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What’s Your Favorite Book?

the-Count-of-Monte-Cristo-by-Alexandre-Dumas-books-to-read-21519566-1181-1806

When I asked the question “What are you reading?”, I got over 100 responses from readers and some kick-ass additions to my reading list. It was such an effortless way to decide what to read.

Maybe sharing our favorite books will further expand my reading list.

And yours.

My favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Edmond Dantes‘ transformation from lovesick suitor to framed prisoner to Houdini to pirate to vengeful count is a breathless fanning of pages. Every time I read it, I wait for him to avoid that hellish jail. I forget to exhale when he escapes, always wondering whether he will break free of the weight that threatens to enslave him at the bottom of the sea. I cheer when he finds his reward, and I plot with him as he crafts revenge.

It is delicious.

And, I never knew it was somewhat true.

Dumas lifted his tale from a series of true crime stories by Jacques Peuchet. In one, a man was accused of a crime by three jealous suitors, right before he was to wed. While under house arrest, he formed a father-son relationship with the priest who was charged with guarding him. The priest left him a fortune, enabling him to exact revenge on the three men who wronged him. He stabbed two and poisoned the third.

And, his crimes are even more riveting, when woven into fiction by a master storyteller. The Count of Monte Cristo is a must-read.

What is your favorite book? Why is it your favorite?

82 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar – beautifully written, yet with a great sadness coursing through it!

    July 12, 2013
    • This is an excellent recommendation. It doesn’t matter if your a woman or a man; the bell jar is a very real experience.

      July 12, 2013
  2. Same for me, Andra. Along with “Les Animaux Dénaturés” de VERCORS (aka Jean BRULLER). Warmly recommend it. Another if I may (always have problems to choose) is “La Nuit des Enfants Rois” de Bernard LENTERIC. Those books have nothing in common but pleasure I get reading them …

    July 12, 2013
  3. I’m totally immersed in “Walden” pond! Thoreau writes wonderfully.

    July 12, 2013
    • Bill Liktor #

      Those epic bean fields.

      July 12, 2013
  4. Catcher in the Rye, or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, or On the Road

    July 12, 2013
  5. P.D. Eastman’s “Go, Dog. Go!”. Simply wonderful language, bright colors, action. And the bonus of a mysterious courting and romance, a tension throughout the book that ends [spoiler alert] happily all because of hats. Imagine that? A kids book about dogs but really about romance and hats. What was P.D. thinking?!

    July 12, 2013
  6. I won’t go favorite, I flatly can’t name one. (Scott’s is treasure island because pirates. And his Dad read it to him in childhood) . But I’ll finally answer the ‘reading now’ question with a single book. I’ve picked up Team of Rivals, the book Lincoln was based on. It’s long. It’s nonfiction. And it ought to be boring as hell. I’m totally loving it. (First fifty pages were a slog, but it’s been smooth ever since.) On the other hand, it’s taking even me awhile to read, so I’ve pushed off every other book (my kitchen book, my living room book, my office book, my bedside book, and even my car book) in favor of this one.

    July 12, 2013
    • I’m glad you said the first 50 pages were a slog, because I’m reading it too and having trouble despite my love of the subject matter. I shall plow on!

      July 13, 2013
  7. Jack Kerouac’s “The Dharma Bums” – I absolutely LOVE this book.

    July 12, 2013
  8. Reblogged this on Rob's Surf Report and commented:
    You know, I’ve not had time to read a lot in so long, but the first book that came to mind was Frankenstein. This mother of all Science Fiction books, often mistaken for horror, is actually a story within a story with an ironic twist; A sea captain who relentlessly seeks to explore the North Pole for the sake of glory (a fool’s errand, but nobody has learned that yet) takes aboard the ship a man who recounts his own relentless pursuit of the monster he created. This accounting of his own story throws the entire story of Victor Frankenstein into the realm of the unreliable narrator. Once we realize this, we begin to question whether Frankenstein’s perception of the situation isn’t warped – whether he’s something of a paranoid delusional suffering from personal trauma and ultimately bringing home the question of who is responsible for the monster’s crimes and whether the monster even exists at all. Does Victor subconsciously view himself as a monster abandoned by his creator – his mother – who died just before he left to study science at the University?

