My top 100

I wonder what it is about lists? Is it staving off death by making sure there’s always something left to do? Is it trying to bring order to chaos? Whatever it is, I’m obsessed with them, both with the “best of” types compiled by various publications and organizations and with my own, books to be read, books I have read, etc.

So I was intrigued to see on Pages of Julia, one of my favorite new blogs, a list of 100 books people most like to read, give and share compiled by a British organization called World Book Night. It’s an interesting list. Julia, a Houston librarian and book reviewer, also has a page on her blog with her own list of 100 “most important/should read/best books”. So as with all excellent ideas, I decided to steal it.

My list of 100 consists of books I’ve read and that have stayed with me, some for decades. When I was a kid I was a big re-reader; I would read some books (the Little House books, the Chronicles of Narnia, Caddie Woodlawn) over and over.  The first 31 of these titles I came up off the top of my head; after that I had to consult my LibraryThing catalog.

I had thought a lot of my personal “best books” were nonfiction so I was surprised to find fiction winning the race here — especially impressive since fiction in series were limited to one entry. I hope anyone who finds their way to this list might come up with some titles of interest — and it may change over time. The last entry is a book I finished reading last night — Susan Orlean’s new book about Rin Tin Tin — which I think is her best book yet.

I hope this list also helps me, and anyone who comes across it, in providing book recommendations. A friend asked me awhile back to name my favorite book — and i blanked. After compiling all of these … I still can’t name a single favorite book. But all of these are books I would recommend to others and would not mind re-reading.

Addendum: Time magazine provides its list of 100 best nonfiction books of all Time. Hmph. I think the only one we share is Mystery Train by Greil Marcus — though it has me considering switching from The White Album to Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion. My list will change, by the way. Just yesterday I took out one of the three Jane Smiley titles and replaced it with A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. And I’m always reading!

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Filed under best lists, fiction, nonfiction, recommended reading

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