Favorite Books

I love books. I mean, really really love books. I love to buy them, read them, stack them up, look at them, touch them, smell them. I love uncoated natural paper (that slightly toothy, slightly gray paper) in the small size soft-covers, particularly if it's been read a lot with a broken spine and the edges of the pages soft as they begin to have small fibers open up...

So, here are my favorite books in no apparent order:

The Awakening by Kate Chopin - graceful writing, emotional depth, melancholy. Probably my all-time favorite book. Perfect writing and an intimate story.

Martian Chronciles by Ray Bradbury
- just as prescient today as it was when it was first written. Evocative, beautiful, haunting.

Enders Game by Orson Scott Card
- despite my disavowal of much of his personal politics, this is still one of the most emotionally riveting stories about pre-adolescence. What makes this novel great was lost in its sequels, but if you view it as a stand-alone, it's one of the greatest books written. I've never seen the movie, and never will, so don't ask.

Lila by Marilynne Robinson
- this is the novel that made me believe that a contemporary writer could achieve the same timeless-ness of the so-called classics. Her use of the English language is sublime and subtle , graceful and moving, simple and pure. The story is beyond lovely and moving and melancholy and...there are no words that does this novel justice. It is a perfect novel in that the writing and the story come together in such absolute harmony that they are inseparable from each other and truly perfect.

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
- the most perfect book about a teenager ever. It's also the most perfect book about realizing that everything we thought was the fault of a world that doesn't get us, is actually our fault and we missed so many opportunities to connect. This book changed my life.

The Wind-Up Bird Chroncile by Haruki Murakami
- All his books are worth reading as he is a master at existential plots and complex emotional states. However, this book rises above in the weight of balancing multiple times, plots, and out-of-body experiences. There is no way to describe what happens because the book is probably more about what you experience reading it. It will stay with you forever, and even in translation, Murakami's command of language comes through strongly. It is haunting, disturbing, hopeful, heartbreaking, enlightening and more. (See my ranking of his novels here)

Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuinn - beautiful language and writing mixed with a story of infinite depth. This is not a fantasy novel, but a work about the fragility of each individual human. The character and world depth are amazing, but there's something more, something ineffable about these stories that it's hard to put a finger on.

Dragonsong by Anne McCaffery - the three books in her "Harper's Hall Trilogy" are must-reads, particularly for young adolescent girls. Chronically underrated and under-recognized.  She is a world-builder of epic proportion but here comes down to the most enchanting coming of age story ever written.

Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov - my favorite of all his works in that it combines a sense of simple humanity in the guise of a noir-ish detective story in the future worlds that he can effortlessly build. This is a human story told with androids. It is intimate, thoughtful, but also fun in the way only a detective story can be. It's the 1920s set thousands of years in the future!

I'm sure I'll keep adding to this page, so I'll put a post up anytime I do. Happy reading!


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