    Frankenstein’s tale should serve as a warning to the Captain, but does the Captain take that warning, or even recognize it as such? Actually, what happens is quite different, but I can’t ruin that for you. If you haven’t read Frankenstein before and just have the movies to go on, you could do worse than give this book a read. It’s fairly short, the prose is just a tad dry, but it’s well worth the effort. Best of all, there are several ways to get this book for less than a few dollars or even for free. Check your local used book store, they probably have twenty copies; or if you’ve got a good ebook reader, you can probably get it for free, since the story is in the public domain.

    One of the coolest aspects of the book, in my opinion, is the “natural science” that Frankenstein uses to develop his life-imbuing technique: reviled by many as an obsolete pursuit, abandoned as a scientific discipline for more rigorous theories and methods of chemistry, it’s presumed by many to be groundless and pointless for Victor to pursue, but he throws himself into it with a zeal that foreshadows the man’s obsession. It causes us to question just about anything that’s pushing the frontiers of science in the time it’s read, and that’s why the book has remained relevant year after year: you can always find something to relate it to.
    What about test tube babies? Gasp!
    Cloning? Uh oh!
    What about DNA sequencing? Oh dear!
    These things can bear out to be perfectly fine in the long run, and yet we’ll probably always have something to talk about with this book. It’s sheer genius.

    Image credit: http://www.spitenet.com

    July 12, 2013
  9. too hard

    July 12, 2013
  10. I don’t have a favorite favorite. I have favorite authors. But my reading tends to air on light and casual as I read a lot for work. Some of my current favorite authors are Elin Hilderbrand, Karin Slaughter, Jennifer Weiner and Susan Mallery. I really enjoyed Gone Girl. If you haven’t read it, you should. But, there is one book I would read again and again and that is “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch.

    July 12, 2013
  11. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. This book is set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. Every time I read this book I am pulled into the world of the characters and how the political arena as well as the arena of love and life are changing who they are and what they are willing to do for each part of their lives. I make it a point to read this book at least once a year if not more.

    It is my go to book when I need a break from writing and reading new books and find it relaxing and the characters like old friends. I couldn’t imagine my bookcase (Physical or virtual) without this title! If you have never read it, or if you only read it as a young kid in school, I definitely recommend reading it or rereading…you would be surprised how each year the impact of a book changes for your personal life.

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”

    “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

    July 12, 2013
  12. Jill Clary Stevenson #

    I, too, am a voracious reader and have been since childhood. Several books come readily to mind. First is one I read in the sixth grade called “Celia Garth”. It was the first historical fiction novel I ever read and set me on a lifetime love affiar with the genre. You will not be surprised, therefore, to find “Gone with the Wind” also at the top of my lists. But, probably my all time favorite book is Larry McMurtry’s beautiful, western epic “Lonesome Dove”.

    July 12, 2013
  13. Sorry, Can’t be done. Cannot chose between “Moby Dick” – Melville; “Lord Of The Rings” – Tolkien; “The Savage Detectives” – Roberto Bolano (Trans- Natasha Wimmer); and if 500-1500 page books are not your style; “Huck Finn” – Twain.

    However more than any of those I would suggest reading “Where The Heart Beats” – “John Cage, Zen Buddhism and the Inner Life of Artists”” by Kay Larson.
    I finished it last month and it has driven me to start reading Cage’s “Silence” and “An Introduction To Zen Buddhism” by D.T. Suzuki.

