A reading list of great books

The next time you want something of substance to read, here’s a list of 876 books compiled from a couple of lists I found on the Internet – one a list of librarian’s recommendations, another of 500 great books, and a few I have added myself. I only deleted one because I thought it was trash, and was not sure what it was doing on any list of good literature.

As for the rest, you get to judge; but while compiling this, I certainly saw a good number that I have read, and many that I am ashamed I have not yet read and would like to.


Edit: I will link back here to another list I published a couple of years ago, “Fifteen Titles.” You will find many duplicates on that list, but it was compiled with a different set of criteria. Nevertheless, it contains many worthwhile and impactful works.

1984George Orwell
2666Roberto Bolano
$2.00 a DayKathryn Edin
12 Million Black VoicesRichard Wright
1Q84Haruki Murakami
84, Charing Cross RoadHelene Hanff
Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, TheSherman Alexie
Accidental Tourist, TheAnne Tyler
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, TheMark Twain
Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green, TheCuthbert Bede
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, TheSir Arthur Conan Doyle
Adventures of Tom Sawyer, TheMark Twain
Aeneid, TheVirgil
Age of Innocence, TheEdith Wharton
Agnes GreyAnne Brontë
Alchemist, ThePaulo Coelho
Alexander HamiltonRon Chernow
Alice in WonderlandLewis Carroll
All Creatures Great and Small (Series)James Herriot
All of a Kind FamilySidney Taylor
All Passion SpentVita Sackville-West
All Quiet on the Western FrontErich Maria
All the King’s MenRobert Penn Warren
All the Light We Cannot SeeAnthony Doerr
Along Came a SpiderJames Patterson
Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, TheMichael Charon
American Born ChineseGene Luen Yang
American GodsNeil Gaiman
American PastoralPhilip Roth
AmericanahChimamanda Ngozi Adichie
An American TragedyTheodore Dreiser
An Ember in the AshesSabaa Tahir
An Old-Fashioned GirlLouisa May Alcott
An Unsuitable Job for a WomanP. D. James
Ancillary JusticeAnn Leckie
And the Band Played OnRandy Shilts
And Then All Hell Broke LooseRichard Engel
And Then There Were NoneBy Agatha Christie
Angela’s AshesFrank McCourt
Animal DreamsBarbara Kingsolver
Animal FarmGeorge Orwell
Anna KareninaLeo Tolstoy
Anne Frank: the Diary of a Young GirlAnne Frank
Anne of Green GablesL.M. Montgomery
Antony and CleopatraWilliam Shakespeare
Arabian NightsTahir Shah
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.New Jersey
ArielSylvia Plath
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseBenjamin Alire Saenz
Around the World in Eighty DaysJules Verne
Art of Fielding, TheChad Harbach
Art of Hearing Heartbeats, TheJan-Philippe Sendker
As I Lay DyingWilliam Faulkner
As You Like ItWilliam Shakespeare
Assistant, TheBernard Malamud
Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, TheMatthew Tobin Anderson
Atlas ShruggedAyn Rand
AtonementIan Mcewan
AttachmentsRainbow Rowell
Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein, TheGertrude Stein
Autobiography of Malcolm X, TheMalcolm X
Awakening, TheKate Chopin
Babe: The Gallant PigDick King-Smith
Bad Beginning, TheLemony Snicket
Bad FeministRoxane Gay
Bad News for OutlawsVaunda Micheaux Nelson
Balzac and the Little Chinese SeamstressDai Sijie
Bastard Out of CarolinaDorothy Allison
Beautiful and Damned, TheF. Scott Fitzgerald
Beautiful RuinsJess Walter
Because of Winn DixieKate diCamillo
BecomingMichelle Obama
Beekeeper’s Apprentice, TheLaurie R. King
Bel CantoAnn Patchett
Bell Jar, TheSylvia Plath
BelovedToni Morrison
BeowulfThe Beowulf Poet
Between the World and MeTa-Nehisi Coates
Big Sleep, TheRaymond Chandler
BintiNnedi Okorafor
Birds of AmericaJohn James Audubon
BirdsongSebastian Faulks
Black BeautyAnna Sewell
Black BoyRichard Wright
Black Leopard, Red WolfMarlon James
Bleak HouseCharles Dickens
Bless Me, UltimaRudolpho Anaya
Blind Assassin, TheMargaret Atwood
Blood MeridianCormac McCarthy
Blue Castle, TheL.M. Montgomery
Blue Sword / the Hero and the Crown, TheRobin McKinley
