I’ve updated my list of recommendations. New additions are in bold.

  • Classic that won’t take 3 years to read: The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orzcy
  • Classic that might take you 3 years to read: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Fiction you can analyze to death: Watership Down by Richard Adams (but it really is just about rabbits)
  • Everyone should probably read: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  • Children’s to make you swear never to have kids: The Wouldbegoods by E. Nesbit (obviously it didn’t work for me)
  • Non-fiction you can use for trivia: The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker
  • Children’s read-aloud: A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
  • Great audiobook: Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
  • Excessively surreal and obscure: Under Plum Lake by Lionel Davidson
  • One of the only WWII books I’ve enjoyed: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • One of my favorites: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • YA fiction to make you appreciate teenage hormones: Angus, Thongs, and Full-frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
  • YA fantasy: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  • YA fantasy: Sabriel by Garth Nix
  • After you read Hamlet again: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
  • Underappreciated classic: Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
  • Complete emotional drain: Song for the Basilisk by Patricia McKillip
  • When you want to feel confused and not yourself: The Stranger by Albert Camus
  • Bestseller: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (recommended with hesitation)
  • Science fiction, I suppose: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • If you’ve never read C.S. Lewis: The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
  • One of my other favorites: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (recommended with caution: vulgar language)
  • Picture book: Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport by Marjorie Sharmat
  • On a grouchy day: Judy Moody by Megan McDonald
  • Movie adaptation: K-PAX by Gene Brewer (it’s ok to see the movie first)
  • Because I don’t know what genre you like: Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann
  • And one for good measure: A City in Winter by Mark Helprin

Also, I really want to read this book – Shackleton’s Last Voyage. I heard someone quote from it in a talk…six or seven years ago. I’ve been trying to get a copy ever since, but it looks like there was only one printing and copies easily sell for $200+. I saw one that went for $3,000. Imagine my luck, though, when I found an electronic edition yesterday! I still have a dream of owning a real copy someday. Check it out:


Be opinionated! We certainly are.

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