Thursday, 31 July 2014

Top 101 + 1 Books

Image: David Orr / Libri series -

This started as a top ten list provoked by FB, which bloomed into the top 100 list, which still spilled over. What's to say about great books except that they are great? They are the ones that travel with me, in me, for me. The ones I would not want to be on earth without. The books I am grateful for.

Of course they're not in order (unless it's autobiographical); I'm chuffed I managed to even break them into a few categories. I tried very hard not to have more than one book by an author, even when their whole cannon is significant to me. So I may not have picked the most obvious book by an author, but the one that for me is the most elegant and representative of her unprecedented gifts and skill, the one that may surprise, or the one that will make you read all the other ones. 

I could say something about each one, and maybe I'd even like to, but they all speak so much better for themselves.


1. Their Eyes Were Watching God
 - Zora Neale Hurston

 - J. California Cooper

3. The Little Prince
 - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

4.The Lonely Doll
 - Dare Wright

 - Toni Morrison

6. Snow Crash (Bantam Spectra Book)
 - Neal Stephenson

7. The Golden Notebook: A Novel (Perennial Classics)
 - Doris Lessing

8. Nine Stories
 - J.D. Salinger

9. Winesburg, Ohio
 - Sherwood Anderson

10. Pride and Prejudice (Dover Thrift Editions)
 - Jane Austen

11. Jane Eyre (Penguin Classics)
 - Charlotte Bronte

12. A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories (A Harvest/Hbj Book)
 - Flannery O'Connor

13. Just an Ordinary Day: The Uncollected Stories Of Shirley Jackson
 - Shirley Jackson

14. Enormous Changes at the Last Minute: Stories
 - Grace Paley

15.The Hobbit: 75th Anniversary Edition
 - J.R.R. Tolkien

 - Hermann Hesse

17. Atlas Shrugged: (Centennial Edition)
 - Ayn Rand

18. Jitterbug Perfume
 - Tom Robbins

19. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Vintage International)
 - Patrick Suskind

20. White Oleander
- Janet Fitch

21. The Secret History
 - Donna Tartt

22. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
- Susanna Clarke

23. The Book of Lost Things: A Novel
 - John Connolly

24.The Book of Dead Days
 - Marcus Sedgwick

25. Absurdistan: A Novel
 - Gary Shteyngart

26.The Things They Carried
 - Tim O'Brien

27.Dispatches (Vintage International)
 - Michel Herr

28. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (with bonus content): A Novel
 - Michael Chabon

29. The Stand Complete and Uncut
 - Stephen King

30. No One Belongs Here More Than You: Stories
 - Miranda July

31. The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
 - Donna Tartt

32. The God of Small Things: A Novel
 - Arundhati Roy

33. The Diamond Age (Bantam Spectra Book)
 - Neal Stephenson

34. The Portrait of a Lady (Penguin Classics)
 - Henry James

35. The Mistress of Spices: A Novel
 - Chitra Divakaruni

36. Holder of the World
 - Bharati Mukherjee

37. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream (Vintage)
 - Hunter S. Thompson

38.The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
 - Tom Wolfe

39. The Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen: Passing, Quicksand, and The Stories
– Nella Larson

40. Tropic of Capricorn
 - Henry Miller

41. The Painted Bird
- Jerzy Kosinkski

42. Geek Love: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries)
 - Katherine Dunn

43. Hawthorne's Short Stories (Vintage Classics)
 - Nathaniel Hawthorne

44. The Sun Also Rises
 - Ernest Hemingway

45. NP
- Banana Yoshimoto

46. The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
 - Douglas Adams

47. Parable of the Sower
- Octavia Butler

48.Dubliners (Penguin Classics Deluxe Editio)
 - James Joyce

49. Empire of the Senseless: A Novel
 – Kathy Acker

50. The Ballad of the Sad Cafe
 - Carson McCullers

51. The Girl Who Played Go: A Novel (Vintage)
 – Shan Sa

52. Alias Grace: A Novel
 – Margaret Atwood

53. Possession (Vintage International)
– A.S. Byatt

54. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harperperennial Modern Classics)
 – Harper Lee