    July 12, 2013
  14. Reblogged this on The Quotidian Hudson and commented:
    THought I would reblog “The Accidental Cootchie Mama” again because I like her question and could use some answers. My response was…
    “Sorry, Can’t be done. Cannot chose between “Moby Dick” – Melville; “Lord Of The Rings” – Tolkien; “The Savage Detectives” – Roberto Bolano (Trans- Natasha Wimmer); and if 500-1500 page books are not your style; “Huck Finn” – Twain.
    However more than any of those I would suggest reading “Where The Heart Beats” – “John Cage, Zen Buddhism and the Inner Life of Artists”” by Kay Larson.
    I finished it last month and it has driven me to start reading Cage’s “Silence” and “An Introduction To Zen Buddhism” by D.T. Suzuki.”

    July 12, 2013
  15. aboccucci #

    Gone With The Wind. I’ve read my copy so many times that I’ve lost the dust jacket over 10 years ago, the cover is barely hanging on, and the pages are soft and rounded on the edges and corners. 739 pages of total guilty pleasure. Also, I’m working my way back through the Harry Potter books to see just how soon I can introduce ML to them. Another long-time favorite that I’m looking forward to introducing my daughter to reading…C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, especially The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian.

    July 12, 2013
  16. As several have mentioned, I can’t pick a specific book and certain authors are must reads. But since I’m almost finished with 5667 pages on my iPad of John Jakes, The North and South Trilogy, I’ll tout it as the best bargain I’ve found for $12.99 and a darn fine read.

    July 12, 2013
  17. Good question! Too many to list. I feel most of the classics have been covered. My favorite in that department is Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca and my favorite new novel that I recently read is SImon Van Booy’s The Illusion of Separateness. If you don’t know of him, I recommend you remedy that right quick. His prose is poetry. And he recently remarried and the NY Times wrote a beautiful story about his romance with his wife. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/fashion/weddings/a-life-graced-with-love-letters-and-notes.html?ref=weddings&_r=0

    July 12, 2013
  18. My favorite experience reading a book ever is House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski. It’s a book inside a book inside a book about a movie and it’s a puzzle too, and a metaphor for the crazy thing you are reading. Amazing feat of writing and storytelling. But I tried recommending it to others, and most couldn’t handle it. Whenever I meet another House of Leaves person, I always know there is something special in them. In their brain. It’s a bond we have. Okay that sounds culty but you just have to read it to get it. And read the footnotes-epic fail if you don’t.

    HOWEVER, my favorite fiction book is probably Satanic Verses.Rushdie is my favorite author it seems. But I agree it’s hard to pick a favorite. A Thousand Splendid Suns. The Mezzanine. I have broad tastes…

    July 12, 2013
  19. The Color of Light by WIlliam Goldman. It should never be allowed to go out of print. People know him more for movie scripts: The Princess Bride, All the President’s Men, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man.

    People should know his books. I take my writing style from his approach: Make the reader think they know what will happen next and then twist the plot and play with their expectations. I love how he surprises. His book Adventures in the Screen Trade is also required reading for anyone who loves movies or contemplates writing screenplays.

    July 12, 2013
  20. It would have to be Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry: but most anything by McMurtry is great. Also for LOL: love everything by PJ O’Rourke, Carl Hiassen and Dave Barry. All of those authors are perfect for summer reads.

    July 12, 2013
  21. Stranger In A Strange Land – Robert A Heinlein

    Read it. If you grok it, you’ll understand why it’s my favorite.

    July 12, 2013
  22. A young girl, playing in the cool basement one hot summer day, my mother opened the cedar chest for some piece of something she was looking for. What I saw, however, for the very first time were my father’s books. I asked, he answered “you can read them, just take care of them”. I opened the chest, took out “Jane Eyre” and felt as if I had opened up a treasure chest. Still do. I have my dad’s books, still. Wish I had the cedar chest.

    July 12, 2013
  23. Wow, all of you are so high-brow. I feel like an imposter at the party. I have a lot of books I really like, but if I had to pick a favorite it would a close battle between The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. But I think Neverwhere would win out. Sorry, it is a modern book and normally not even considered “serious literature.” But it is a book I love and that is actually very deep. Lots and lots of levels.