Bluest Eye, TheToni Morrison
Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom WolfeTom Wolfe
Book of Lost Things, TheJohn Connolly
Book of Three, TheLloyd Alexander
Book Thief, TheMarkus Zusak
BorderlandsGloria E. Anzaldúa
Born ConfusedTanuja Desai Hidier
Born to RunChristopher McDougall
BossypantsTina Fey
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen OyeyemiHelen Oyeyemi
Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, TheDaniel James Brown
Brave New WorldAldous Huxley
Breakfast at Tiffany’sTruman Capote
Breakfast of ChampionsKurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Brick LaneMonica Ali
Brideshead RevisitedEvelyn Waugh
Bridge to TerabithiaKatherine Paterson
Bridget Jones’s DiaryHelen Fielding
Brief History of Seven Killings, AMarlon James
Brief History of Time, AStephen Hawking
Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, TheJunot Diaz
Brokeback MountainAnnie Proulx
Brothers Karamazov, TheFyodor Dostoyevsky
Bury My Heart at Wounded KneeDee Brown
Call of the Wild, TheJack London
Canterbury Tales, TheGeoffrey Chaucer
Canterville Ghost, TheOscar Wilde
Captain Corelli’s MandolinLouis de Berniere
Carry onRainbow Rowell
Casino RoyaleIan Fleming
Casual Vacancy, TheJ.K. Rowling
Catch-22Joseph Heller
Catcher in the Rye, TheJ.D. Salinger
Catherine, Called BirdyKaren Cushman
Cat’s CradleKurt Vonnegut
Change of Climate, AHilary Mantel
Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryRoald Dahl
Charlotte’s WebE.B. White
Children of Blood and BoneTomi Adyemi
Chocolate War, TheRobert Cormier
Christmas Carol, ACharles Dickens
CinderMarissa Meyer
ClarissaSamuel Richardson
Clear Light of DayAnita Desai
Cloud AtlasDavid Mitchell
Cloud AtlasDavid Mitchell
Code of the Woosters, TheWodehouse
Cold Comfort FarmStella Gibbons
Cold Comfort FarmStella Gibbons
Cold MountainCharles Frasier
Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, TheLangston Hughes
Collected Stories of Eudora WeltyEudora Welty
Color of Magic, TheTerry Pratchett
Color of Water, TheJames McBride
Color Purple, TheAlice Walker
Comedy of Errors, TheWilliam Shakespeare
Common SenseThomas Paine
Complete Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales, TheBrothers Grimm
Complete Stories, TheFlannery O’Connor
Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe, TheEdgar Allan Poe
Confederacy of Dunces, AJohn Kennedy Toole
Confessions of a ShopaholicSophie Kinsella
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, AMark Twain
Constellation of Vital Phenomena, AAnthony Marra
Corrections, TheJonathan Franzen
Count of Monte Cristo, TheAlexandre Duman
Cow-Tail Switch, and Other West African Stories, TheHarold Courlander
CranfordElizabeth Gaskell
CrankEllen Hopkins
Crazy Rich AsiansKevin Kwan
Cricket in Times Qquare, AGeorge Selden
Crime and PunishmentFyodor Dostoyevsky
Crocodile on the SandbankElizabeth Peters
Crucible, TheArthur Miller
Crying of Lot 49, TheRobert E. Kohn
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, TheMark Haddon
Cutting for StoneAbraham Verghese
Da Vinci Code, TheDan Brown
Daisy Jones & the SixTaylor Jenkins Reid
Daisy MillerHenry James
Daniel DerondaGeorge Eliot
Dark Is Rising, TheSusan Cooper
Darkly Dreaming DexterJeff Lindsay
David CopperfieldCharles Dickens
Day of the Triffids, TheJohn Wyndham
Dead WakeErik Larson
Death at an Early AgeJonathan Kozol
Death Comes for the ArchbishopWilla Cather
Death in the Family, AJames Agee
Death in VeniceThomas Mann
Death of a SalesmanArthur Miller
Death of the Heart, TheElizabeth Bowen
Decameron, TheGiovanni Boccaccio
Decline and FallEvelyn Waugh
Dept. of SpeculationJenny Offill
Deptford Trilogy, TheRobertson Davies
Devil in a Blue DressWalter Mosley
Devil in the White City, TheErik Larson
Diary of Anne Frank, TheAnne Frank
Dirty Job, AChristopher Moore
Divergent (Series)Veronica Roth
Divine Comedy, TheDante Alighieri
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?Philip K. Dick
Doctor FaustusChristopher Marlowe
Doctor ZhivagoBoris Pasternak
Don QuixoteMiguel De Cervantes
DraculaBram Stoker
Dream of the Red Chamber, TheCao Xueqin
Dreaming in CubanCristina Garcia
DreamlandSam Quinones
DuneFrank Herbert
