On My Bookshelf, No. 5

I have what builders call a “plant shelf” in my master bedroom.  When my husband and I first moved into our home thirteen years ago, I had no idea what to put on that shelf.  I tried some leftover wedding flowers and random plants, but it didn’t look good at all.  As I began collecting books, because I finally had a place to store them, I realized that they would look good on this plant shelf.


For the next few months, I’m going to share with you the titles of the books that are on this plant shelf, ten at a time.  On it, I keep books that I’ve read and liked more than other books.  (You could even say that most of these are favorites.)  I find their presence there comforting.  I recognize them, even without being able to see the type or the title, from their colors and heights and placement. They are my friends. And sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly lonely or self-pitying, I look up and remember that I have many friends, and all of them wait for me within the books of this shelf.

I have previously posted about my many bookshelves here and here.

The first ten books on this shelf can be found here, the second ten are here, the third ten are here, and the fourth ten are here.

Today’s next set of ten books are the following.


So Big (1924) by Edna Ferber

White Oleander (1999) by Janet Fitch

The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969) by John Fowles

Cold Mountain (1997) by Charles Frazier

No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories (1961) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Memoirs of a Geisha (1997) by Arthur Golding

Lord of the Flies (1954) by William Golding

Have you read any of these?

42 thoughts on “On My Bookshelf, No. 5

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  1. Marquez is one of my favorites, but I haven’t read The Autumn of the Patriarch. Love in the time of Cholera is my favorite of his. I remember liking White Oleander a lot when I read it. And I only recently read Geisha, which I really enjoyed a lot, after a shaky start. Lord of the Flies? I feel like I live Lord of the Flies every day with two young sons ;-).

  2. I’ve taught Lord of the Flies many times! The Great Gatsby is one of the first books I ever read twice, and 100 Years of Solitude opened up the whole genre of magical realism to me. It really stuck with me. What a great book shelf selection you have!

  3. I love White Oleander and The Great Gatsby, but I just couldn’t get through Lord of the Flies. Granted, I was in graduate school and trying to “catch up on the classics”; so, maybe trying to force it in, in quick succession with others over a Christmas break wasn’t the best route. Maybe I ought to give it another chance…

    1. Well…. I don’t know if that’s necessary. I read it as an adult too and I think I would’ve liked it more when I was younger. Although it is frightening!

      1. Indeed! It had a heavy atmosphere, which in most cases would be enough to snag me. But, if it will make sense, I got restless reading it. It was strange, and I just couldn’t finish it.

  4. I loved White Oleander, The Great Gatsby, and The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Not so fond of Marquez. I’ve read a lot of Ferber but I don’t think I’ve read So Big. Looks like you have some good reading on your shelf!

      1. That’s probably right. I have read One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. I’m not big on magical realism most of the time (sometime it hits me the right way) and I don’t really like the macho attitude of some of his characters.

  5. I’ve read half of these ones, all of which I liked, but Cold Mountain stands out as one I remember loving. I still haven’t read any books by Marquez, which is shameful, but I own two of them and plan to read them sometime – that counts a bit, right?

  6. I’ve read several of this batch. I remember liking White Oleander, but now I can’t remember what it is about. I loved Cold Mountain and Gatsby and Geisha. I liked Lord of the Flies but it’s difficult to get through and also disturbing, but I think it was worth the effort, which I can’t say for One Hundred Years of Solitude. I hated 100 Years of Solitude. I read it twice to try to figure out what I was missing because Marquez is so praised by lots of people but I never got it. I hated it both times. I tried to like it and find redeeming qualities in it but failed completely. No, Marquez is not for me but I’m glad you liked it. I haven’t read So Big or The French Lieutenant’s Woman but they’re on my list now.

  7. I love The Great Gatsby! I have yet to see the movie and I think it’s because I don’t want to ruin the image in my head of how everything looks and plays out as I read the book. I will check this book out again and again to read it. I fell in love with it back in high school. I also read Lord of the Flies in high school but I think I may need to re-read it because it didn’t really stick with me as well as some of the other books I read. Other of these books I have on a list of books to look into and decide if I wanna add it to my ever growing list of books to read. So many books and so little time.

    1. I really liked the movie, and each time I’ve watched it it has made me want to reread Gatsby. I like all of Baz Luhrmann’s films, so I might be biased. 🙂

  8. I love White Oleander, but I do NOT like the movie. I thought they had the casting down, but they cut so much of the meat of the book. It was super interesting the way it was. The same goes for The Great Gatsby. I think Baz Lurhman botched the music as well as the cinematography of this film. The casting was spot on. If he would have scaled back from the glam and glitz it would have been great! But then it wouldn’t have been Baz Lurhman then…

    1. Ha ha! Great point. Baz wouldn’t be Baz without the glitz and modern music. I don’t remember much about the White Oleander movie, but I remember loving the book. I should reread it!

  9. I’ve read Gatsby, 100 Years of Solitude, and Lord of the Flies.

    I adore Gatsby, would recommend Solitude, and merely tolerate the Flies.

  10. What an intriguing list of titles! The Great Gatsby is interesting to me. I initially read it as a teenager…no, I’m enough of a book nerd that I did NOT have to read it for a class…and just reread it last year. I didn’t like it nearly as well this time around. Weird, huh? Haven’t read any of the others, but own 5 of them. Really…need…to…read…them… 🙂

    1. Yes, you do need to read them. I often wonder if I would enjoy Gatsby more or less now. I think I read it twice in college, but I haven’t since. I want to just to see what my reaction would be. And I’m fascinated by Scott and Zelda and their contemporaries. What interesting people.

  11. What did you think of the French Lieutenant’s Woman? I got a copy a year ago. I also keep meaning to read One Hundred Years of Solitude. For some reason I feel intimidated, probably because I am not a huge fan of magical realism but enough friends and fellow readers have remarked on how much they loved the book that I want to give it a go.

    1. I really liked the French Lieutenant’s Woman. It was different than any other book I’d ever read, and I liked the strange format of it. As to Marquez, read it when you are in the mood to apply yourself to a book and spend several hours at a time reading. You really have to delve into it or it is hard to get through.

  12. I read Memoirs of a Geisha a long time ago and I loved it. Damn my bad memory because I don’t remember why. I’ve also read the French Lieutenant’s Woman and remember not being the biggest fan.

    1. I can see how the French Lieutenant’s Woman wouldn’t necessarily appeal to everybody. I loved Geisha too! I think it is time for a reread.

  13. I read Hundred years of solitude last summer, not really knowing what it was. But it took me by surprise how much I liked it! I usually read a little bit everyday, but this book kept me reading for hours. I don’t think I can explain how much I like that book.

    1. I think you approached this book the right way. I read it three hours at a time as well, and that made a huge difference with staying tuned into the plot and what was happening. Glad you liked it as much as I did!

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