    Any yes, I know the last time I recommended a Neil Gaiman book to you that you almost hit me with it. Sorry!

    July 12, 2013
    • I took your imposter feelings and commented about a videogame.

      July 12, 2013
  24. Have to go with “The Apostle” by Sholem Asch. Dusty, ol’, out-of-print (you can still get it at Amazon) book that I picked up in my mother’s “library” one day years ago…couldn’t put it down. The prose is kinda purple, but so was life in the time depicted.

    It’s a kind of a biography — in novel form — of Saint Paul, written by Sholem Asch. Asch was a Jewish guy who got into some trouble with Jewish religious authorities, because the portrait painted of a Jew gone Christian is quite sympathetic.

    In this regard, Sholem Asch’s life story is itself an interesting read. Here’s a link if anyone’s interested. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sholem_Asch

    The writing absolutely transports you back to the tale’s time, and the story is at once moving, tense, sorrowful and joyful. It’s a powerful read, and worth every second of it.

    Asch wrote others in the same vein (“Mary,” “The Nazarene,” “Moses,” “The Prophet”) and each of these is very well worth the couple bucks Amazon wants for it as well.

    Best,

    — x

    July 12, 2013
  25. As others have noted this is a very tough question. What I can tell you is a few of my favorite books from the past year or so: Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” for its chilling social perspective, Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” for its truth and humanity, and Egan’s “The Invisible Circus” for its powerful reminder about how the past guides us.

    July 12, 2013
  26. Ohh this is terribly difficult! I love so many, but if I had to choose a favorite, favorite it would be… The Secret Garden by Burnett. I’ve read it as a child, as a young adult and again in the last few years. Each time I find new nuances that give me some deeper understanding of Mary, Mary Quite Contrary.

    July 12, 2013
  27. I’m another in the “too many too list” but right now I am in love with the works of Haruki Murakami. I am working my way through all his novels and short stories that have been translated. His magical realism makes me happy. I just want to sink into his worlds.

    July 12, 2013
  28. ONE favourite? No can do. BUT I’ll give you a short list of books that if you haven’t read, I’ll shake my head and cluck my tongue at you in a most disapproving fashion.

    1. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury. I read it annually.
    2. Lord of the Flies – William Golding.
    3. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish – Dr. Seuss — perhaps the best drug-influenced book ever written. (ha) no, seriously, go back and read this
    4. Lamb, by Christopher Moore. EVERYONE of EVERY FAITH/no faith should read this — it will make you laugh and cry in equal amounts — Christopher Moore has been greatly influential on my writing.
    5. High Fidelity or About a Boy by Nick Hornby – or both. Both are hilarious, and I think that Mr. Hornby may have had his spies about my life and created a male version of me for High Fidelity.
    6. Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King – not the Stephen King novel most would recommend, but this one tore me apart with how good it was. Especially the first story, the Low Men in Yellow Coats.
    7. Blankets, by Craig Thompson — this is a graphic novel about a young man’s experience at church camp, and his first love, and his questioning of his beliefs. Also highly influential on my writing.
    8. The Ground Beneath Her Feet, by Salman Rushdie. Yeah, I went from a comic book to heavy literature — what can I say, I’m diverse, darling. Mr. Rushdie’s writing is so beautiful, I haven’t the words to describe it.
    9. Signal to Noise, by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean — this is a short graphic novel about a dying film-maker’s attempt at finishing his last film — a story about the end of the world that never was — at the end of the 19th century. It is so incredibly beautiful and poignant — both in text and in artwork – Dave McKean is an absolute genius artist, and it’s Neil Gaiman writing for adults, not fantasy or whatnot, which I think I caught that you despise. Please find this one if none of the others on this list — it is breathtaking.
    10. Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood. — I know, I know, I should say The Handmaid’s Tale, but everyone else will, so I’m being contrary. This is written in the style of Victorian literature, and is full of journal entries and letters, and is very well done. Once you’ve finished Handmaid’s Tale, check this one out next.

