18 of my favorite books


YTSL of Webs of Significance has (more-or-less) tagged me with a meme, by way of emails suggesting that I write about one (or more) of the (two so far) meme-related topics she’s posted on. One of the posts is on the book she couldn’t live without, inspired in part by a survey asking for people to list the 10 books they could not live without and a resulting list of the top 10 most frequently listed books. (The other meme-tagged post she’s written is called “wannabe“, which is about things she’s been and things she’s wanted to be. I may get around to this at some point, too.)

Because I don’t have a single favorite book, I’ll take some liberties with the meme concept, and write a list of my own favorites. The number of which will be determined when I get to the end of the list. And then hopefully I’ll get around to writing about the books in more detail. And because I have trouble determining which is my all-time favorite, I have not ranked them. Instead, I’m listing the books here roughly in the order in which I first encountered them. My list is in part selected to get a cross-section of the genres I enjoy reading, or phases I went through. I haven’t included any picture books, although that is a category of book that is very near and dear to my heart. Several of the books I list are meant to be representative of various works of that author, or a series by that author.

Some of my all-time favorite books

  1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis
  2. a children’s fantasy, and my favorite of the Narnia series (U.K.)

  3. The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
  4. a silly children’s fantasy that plays with words (U.S.)

  5. The Shadow of the Moon, by M. M. Kaye
  6. a historic novel of the British in India with a bit of romance flavor (U.K.)

  7. The Peacock Spring, by Rumer Godden
  8. another British in India novel, but a more modern coming-of-age novel, by one of my all-time favorite authors (U.K.)

  9. Tess of the D’Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy
  10. 19th century British Literature (U.K.)

  11. Emma, by Jane Austen
  12. witty 19th century British literature (U.K.)

  13. The Kitchen God’s Wife, by Amy Tan
  14. a novel of family, immigration and the meeting of cultures (U.S.)

  15. A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth
  16. a coming of age Indian novel (India)

  17. Winterdance, by Gary Paulsen
  18. a memoir featuring dogs (U.S.)

  19. Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
  20. a fun, funny work of science fiction (U.K.)

  21. Startide Rising, by David Brin
  22. a futuristic science fiction novel featuring talking dolphins, part of the Uplift series (U.S.)

  23. A Pale View of Hills, by Kazuo Ishiguro
  24. a poetic and almost surreal novel of memory, family and Japan (U.K.)

  25. The Witching Hour, by Anne Rice
  26. a novel of the supernatural, representing my Anne Rice phase (U.S.)

  27. The Dispossessed, by Ursula Le Guin
  28. a science fiction novel about social structure (U.S.)

  29. Bellwether, by Connie Willis
  30. a novel about fads by a favorite science fiction author, but this one’s more social scientist fiction (U.S.)

  31. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
  32. a tale retold, about the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz (U.S.)

  33. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
  34. a novel of family, the meeting of cultures and living in Africa (U.S.)

  35. Thus was Adonis Murdered, by Sarah Caudwell
  36. one of only four books ever written by this author, a slightly racy, slightly academic, and very witty mystery and comedy of manners (U.K.)

Okay. So I ended up with 18. Which is a good number. For a start.

And as far as the meme business goes, I’ll try my hand at tagging some folks that I know to be book-oriented. Because I’d be interested in seeing your lists. Lists of whatever number you’d like to write. Perhaps within the range of 1-20. Erica, what’s your list? bs/Beckanon? jenny? John? Anyone else want to play?

6 thoughts on “18 of my favorite books

  1. I loved the Kitchen God’s Wife! And I read the entire C.S. Lewis Narnia series to my girls every night before bed a couple of years ago. I think it took over a year but it was so much fun. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Alice-
    How great to have read the Narnia books to your girls. I look forward to sharing more substantive books with Phoebe, too.

    furiousball-
    Yes, I guess some of my favorites are a bit obscure. And often the book I like best by an author is not the one that the author is most famous for. (Eg. Amy Tan is best known for The Joy Luck Club, but I liked The Kitchen God’s wife better.) And thanks for stopping by!

  3. Hi Alejna —

    “…often the book I like best by an author is not the one that the author is most famous for.”

    Noticed this too about your choice of Kazuo Ishiguro’s A PALE VIEW OF THE HILLS rather than his REMAINS OF THE DAY. ;)

    Also, more re memes: i.e., do feel free to tag me for a meme that you think it’d be interesting for me to respond to/fill out! And yes, I do hope that you’ll get to the other one that I’ve ‘tagged’ you to do before too long. :b

  4. Hi, YTSL-

    “Noticed this too about your choice of Kazuo Ishiguro’s A PALE VIEW OF THE HILLS rather than his REMAINS OF THE DAY. ;)”

    While I did like Remains of the Day, A Pale View of Hills resonated with me so much more, and kept me thinking about it for much longer. (I also have movie interference with Remains, which makes me have trouble remember the book. I did really like the movie…)

    I’ll certainly keep you in mind for memes! And we’ll see about the wannabe one. I fear that might wannabe list is far more interesting than my actually-have-been list…

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