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Tag Archives: book list

Narrowing It Down

Recently a friend challenged me to post 7 favorite books on Facebook.  Being an inveterate list maker,  I liked this task.  But it is surprisingly hard to narrow a lifetime of books down to seven favorites.  Here is a list of nine – I posted the first seven.

John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad

Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist

John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces

Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

Jane Kenyon, Collected Poems

Lee Smith, Oral History

Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

Margaret Atwood, Life Before Man

It occurred to me that my list is lily-white, though it does include books by 2 Brits and 2 southerners.  For poetry I would add books by Richard Hugo, Audre Lord, Derek Walcott, Nikki Giovanni, Tony Hoagland, William Stafford………..I could go on, but I won’t.  (I’m not including any of the fine poetry books published by Moon Pie Press, but there are a lot to choose from.)  I’m always interested in lists like “The 50 best novels ever written”, or “The 25 best movies you’ve never seen” or “100 books to read before you die”, etc.  Sometimes the lists seem too arbitrary and even lame, but often I get good ideas.  My personal reading challenge for 2018 is 125 books, and I’m at 90 right now on August 20.  I wish you all happy reading.books crucial

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Lists of great and not-so-great books

books happiness

I’ve always been a list maker and bookworm, so book lists appeal to me. The New York Times has a useful “best books of the year” list, this year with an animated video of their top ten (www.nytimes.com/video/books/review). NPR rolled out a Book Concierge that lists 200 of the best 2013 books by category (www.npr.org/best-books-2013). MPBN has a “best and overlooked books of 2013” list chosen by some prominent Maine writers.
I recommend a site called Interesting Literature (www.interestingliterature.com) which has a wealth of intelligent lists and blogs about books and writers. Sometimes I find the highly personal book lists people make on Amazon useful, though they can be quirky and bizarre, too. For book reviews by regular folks, Amazon has the biggest collection, but Goodreads has a lot, too.
One can, of course, wander around on these sites and spend/waste hours, but they do lead me to discover books I want to read. For a while I had a gift subscription to the very worthy and erudite London Review of Books, but it came too frequently and was too jam-packed with information and opinions. If you have limited time, I think the book recommendations by The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Guardian are generally reliable. But you probably have your favorites, too.