    Hope you and your readers enjoy some/all of these!

    July 12, 2013
    • Helena ~ since Andra cannot comment, I shall for I dig this list..so fab that you read Bradbury yearly. When the high schoolers come to the library asking for a classic, it is my ‘go-to’ book. I just loaned Lamb out via ILL and thought “hmmm, still need to read”. I have been tossing around the idea of reading “Blankets” for.ever. – gonna check used bookshop this weekend. Cheers ~ a

      July 13, 2013
  29. I can’t pick a single favorite, my two favorite authors are Robert Ludlum and P.D. James and their espionage thrillers and polite British murder mysteries are just amazing. When I start one, I simply have to read it all the way through in one sitting.

    July 12, 2013
  30. sugarbeechronicles #

    This is such a difficult question to answer, since I seem to categorize my favorite books by genre and author. Given that, and to make this simple, this summer “Tender is the Night” by F. Scott Fitzgerald ranks as Number One on my 2013 summer hit list! ~Susan :-)

    July 12, 2013
  31. Another Neil Gaiman fan here. :) I started The Ocean at the End of the Lane last night and can tell it will hold a high place on my favorite books list. It is a short 178 pages but filled with beautiful storytelling and his amazing imagination takes us to some pretty strange places hiding in our everyday lives.
    Lisa

    July 12, 2013
  32. The ‘Count of Monte Christo’ was indeed a good read (nearly 50 years ago, it still stands out.) I’m very much into non-fiction these past few decades, having noted Mark Twain’s ‘Life on the Mississippi’ in the aforementioned post, for vintage literature (sheer quality) Washington Irving’s ‘The Sketch Book’ are delightful observational essays on life, and for a modern eye opener on contemporary crime of vast scale, Jeremy Scahill’s ‘Dirty Wars’ lifts the wool from the eyes of the reader having to with the so-called ‘war on terror’ generating the very terror it purports to fight .. a ‘self-licking ice cream cone’ enriching corporate militia and self-promoting politicians via fear-mongering … for those who might be interested in a stark look at the facts of how pathological (and deeply sick) our leadership has become in relation to the world

    July 12, 2013
  33. Hands down “Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts. It’s a modern book and about 1,000 pages of a recount on Roberts life. He has one of those lives where you ask yourself “how does this much stuff happen to one person?” He is an escaped prisoner from Australia and makes home in Mumbai where lives in the slums at one point, then joins the mafia and he even fights in a civil war in the middle east. If you like traveling or have any interest in traveling to India, this is a must read!

    July 12, 2013
    • I agree. I absolutely loved this book. It brought me into the very core of Indian culture while paralleling both a sometimes dark and humourous storyline. I did not want it to end. Make sure to get the e-reader version – 1,000 pages weighs a lot:)

      July 12, 2013
  34. I love so many books, but at this moment I just finished reading The Bookman’s Tale which was fabulous. I have three that I am reading right now that are awesome. As a child my favorite book was A Wrinkle in Time and I still love it.

    July 12, 2013
    • I have The Bookman’s Tale on my “too read” list right now. Glad to hear the recommendation.

      July 12, 2013
  35. derb523622013 #

    I have a new favorite book every week, so I could never name all my favorites. Some books that stick out as exceptionally memorable are Expecting Adam by Martha Nibley Beck, a work of non-fiction which leaves you feeling that those things in life that are at first thought to be tragic are those same things that can truly be seen as a blessing, and also that intelligence that can be measured is not the best or the only intelligence valued in this life. The Tender Bar, a memoir by J.R. Moehringer, is another that gives you a sense of wanting to forget all your own petty complaints about your childhood, yet leaves you in awe that this young man turned out so well, and, The Art of Racing in The Rain, fiction by Garth Stein was one that will live in my heart forever as the one book that allowed me to release so much emotion at a time that I really needed to, with a lot of happy tears in the ending.

