I’ve always thought that reading is the most affordable form of travel. Open a book and you can be instantly transported to a different place or a different time.
In 2005, I started keeping track of my reading. Life was more hectic then, with kids still at home, and I read only ten books that year. In empty-nest 2010, I added twenty-five books to my list, and thus far in 2011, I’ve read fifteen more. Last week, I hit a milestone, adding the 100th book to my list.
At Scholastic.com, you can make a “bookprint” of the five favorite books you’ve read: http://youarewhatyouread.scholastic.com/adults/ On their “wall” of “most-liked” books are, predictably:
To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, The Diary of Anne Frank and, of course, Catcher in the Rye.
What’s on your all-time top five list?
Mine, not necessarily in order: Anna Karenina, My Antonia, Dante’s Divine Comedy, Les Miserables, and, of course, the Bible. But wait – five is not enough! I must add The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Sound and The Fury, The House of Mirth, Moby Dick, The Scarlet Letter…and so many more!
Of course, a list of five is so limiting. Here is a site that lists “The Man’s Essential Library” of 100 must-read books: http://artofmanliness.com/2008/05/14/100-must-read-books-the-essential-mans-library/ And here’s a meaty list of “The 100 Essential Books You Should Have Read In College”: http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com/2009/07/30/the-100-essential-books-you-should-have-read-in-college/
And here are a few lists within my last 100 book list:
London by Edward Rutherford. 1000+ pages but worth the journey!
Home and Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. I think this author is the Willa Cather of our time.
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. A remarkable story and moving read.
The Blindness of the Heart by Julia Francke. A disturbing and provocative account of life in Weimar Germany
The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton. A spiritual coming-of-age classic.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. A Holocaust survivor, Frankl persuasively argues that there is meaning in even the most horrific of life circumstances.
The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright. A chilling chronicle of the personalities, influences and events that led to 9/11. Pulitzer-prize winner and absolute must-read.
Not recommended: Books that were Ho-Hum
I rarely meet a book I don’t like. Hey, I even enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love. But here are a few that I considered time-wasters:
Birds in Fall by Brad Kessler
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
Please send me your top five lists and other recommendations – I need to get started on my next 100 reads!