Fifteen Titles

This started out as a Facebook thing; I participated, and – having a lot of erudite and eclectic friends – I got a lot of commentary.

Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you, for whatever reasons. This isn’t your top 15 canon or even books you’d necessarily recommend, just books that have made their mark on you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

I gathered all the responses, edited out the duplicates, and came up with this list – which would keep me busy for quite a while if I ever found myself locked in a bookstore after the zombie apocalypse…

Or even wander into one on a normal day…

I have chosen to share the list for your gratuitous pleasure. Enjoy.

1984 – George Orwell
A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller, Jr.
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
A is for Alibi – Sue Grafton
A Mote in God’s Eye – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
A Separate Peace – John Knowles
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith.
A Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula LeGuin
A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
Alice Munro (anything)
All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
An American Bible – Elbert Hubbard
Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
Animal Dreams – Barbara Kingsolver
Animorphs series – Katherine Applegate
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
Anne Of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery
Babel Tower – A. S. Byatt
Babel-17 – Samuel R. Delaney
Baby Island – Carol Ryrie Brink
Barbara Pym (anything)
Becoming – Michelle Obama
Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me – by Richard Fariña
Beloved – Toni Morrison
Beyond the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo
Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
Black Boy – Richard Wright
Black Like Me – John Howard Griffin
Bonds that make us Free – C. Terry Warner
Born A Crime – Trevor Noah
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke
Come to Grief – Dick Francis
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
Cry the Beloved County – Alan Paton
Dans l’or du temps – Claudie Gallay
Death at an Early Age – Jonathan Kozol
Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant – Anne Tyler
Double Negative – David Carkeet
Down all the Days – Christy Brown
Dreamsnake – Vonda N. McIntyre
Dune – Frank Herbert
Educated – Tara Westover
Ender series – Orson Scott Card
Enemy Mine – Barry B. Longyear
Everything Is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
Expecting Adam – Martha Beck
Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
Finnegan’s Wake – James Joyce
Foundation Trilog – Isaac Asimov
Gaudy Night – Dorothy L. Sayers
Girl in Translation – Jean Kwok
Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid – Douglas Hofstadter
Grant – Ron Chernow
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Green Eggs And Ham – Dr. Seuss
Guns, Germs and Steel – Jared Diamond
Hamilton – Ron Chernow
Handbook of Designs and Devices – the Dover Pictorial Archive
Harry Potter Saga – J.K. Rowling
Have Space Suit, Will Travel – Robert A. Heinlein
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
Horton Hatches the Egg – Dr Seuss
How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff
Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
I Am A Strange Loop – Douglas Hofstadter
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
In Calabria – Peter Beagle
I Will Always Love You – Cecily von Ziegesar
If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him! – Sheldon Kopp
In the Garden of Beasts – Eric Larson
Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
It’s the Heart That Goes Last – Margaret Atwood
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
Joan Aiken (anything)
John le Carré (anything)
John Scalzi (anything)
Kate Atkinson (anything)
Kon Tiki – Thor Heyerdahl
Leaders eat Last – Simon Sinek
L’écume des jours – Boris Vian
Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
Les gens de Mogador – Élisabeth Barbier
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
Life As We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone – Susan Beth Pfeffer
Light in August – William Faulker
Little Men – Louisa May Alcott
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Love, Again – Doris Lessing
Lucky Jim – Kingsley Amis
Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
Me & Emma – Elizabeth Flock
Michel Folco – Everything
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Mistress Masham’s Repose – T. H. White
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
My Antonia – Willa Cather
My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante
My Name is Asher Lev – Chaim Potok
No Country for Old Men – Cormac McCarthy
O, Pioneer – Willa Cather
Of Human Bondage – W. Somerset Maugham
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
On Becoming a Person – Carl Rogers
On Writing – Stephen King
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
Pappan och havet – Tove Jansson
Past Sins – Pen Stroke
Peeps – Scott Westerfeld
People of the Book – Gwendolyn Brooks
PG Wodehouse (anything)
Philip K. Dick (anything)
Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
Possession – A.S. Byatt
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Puckoon – Spike Milligan
Reading in the Dark – Seamus Deane
Resurrection – Leo Tolstoy
Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
Seven Days In May – Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II
Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
Silent Spring – Rachel Carson
Spiritual Roots of Human Relations – Stephen R. Covey
Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert A. Heinlein
Strumpet City – Joseph Plunkett
Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives – David Eagleman
Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
The “Tomorrow” series – John Marsden
The Alexandria Quartet – Lawrence Durrell
The Anatomy of Peace – The Arbinger Institute
The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein
The Audacity of Hope – Barack Obama
The Black Stallion – Walter Farley
The Book of Mormon
The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Call Of The Wild – Jack London
The Canopy of Time – Brian Aldiss
The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
The Carpet Makers – Andreas Eschbach
The Chosen – Chaim Potok
The Company of Wolves – Angela Carter
The Compassionate Samurai – Brian Klemmer
The Crystal Cave – Mary Stewart
The Dark – John McGahern
The Dean’s December – Saul Bellow
The Devil Tree – Jerzy Kosiński
The Diary of a bookseller – Shaun Bythell
The Disposessed – Ursula LeGuin
The Education of Little Tree – Asa Earl Carter
The Ellie Chronicles – John Marsden
the Emily trilogy – L. M. Montgomery
The Family of Man, Museum of Modern Art Exhibition Catalogue
The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin
The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
The Giver – Lois Lowry
The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins
The Golden Apples of the Sun – Ray Bradbury
The Grand Sophy – Georgette Heyer
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
The Great Divorce – C. S. Lewis
The Green Hills of Earth – Robert A. Heinlein
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
The Hiding Place – Cory Ten Boom
The Holy Bible
The Horse’s Mouth – Joyce Cary
The Human Comedy – William Saroyan
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
The Jewel in the Crown Quartet and Staying On – – Paul Scott
The Last Question – Isaac Asimov
The Last Unicorn – Peter Beagle
The Lazarus Long series – Robert Heinlein
The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula le Guin
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
The Magus – John Fowles
The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
The Mayor of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy
The Odyssey – Homer
The Rape of Nanking – Iris Chang
The Red Tent – Anita Diamant
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich – William L. Shirer
The Road – Cormac McCarthy
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Shining – Stephen King
The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
The Source – James A. Michener
The Sparrow – Mary Doria Russell
The Spinning Heart – Donal Ryan
The Sword of Shannara – Terry Brooks
The Thirteen Clocks – James Thurber
The Thrawn Trilogy – – Timothy Zahn
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
The Turn of the Screw – – Henry James
The Twilight Saga – – Stephanie Meyer
The Whiteoaks of Jalna – Mazo de la Roche
The World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics (various)
Time and Again – Jack Finney
To Be a Slave – Julius Lester
To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
To Say Nothing of the Dog – Connie Willis
Tolkien (anything)
Tomorrow When the War Began – John Marsden
Tortilla Flats – John Steinbeck
Touching Spirit Bear – Ben Mikaelsen
U.S.A. Trilogy – John Dos Passos
Ulysses – James Joyce
Up the Down Staircase – Bel Kaufman
Ursula LeGuin – Everything
Vida – Marge Piercy
Waiting for the Barbarians – JM Coetzee
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
Warmth of Other Suns -Isabel Wilkerson
White Fang – by Jack London
Wicked – Gregory Maguire
Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
Young Jedi Knights series – Kevin J. Anderson)
Zookeeper’s Wife – Diane Ackerman

