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My 100 Favorite Books

January 23, 2016
"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect." ~ Anais Nin

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David Bowie's death hit me much harder than I could have anticipated. I was still basking in the amazingness of Blackstar, telling everyone I knew that they needed to go buy it, that I thought it was the best Bowie album yet. I certainly didn't expect it to be his last. I could write a whole post on how much he has impacted my life but I think everyone is starting to weary of the collective mourning that Bowie fans are going through. Instead, I wanted to share another place where he inspired me. A few years ago, he shared a list of his 100 favorite books, and of course, it's going around again. It was another poignant reminder of why I admired him so much. It got me to thinking about my own voracious reading habit. If I had to list my 100 favorites, what would they be? I found that it was a hard list to come up with--I have read SO many books. In recent years my reading time has dwindled but I bet on average, over the years, I have read 75-100 books a year. So which of those has really stayed with me?

These aren't in any particular order, except maybe the top five. It's a mix of literary, classics, fantasy, poetry, writing and food books. I know this list will continue to change in years to come, but for now, these are the books I would say are my very favorite:

  1. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
  2. The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini by Benvenuto Cellini
  3. The Art of Eating by MFK Fisher
  4. The Histories by Herodotus
  5. Andy Warhol Diaries by ed. Pat Hackett
  6. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
  7. The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino
  8. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  9. New and Collected Poems 1931-2001 by Czeslaw Milosz
  10. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  11. Faint Promise of Rain by Anjali Mitter Duva
  12. A Kiss for Maddelena by Christopher Castellani
  13. The Aeneid by Virgil
  14. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
  15. Inferno by Dante
  16. Journal of a Plague Year by Daniel Defoe
  17. The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales by Brothers Grimm
  18. East O' The Sun and West O' The Moon
  19. The Collected Works of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde
  20. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  21. 1984 by George Orwell
  22. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  23. Delta of Venus by Anais Nin
  24. The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake
  25. The Collected Poems by Octavio Paz
  26. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  27. The Greater Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov
  28. Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
  29. The Flounder by Gunter Grass
  30. The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. LeGuin
  31. Posession by A.S. Byatt
  32. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  33. Oryx & Crake series by Margaret Atwood
  34. I Claudius by Robert Graves
  35. On Writing by Stephen King
  36. The Stand by Stephen King
  37. Kakfa by the Shore by Haruki Marukami
  38. Men in the Off Hours by Anne Carson
  39. Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
  40. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  41. The Flounder by Günter Grass
  42. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  43. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  44. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  45. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  46. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  47. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by David Eggers
  48. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  49. The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller
  50. The Library Book by Susan Orlean
  51. The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
  52. SPQR by Mary Beard
  53. Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell
  54. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  55. The Orphan's Tale (both books) by Catherynne Valente
  56. The Satyricon by Petronius
  57. The Odyssey by Homer (the Emily Wilson translation)
  58. The Iliad by Homer
  59. Metamorphosis by Ovid
  60. Naturalis Historae by Pliny the Elder
  61. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
  62. The Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects by Georgio Vasari
  63. Collected Works by William Shakespeare
  64. Paradise Lost by John Milton
  65. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
  66. Poems by Lord George Gordon Byron
  67. Poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley
  68. The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  69. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
  70. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  71. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  72. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  73. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  74. Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
  75. Memory, Sorrow and Thorn (series) by Tad Williams
  76. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson
  77. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  78. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  79. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
  80. The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington
  81. Complete Poems by e.e. cummings
  82. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  83. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick
  84. The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
  85. Vox by Nicholson Baker
  86. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  87. Chocolat by Joanne Harris
  88. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquival
  89. Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
  90. The Decameron by Bocaccio
  91. The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
  92. The Natural History of Love by Diane Ackerman
  93. The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot
  94. Bread and Wine by Ignazio Silone
  95. Lolita by Nabokov
  96. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  97. Annals and Histories by Tacitus
  98. In the Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  99. Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry by Various
  100. Herself by Madeleine L'Engle

How many of these are favorites of yours?

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