East of EdenJohn Steinbeck
Eat Pray LoveElizabeth Gilbert
Edwardians, TheVita Sack-Ville West
Egypt Game, TheZilpha Keatley Snyder
Eight, TheKatherine Neville
Eleanor & ParkRainbow Rowell
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely FineGail Honeyman
Elegance of the Hedgehog, TheMuriel Barberry
Ella EnchantedGail Carson Levine
Emperor of All Maladies, The: A Biography of CancerSiddhartha Mukhe
Empire FallsRichard Russo
Ender’s GameOrson Scott Card
English Patient, TheMichael Ondaatje
Epic of Gilgamesh, TheUnknown
Ethan FromeEdith Wharton
Everything I Never Told YouCeleste Ng
Everything Is IlluminatedJonathan Saffron Foer
EvictedMatthew Desmond
Excellent WomenBarbara Pym
Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseJonathan Saffron Foer
Fahrenheit 451Ray Bradbury
Fairie Queen, TheEdmund Spenser
Fall of the House of Usher, TheEdgar Allan Poe
FangirlRainbow Rowell
Far From the Madding CrowdThomas Hardy
Farewell to Arms, AErnest Hemingway
Farmer BoyLaura Ingalls Wilder
Fault in Our Stars, TheJohn Green
FaustJohann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Fear and Loathing in Las VegasHunter S. Thompson
Female Brain, TheLouann Brizendine
Fifth Season, TheN. K. Jemisin
Fight ClubChuck Palahniuk
Fine Balance, ARohinton Mistry
FingersmithSarah Waters
Fire Next Time, TheJames Baldwin
Five People You Meet in Heaven, TheMitch Albom
Flowers for AlgernonDaniel Keyes
For Whom the Bell TollsErnest Hemingway
Forgotten GardenKate Morton
Forsyte Saga, TheJohn Galsworthy
Foundation (Entire Series)Isaac Asimov
FrankensteinMary Shelley
Franny and ZooeyJ.D. Salinger
Freak the MightyRodman Philbrick
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafeFannie Flagg
From Russia With LoveIan Fleming
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. FrankweilerE. L. Konigsburg
Fun HomeAlison Bechdel
Game of Thrones, A (Series)George R. R. Martin
Garden of Earthly Delights, AJoyce Carol Oates
General in His Labyrinth, TheMarquez
Gentleman in Moscow, AAmor Towles
GerminalÉmile Zola
Gilda Stories, TheJewelle Gomez
GileadMarilynne Robinson
Girl Could Stand Up, ALeslie Marshall
Girl on the Train, ThePaula Hawkins
Girl With a Pearl EarringTracy Chevalier
Girl With the Dragon Tatoo, TheStieg Larson
Giver, TheLois Lowry
Glass Castle, TheJeannette Walls
Glass Menagerie, TheTennessee Williams
Go Tell It on the MountainJames Baldwin
God of Small Things, TheArundhati Roy
Golden Bowl, TheHenry James
Golden Compass, ThePhillip Pullman
Golden Notebook, TheDoris Lessing
Goldfinch, TheDonna Tartt
Goldfinch, TheDonna Tartt
Golem and the Djinni, TheHelene Wecker
Gone GirlGillian Flynn
Gone With the WindMargaret Mitchell
Good Earth, ThePearl S. Buck
Good Man Is Hard to Find, AFlannery O’Connor
Good Master, TheKate Seredy
Good OmensTerry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
Good Soldier, TheFord Madox Ford
Good TalkMira Jacob
Good WivesLouisa May Alcott
Grapes of Wrath, TheJohn Steinbeck
Grave Talent, ALaurie R. King
Gravity’s RainbowThomas Pinchon
Great ExpectationsCharles Dickens
Great Gatsby, TheF. Scott Fitzgerald
GrendelJohn Gardner
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, TheMary Ann Shaffer; ‎Annie Barrows
Gulag Archipelago, TheAleksandr Slozhenitsyn
Gulliver’s TravelsJonathan Swift
Gunslinger, TheStephen King
Half of a Yellow SunChimamanda Ngozi Adichie
HamletWilliam Shakespeare
Handmaid’s Tale, TheMargaret Atwood
Hans Christian Anderson Fairy TalesHans Christian Anderson
Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World Haruki MurakamiHaruki Murakami
Haroun & the Sea of StoriesSalman Rushdie/Paul BirkbeckIllus
Harriet the SpyLouise Fitzhugh
Harry Potter (Series)J. K. Rowling
HatchetGary Paulsen
Haunting of Hill House, TheShirley Jackson
Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, TheCarson McCullers
Heart of DarknessJoseph Conrad
Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, ADave Eggers
HeartburnNora Ephron
Help, TheKathryn Stockett
Henry IV, Part IWilliam Shakespeare
Henry IV, Part IIWilliam Shakespeare
Henry VWilliam Shakespeare
HerzogSaul Bellow
High FidelityNick Hornby
Hillbilly ElegyJD Vance
His Dark Materials – Philip PullmanPhilip Pullman
