Friday List Blog: 10 Books That Have Never Left You (and What Are Your 10?)

For my Friday List Blog, which has been woefully ignored lately, I thought I’d share a few favorites, and ask that you share yours in return.

This list tag has been making the rounds on the Internet lately: without thinking too hard, make a list of 10 books that have stayed with me in some way after reading them. I admit this one’s a lot harder than I first thought. I have well over a hundred favorite books, but to come up with ones that have stuck with me, gnawed at me, hell, even haunted my dreams, that’s a bit of a daunting task.

Nonetheless, I took the challenge. Some are classics. Others cater to my interests and obsessions. All are books I’ll likely read again. Well, except maybe Moby-Dick.

Here’s my challenge to you, dear reader: what’s your list of 10 Books? Is it an easy list to compile, or do you have to put a lot of thought into it? Feel free to post your list below, or post yours in a blog post of your own. If you post on your blog, please post the link in the comments below so we can follow you to your blog. Seems fair, right?

So, without further ado, my list (in no particular order)

  1. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – Stephen King
  2. A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories – Flannery O’Connor
  3. The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  4. Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami
  5. Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon
  6. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism – Naomi Klein
  7. The Stranger – Albert Camus
  8. Dune – Frank Herbert
  9. Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever – Will Hermes
  10. Moby-Dick; or The Whale – Herman Melville

9 thoughts on “Friday List Blog: 10 Books That Have Never Left You (and What Are Your 10?)

  1. I like your list! I had “On Writing” too, but then I had “The Plague” by Camus and…um, thinking…To Kill a Mockingbird, The Stand, Flowers for Algernon, Watership Down and I can’t remember the others right off 🙂

  2. Interesting list. I’ve only actually read 2 titles on it, but I’m pretty sure the Stranger was assigned (although, um, I didn’t read it) in one course or another that I took in college, and I tried (again) to read Moby Dick last summer. I had as much success this past summer as I had when the book was originally assigned in my Am Lit class fifteen years ago. Ah, well. Maybe I’ll give it a go in another 15 years. I’m going to mix up some short stories on my list.

    1. Infinite Jest David Foster Wallace
    2. “Cathedral” Raymond Carver
    3. A Confederacy of Dunces John Kennedy Toole
    4.The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway
    5. Catch-22 Joseph Heller
    6. The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood
    7. Bad Behavior Mary Gaitskill
    8. “Why I Live at the PO” Eudora Welty
    9. When I Was Puerto Rican Esmerelda Santiago (this is a memoir)
    10. “How to Become a Writer” Lorrie Moore

    A few non fiction titles (all science-y stuff): EO Wilson’s Sociobiology, Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, Steel and Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man

  3. I just re-read The Stranger – I found it less bleak and nihilistic, and really just a fascinating examination of a man who never found a purpose or place in life – and when I decided to tackle Moby-Dick a couple of summers ago, I was struck by how the last 200 pages or so were so fast-paced. Yeah, it’s wordy to the point of irritation, but it rewards the reader’s patience.

    I was going to cheat and make this a Top 15 list, and add Cathedral, A Confederacy of Dunces, and The Handmaid’s Tale. Those three would make my all-time Top 20.

  4. It has taken me a few days to process this request, top ten is probably a shifting selection of a top 50, that changes as the reader changes and new works are added. At the moment this is my list:

    My Antonia – Willa Cather
    Burmese Days _ George Orwell
    Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami
    No Great Mischief – Alistair MacLeod
    In the Skin of a Lion – Michael Ondaatje
    Out Stealing Horses – Per Petterson
    Where I’m Calling From – Raymond Carver
    The Spire – William Golding
    Train to Pakistan – Khushwant Singh
    The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness – Karen Armstrong

    • That’s an incredibly eclectic list. I love that you have Raymond Carver listed. Alistair McLeod’s a name I haven’t seen in ages; I remember reading “Ice Station Zebra” when I was a kid. I probably should read more Michael Ondaatje, other than “The English Patient,” which me and everyone else has read.

      • Thanks but you are thinking of Alistair Maclean. Alistair Macleod was a Canadian author, mostly of short stories. This was his only novel and it won an Impac Dublin award. It is a novel that took him 15 years to write, the story of a Scottish clan that migrated to Canada and the fallout in subsequent generations. If you like Carver you will appreciate that there is not one word out of place.

        I remember reading Alistair Maclean as a kid too. Helen MacInnes too who was similar, my mom would pick up the books at second hand shops and I would read them too. I recently bought a re-issued Helen MacInnes out of nostalgia but I was overwhelmed by the flood of adjectives and adverbs. It is funny how one’s taste matures.

  5. Hello,

    I just unexpectedly came across this post while browsing the net to research some other topic …and couldn’t resist commenting on it.

    Actually I LOVE to read … mostly fiction, as it’s a source of immense happiness for me 🙂

    Moreover,  I have about countless favourite books that I have re-read several times, and so to limit myself to listing ten would be a very daunting task.

    However, there is one that I would like to mention: 

    “Anne Of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery.  

    I guess it might strike most people as a somewhat juvenile book to select for this post, but I can’t help loving and reading it again and again. 

    “Anne” is one of my favourite characters in fiction, and I have always been inspired by her optimism, humour and compassion. 

    So “Anne” has always been, and will always be, my companion in life, as I always try to incorporate several of her personality traits in my own self…!

    In fact, I have re-read the entire series, the last of which is, I think “Rainbow Valley”, several times, and have learned a lot from “Anne” in her journey from  childhood to becoming an inspiring and beloved adult …at least to me…!

    Anyway, thanks a lot for providing this interesting blog …and now that I have found it, I will try my best to read other posts as well.

    Ramla Zareen

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