    July 12, 2013
  36. alice #

    Just one – no way! “The Count” would definitely be on my desert island list. Along with The entire three musketeers series, Proust’s “Recherche”, Dickens “Bleak House”, anything by Jane Austen, Dorothy Sayers, or P.D. James. And more recently “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” Muriel Barbery.

    July 12, 2013
  37. My favorite book has to be “Intensity” by Dean Koontz. All I can say about the book . . . If you are into this type of book, it won’t let you put it down until the very end.

    July 12, 2013
  38. Everyone: I am reading your comments today, but I am not responding. I have a swollen index finger, and I am getting ready to splint it up and rest it for the afternoon. Please know that I am reading, and I appreciate your lengthy and thoughtful responses so far. You’ve given me (and others, I’m sure) lots to add to our reading lists.

    I’m looking forward to spending the afternoon reading more of your responses. Please forgive me for not being as responsive as usual.

    July 12, 2013
    • Andra, not only have you replenished your reading list, but just as important (for your audience) you have stimulated good ideas. It’s such a pleasure reading everyone’s comments and ideas for books and how easy and complicated it is to narrow it down.

      Thanks for this! Much appreciated.

      July 12, 2013
  39. I get the feeling Im the only one here who doesnt read books, hehe.
    I have to say that by far I liked Andras description better, cause its personal, emotional and to the point.

    Since everybody is giving recommendations Im gonna say Umineko no Naku Koro ni, umineko=seacats? no, When the seagulls cry, talking about the next morning on an island “never to come”. Beyond the fantasy and mystery lies the story of a broken and murdered family, viewed from the eyes of the only one left alive many years in the future, trapped in her neverending grief.
    ah, just remembering made my cry a little, I probably thought of writing for the first time after I read it.
    Its been translated in english, if anybody would like to.

    July 12, 2013
    • Again, cheat! Cheat! Cheat! ;) But then again, to each their own.

      July 12, 2013
      • mwahaha again.

        July 12, 2013
  40. My favorite is actually three books: The Lord of the Rings. I love them, because they’re stories of adventure, reluctant heroes, overwhelming odds, etc. Tolkien has such gorgeous imagery. I’ve read these books countless times and cry and laugh in the same spots.

    July 12, 2013
  41. Besides Shantaram another favourite is Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo. It’s a historical fiction novel of Lewis and Clark expedition and their Shoshone woman Indian guide.

    July 12, 2013
  42. Grapes of Wrath

    Read it to the last page and then turned back to page one and read it again and then ditto a third time

    Injustice, family, and I loved those newspaper-like interludes (I think they were from his original notes) and then that final scene that I just know he stumbled into and then knew it was the perfect ending!

    July 12, 2013
  43. At the moment ‘Dark Clouds Rising’ by Frances Gibbs on amazon.co.uk free p&p. It has been doing really well at the moment. A very easy enjoyable read, full of mystery, charm and adventure.

    July 12, 2013
  44. The Bible..

    July 12, 2013
  45. I’m trying to visualize my bookcase right now. While I think I can pare it down to one, it’s not without some consideration. If I were to look at it from an non-philosophical point of view, I’d say Night by Elie Wiesel would be a great recommendation.

    July 12, 2013
  46. Difficult Andra – I love Lawrence Norfolk’s work, Joyce and Yeats, but if I had to pick one probably Crime and Punishment – if there is a better exposition of human frailty than Raskolnikov then I have yet to read it. Have a great weekend!

    July 12, 2013
  47. “Hop on Pop”. Gripping. A real page turner.

    July 12, 2013
  48. I can’t answer the question because it depends on my mood. However, I am now adding Count of Monte Cristo to my reading list, as I haven’t read it before.