Historian, TheElizabeth Kostova
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, TheDouglas Adams
Hobbit, TheJ.R.R. Tolkien
HolesLouis Sachar
HomegoingYaa Gyasi
HopscotchJulio Cortázar
Hot Zone, TheRichard Preston
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and SweetJamie Ford
Hound of the Baskervilles, TheSir Arthur Conan Doyle
Hour of the Star, TheClarice Lispector
Hours, TheMichael Cunningham
House Made of DawnN. Scott Momaday
House of LeavesMark Z. Danielewski
House of Mirth, TheEdith Wharton
House of Sand and FogAndre Dubus III
House of the ScorpionNancy Farmer
House of the Seven GablesNathaniel Hawthorne
House of the Spirits, TheIsabel Allende
House on Mango Street, TheSandra Cisneros
HousekeepingMarilynne Robinson
How Green Was My ValleyRichard Llewellyn
How I Live NowMeg Rosoff
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their AccentsJulia Alvarez
How the Other Half LivesJacob Riis
How to Be a VictorianRuth Goodman
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional UniverseCharles Yu
Howards EndE.M. Forster
HowlAllen Ginsberg
Howl’s Moving CastleDiana Wynne Jones
Human Comedy, TheWilliam Saroyan
Hunchback of Notre Dame, TheVictor Hugo
Hunger Games, The (Series)Suzanne Collins
Husband’s Secret, TheLiane Moriarty
I Am MalalaMalala Yousafzai
I Am the CheeseRobert Cormier
I Am the MessengerMarcus Zusak
I Capture the CastleDodie Smith
I Know This Much Is TrueWally Lamb
I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsMaya Angelou
I Never Promised You a Rose GardenJoanne Greenberg
If on a Winters Night a TravellerVintage Calvino
Iliad, TheHomer
Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, TheRebecca Skloot
Importance of Being Earnest, TheOscar Wilde
In Cold BloodTruman Capote
In the Time of the ButterfliesJulia Alvarez
In the WoodsTara French
Infinite JestDavid Foster Wallace
Inheritance of Loss, TheKiran Dasai
Interestings, TheMeg Wolitzer
InternmentSamira Ahmed
Interpreter of MaladiesJhumpa Lahiri
Interpreter of MaladiesJhumpa Lahiri
Interview With the VampireAnne Rice
Invention of Wings, TheSue Monk Kidd
Invisible Circus, TheJennifer Egan
Invisible ManRalph Ellison
IronweedWilliam Kennedy
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?And Other Concerns
Island of the Blue DolphinsScott O’Dell
ItStephen King
IvanhoeWalter Scott
Jamaica InnDaphne Du Maurier
James and the Giant PeachRoald Dahl
Jane EyreCharlotte Brontë
Japanese Lover, TheIsabel Allende
Jonathan Strange & Mr NorrellSusanna Clarke
Journey to the Center of the EarthJules Verne
Joy Luck Club, TheAmy Tan
Jude the ObscureThomas Hardy
Julie and JuliaJulie Powell
Julie of the WolvesJean Craighead George
Julius CaesarWilliam Shakespeare
Jungle Book, TheRudyard Kipling
Jungle, TheUpton Sinclair
Kafka on the ShoreHaruki Murakami
KidnappedRobert Louis Stevenson
Killers of the Flower MoonGrann
KimRudyard Kipling
KindredOctavia E. Butler
King LearWilliam Shakespeare
Kiss Before Dying, AIra Levin
Kiss Quotient, TheHelen Hoang
Kitchen ConfidentialAnthony Bourdain
Kite RunnerKhaled Hosseini
Lais of Marie De France, TheMarie De France
Language of FlowersVanessa Diffenbaugh
Last Samurai, TheHelen DeWaitt
Leaves of GrassWalt Whitman
Left Hand of Darkness, TheUrsula K. LeGuin
Legend of Sleepy Hollow, TheWashington Irving
Les MiserablesVictor Hugo
LessAndrew Sean Greer
Lesson Before Dying, AErnest J. Gaines
Letter From Birmingham City JailMartin Luther King Jr
Letters to a Young PoetRainer Maria Rilke
Liars’ Club: A Memoir, TheMary Karr
Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, TheLaurence Sterne
Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, TheMarie Kondo
Life of PiYann Martel
Light Between Oceans: A Novel, TheM.L. Stedman
Like Water for ChocolateLaura Esquivel
Lincoln in the BardoGeorge Saunders
Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, TheC.S. Lewis
Little BeeChris Cleave
Little Fires EverywhereCeleste Ng
Little House on the Prairie (Series)Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little MenLouisa May Alcott
Little Prince, TheAntoine de Saint-Exupéry
Little Princess, AFrances Hodgson Burnett
Little Stranger, TheSarah Waters
