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Hello! Welcome to Aviv's Top Ten Books.

A few of what I like.


Aviv’s Top Ten Books


I don’t make ‘top 10’ lists, because what are my favorite top 10 anything? There’s way more than ten films or books that moved me. But for the sake of fun, here’s a list of some books I really love and there’s a very high chance I’ll think of first when asked what my top ten books are.


In no particular order.



And Quiet Flows the Don by Mikhail Sholokhov


Some books you love because the plot is captivating or they move you to tears. Others, because their poetic language is so fresh, it’s as though they create new colours with words. And Quiet Flows the Don is definitely one such book. The masterful gritty portrayal of daily life down to its most minute detail is exceptional.


1984 by George Orwell


Never (up until reading Oystercatchers) have I have identified with a character in a book more than I have with Winston Smith. So much so I felt I was Winston. Whatever he had to suffer, whatever fears plagued him, I felt I was suffering them too. Look no further for excellent political dystopia lit. Relevant in 2021.


Oystercatchers by Susan Fletcher


Well, if there’s a book I can say, this is my favorite book ever, without feeling a tad foolish saying so, it’s this book. It can’t be a bad book that makes you cry, right? It must be good. What about a book that does it multiple times? And yet is always also sweet and rife with regret you wish the MC would learn to undo or live with.


Corrag / The Highland Witch by Susan Fletcher


A second book from the same author of Oystercatchers, Susan Fletcher! If I could I’d fill this list with her books but I’ve got to allow room for some variety, right? Fletcher creates female voices in a very special way. It’s hard to point what makes them so lovable. It’s their simplicity of voice, innocence, love of nature, and poetic vibe that gets to me.


The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell


Away we go from innocence and simplicity of voice, the MC’s voice in The Kindly Ones is anything but that. Prepare yourself for exceptionally (relatively) long sentences rife with technical terms and a character that dwells in cruelty. And, it works! It’s rare, again relatively speaking, to read a book from the point of view of a villain, let alone an SS officer.


The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosiński


Another book that dwells in cruelty (the author’s own words). There’s a schism in the midst of it where we transition from the poetic to the pedestrian. Whereas the first half of the book uses rather poetic descriptions and gives intricate portrayal of characters, the second half does away with that and is more action oriented. The violence is so extreme at times the story is hard to distinguish from a fable.


The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey


I can’t say I’ve read plenty of detective books, let alone historical ones. The Daughter of Time investigates the crimes ascribed to Richard III and finds him not guilty. At least, it establishes there’s a very reasonable doubt Richard III did the crimes ascribed to him, and were he to stand trial today for his crimes, he’d be set free.


The Road by Cormac McCarthy


Well, what can I say, I’m a sucker for poetic language, Cormac McCarthy does it in a way others don’t. How shall I describe it? Poetic, and yet, rough. Oh, it’s rough, and yet, poetic. I find the relationship between father and son particularly touching.


East of Eden by John Steinbeck


Considered a take on the Cain and Abel story, East of Eden is a family saga that spirals into progressive chaos (as it should). Not until the very end could I tell how their mess would be untangled.


A Grand Man by Catherine Cookson


I did not think I’d love this book at first. A little girl with her parents’ divorce on the horizon on account of her father’s drunkenness was not a premise that captivated me. However I quickly fell in love with Mary Ann’s character. She’s stubborn, she gets her way, speaks her mind, driven more than anything by love of her father. 


There you have it! A list of some of my favorite books. Give them a try.

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