Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The best

I've been asking friends and family members for their must-read books. It got me thinking about my own must reads, which made me think about the books I've read over the last three years, since I started keeping track of what I read. I wanted to go back and see which books were really memorable. I wanted to look at which books I would absolutely read again if I had the hours that I spent on them back. These are the books that I've suggested to my friends or passed on to my kids. I decided that that is a list that needs to be made.

So here, in no order other than roughly that in which I read them, are the best of the books I've read in the last three years. It ends up amounting to about 10% of what I read.

Sweetsmoke by David Fuller
The Jumping Off Place by Marian Hurd McNeeley
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon
The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn
The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper
A Door Into Summer by Robert Heinlein
Boone by Robert Morgan
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Red  River by Lalita Tademy
Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
King's Blood Four by Sheri Tepper
The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel
My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir by Clarence Thomas
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Liar by Justine Larbalestier
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
 The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
 Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Kindred by Octavia Butler
One Second After by William R. Forstchen 
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
 The Stand by Stephen King
My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster (But you really need to read all of hers in order)
Second Nature: A Gardener's Education by Michael Pollan
Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
 Our Culture, What's Left of It by Theodore Dalrymple
All of The Hungry City Chronicles by Philip Reeve
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Low Country by Bill K'Tepi

I find it interesting that over half are from this year. I have made a serious effort to improve the quality of the books that I am reading and it is paying off. 


  1. I like the 'effort to improve the quality of books' thought. Still working on getting my brain moving though.....step one.

  2. Hi Jane,
    I definitely join you in needing to improve my reading lists! I love to see your lists of must reads. How about a book club? Are you already in one? I'd love to be in a really good "live" one, but you could run one by blog or facebook. What do you think?

  3. Carol, I would love to be in a good live book club. I was in one in my neighborhood, but it quickly went downhill. I bet that between the two of us we could find several people who would be up for it.

    I had been thinking about doing a monthly blog book discussion next year. I think I will. :)

  4. Karin, my brain was almost useless when I had little kids. I can't imagine how many ways your brain is having to stretch in a day right now!