Things to Read - My Favorite Books


I'm attempting to make a list of my favorite books because I've started to forget a lot of what I've read. Plus, I think it would be nice to revisit the list every few years - to add or remove a few and to reread some (honestly, I read some of these books so long ago that I can barely remember why they're on the list, other than a general memory of awe); though right now rereading seems ambitious. I ended up going with alphabetical order because otherwise I kept adding the same books over and over.

1. Ayaan Hirsi Ali - Infidel (NONFICTION)

2. Margaret Atwood - The Blind Assassin: A Novel

3. Margaret Atwood - Moral Disorder and Other Stories (SHORT STORIES)

4. Frederick Barthelme - The Law of Averages: New and Selected Stories (SHORT STORIES)

5. Rick Bass - In the Loyal Mountains (SHORT STORIES)

6. Rick Bass - Where the Sea Used to Be

**Anne Beattie - What Was Mine (SHORT STORIES)

7. William Boyd - Any Human Heart

8. Charles Bukowski - post office: A Novel

9. Charles Bukowski - Run With the Hunted: A Charles Bukowski Reader (SHORT STORIES & POEMS)

10. Raymond Carver - Where I'm Calling From: Selected Stories (SHORT STORIES)

11. Willa Cather - Death Comes for the Archbishop (Willa Cather Scholarly Edition)

12. Anton Chekhov - Stories of Anton Chekhov (SHORT STORIES)

13. Kate Chopin - The Awakening

14. Charles Dickens - Classic Starts: Great Expectations (Classic Starts Series)

15. Feodor Dostoevsky - Notes from the Underground

16. Theodore Dreiser - Sister Carrie: a Novel

17. Stuart Dybek - The Coast of Chicago: Stories (SHORT STORIES)

18. Deborah Eisenberg - The Stories (So Far) of Deborah Eisenberg (SHORT STORIES)

***Jennifer Egan, A Visit From the Goon Squad

19. Nell Freudenberger - Lucky Girls: Stories (P.S.) (SHORT STORIES)

20. Mary Gaitskill - Veronica

21. Thomas Hardy - Jude the Obscure (Oxford World's Classics)

22. John Irving - The World According to Garp (Modern Library)

23. Ha Jin - A Free Life (Vintage International)

24. James Jones - From Here to Eternity

25. Ghassan Kanafani - Palestine's Children: Returning to Haifa & Other Stories (SHORT STORIES) (discussed in this post)

26. Jack Kerouac - On the Road (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)

27. Barbara Kingsolver - The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel (P.S.)

28. John Krakauer - Into the Wild

29. Jhumpa Lahiri - Unaccustomed Earth (SHORT STORIES) (discussed in this post)

30. Yann Martel - Life of Pi

31. Somerset Maugham - Of Human Bondage (Modern Library Classics)

32. Henry Miller - Tropic of Cancer

***Sue Miller - The Senator's Wife

33. Lorrie Moore - Anagrams (SHORT STORIES)

34. Lorrie Moore - Self-Help (SHORT STORIES)

35. Daniyal Mueenuddin - In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (SHORT STORIES) (discussed in this post)

36. Alice Munro - Runaway (SHORT STORIES) (discussed in this post)

37. Alice Munro - Lives of Girls and Women: A Novel

38. Haruki Murakami - Sputnik Sweetheart

39. Haruki Murakami - The Elephant Vanishes: Stories and After the Quake: Stories (SHORT STORIES) (discussed in this post)

40. V.S. Naipaul - A Bend in the River

41. V.S. Naipaul - A House for Mr. Biswas

42. Pablo Neruda - Memoirs (SORT OF NONFICTION)

43. Thisbe Nissen - Out of the Girls' Room and Into the Night: Stories (SHORT STORIES)

44. John O'Hara - A Rage to Live (Modern Library Classics)

45. Michael Pollan - The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (NONFICTION) (discussed in this post)

46. Philip Roth - American Pastoral

47. Vikram Seth - A Suitable Boy: A Novel (Modern Classics)

48. Jane Smiley - Ordinary Love and Good Will (SHORT STORIES) (discussed in this post)

49. John Steinbeck - East of Eden

50. Anne Tyler - The Accidental Tourist: A Novel (Ballantine Reader's Circle)

51. Kate Walbert - A Short History of Women: A Novel

52. Virginia Woolf - Mrs Dalloway N/E (Owc)

I made the list without a preconceived number of books, hence how I ended up at 52 (which makes me want to either add three or cut out two, but I won't). I'm surprised by how many short stories I love (does this mean I have a short attention span?) and how few nonfiction books. So it goes. What about everyone else? What are your favorite books?


  1. The Known World by Edward P Jones. Definitely in my top 10 best!

  2. That's been on my "must read" list forever, but I still haven't read it, I'll have to check it out!

  3. Forgetting what I read is the reason I now use goodreads.com. It happened several times where I started a book and it turned out I had already read it before... I'm definitely going to add some of these to my to-read list.

  4. Okay- now I have a whole lot of books I can look for if I run out of reading stuff :o) There were times I tried to keep track on the good books I read- but after a while I always gave up... there are just too many. I used to read tons of short stories when I studied (on my way to college and back everyday- in the train).
    I might try to get my hands on this Ghassan Kanafani-book...

  5. Have you read Feast of Love, by Charles Baxter? I loved it. (As an aside, he's from Ann Arbor, which might be fun for you.) His other books are great, too, including his short stories. I also really liked The Echo Maker, by Richard Powers. It's odd, for sure. But there's a lot of depth to it -- definitely an interseting read.

  6. Elise - I'll have to try goodreads again, I tried using it through their facebook interface last year but they kept changing the interface which made it tricky for me.

    Rahel - Kanafani's writing is excellent very sparse and dark, but well done. I warn you though, he is very anti-Israel and some of the stories seem a little unrealistic, like the last one in the collection, i just don't think any decent people would really act like that. if you do read it (and I can send you my copy if you want), let me know what you think.

    Deb - I did read Feast of Love and I definitely liked it, but i didn't love it as much as most people. would love to talk about it sometime. I will definitely check out the echo maker!



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