The other day, the New York Times asked the Twitterverse: What are your 5 all-time favorite works of fiction? Wow. What a hard time I had making that decision! Asking a life-long bibliophile to pick 5 favorite books is…well, it’s a little mean, but they didn’t direct it specifically at me, so I guess I can’t really attach emotion to it. I did it to myself. But. I made a snap decision. I picked 5 books. I don’t know if I’ll be able to stand by these a year from now, or even a month or a week from now, but here are the 5 I picked…for now.
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. My favorite book of all time. I wanted to be Jo, oh-so-desperately, but I was always more of a combination of Meg and Beth – the older sister organizer combined with the sweet meek shy musical child. I read this two, three times a year from about age 8 to age 17. I haven’t read it in several years…hmmm. Need to revisit.
- The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. By far the best book I have read that was written this century. Mysterious and eerie and gothic, all full of dysfunctional families and unhealthy obsessions with Jane Eyre. I am dying for her to write another book!
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. This book rocked my little small-town world when I was 15. It turned me on to Bradbury; it turned me on to what GOOD science fiction was; and it’s remarkably still got a relevant message to teach us today. I think all the parents trying to ban harmless drivel like Harry Potter should be forced to read this book and write a paper on it before they can request such a ban.
- The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. I know, I know: I’m betraying my gender by admitting that I love Hemingway. He is, in fact, one of my favorite authors ever, and this is my favorite book written by him. Oh, the delicious despair and expatriate meanderings around lovely European cities! No one else can tell a story with so much nuance in so few words.
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. A bit of whimsy to end the list. Who doesn’t love this book? This is a book that I could read endlessly and never tire of. Not only is it one of the best children’s books ever written, it’s one of the best books ever written PERIOD. Wacky and weird and funny and delightful – aces!
What about you? Which five books would you choose?