The Old Wolf assumes no liability for death by starvation in libraries, dens, or bookstores.

Book Porn

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This quote by Ray Bradbury reminds me of the quote from “Good Will Hunting:”

 “You dropped a 150 grand on an [] education you could have gotten for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library.”

I have loved books and libraries since I was old enough to know what they were.

LibraryLine

 

That’s me, on the right, with my good buddy Mickey.

In fact, in a somewhat meta twist, one of my favorite books as a child was Julia L. Sauer’s “Mike’s House,” a tale of a library and a very, very special book.

Mike

 

As I mentioned elsewhere, I learned to read largely through the works of Charles Schulz, and have been a voracious reader ever since. In with my own family, reading time was a regular activity, and would go on as long as I could keep from falling asleep, at which point I would keep reading – although what came out was never intelligible. The kids always got a laugh out of that – but they grew up loving books.

For more beautiful pictures of drool-worthy libraries and some great quotes, visit Buzzfeed.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The Ultimate Portal

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I can still hear the jingle from one of our local bookstores. It’s cheesy, but it stuck in my head, and I remember it because it’s so true.

♫ When you open a book from Deseret Book,
You open a wonderful door!
It leads beyond the things you see
On a journey of discovery… ♫

Books were my best friends growing up. I was small and introverted as a child, and books were wonderful, thrilling… and safe.

I cut my reading teeth on “Peanuts” at age 5, devoured books by Richard Scarry and Virginia Lee Burton, Gelett Burgess, Munro Leaf and many others; graduated to things by A.A. Milne and E.B. White and Robert Louis Stevenson; read The Hobbit in grade school (actually it was read to us), and stayed up all night for several nights running reading The Lord of the Rings in 1965 when it came out, the first time in my life I was unable to put a book down.

I wept through Saroyan’s The Human Comedy and Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, and devoured my father’s collection of science fiction anthologies, which I later inherited, and still treasure. In college I became enamored of the realists – Twain, James, and Howells, among others, and although I choked on Thomas Hardy in high school, I shouted with glee on almost every page of The Mayor of Casterbridge when I re-read it (for pleasure!) four years later. Orwell, Huxley, Asimov, Salinger, Clarke, Camus, Sartre, St. Exupéry, Victor Hugo, Proust – oh, those long sentences! – and so many, many others… the list goes on forever.

Reading gave me a love of language, both my own and that of others. Some of my favorite examples of beautiful writing I have shared before. And the journeys I took in my imagination long before I ever set foot outside of my own country took me to the edges of the universe and back. To quote O. Henry again, from the aforementioned “A Municipal Report:”

“On the surface,” said Azalea Adair. “I have traveled many times around the world in a golden airship wafted on two wings – print and dreams. I have seen (on one of my imaginary tours) the Sultan of Turkey bowstring with his own hands one of his wives who had uncovered her face in public. I have seen a man in Nashville tear up his theatre tickets because his wife was going out with her face covered – with rice powder. In San Francisco’s Chinatown I saw the slave girl Sing Yee dipped slowly, inch by inch, in boiling almond oil to make her swear she would never see her American lover again. She gave in when the boiling oil had reached three inches above her knee. At a euchre party in East Nashville the other night I saw Kitty Morgan cut dead by seven of her schoolmates and lifelong friends because she had married a house painter. The boiling oil was sizzling as high as her heart; but I wish you could have seen the fine little smile that she carried from table to table. Oh, yes, it is a humdrum town. Just a few miles of red brick houses and mud and lumber yards.”

Azalea Adair knew: books are the ultimate portals.

Portal Cake 2

 

And there’s so much more than cake to be had.

The Old Wolf has spoken.