    July 12, 2013
  49. Oh, my goodness, what have you unleashed? I see here the names of books I’ve read, the names of books I’ve meant to read, and the names of books I’ve never even heard about! :)

    I don’t recall being read to very often as a child, but I’ve been reading since I learned how, commencing, I seem to recall, with short stories and articles in such magazines as Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Look, Life, Ladies Home Journal, The Saturday Evening Post, some or all of which arrived in our family’s mailbox with faithful regularity throughout my childhood; and progressing on to school and then the broader choices offered by community libraries.

    Suffice to say that whatever I may be reading at any one time is my current “favorite” and, if it is not a favorite I may simply choose to put it down and move on — so many books, so little time. :) So, when I commenced trying to remember only one favorite, I could not! For fun, however, I looked at a couple of lists of best sellers for just two decades of my life – the 60’s and 70’s – and can positively recall reading nearly 1/3 of the 191 named books. Over the years I have favored authors such as Herman Wouk, Morris West (The Shoes of the Fisherman), Irwin Shaw, Leon Uris (Exodus, Trinity), James Michener (Hawaii, The Source, etc.), Thomas Costain (The Silver Chalice), Helen MacInnes, Agatha Christie, Allen Drury, Daphne DuMaurier, Ken Follett, Robert Ludlum, Frederick Forsyth. Sprinkle in a bit of Stephen King, John Grisham, James Patterson (Alex Cross books), Patricia Cornwell . . . Are you tired yet?

    Two well-known favorites stand out in my memory: Gone With the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Finally, your post caused me to go to one of my several bookshelves and pull out a small book which I read years ago, and have moved from pillar to post for more than 20 years because I have always intended to re-read it. It’s moving to the top of my to-read stack today! Windbreak (A Woman Rancher on the Northern Plains) by Linda Hasselstrom, copyright 1987: The book represents one year of life on a ranch in South Dakota, written in the form of a personal diary or ledger. As I recall, it made me laugh and it made me cry; a perfect combination. “A windbreak is a precious thing. It is a promise in fall, a lifesaver and a place of warmth in winter, a sign of hope in spring, and a place of loveliness in the dry heat of summer. We all need a windbreak.”

    July 12, 2013
  50. Most recent favorite is The Way the Crow Flies, by Ann-Marie MacDonald. I love the layers of story, the way I’m pulled into every one of them, and the fact that’s it’s honest-to-god good lesbian fiction that doesn’t make me want to date men in protest.

    July 12, 2013
  51. I had to walk away from here earlier this evening, as I was more aggravated than I am able to POLITELY put into print. I had written a verrrry lengthy response to your post and when I clicked “Post Comment” the entire thing disappeared into thin air. Gremlins at FB or WordPress? Not a clue, but Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

    July 12, 2013
    • Ahhhhh, I see that my first post was somehow “resurrected.” Wonder where it went, initially? In any event, I’m less aggravated now. Hope your finger is better??

      July 14, 2013
  52. Oh, by the way….hope whatever is wrong with that index finger will right itself quickly!

    July 12, 2013
  53. ThatLittleWhiteDress #

    My favorites are “Of Mice and Men” and Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four”- such a haunting novel! :)

    July 12, 2013
  54. Definitely “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. A tale simply and beautifully told, with compelling characters and marvelous moral complexity.

    Thanks for the recommendation of “The Count of Monte Cristo.” I listen to audiobooks at night before I sleep. I’ll check this one out.

    July 12, 2013
  55. Oh so many from simple childhood books to Kafka and more. Books are a blessing for escapism or knowledge, and merely by having the freedom to choose what we read is a gift I treasure.

    July 12, 2013
  56. terribly hard to say, Andra…depends on the mood – the genre- the decade! Thank you for this post, though, have added several peeps to my follow list based on their response. Instead of a book, I shall say that a press in which I find many treasures, New Directions – do a little happy dance when I find a good condition issue that is older at the used bookshop! (hope your finger gets better) ~ a

    July 13, 2013
  57. I was very taken by ‘the book thief’ though I know it originally intended for a young adult audience. Left me haunted -

    July 13, 2013
  58. Long before the musical Les Mis, which I have seen at least a dozen times, I was in love with the novel Les Miserables. I loved it so much I tried to read it in French at one point–a really ridiculous endeavor, but I couldn’t get enough. I also love Tale of Two Cities, with almost the same level of commitment. The French Revolution is central to both as period, but what captures my spirit in both are the religious themes that run deeply through both. Hugo and Dickens both were masterful in telling the stories and infusing them with religious symbolism I find meaningful and captivating.