Little WomenLouisa May Alcott
LolitaVladimir Nabokov
Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, TheSherman Alexie
Long Fatal Love Chase, ALouisa May Alcott
Long Goodbye, TheRaymond Chandler
Long Way Down, ANick Hornsby
Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, AIshmael Beah
Look at MeJennifer Egan
Looking for AlaskaJohn Green
Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, TheLawrence Wright
Lord JimJoseph Conrad
Lord of the FliesWilliam Golding
Lord of the Rings, The (Trilogy)J.R.R. Tolkien
Lottery, TheShirley Jackson
Love in a Cold ClimateNancy Freeman-Mitford
Love in the Time of CholeraGabriel Garcia Marquez
Love MedicineLouise Erdrich
Lovely Bones, TheAlice Sebold
Lover, TheMarguerite Duras
Luckiest Girl AliveJessica Knoll
Lucky JimJim Dixon
LucyJamaica Kincaid
Luminaries, TheEleanor Catton
MacbethWilliam Shakespeare
Madame BovaryGustave Flaubert
Main StreetSinclair Lewis
Major Pettigrew’s Last StandHelen Simonson
Maltese Falcon, TheDashiell Hammett
Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, TheOscar Hijuelos
Man Called Ove, AFredrik Backman
Man of the People, AChinua Achebe
Man Who Mistook His Wife for a HatOliver Sacks
Man Who Was Thursday, TheG.K. Chesterton
Maniac MageeJerry Spinelli
Mansfield ParkJane Austen
Manual for Cleaning Women, ALucia Berlin
March: Book OneJohn Lewis
Martian, TheAndy Weir
Mary PoppinsP.L. Travers
MatildaRoald Dahl
MauriceE.M. Forster
Maus: The Complete MausArt Spiegelman
Mayor of Casterbridge, TheThomas Hardy
Me Before YouJojo Moyes
Memoirs of a GeishaArthur Golden
Memories of a Catholic GirlhoodMary McCarthy
Merchant of Venice, TheWilliam Shakespeare
Metamorphosis and Other StoriesFranz Kafka
Metamorphosis, TheFranz Kafka
MiddlemarchGeorge Eliot
MiddlesexJeffrey Eugenides
Midnight in the Garden of Good and EvilJohn Berendt
Midnight’s ChildrenSalman Rushdie
Midsummer Night’s Dream, AWilliam Shakespeare
Milk and HoneyRupi Kaur
Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, TheKate Dicamillo
Miseducation of Cameron Post, TheEmily M. Danforth
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar ChildrenRansom Riggs
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a DayWinifred Watson
Misty of ChincoteagueMarguerite Henry
Moby DickHerman Melville
Moll FlandersDaniel Defoe
Moloka’iAlan Brennert
Monkey’s Paw, TheW. W. Jacobs
Moonstone, TheWilkie Collins
Mr. Popper’s PenguinsRichard and Florence Atwater
Mrs DallowayVirginia Woolf
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMHRobert C. O’Brien
Much Ado About NothingWilliam Shakespeare
Murder on the Orient ExpressAgatha Christie
My AntoniaWilla Cather
My Bondage and My FreedomFrederick Douglass
My Brilliant FriendElena Ferrante
My Side of the MountainJean Craighead George
My Sister, the Serial KillerOyinkan Braithwaite
My Sister’s KeeperJodi Picoult
Mystic RiverDennis Lehane
Name of the Rose, TheUmberto Eco
Namesake, TheJhumpa Lahiri
Narrative of Sojourner TruthSojourner Truth
Native SonRichard Wright
Naya NukiKen Thomasma
Nectar in a SieveKamala Markandaya
NeuromancerWilliam Gibson
Never Let Me GoKazuo Ishiguro
NeverwhereNeil Gaiman
New Grub StreetGeorge Gissing
Nickel and DimedBarbara Ehrenreich
NightElie Wiesel
Night Circus, TheErin Morgenstern
Nightingale, TheKristin Hannah
Nights at the CircusAngela Carter
No Exit (Huis Clos)Jean-Paul Sartre
No Future Without ForgivenessDesmond Tutu
No One Belongs Here More Than YouMiranda July
No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, TheAlexander McCall Smith
North and SouthElizabeth Gaskell
Northanger AbbeyJane Austen
Northern Light, AJennifer Donnelly
Norwegian WoodHaruki Murakami
Notes From a Small IslandBill Bryson
Now We are SixA. A. Milne
Number the StarsLois Lowry
NWZadie Smith
Ocean at the End of the Lane, TheNeil Gaiman
Odyssey, TheHomer
Of Human BondageW. Somerset Maugham
Of Mice and MenJohn Steinbeck
Old Man and the Sea, TheErnest Hemingway
Olive KitteridgeElizabeth Strout
Oliver TwistCharles Dickens
Omnivore’s Dilemma, TheMichael Pollan
On Earth We’re Briefly GorgeousOcean Vuong
On Immunity: An InoculationEula Biss
On the RoadJack Kerouac
Once and Future King, TheT.H. White
