Welcome to Triple Choice Tuesday. This is where I ask some of my favourite bloggers and other bookish bods to share the names of three books that mean a lot to them. The idea is that it might raise the profile of certain books and introduce you to new titles and new bloggers.
Today’s guest is Teresa from Shelf Love.
Teresa, an associate editor for a nonprofit education association magazine, lives in Virginia, just outside Washington DC. She’s been blogging for two-and-a-half years and share’s her blog with Jenny, an old college friend with whom she’s swapped book recommendations for years.
Teresa loves theatre and volunteers as an usher at two of DC’s local theatres and attend plays at other theatres whenever she can. And if that’s not enough she’s also studying part-time for a masters degree in theological studies. “My studies are mostly for personal interest, but I figured I may as well get a degree from it,” she tells me. “At this point, it’s an expensive and time-consuming hobby!”
Without further ado, here’s Teresa’s Triple Choice Tuesday selections:
Thomas Hardy is a can’t-miss author for me. I’ve read six of his novels, most of them multiple times, and I look forward to reading the rest. His stories are dark and devastatingly sad, but that doesn’t bother me. The beautiful prose and the sense of yearning draw me into his books every time. Any of his novels could be listed here, but I chose Tess because it’s the one that tears into me the most deeply.
One of the things I most admire about Hardy is his ability to tell the stories of people who are not necessarily likable but who I end up caring about anyway. Tess is almost too pathetic to be believed, Angel is a priggish hypocrite, and Alec is, well, despicable in every way. I wouldn’t want to spend time with any of these people, but I want to know what happens to them. I care. These are people for whom the rules of society don’t work, and I think that’s something most of us can relate to in one way or another.
Endo’s novel about Jesuit missionaries from Portugal in 17th century Japan transformed my understanding of so many things. When faced with persecution and worldviews different from his own, the main character, Fr. Rodrigues, must confront his beliefs about what it means to be a believer and servant of God, and as a reader, I found had to confront my own views right along with him.
Endo, a Japanese Catholic, is sensitive to the beliefs of his missionary characters and of the Japanese people they have come to teach and minister to. This book shook up a lot of my long-held beliefs about what it means to be faithful in the midst of suffering. Like Fr. Rodrigues, I entered the world of this novel with one way of thinking and left hearing the voice of God in an entirely new and unexpected way.
Iles (a pen name for Anthony Berkeley Cox) opens his 1932 novel with the line “Some women give birth to murderers, some go to bed with them, and some marry them. Lina Aysgarth had lived with her husband for nearly eight years before she realized that she was married to a murderer.”
How could anyone not read on after an opening like that?
After this stunning first paragraph, Iles takes the reader through the courtship and marriage of Lina and Johnnie Aysgarth. The gradual revelation of Johnnie’s character is interesting enough, but the real meat of the novel is in Lina’s choice to marry and stay with him. It’s compelling and profoundly disturbing. The book is probably best known as the basis for the Hitchcock film Suspicion, but the book and film have some crucial differences. Both are excellent, in my opinion, but it’s a shame the film is now the only widely available version of the story.
Thanks, Teresa, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!
I read Tess for my final year at secondary school and loved it. In fact, I’ve read a few of Hardy’s books, which is a big thing for me given I rarely read classics. And Teresa’s definitely piqued my interest with Silence and Before the Act (I do like a good crime novel…)
What do you think of Teresa’s choices? Have you read any of these books?