuff going on within those pages. Great list.

  7. Yara @ Once Upon a September 11, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    Well thought list!

    I need to read Kristen Cashore’s book that have been sitting on my shelf for the longest already.

    Check out our TTT

  8. Brittany September 11, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    Yaaaaaaaaay I love your list! HP, Graceling, The Sky Is Everywhere, THG – All big loves of mine! And I just picked up Tiger Lily from the library and I can’t WAIT to read it 🙂

  9. barefoot_med_student September 11, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    It’s not awful to want to shut down while reading… I don’t read chick-lit much, but when I do it’s because I need the happiness thereof!

  10. nea barabea (@neabarabea) September 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    The Sky is Everywhere is I think of the best books I’ve ever read. I love it so so much ❤ ❤ And I still need to read Peaces of us!! I've heard this book is so so good and I fell in love with the cover at first sight! 🙂 Great list 😉

  11. michelle September 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    I’ve written down many of your titles. I agree with Harry Potter and Graceling! Thanks for a great list.

  12. bookishfeminist September 11, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    I completely agree with The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. I’m also currently reading Graceling, and I am loving reading about a kick ass female protagonist who doesn’t feel the need to compromise herself for anyone. I haven’t read any of the other books on the list but I’ve heard good things about all of them. Great list! 🙂

    ~Allison @ Good Books and Good Wine

  13. Alexa Loves Books (@alexalovesbooks) September 15, 2012 at 2:21 am #

    Sometimes, it’s just really nice to sit back and take a break from thinking by seeking a diversion in fluffy books or romances. But I do like books that inspire me to think – and I’ve encountered quite a few lately!

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