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s NestKen Kesey
One for the MoneyJanet Evanovic
One Hundred Years of SolitudeGabriel Garcia Marquez
Optimists Daughter, TheEudora Welty
Oranges Are Not the Only FruitJeanette Winterson
Orchardist, TheAmanda Coplin
OrlandoVirginia Woolf
Orphan Master’s Son, TheAdam Johnson
Orphan TrainChristina Baker Kline
Oryx and CrakeMargaret Atwood
Oscar and LucindaPeter Carey
OthelloWilliam Shakespeare
Other Boleyn Girl, ThePhilippa Gregory
Our TownThornton Wilder
Out of AfricaKaren Blixen
OutlanderDiana Gabaldon
Pact, TheJodi Picoult
Palace WalkNaguib Mahfouz
Pale FireVladimir Nabokov
Passage to India, AE.M. Forster
PassingNella Larson
PastoraliaGeorge Saunders
Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher ColumbusOrson Scott Card
Pearl, TheJohn Steinbeck
Pentateuch, TheI. Thomas Holdcroft
People in the Trees, TheHanya Yanagihara
People of the BookGeraldine Brooks
People’s History of the United States, AHoward Zinn
Percy Jackson SeriesRick Riordan
PerfumePatrick Suskind
Perks of Being a Wallflower, TheStephen Chbosky
PersepolisMarjane Satrapi
Persepolis by Marjane SatrapiMarlene Satrapi
Personal Matter, AKanzaburō Ōe
PersuasionJane Austen
Pet SemataryStephen King
Peter PanJames Barrie
Phantom of the Opera, TheGaston Leroux
Phantom Tollbooth, TheNorton Juster
Phantom Toolbooth, TheJules Feiffer
Pickwick Papers, TheCharles Dickens
Picture of Dorian Grey, TheOscar Wilde
Pilgrim at Tinker CreekAnnie Dillard
Pillars of the Earth, TheKen Follett
Pippi LongstockingAstred Lindgren
Plague, The (La peste)Albert Camus
Play It as It LaysJoan Didion
Poems of Emily Dickinson, TheEmily Dickinson
Poems: Edna St. Vincent MillayEdna St. Vincent Millay
Poisonwood Bible, TheBarbara Kingsolver
Portrait of a LadyHenry James
Post OfficeCharles Bukowski
Prayer for Owen Meany, AJohn Irving
Price of Salt, or Carol, ThePatricia Highsmith
Pride and PrejudiceJane Austen
Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, TheMuriel Spark
Princess AcademyShannon Hale
Princess Bride, TheWilliam Goldman
Princess Saves Herself in This One, TheAmanda Lovelace
Priory of the Orange Tree, TheSamantha Shannon
Private PeacefulMichael Morpurgo
Pulphead EssaysJohn Jeremiah Sullivan
Purple HisbiscusChimamanda Ngozi Adichie
PygmalionGeorge Bernard Shaw
Queen of the NightAlexander Chee
QueenieCandice Carty-Williams
QuietSusan Cain
Quiet American, TheGraham Greene
Rabbit at RestJohn Updike
Rabbit Is RichJohn Updike
Rabbit, RunJohn Updike
RagtimeE.L. Doctorow
Raisin in the Sun, ALorraine Hansberry
Ramayana, TheValmiki
Ramona the PestBeverly Cleary
Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the BronxAdrian Nicole Leblanc
Reader, TheBernhard Schlink
Reading Lolita in TehranAzar Nafisi
Ready Player OneErnest Cline
RebeccaDaphne Du Maurier
Red and the Black, TheChimimanda Ngozi Adichie
Red Badge of Courage, TheStephen Crane
Red Tent, TheAnita Diamant
Red, White & Royal BlueCasey Mcquiston
Redefining RealnessJanet Mock
RedwallBrian Jacques
Reef, TheEdith Wharton
Remains of the Day, TheKazuo Ishiguro
Return of Sherlock Holmes, TheArthur Conan Doyle
Return of the NativeThomas Hardy
Return of the Soldier, TheRebecca West
Revolutionary RoadVintage Yates
River Between, TheNgũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Road, TheCormac McCarthy
Robinson CrusoeDaniel Defoe
Roll of Thunder, Hear My CryMildred D. Taylor
Romance of the Three KingdomsLuo Guanzhong
Romeo and JulietWilliam Shakespeare
RomolaGeorge Eliot
RoomEmma Donoghue
Room of One’s Own, AVirginia Woolf
Room With a View, AE. M. Forster
RootsAlex Haley
Rosie Project, TheGraeme Simsion
Round House, TheLouise Erdrich
Rubyfruit JungleRita Mae Brown
RunawayAlice Munro
Sacre BleuChristopher Moore
Salvage the BonesJesmyn Ward
Sammy and Juliana in HollywoodBenjamin Alire Saenz
Savage Detectives, TheRoberto Bolano
Scarlet Letter, TheNathaniel Hawthorne
Scarlett Pimpernel, TheBaroness Emmuska Orcey
Schindler’s ArkThomas Keneally
ScoopEvelyn Waugh
Sea, the Sea, TheIrish Murdoch
Secret Garden, TheFrances Hodgson Burnett
Secret History, TheDonna Tartt
Secret Keeper, TheKate Morton
Secret Life of Bees, TheSue Monk Kidd
Selection, TheKiera Cass
