This is something I did for Facebook. Keeping it here for posterity.
Not necessarily favorites, just the first 10 books I remembered that I loved.
1. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
An easy pick for favorite book of all time, although I recall not liking it the first time I read it in high school. The plotting just amazes me – how you start off with three different and unrelated stories and how eventually they are all woven together so tightly. I haven’t read it in a while, but I have three different editions of it.
2. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers
Despite not having lost a parent or having to raise a little brother, I connected with this in a way I really haven’t with anything else. I think it was the dry humor as defense mechanism through tragedy. One of the few books to make have feels.
3. The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon
Another epic one in terms of structure. The way each section ends with a cliffhanger and picks up months or years later, pretty sweet. It also managers to have a nice connection to comics without nerding it up too much.
4. We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
Taking something so harrowing – high school violence – and approach it from an interesting place – the mother of the perpetrator made for a book that stuck with me long after the first time i read it. It’s not a feel good book, but it did make me contemplate some interesting things – forgiveness, culpability, how to process pain.
5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime – Mark Haddon
Tore through it. Another book that starts off as one thing, but becomes completely something else by the end of it. Don’t really want to spoil by even being too specific about that.
6. Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs – Chuck Klosterman
The essay blaming the downfall of man’s ability to be romantic on John Cusack was when I was sold completely. Klosterman is always a fun read, and has an interesting way of looking at things, but this first collection will always be my favorite.
7. First They Killed My Father – Luong Ung
When I went to Cambodia, I was kind of pissed at my education for glossing over the genocide there which happened in my lifetime. I poured myself deep into learning more about it while I was there – watching the Killing Fields, visiting the killing fields, talking to my guest house owners about their experiences, and I read a few books, but this was the one that hit me, a personal account from a woman torn from her family and smuggled off to america and her eventual reunion with her sister she left behind decades before.
8. The Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
No, I’m not a serial killer. And while I loved this tale of teen angst, I have vowed not to read it again, because i think the joy of appreciating comes from looking on it with more innocent eyes. I’m wary my adult self might think Holden is a whiny little bitch. But I can still say i love it.
9. Boy A – Jonathan Trigell
Another look at violence (kid on kid) from a different perspective: the young adult paroled out of the system dealing with his actions as a ten-year-old murderer.
10. Live From New York – Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller
See, I’m not all morbiddy. This look behind Saturday Night Live covering it’s (at the time 30 years, I think) history is often hilarious, completely nostalgic for anyone that grew up with the show, and also fascinating to see how that comedy sausage is made. Would love to see an update through the Fey and Meyers regimes.