17 June 2008

26 favourite books

1000books Amanda Paterson asked in this blog post (and again in this one) for readers to submit their 26 favourite books. I thought I would compile my 26 favourite books here first. Pinning down a specific number of books, especially such a small number, and stamping them as favourites is just so incredibly hard. I have read such great books in my short life time, and to select just a couple is so hard. Such a definitive list also says a lot about one’s current reading habits, and other preferences.

I have specifically excluded the major series I love dearly, like the Harry Potters and the Discworld novels, because they would overwhelm the list in totality – just the Discworlds alone would fill up this list and more by itself. It is also rather obvious that my inclination has always been towards youth-orientated books, with a pinch of other-worldly thrown in for luck.

Of course, the list may change in future, but without too much more waffling, I would like to present (possibly) my favourite 26 books, in no particular order.

  • Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  • Possession – A S Byatt
  • Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami
  • Anansi Boys – Neil Gaiman
  • Far from the madding crowd – Thomas Hardy
  • Der Tod in Venedig – Thomas Mann
  • Der Besuch der alten Dame – Friedrich Durrenmatt
  • Foucault’s Pendulum – Umberto Eco
  • The World According to Garp – John Irving
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
  • Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carrol
  • The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka
  • The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Veronika Decides to Die – Paulo Coelho
  • The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  • Thus Spake Zarathustra – Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Charlotte’s Web – EB White
  • Dracula – Bram Stoker
  • Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell
  • The Outsiders – SE Hinton
  • Waiting for Godot – Samuel Becket
  • The Vampire Lestat – Anne Rice
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • Moxyland – Lauren Beukes

{edited: thank you to Emily who picked up that I listed Metamorphosis *cough* twice}

On second thoughts, these are probably the books that have had the most influence on my writing and reading habits. Of course, many of these will always be listed as favourites of mine, and several will always be listed in the top 10, but, as a list, these have been the most influential books on my life. So far.

Are you able to compile a list of 26 favourites? Or at least most influential?


Anonymous said...

You listed one twice-"The Metamorphosis"

Anonymous said...

I'd have to include the following of your list on mine:
Wuthering Heights
Far from the madding crowd
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Charlotte’s Web
Animal Farm – George Orwell
Waiting for Godot

Steve Hayes said...

I haven't rated all the books I've read, but a very rough output from my database, selecting fiction only, gives:

Williams, Charles. 1965. The place of the lion.
Garner, Alan. 1963. The weirdstone of Brisingamen.
Williams, Charles. 1964. The greater trumps.
Garner, Alan. 1967. The moon of Gomrath.
Tolkien, J.R.R. Lord of the Rings.
Williams, Charles. 1957. War in heaven.
Kerouac, Jack. 1958. The Dharma bums.
Niffenegger, Audrey. 2005. The time traveler's wife.
Vine, Barbara. 1993. Asta's book.
Swift, Jonathan. 1970. Gulliver's travels.
Tolkien, J.R.R. 1984. The hobbit.
Robinson, Peter. 2007. Piece of my heart.
Vonnegut, Kurt. 1965. Cat's cradle.
Lennon, Patrick. 2006. Corn dolls.
Rowling, J.K. 1997. Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone.
Williams, Charles. 1955. Descent into Hell.
fforde, Jasper. 2001. The Eyre affair.
Walters, Minette. 2007 [1998] The echo.
Eco, Umberto. 1989. Foucault's pendulum.
Marquez, Gabriel Garcia. 2007. One hundred years of solitude.
Rowling, J.K. 1998. Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets.
Rowling, J.K. 1999. Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban.

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