Sellout, ThePaul Beatty
Sense and SensibilityJane Austen
Sense of an Ending, TheJulian Barnes
Separate Peace, AJohn Knowles
Shadow of the Wind, TheCarlos Ruiz Zafon
She’s Come UndoneWally Lamb
Shining, TheStephen King
Shipping News, TheE. Annie Proulx
ShirleyCharlotte Brontë
Shoemaker’s Wife, TheAdriana Trigiani
Short History of Nearly Everything, ABill Bryson
SiddharthaHermann Hesse
Sign of the Beaver, TheElizabeth George Speare
Sign of the Four, TheArthur Conan Doyle
Silas MarnerGeorge Eliot
Sing, Unburied, SingJesmyn Ward
Singing Tree, TheKate Seredy
Sir Gawain and the Green KnightSimon Armitage
Sister OutsiderAudre Lorde
Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, TheAnn Brashares
Slaughterhouse-FiveKurt Vonnegut
Slouching Towards BethlehemJoan Didion
Small IslandAndrea Levy
Snow Child, TheEowyn Ivey
Snow CrashNeal Stephenson
Snow Flower and the Secret FanLisa See
So Long a LetterMariama Bâ
Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, TheMadeline Miller
Songs of the Humpback WhaleJodi Picoult
Sons and LoversD.H. Lawrence
Sophie’s ChoiceStephen King
Sound and the Fury, TheLeslie Feinberg
Sparrow, TheMary Doria Russell
SpeakLaurie Halse Anderson
Speaker for the DeadOrson Scott Card
Spy Who Came in From the Cold, TheJohn Le Carré
Stand, TheStephen King
StargirlJerry Spinelli
Station ElevenEmily St John Mandel
Still AliceLisa Genova
Stone Butch BluesLeslie Feinberg
Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, TheGabrielle Zevin
Story of My Life, TheHelen Keller
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, TheRobert Louis Stevenson
Stranger, The (L’étranger)Albert Camus
Streetcar Named Desire, ATennessee Williams
Stuart LittleE.B. White
Study in Scarlet, AArthur Conan Doyle
Suitable Boy, AVikram Seth
Summer Book, TheTove Jansson
Sun Also Rises, TheErnest Hemingway
Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, ADavid Foster Wallace
Swallows and AmazonsArthur Ransome
SwamplandiaKaren Russell
Swann’s WayMarcel Proust
Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, TheAlan Bradley
Swiss Family Robinson, TheJohann David Wyss
Sympathizer, TheViet Thanh Nguyen
Tale for the Time Being, ARuth Ozeki
Tale of Genji, TheMurasaki Shikibu
Tale of Two Cities, ACharles Dickens
Talented Mr. Ripley, ThePatricia Highsmith
Tales of the CityArmistead Maupin
Taming of the Shrew, TheWilliam Shakespeare
Tempest, TheWilliam Shakespeare
Ten Thousand Doors of January, TheAlix E. Harrow
Tenant of Wildfell Hall, TheAnne Brontë
Tender Is the NightF. Scott Fitzgerald
TendernessRobert Cormier
Tess of the D’urbervillesThomas Hardy
Thank You, JeevesP.G. Wodehouse
The ChosenChaim Potok
The Complete StoriesFlannery O’Connor
Theban Plays, TheSophocles
Their Eyes Were Watching GodZora Neale Hurston
There ThereTommy Orange
Things Fall ApartChinua Achebe
Things They Carried, TheTim O’Brien
Thirteen Reasons WhyJay Asher
Thirteenth Tale, TheDiane Setterfield
This Is How You Lose the Time WarAmal El-Mohtar
This Side of ParadiseF. Scott Fitzgerald
Thorn Birds, TheColleen McCullough
Thousand Acres, AJane Smiley
Thousand Splendid Suns, AKhaled Hosseini
Three Musketeers, TheAlexandre Dumas
Throne of the Crescent MoonSaladin Ahmed
Through the Looking GlassLewis Carroll
Through the Looking GlassLewis Carroll
Time Machine, TheH.G. Wells
Time to Kill, AJohn Grisham
Time Traveler’s Wife, TheAudrey Niffenegger
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, SpyJohn Le Carré
Tipping Point, TheMalcom Gladwell
Tipping the VelvetSarah Waters
To Kill a MockingbirdHarper Lee
To the LighthouseVirginia Woolf
Tobacco RoadErskine Caldwell
Tortilla FlatJohn Steinbeck
Town Like Alice, ANevil Shute
Treasure IslandRobert Louis Stevenson
Tree Grows in Brooklyn, ABetty Smith
Trial and Death of Socrates, TheSocrates
Trial, TheFranz Kafka
Tristram ShandyLaurence Sterne
True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, TheAvi
Trumpet of the Swan, TheE.B. White
Tuck EverlastingNatalie Babbitt
Tuesdays With MorrieMitch Albom
Turn of the Screw, TheHenry James
Twelve Tribes of Hattie, TheAyana Mathis
Twelve Years a SlaveSolomon Northup
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the SeaJules Verne
