Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Favorite Books

This morning on MPR's Midmorning program, there was a discussion about who various writers would include in their top ten greatest literary works of all time. J. Peder Zane has compiled a book called "The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books." According to the conversation, when writers were approached to pick their top ten, they were first asked to define what made a great literary work. One of the guests said that a work was great to him if it was something he himself couldn't write, but wished to. That's a pretty good definition. Someone else said that a great book was one that really struck you at exactly the right time in your life, something formative. I'd also say unforgettable, or something that makes you think in ways you hadn't before. Of course, when listening to such a discussion, the mind wanders to what you might pick for your top ten. And you know very well that I'm going to have to share my top ten. Most of these books came immediately to mind, a couple I had to really think about. These are not in any particular order.

Shop Girl by Steve Martin
My Lord Bag of Rice by Carol Bly
Anne of Green Gables (the first in the series) by L. M. Montgomery
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Lamb by Christopher Moore
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Charley by Joan Robinson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

That's my top ten, and most of them will remain on my list for a long time because I read a bunch of them when I was a kid and they've stuck with me all this time. So, what books would you include in your top ten?

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