Skip navigation

So Anners tagged me a while back and asked me to list 10 of my favorite books.  I didn’t think I could pull together a list of 10, beacuse in all truthfulness there are tons of books I haven’t gotten around to reading yet.  I tried to read Crime And Punishment once, but I never got through it.  I keep telling myself that I just got a bad translation.  And I guess I’m grounded and self-actualized to tell you this, but there are quite a few books that I just didn’t understand.  As I Lay Dying?  Didn’t get it.  Beloved?  That shit went so far over my head I thought it was a piece of Skylab.  Don’t get me started on Hemingway.

Anyway, here’s my list.  Enjoy.

Roots – This is probably my favorite book.  Even though Alex Haley got sued for copyright violation.  D’oh!  The mini-series came out when I was in second grade, and I was probably the only person on the planet who didn’t watch (I saw the commercials and the scenes of the slaves being whipped upset me a lot).  I didn’t read the book until years later, but it was worth the wait.

A Tree Grows In BrooklynPoor Francie Nolan and her drunk-ass Papa!  Living in Williamsburg at the turn of the 20th century was no piece of cake, but the book is surprisingly uplifting and good enough to re-read a hundred times.  The movie was OK, but read the book first.  (P.S.  I wonder what Francie would think of Williamsburg c. 2008?)

A Wrinkle In Time – Who doesn’t love this book?  The other two of the series (A Wind In The Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet) are also pretty awesome, but this one is the bestest.  Actually, I think she might have written another one after I grew up.  Anyone?

The Alienist/Angel Of Darkness – Yes, OK, I know.  It’s two books.  But they rock.  If you like crime novels, thrillers and historical fiction you’ll love these two books.  They take place…right around the same time Francie Nolan was hanging out in Williamsburg.  These take place in Manhattan though.  And like A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, they’re extra fun for New Yorkers because we can imagine how the neighborhoods have changed over the years.

Growing Up – I first read this book when I was a sophomore in high school.  I had to choose a biography for a report for English.  This, Russell Baker’s autobiography, had been on the bestseller list for weeks, so I figured it could only be so bad.  It turned out to be one of the best books I ever read.  (Russell Baker used to write a column in the New York Times.)

Parzival – OK, I’m a total dork for liking this book.  I’m a dork for liking any book about King Arthur.  What can I tell you?  I like this book.

East Of Eden – Literary types will tell you that this book is crap, as far as Steinbeck goes.  But what do literary types know?  They probably like Faulkner and Toni Morrison too.

King Lear – I’m tempted to put Hamlet on the list, but I’m afraid that one has reached the point of diminishing returns for me.  Gwyneth Paltrow better not ruin the movie version (but she will).  BTW, have you seen this?  Patrick Stewart baby!

Foucault’s Pendulum – I won’t lie, this was a difficult read.  Thankfully after a chapter or two I realized that it wasn’t my stupidity (this time).  It was translated from Italian.  I’m still not sure what Foucault’s Pendulum is exactly.  The book is about a bunch of conspiracy theorists and three eggheads that make poke fun at their craziness.  Bad things happen.


Honorable mentions:

Forever and Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself.  If it wasn’t for Judy Blume I wouldn’t know anything about sex.  Damned Catholic upbringing.

Anything by Agatha Christie, even though some of her stuff is kinda racist by modern standards.

Pet Sematary.  I’ve been over Stephen King for ages, but this was his best work.  I was a senior in high school when I read it and I was still scared to go to sleep for days.

Autobiography Of Malcolm X.  I realize that Malcolm X was a terribly flawed character, but he was a fascinating subject anyway.  And I like Alex Haley.

(Anners!  This was hard!!!!)




  1. What a great list. Every time I try to come up with a list such as this I have to stop because I have such a hard time. There are so many books out there that have gone over my head or that just didn’t get the way that other people did. There are also a few books that I find myself ashamed to tell people that I’ve read but that I’ve really enjoyed and have had an impact in one way or another.

  2. I loved Roots too! It’s one of the first books that I’ve read about slavery in America. It definitely taught me a lot about history, although we’re not sure if it’s completely accurate or not but kudos to Haley for writing such an excellent book.

    I’ve also just finished A Wrinkle in Time. Unfortunately, I did not love it like you did…but I’ll try L’Engle’s other books. Hopefully I’ll like them better than Wrinkle. 🙂

  3. This is awesome, and I want to try Foucault’s Pendulum again after reading it. I have Roots and X in the waiting-to-be-read/reread lineup right now, as a matter of fact — I read the autobiography when I was 14, so I think it’s quite possible I missed a lot.

    Ahh, Wrinkle in Time… I reread that every few years and it never disappoints. Same with Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which almost made my list too. All in all, Wanda, you have excellent taste!

  4. You have a list Tigereye? Where have I been?

    Josette, maybe you have to read A Wrinkle in Time as a kid to really appreciate it? Thanks for stopping by.

    Hi Bibliomom! Long time no see!

  5. I’m with you. A lot of the books, others rave about, leave me out of the loop. Looks like a great list.

  6. Roots. I had that once but the book is gone now. Never got to reading it.

    I’m with you on Beloved, eek. Just gave me a headache.

    Everyone’s lists include a lot of books I haven’t read. Now I have a huge list of books I should read.

  7. I’m with you, Wanda. There are tons of books I haven’t read and should get to. Perhaps I will get to some of them, if I can find them at a used book store or at Goodwill. I’ve pretty much stopped buying books. They’re just way too expensive.

  8. ^ has good used books. As does Barnes and Noble.

  9. Great list Wanda!

    I had a fascination for Arthurian legend once upon a time. And I love King Lear as well.

    Sadly Gwynnie is going to ruin the movie. Every time I think about her all I can visualise is that ugly pink prom dress and her snotful, sobbing acceptance gasps at the Oscars.

    The fellow who wrote Foucault’s Pendulum (Umberto Eco??), didn’t he write The Name of the Rose as well? I tried Foucault’s Pendulum but I couldn’t read it.

    I’m with Jennifer. Now I’ve got a list of books I want to read that’s as long as my arm

  10. Yes Joders, Umberto Eco wrote Foucault’s Pendulum. It was a difficult read, but it gets easier as you go along. The problem was that he put in a lot of math and science theory, but you can skip over a lot of it.

    Yeah, Gwyn is a piece of work, isn’t she?

    • Anners Scribonia Caesar
    • Posted October 16, 2008 at 1:45 am
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    I’m sorry, Wanda! I didn’t mean for this list to be hard! Yours is awesome, though.

    I’m down with Judy Blume.

    King Arthur books are wonderful things. I have a book all about Guinevere…

  11. I’m a freak for an Arthurian legend story, by the way. Try the Gillian Bradshaw trilogy if you can track it down… That one, and Sword at Sunset, and the Steinbeck version of Malory, and, well, look how you got me started…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: