Friday, November 14, 2008

Forty Favorite Fiction

I meant to post my list of favorite fiction over a year ago when I first posted my top five and next five favorites (books marked with an asterisk below). I may not be timely, but I usually get around to things at some point. Today is that moment for my Forty Favorite Fiction list.

It is an eclectic list and somewhat arbitrary, not meant (obviously) to be a 'greatest fiction of all time' list, but merely what books have sparked something inside of me as I was reading. Some of them entertained me, some informed me, some warned me, some allowed me to experience a new world. I am sure that I have forgotten several great titles that I haven't read recently. A few of the books on my list are childhood favorites, or books that would have been childhood favorites had I read them before adulthood.

Forty Favorite Fiction

1. Adams, Richard. Watership Down. So much more than a book about rabbits, I was blown away by this story of exemplary leadership. Excellent reading for older children or adults.

2. Alcott, Louisa May. Eight Cousins. I adore this book and cannot wait to read it with Levi this next year!

3. Blackmore, R. D. Lorna Doone

4. Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451.

5. Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre.

6. Bunyan, John. Pilgrim’s Progress.

7. Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game. This book was completely out of my normal reading zone, but I thought it, also, was an excellent book on leadership.

8. Christie, Agatha. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

9. Clancy, Tom. (I can’t seem to decide which book to choose.) Is it a mortal sin to put Tom Clancy on a list with C. S. Lewis, John Bunyan, and Harriet Beecher Stowe? Well, since it is my list…. I haven’t read another modern author who is able to create an intricate plot as well as Tom Clancy (which is possibly not saying much, considering I’m not entirely fond of modern authors). His books are almost as satisfying (and arguably more relevant in today’s society) as The Count of Monte Cristo—which is saying a lot. Once I am in a few chapters, I cannot put the book down.

10. Collins, Wilkie. The Moonstone (or The Woman in White). The Moonstone is a terrific blend of mystery, humor, character personality, and Gothic atmosphere. A classic that happens to be a great choice if you are looking for something highly entertaining.

11. Costain, Thomas B. The Silver Chalice.

12. Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe

13. DeJong, Meindert. The House of Sixty Fathers.

*14. Dickens, Charles. David Copperfield. Or A Tale of Two Cities. Must I choose?

15. Douglas, Lloyd. The Robe.

*16. Dumas, Alexandre. The Count of Monte Cristo. This is no light-weight book at 1243 pages, but it is (and will likely remain) my favorite book of all time. I first read it over 15 years ago and have read it several times since. Do not miss this one (and read the unabridged me).

17. Gaskell, Elizabeth. Ruth (North and South, Wives and Daughters)

18. Goudge, Elizabeth. The Dean’s Watch.

19. Grahame, Kenneth. The Wind in the Willows.

20. Holme, Ann. I Am David. This book is a vivid memory from my childhood reading.

*21. Hugo, Victor. Les Miserables.

22. Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World.

23. Konigsburg, E. L. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

*24. Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. As Sherry at Semicolon says, “Great book.. Great movie, but even better book. Lots of nuances and subplots are in the book, but couldn’t be included in the movie. And you can imagine Gregory Peck while you read about Atticus Finch.”

*25. Lewis, C.S. The Chronicles of Narnia (I know it is cheating to list an entire series, but... I loved his Space Trilogy as well.)

*26. Lowry, Lois. The Giver.

27. MacDonald, George. At the Back of the North Wind

*28. Milne. A. A. Winnie the Pooh

29. Montgomery, L.M. Anne of Green Gables.

30. Moody, Ralph. Little Britches. Not technically fiction, but I don't mind breaking the rules occasionally.

31. Nesbit, E. The Railway Children.

32. Roe, E. P. From Jest to Earnest

33. Saint Exupery, Antoine de. The Little Prince.

34. St. John, Patricia. Treasures of the Snow (Star of Light) Another vivid literary memory from my childhood, Levi and I will be reading Treasures of the Snow this Christmas.

*36. Otis Skinner, Cornelia and Kimbrough, Emily. Our Hearts Were Young And Gay: An Unforgettable Comic Chronicle of Innocents Abroad in the 1920s (I don’t know if it counts as fiction, but certainly a hilarious romp either way.)

37. Scott, Sir Walter. Ivanhoe.

*38. Sedgwick, Anne Douglas. The Little French Girl. (More about this one in a couple days.)

39. Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

40. White, E. B. Charlotte’s Web

I have never been so glad that I have years and years of reading ahead of me! My list has glaring holes where classics should be that I have not yet had a chance to read.

What would you recommend that is absent from the above titles?

I'm making up my intentional reading list for 2009. Now's the time to chime in!

(Whispering.) A give-away just might be coming up in the next few days...


Laura said...

A gorgeous forty list! #41 just has to be: Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. After that, #42 will inevitably be "So Young, Brave, and Handsome" by the same humble genius. P.S. If you and your husband can read #41 out loud together, it'll be all the better.

Skeller said...

Taking notes, always looking for a good book!

A couple ideas:
The Importance of Being Earnest, O. Wilde
Frankenstein, M. Shelley
anything Anne of Green Gables (tho, I bet you've read those already)

hopeinbrazil said...

What a lovely list. I agree with many of your choices. I was surprised to see E.P. Roe on your list because I've never met anyone who has ever heard of him. I inherited 10 of his books from my grandmother and collected several more. Middlemarch (George Eliot) and The Warden (Anthony Trollope) are must reads if you enjoy classic fiction that feeds the heart as well as the mind.

Beth@Pages of Our Life said...

Your healthy reading challenges me Heidi. I spend too much time in the "How to sections".