55. Things Fall Apart: A Novel (African Trilogy Book 1)
- Chinua Achebe

56. The House of Mirth (Penguin English Library)
 - Edith Wharton

57. Maru
- Bessie Head

58. The Unbearable Lightness of Being: A Novel
 – Milan Kundera


59. The Gift (Compass)
 - Hafiz (Daniel Ladinsky trans.)

60. Selected Poems
 - Gwendolyn Brooks

61. The Fact of a Doorframe: Poems 1950-2001
 - Adrienne Rich

62. The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa (Essential Poets)
 - Robert Haas

63. Refusing Heaven
 - Jack Gilbert

64. Words Under the Words: Selected Poems (A Far Corner Book)
 - Naomi Shihab Nye

65. E. E. Cummings: Complete Poems, 1904-1962 (Revised, Corrected, and Expanded Edition)
 - e.e. cummings

66. Selected Poems 1947-1995 (Perennial Classics)
 - Allen Ginsberg

67.The Soul of Rumi
 – Coleman Barks

68.The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke (Vintage)
 – Rainer Maria Rilke, Stephen Mitchell translation

69. Slouching Toward Nirvana
 - Charles Bukowski


70. Blood Memory: An autobiography
 - Martha Graham

71. A Rap on Race
 - James Baldwin and Margaret Mead

72. Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations
 - Georgina Howell

73. Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood
 - Cari Beauchamp

74.An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood
 - Neal Gabler

75. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
 - Malcolm Gladwell

76. It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be: The World's Best Selling Book
 - Paul Arden

77. Miles
 - Miles Davis/Quincy Troupe

78.On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft
 - Stephen King

79. Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion
 - Alain de Botton

80.Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock And Out
 - Bill Graham

81.Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior (Shambhala Classics)
- Chogyam Trungpa

82. A Natural History of the Senses (Vintage)
 - Diane Ackerman

83. Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table (Random House Reader's Circle)
 - Ruth Reichl

84.A Brief History of Time
 - Stephen Hawking

85. The Power of Myth
 - Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers

86.Drumming at the Edge of Magic: A Journey into the Spirit of Percussion
 - Mickey Hart, Jay Stevens and Fredric Lieberman

87.The Tao of Nature (Penguin Great Ideas)
 - Chuang Tzu

88. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
 - Christopher McDougall

89.Strasberg's Method As Taught by Lorrie  Hull: A Practical Guide for Actors, Teachers, Directors
 - Lorrie Hull

90. The Road Less Traveled, Timeless Edition: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth
 - M. Scott Peck

91. The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self, Revised Edition
 - Alice Miller

92. Island Possessed
 – Katherine Dunham

93. Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica
 – Zora Neale Hurston

94. City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles
 - Mike Davis

95. The Scripture of the Golden Eternity (City Lights Pocket Poets Series)
 - Jack Kerouac

96. Tao Te Ching
 – Lao Tzu, Stephen Mitchell translation

97. The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley
 – Malcolm X, Alex Haley

98. Edie: An American Biography
 – Jean Stein, George Plimpton

99. The Varieties of Religious Experience
 - William James

100. In Cold Blood
 – Truman Capote

101. The Raymond Chandler Papers: Selected Letters and Nonfiction 1909-1959
 - Raymond Chandler; Tom Hiney, Frank MacShane eds.

102. The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler: A Systematic Presentation in Selections from His Writings
- Alfred Adler; Ansbacher/Anscbacher eds.

Well, looking over this list, I can see already that I'd like to make it longer (where's Jung? where's Civilisation and Its Discontents?), but no. I like 101 +1. It's a good number.

(Main image comes from David Orr's Libri series - check them all out here.)