Books I love

which is to say…

Books I read and re-read

over years,

or carry with me,

or keep on my shelves,

or see in my dreams,

or ponder when I’m eating



John Barth, The Sot Weed Factor

John Barth, The Tidewater Tales

John Berger, Ways of Seeing

Rick Bragg, All Over but the Shoutin’

Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men

Steve Callahan, Adrift

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Nigel Cox, Phone Home Berlin

Natalie Zemon Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre

Kate DeCamillo, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

James Dickey, Poems 1959-1969

Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

Michael Ende, Momo

Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate

Susan Fletcher, Eve Green

Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish

John Fowles, The French Lieutenant’s Woman

Michael Frayn, Copenhagen

Eugenia Ginzburg, Journey into the Whirlwind

Nikolai Gogol, The Overcoat

Barbara Gowdy, The White Bone

Guenther Grass, The Tin Drum

Grimms’ Fairy Tales (the original un-sanitized version: scary s good!)

Heinrich Heine, Deutschland: Ein Wintermärchen (Germany: A Winter’s Tale)

Hermann Hesse, Krieg und Frieden (If the War Goes On)

Homer, The Odyssey

Miles Hordern, Sailing the Pacific

Keri Hulme, The Bone People

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

Janosch, Oh Wie Schön Ist Panama (Beautiful Panama)

Lloyd Jones, Mr. Pip

Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible

Jumpha Lahiri, The Interpreter of Maladies

Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved

Jack London, The Sea Wolf

Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Robert McCloskey, Make Way for Ducklings

Robert Munsch, The Paper Bag Princess

Sten Nadolny, The Discovery of Slowness

Peter Nichols, Sea Change

Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, Breakthrough

Michael Ondaatje, Coming Through Slaughter

Annie Proulx, Heart Songs (short stories)

Annie Proulx, The Shipping News

Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials trilogy

JK Rowling, Harry Potter series

David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day

Maurice Sendak, Mommy?

Dr. Seuss, The Butter Battle Book

Zadie Smith, White Teeth

William Styron, Sophie’s Choice

Graham Swift, Waterland

Miriam Thoews, A Complicated Kindness

Christopher Tilghman, In A Father’s Place

Mark Twain, A Confederate Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five

William W. Warner, Beautiful Swimmers

Robert Penn Warren, All the King’s Men

Larry Watson, Montana 1948

Christa Wolf, Der geteilte Himmel (A Divided Heaven)

Christa Wolf, Was Bleibt (What Remains)

Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again

Books you love

Tell me your favorites, too!


11 Responses to Books

  1. Deneen Bowen says:

    Check out:
    The Passion Dream Book by Whitney Otto

    This is a book that definitely haunts me. Love the 2 female protagonists.

  2. Thank you, Deneen! It’s on my library list for next week!

  3. Tim Murphy says:

    Hmmm… Top Five, post Barth:

    David Foster Wallace, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again

    E.B. White, One Man’s Meat

    William Zinsser, On Writing Well

    Alvah Simon, North to the Night

    Barack Obama, Dreams From My Father

    I said Top Five, but that will surely change tomorrow.

  4. It’s about time I read Obama’s book, Tim. I’ve made a note of the others — except Alvah’s, which has been in my shelf for years. Thanks for your (ongoing, updated) list. How good to see you here. And by the way, do check out Christopher Tilghman if you don’t already know him; an honest, lyrical Chesapeake voice.

  5. Elle Mae says:

    Oh Mich! Here’s a fascinating and well-written book: The Promised Land by Mary Antin. It’s been around almost a century but I recently read it. Have you? If not, I will send you my copy!

  6. Thanks Elle Mae! I will add it to my list and look forward to the conversations we’ll have once I’ve read it!

  7. Fred says:

    Glad to see “Owen Meany” in your list. It is Kate and my favorite (each on our own, our minds have not yet fully fused). I bet you will like “Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

  8. Thanks, Fred! Love the suggestion, do not know the book. It’s also on my library list now, too. Love some of Irving’s later work too, but nothing compares to those earlier books — Setting Free the Bears, Garp and OM. For me, anyway.

  9. Tom Gleason says:

    Dear Michelle, Try my memoir, A Liberal Educatioin.

  10. kberke says:

    I see you’ve got A Piece of My Heart (Richard Ford) in your queue. I’m wondering what led you there.

    I hear an interview with Ian McEwan, in which he commented favorably on Richard Ford. I like McEwan lots, so I took the recommendation–thought I’d start with Ford’s first novel, A Piece of My Heart.

    I’m about only 30 pages into it and haven’t decided what I think about it. My first impressions on the book are here:

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