Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Dad's Book List

Anyone who knows my Dad, knows that you will rarely see him without a book in his hand (usually with a coffee in the other). My Dad, the teacher/librarian, has probably read as many books as anyone I have every met so I bugged him to give me his top 25 books of all time; the must reads.
Here is the list. Of course my Dad managed to squeeze in about 50 books, but I hope to eventually get through them all.

Jim’s Best Books: 33 for the “Deserted Island” Bookcase!

Here’s Dad's list, with some notations.

First, I love a good Dystopian or Anti-Utopian Novel. For the healthy cynics;
1) Jose Saramago - Blindness
2) 1984 -George Orwell (Burmese Days is a great Orwell nonfiction.)
3) Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451
4) Margaret Atwood - Handmaid’s Tale
5) Cormac McCarthy - The Road (also All the Pretty Horses and No Country for Old Men)

I also love antiwar and social justice novels;
6) Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse Five (or any of his other books)
7) William Styron - Sophie’s Choice (Confessions of Nat Turner is also great!)
8) Joseph Heller - Catch 22
9) Erich Maria Remarque - All Quiet on the Western Front
10) Pat Barker - Regeneration (Part of a trilogy, Eye in the Door and Ghost Road)
11) Elie Weisel - Night (also Dawn and Day)
12) Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
13) Ernest J. Gaines - Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman

I love banned books. It’s the highest form of literary flattery;
14) Mark Twain - The Adventures of Huck Finn
15) Richard Wright - Native Son (also The Outsider)
16) John Steinbeck - Of Mice and Men (or Grapes of Wrath or East of Eden)
17) J.D. Salinger - Catcher in the Rye
18) D.H. Lawrence - Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Just like in films, I love quirky, unique characters with a message or an edge;
19) Roddy Doyle - Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha (any of the Barrytown Trilogy are fun;
The Commitments, Van, or Snapper)
20) Ken Kesey - One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
21) Alan Sillitoe - The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
22) Edith Wharton - Ethan Fromme
23) John Irving - The Cider House Rules and/or A Prayer for Owen Meaney
24) Ernest Hemingway - The Old Man and the Sea (The Nick Adam’s Stories are great too)
25) Bernard Malamud - The Fixer (The Natural is good too)
26) Kuzuo Ishiguro - The Remains of the Day
27) Graham Greene - The Power and the Glory
28) Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
29) Chang Rae Lee - A Gesture Life
30) Alastair MavLeod - No Great Mischief Elephants
31) Michael Cunningham - The Hours
32) Michael Ondaatje - In the Skin of the Lion
33) Jane Urquhart - Away Kindness)

NOTE: Some current books that might last
i) Sara Gruen - Water for Elephants
ii) Lawrence Hill - Book of Negroes
iii) Mariam Toews - A Complicated Kindness

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