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TOP 10

Here is a list of my 10 favorite the moment....


Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.

I used to laugh out loud at them in quiet study halls at university. I still love them, and recently visited the cathedral at Canterbury, where all those pilgrims were headed.



Lord of the Dance by Andrew Greeley

The late father Andrew Greeley, a most unusual Roman Catholic priest, wrote a series of books about the modern human condition. This is one of his best. Plus I live the Lord of the Dance image and carol.



44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

The first in a series of books about a small boy with a horrid mother, an artist wih a human-like dog complete with gold tooth, and other unforgettable characters. The rest of the series is equally fine.



The Rules of Civility by Amor Towle

Incredible first novel, with everything one could want. Uptown, downtown, requited love, unrequited love, money, poverty. All there. All stylishily written.



Bitter Lemons by Lawrence Durrell

I first read this before my senior year in college, and immediately developed a burning desire to see Cyprus--a "bucket list" item I finally fulfilled four years ago. I will return. After a few other bucket list things are crossed off.



The Help by Katherine Stockett

I was a bit tired of the Southern women's novel when this came out, but decided to get over it just for a  bit. It was a great read, and the central "bad thing" was perfect, and funny. Plus, hey, I KNEW some of those witches when I lived in Georgia.



Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

A gentle examination of love and loss after age 50, with a bit of racial accommodation thrown in.  A lovely thing to read.



Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Country by Rosalind Miles

A vividly imagined reworking of the King Arthur story from the point of view of a Druid princess. First of three volumes in Miles' Guenever trilogy. All are excellent.



The Illuminator by Brenda Rickman Vantrease

A first novel, it is a masterful examination of  the position of Jews in feudal England. A very fine and very intricate work.



Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

My favorite, still, of Chevaliers' excellently imagined, well-researched historical novelizations. This one is about the first recognition by two women that the fossils of Dorset, UK, were not in fact bones of monsters, as had been thought, but the tracings of the natural history of the world. The Guardian called it a "stunning story."  I agree, mainly because the facts of it--two women, one totally uneducated, turning the learned scientific world on its head--are so well woven into day-to-day scenes that are lifelike but historically accurate all at once.

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