I enjoyed Thomas Hardy but not sure I would recommend him because his fatalistic stories are so sad. I couldn't put his book, "Tess of the D'urbervilles" down.

madamspud169 said...

You must read the "Duncton Wood" trilogy by William Horwood. It's a tale about the war between the "good" and the "bad" moles. Sounds strange I know but the books make me laugh, giggle and cry. You get so involved in their lives, personalities & crises that you think about it when you're not reading and find it nearly impossible to put down

Aja Jenise said...

I am a big Louisa May Alcott fan and though Little Women is my favorite to read (over any movie version)... she also has a sweet book called Jo's Boys, or is it Little Boys. I thought that was a special one.
Also Red Badge of Courage, I thought that was meaningful, though I think it would be for the boys when they are a bit older.
And The Peacegiver is an excellent book you should plan to read soon as well.
Is it bad of me to be more content on the picture of the books, than its contents. Silly me! Well... I would take the whole bookshelf anyday... the real thing would be a welcomed sight on my shelf.

Anonymous said...

you can't miss "interpreter of maladies" if you like short stories and "Jennie Gerhardt" and I LOVE all F. Scott Fitzgerald, especially "The Beautiful and Damned"

Anonymous said...

H- You've mentioned alot of good books and you've written reviews on so many. If I ever wanted a comprehensive list to refer might I go about finding it on your blog? I clicked Literary Buffet, but wasn't sure if it was comprehensive...

Also, a great book someone gave us this year is called GREAT BOOKS FOR BOYS; ages 2-14; by Kathleen Odean (She also has a Great Books for Girls). It has a nice detailed paragraph about 600 books selected; describing content/theme, and age level recommened. A nice book to take to the library! I wonder if some of your readers might appreciate knowing about it...

We had a gorgeous weekend here in the Willamette Valley didn't we!?! Lucky us :) Take care girl, ~Tera

Kristi said...

My mom met E.B. White and his 'wilbur' a long time ago. Before he died he lived right here in Maine about 30 minutes from where I live now. He invited my mom's boss' little girl to meet Wilbur and the whole gang right after she read the book. Talk about making reading come alive! That will always be my favorite book not only because I support Maine authors but because it STILL makes me cry when Charlotte dies and I HATE THAT'S good writing!!
have a good day!

Meagan said...

This is an amazing list and full of books I wish I have read! Unfortunately I don't make reading the priority I should, but reading your list inspires me to get back into it!

I have read some on your list that are also favorites of mine: "Anne of Green Gables", "To Kill a Mockingbird", and "Pilgrim's Progress". I would add "Little Women" and "Pride and Prejudice" to your lovely list.

Thanks for sharing this with us!

Renee said...

Great list! Sadly, I've only read about half. Thanks for the great suggestions!

Anonymous said...

A great list....I'll be back to grab some ideas for myself later.

Some recommendations for you. In the line of classics, how about Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton, for some South African history...maybe a little different to your current list. I just read it and loved loved loved it. One of my favourites of all time (so far ha ha). So beautiful. You'll probably cry. I reviewed it here:

And also, for some other historical fiction, how about Morgan's Run by Colleen McCullough. Well researched story about a man transported on the First Fleet of convicts to Australia. I've reviewed it here:

Heidi said...

Laura~ Thanks for the recommendations! I have a little Leif myself... just might have to see what a famous one came up with. :)

skeller~ I love the movie The Importance of Being Earnest (it's one of my favorites) along with A Good Woman (Lady Windermere's Fan) and An Ideal Husband. I've never actually *read* any Oscar Wilde, though, so it sounds like something I need on my list! I have Anne of Avonlea on the list as well. Frankenstein, huh?

HopeinBrazil~ I don't often find that anyone else has heard of E. P. Roe, either. I read it because of my grandmother also. :) I have a George Eliot book on my list. Couldn't decide between Adam Bede or Middlemarch. I've never heard of The Warden. I'll have to check that out!

Beth~ I struggle with tragic, hopeless books. Maybe I'll have to save that one for a time when I'm more....something. More unaffected, emotionally, LOL. (Don't think that time is ever coming...)

MadamSpud~ Sounds fascinating. I enjoyed Watership Down, so I can imagine how it's possible to get caught up in a story like that!

Aja~ I remember reading Little Men and Jo's Boys when I was much younger and really liking them. I'll have to read that whole series to Levi in a year or two. Thanks for the other recommendations. I'll check them out. :)

Anonymous~ I haven't read any Fitzgerald. I'll add those to the 'check out' list. Thanks!

Tera~ All of my book reviews are under Literary Buffet or Reading Aloud. (Picture Book reviews are under Picture Book Picnic.) I've heard of Great Books for Boys, but haven't looked at it. I love book lists! Thanks for mentioning it. Yes, *loved* our sunny weather. They boys played outside and Russ got some yard work done while I cleaned house. Ahhhh. :)

Kristi~ My goodness, what an amazing opportunity! I would have loved to meet E. B. White!! Thanks for sharing.

Meagan~ I'm hoping to re-read Little Women in the next year or two. I started Pride and Prejudice but didn't have time to finish it before our book club meeting and then had to start on the next one. I *really* need to finish it. *Love* the movie versions!!

The Good~ That's what I always feel like when I read other people's lists. It is amazing how many books I *haven't* read. But filling our hearts and minds with these stories is a marathon not a sprint, and is meant to enrich our lives not merely be the checking of boxes. Happy reading!

Embejo~ Great suggestions to expand my little world! Thanks!!

Thanks for chiming in, everyone! I'll still take comments or recommendations so feel free to add to the discussion...