TwilightStephenie Meyer
UlyssesJames Joyce
Unbearable Lightness of Being, TheMilan Kundera
UnbrokenLaura Hillenbrand
Uncle Tom’s CabinHarriet Beecher Stowe
Under the Udala TreesChinelo Okparanta
Under the VolcanoMalcom Lowry
Underground Railroad, TheColson Whitehead
UnderworldDon Delillo
Undress Me in the Temple of HeavenSusan Jane Gilman
Universe in a Single Atom, TheDalai Lama
UprootedNaomi Novik
UtopiaThomas More
Valley of Fear, TheArthur Conan Doyle
Valley of the DollsJacqueline Susann
Vanity FairWilliam Thackeray
Vegetarian, TheHan Kang
Velveteen Rabbit, TheMargery Williams
Vendor of Sweets, TheR.K. Narayan
VilletteCharlotte Bronte
Virgin Suicides, TheJeffrey Eugenides
Visit From the Goon Squad, AJennifer Egan
Volcano Lover, TheSusan Sontag
Waiting for GodotSamuel Beckett
Waiting for the BarbariansJ. M. Coetzee
WaldenHenry David Thoreau
Walk in the Woods, ABill Bryson
War and PeaceLeo Tolstoy
War and PeaceLeo Tolstoy
Warmth of Other Suns, TheIsabel Wilkerson
Waste Land and Other Poems, TheT. S. Eliot
WatchersDean Koontz
WatchmenAlan Moore & Dave Gibbons
Water for ElephantsSara Gruen
Water-Babies, TheCharles Kingsley
Watership DownRichard Adams
Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, TheChristopher Paul Curtis
Waves, TheVirginia Woolf
Way We Live Now, TheAnthony Trollope
We Have Always Lived in the CastleShirley Jackson
We Need to Talk About KevinLionel Shriver
Wedding Date, TheJasmine Guillory
Wedding, TheDorothy West
Weight of Water, TheAnita Shreve
Westing Game, TheEllen Raskin
What Maisie KnewHenry James
What We Talk About When We Talk About LoveRaymond Carver
When Breath Becomes AirPaul Kalanithi
When We Were OrphansKazuo Ishiguro
When We Were Very YoungA. A. Milne
When You Reach MeRebecca Stead
Where the Red Fern GrowsWilson Rawls
Where’d You Go, BernadetteMaria Semple
White NoiseDon DeLillo
White TeethZadie Smith
White Tiger, TheAravind Adiga
Who Was Changed and Who Was DeadBarbara Comyns
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?Edward Albee
Whose Body?Dorothy L. Sayers
WickedGregory Maguire
Wide Sargasso SeaJean Rhys
Wild Sheep Chase, AHaruki Murakami
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of ChinaJung Chang
Wind in the Willows, TheKenneth Grahame
Wind Up Bird Chronicle, TheHaruki Murakami
Winesburg, OhioSherwood Anderson
Winnie-The-PoohA. A. Milne
Winter Sea, TheThe Slains #1
Witch of Blackbird Pond, TheElizabeth George Spear
Witches, TheRoald Dahl
Wittgenstein’s MistressDavid Markson
Wives and DaughtersElizabeth Gaskell
Wizard of Earthsea, AUrsula K. LeGuin
Wolf HallHilary Mantel
Woman in the Dunes, TheKobo Abe
Woman in White, TheWilkie Collins
Woman Warrior, TheMaxine Wong Kingston
Women in LoveD.H. Lawrence
Women of Brewster Place, TheGloria Naylor
WonderR.J. Palacio
Wonderful Wizard of Oz, TheL. Frank Baum
World According to Garp, TheJohn Irving
World War ZMax Brooks
Wrath and the Dawn, TheRenee Ahdieh
Wrinkle in Time, AMadeleine L’engle
Wuthering HeightsEmily Brontë
XenocideOrson Scott Card
Year of Magical Thinking, TheJoan Didion
Yellow Wallpaper, TheCharlotte Perkins Gilman
Yes PleaseAmy Poehler
Yiddish Policemen’s Union, TheMichael Chabon
Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, TheAnton DiSclafani
You Shall Know Our VelocityDave Eggers
Zami: A New Spelling of My NameAudre Lorde
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle MaintenanceRobert Pirsig
Zlata’s DiaryZlata Filipović
ZorroIsabel Allende

The Old Wolf has Spoken

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.

Edit: two years later, I published A Reading List of Great Books, itself compiled from a couple of different lists I came across on the Internet. There are many duplicates here, but because this was not a list of necessarily great books but rather of tomes that friends of mine found impactful, I will let this one stand on its own.

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



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.



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.



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


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.