My Favorite Books (Fiction)

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Literature:  One of Man’s noblest accomplishments

Books, books, books.  I love books.  It’s hard enough choosing my favorite [fiction] books and authors, much less prioritizing them 1 – 25.  The list has changed over the years (as have the prioritization’s), and I can no longer limit myself to my top 10 selections.  I have read literally thousands and thousands of books over my lifetime, so to narrow the list to even my top 25 selections is a daunting task.  The vast majority of books I’ve read fall into the forgettable category—not that they weren’t well written, but for whatever reason they just haven’t stuck in my memory.  If I were to go back and reread some of these books on my list today, I might very well drop some of them.  But based upon my past recollections these are my current top 25.

* Note:  A few comments are in order.  The most beautifully written book (Lyrical and poetic to its core) is Prince of Tides.  The best autobiographical fiction I’ve ever read is Shantaram. Small town America is best represented in To Kill a Mockingbird.  Stephen King mastered the horror genre in The Stand.  One of the funniest and most ironic books I ever read was Catch-22.  The book that had the biggest impact on my life was On the Beach.  The book I’ve read the most is The Great Gatsby.  The best historical fiction was Shogun.  The best detective [ever] was portrayed in The Hound of the Baskervilles.  Life’s desperation was best captured in The Heart of the Matter.  And insanity in Heart of Darkness.  Most innovative new genre was Clan of the Cave Bear.  Best saga goes to The Thorn Birds.  I love the british authors, including Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle and Graham Greene. Favorite American authors include John Steinbeck, Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, Pat Conroy and James A. Michener.        

My (current) Top 25

1.  Prince of TidesPat Conroy *

2.  ShantaramGregory David Roberts *

3.  To Kill a MockingbirdHarper Lee *

4.  The StandStephen King *

5.  ShogunJames Clavell *

6.  Gone with the WindMargaret Mitchell

7.  Catch-22Joseph Heller *

8.  The Thorn BirdsColleen McCollough *

9.  The Grapes of WrathJohn Steinbeck

10.  ItStephen King

11.  The GodfatherMario Puzo

12.  On the Beach Nevil Shute *

13.  A Tale of Two CitiesCharles Dickens

14.  Call of the Wild Jack London

15.  The Heart of the MatterGraham Greene *

16.  Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

17.  For Whom the Bell TollsErnest Hemingway

18.  Clan of the Cave BearJean M. Auel *

19.  The Hound of the BaskervillesArthur Conan Doyle *

20.  Memoirs of a GeishaArthur Golden

21.  Great ExpectationsCharles Dickens

22.  Heart of DarknessJoseph Conrad *

23.  The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald *

24.  ChesapeakeJames A. Michener 

25.  A Burnt Out Case Graham Greene

So what are your favorite books, and who are your favorite authors?  And maybe more importantly—why?  What one book had the profoundest affect on you?  Not necessarily your favorite book, but the one book that had the most impact on you and how you viewed life.  For me it was On the Beach by Nevil Shute (the story of post-nuclear human annihilation).  I may have to expand this list to my top 50; I seem to have left way too many favorite books and genres off the list.  A surprise:  I don’t typically gravitate to women authors (or so I thought), but to my surprise four female authors made it onto my list:  Harper Lee, Margaret Mitchell, Colleen McCollough and Jean Auel (and I  must also confess that I find myself partial to Jane Austen).  Some ‘Male-chauvinist-pig’ I turned out to be.  

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5 responses to “My Favorite Books (Fiction)

  1. I also really enjoyed, “The Stand” and “The Clan of the Cave Bear” series…I read them when I was younger, teens or early 20’s…I even read ‘The Stand’ twice! I have never read a fictional book twice except that one! I have a more difficult time enjoying fiction these days, but I do hope to read “Shantaram” at some point since you and your brother both say it is so good. Right now, I am reading, “Dying to be Me” and “Proof of Heaven” both about near death experiences.

  2. As always, we share a lot:
    01 Gone With the Wind
    02 To Kill A Mockingbird
    03 Lord of the Flies
    04 The Last Temptation of Christ
    05 Shantaram
    06 Lolita
    07 Prince of Tides
    08 Crime and Punishment
    09 The Time Traveler’s Wife
    10 Heart of Darkness
    Biggest Impact: The Last Temptation of Christ

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