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The Five Best Books I have Ever Read – Todd’s Top 5

Todd Reading Kindle
Jenny Harding, For TSM

I used to read a lot more books for fun. I don’t read as much any more. I think it is because I do so much reading for my job. Sometimes picking up a book seems like homework. However, there are still a bunch of books I still want to read. I have about 10 of them sitting beside my bed. I have read a lot of great books in my life. These are my 5 favorite:

5. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
Penguin

“Of Mice and Men” is a classic novel by John Steinbeck that I loved from the moment I picked it up. It is the only book I have ever read from cover to cover in one sitting. It was an assignment for my English class in high school, but once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down. George and Lenny are migrant workers during the great depression. Their dream is to own a ranch some day, but something horrible happens that kills that dream and ultimately brings the story to a tragic end. This book would have been higher on my list, but it so very sad.

4. A Connecticut Yankee in King Aurthur’s Court – Mark Twain

A Connecticut Yankee in King Aurthur's Court - Mark Twain
Enhanced Media

I love Mark Twain. Who doesn’t? Most people would probably pick “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” or “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” as their favorite Twain novel. I loved them both, but my favorite by far is “A Connecticut Yankee in King Aurthur’s Court”. In the book, an engineer from Connecticut is accidentally sent back in time to the court of King Arthur. He fools the English of the Early Middle Ages into thinking he is a magician by simply using “modern” technology and knowledge of the time period. It was one of the earlier novels that dealt with the idea of time travel. It is a very entertaining read and a wonderful premise.

3. Up the Down Staircase – Bel Kaufman

Up the Down Staircase - Bel Kaufman
Prentice Hall Press

This is probably the most unlikely book on my list, even thought it was on the best-seller list for over a year back in the mid 1960s. It’s about an English language teacher at an inner-city high school who tries to teach her students classic literature. She becomes very discouraged during her first year of teaching and is frustrated by all the red tape, the lackadaisical attitude of her students, and the incompetence of many of her fellow teachers. The title of the book is taken from a memo telling her why a student was being punished: he had gone “up the down staircase”. It is a very entertaining book. You fall in love with the characters.

2. Angels & Demons – Dan Brown

Angels & Demons
Atria Books

If you like a great thriller, here you go. I know it is cliche, but the movie was good and the book is even better. I love love Dan Brown.  “The Da Vinci Code” almost made my list, but I liked the story in “Angels & Demons” even better. The plot revolves around a plan to blow up Vatican City with a substance called antimatter, which is comparable to a nuclear weapon. This book is another one of those novels that you won’t want to put down once you have picked it up. It could have easily been #1 on my list.

1. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company

“The Hobbit” is the 1st book I ever fell in love with, after Dr. Seuss of course.  My 6th grade teacher, Mr. Fogle, would read books to us every afternoon. He introduced me to Bilbo Baggins and the wonderful world of J.R.R. Tolkien. This is way before any of the movies came out. I would eventually read the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, but none of those books contained the same magic as the original. I thought the movies were kind of scary, but the book was an amazing adventure that I absolutely adored and still do. Without a doubt, “The Hobbit” is my favorite book of all time. I really should read it again.

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