    I read Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings book “Cross Creek” every few years simply because I adore the way she writes about the love of her land, her very unique independence and perspectives. She is a fascinating woman.

    I could go on and on…I have a trouble defining a favorite. There are so many! :-) And I love “The Count,” too. I have an old collection of all the works of Dumas I really prize. I admit I haven’t read very many of the novels, however.

    July 13, 2013
  59. Ugh…just one?!? :(
    Erm……ahem…uh…..
    I can’t choose!
    I could tell you that for someone that loves Stephen King, I was terrified of reading Paulo Coelho’s book Brida! Which is totally weird. BUT …it was kinda like meeting me. Not knowing my path, knowing yet unsure…it was scary!

    I love Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Ms Maple books, and Paulo Coelho (though with his books I can only read them “when the time is right”. Otherwise they sit pretty in my shelf unread), of course Stephen King…Insomnia was awesome as was Under the Dome. I just love how he takes a “normal” person and shows us the dark side of us.

    July 13, 2013
  60. Lucie Mitchell #

    As most responders, too many to list. I do have a favorite story, Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”. Sad and poignant.

    July 13, 2013
  61. Thank-you for sharing your book choice with us. I do love books. My fave is “Surfacing” by Margaret Atwood. I savor her words, the way they rest in my mind, the small subtleties of the way she writes. I recommend it highly! Now, I am also recommending that you have a great day!!

    July 13, 2013
  62. Favorite, gosh. That’s tough. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is pretty great. And I love Gatsby. But I also have a lot of more pedestrian likes, such as Cutting For Stone by Abraham Varghese and The Eight by Katherine Neville… The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was amazing non-fiction, and The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach was great fun.

    July 13, 2013
  63. “Ghost Cadet,” a book I read in fourth grade, remains one of my favorites, since it ignited my love of the Civil War and all things history. “The Great Gatsby” is my all time favorite and has been since high school. I wrote my thesis for my AP English class on “The Great Gatsby,” “Tender is the Night,” and “This Side of Paradise.” Now that I’m older, they have an inherant sadness about them that makes them hit so much deeper than they did when I was in high school.

    July 13, 2013
  64. It’s called ‘Kith’. And it’s subtitled The Riddle Of The Childscape. It’s by Jay Griffiths, and it’s about why children these days need their kith – their surrounding landscape – every bit as much as their kin.

    July 14, 2013
  65. I recently read two Stephen Fry books and I enjoyed them both. They are The Star’s tennis balls (which has similarities in plot with Count Monte Christo) and Making History (Which is a “What if there was no Hitler” almost sci-fi book) My favourite writters, that I have enjoyed most of their writings are John Stainbeck, Graham Greene, Hainrich Bell (Boll), Stratis Mirivilis, and many more, too much to mention! Since it is summer time and lighter reading is more suitable, I would suggest reading the fun sci-fi The hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy by Douglas Adams, if you haven’t read it already!

    July 14, 2013
  66. So hard to choose! It comes down to ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Gone With the Wind’, but I could list several more.

    July 15, 2013
  67. Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure. Such a sad tale.

    July 16, 2013
  68. One of my favorites:

    The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer.

    July 17, 2013
  69. The Overcoat by Gogol. So sweet and sad. But overall, it has to be Madame Bovary. Funny, sad, sweet, scary and very, very well written.

    July 17, 2013
  70. I have The Count of Monte Cristo on my Kobo waiting to be read. I am even more excited to read it now!

    July 17, 2013

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