My Favorite Books

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

My Antonia by Willa Cather

Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

The Green Years by A. J. Cronin

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Christy by Catherine Marshall

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Liars and Saints by Maile Meloy

Mama Day by Gloria Naylor

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington

The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler

A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Winter Wheat by Mildred Walker

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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108 thoughts on “My Favorite Books

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  1. I can’t believe you know Christie by Catherine Marshall! I LOVE that book. I first read it when I was a teenager and until a couple of years ago I read it every year. Time to bring it out again. This made me so happy. Also love Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake – partly because of growing up in Pakistan and facing some similar identity issues and partially because I now live in Cambridge where so many of her books take place. Have you read her short stories? Interpreter of Maladies is one book and the other is The unaccustomed Earth.

    1. Christy was made into a television series when I was a teenager. It didn’t last, but the book is wonderful. I am a huge Lahiri fan. I have read all of her work and I can’t wait until she writes more.

      1. I bought a copy of Christy years ago when Catherine Marshall was signing books at a small shop in Alexandria, Virginia. It is one that stays on my shelf throughout all my cullings. I’m sure I’ve read it more than once, and will no doubt read it again. Her Julie (fiction) was also very good, as are her inspirational books, especially Beyond Ourselves.

  2. I grew up being force-fed the classics and it took awhile for me to appreciate reading again. I now have some new books to try from your list of favorites. Two of my favorites are “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton and “Of Human Bondage,” by Somerset Maughm. Have you read those? Did you like them or not? Please answer truthfully (according to your blog on how to tell someone you don’t like the book they gave you.) I’m so glad I found your blog and I’ll be reading it. Nancy

    1. I love Edith Wharton. I have read most of her books, including Ethan Frome, which is great. I also like Of Human Bondage. I am currently thinking about reading Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge. Do you know that one? Is it worth my time?
      Thanks for reading!

      1. Sorry, I haven’t read “The Razor’s Edge,” but it’s probably worth a look. I can’t imagine that Maugham would disappoint. Please let us know if you read it.

  3. Hello, Ms. Emily,

    Great list. Hmmn, I’ve read and enjoyed several on your list – Buck’s, Cather’s, Dreiser’s, Marquez’s, Mc Murtry’s, Naylor’s, Stoker’s and Wide’s. I’ll go check the others. 😉

    I’ve read some of the works of the other authors above but not the works listed as your favorites. ^^ Really, I have miles to go… Glad I came across your site, congrats on being FP’d and cheers aplenty! 🙂

  4. Wow, I love Wilde and García Márquez too.
    Among my favorite authors are Kafka (The Process, The Metamorphosis), Hemingway (almost all of his books), Dickens (The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club), Mario Vargas Llosa (The city and the dogs).
    I heart Anna Karenina by Tolstoi, and A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, In cold blood by Truman Capote and Crime and Punishment by Dostoievsky. I rather read classics

    1. I think you are the first person I have met that likes Mrs. Kimble, too. I picked it for a neighborhood book club years ago and everybody hated it. I felt so dumb!

  5. I get to see the names of so many books I have wanted to read but couldn’t. I have just read The Namesake out of these mentioned. Looking forward to reading the rest of them as well.

    1. I’ll have to think about that. I may do a post on it someday. I think I was pleasantly surprised at how approachable it was and how fascinating the occult can be when written well. The Historian is a contemporary version of Dracula that is quite intriguing as well.

  6. a definite favorite of mine is Willa Cather’s “my Antonia”… funny because I haven’t read many books at all in my life in comparison with the number you read especially! It’s an english teacher here in France that gave it as an assignment for the class to study it a long time ago in the 70’s…and I adored it. I like your last post. thank you. and congratulations for the 500 followers 🙂

  7. So thrilled to see Caramelo and One Hundred Years of Solitude on your list! It always makes me happy to see people branching out beyond Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street, and that you truly liked García Márquez- One Hundred Years is a beast. A big, beautiful beast that I should re-read. So much good stuff is out there in Latino/Latina and Latin American literature.

      1. HUGE fan of Alvarez! I read and wrote on In The Time of the Butterflies, and read How the García Girls Lost Their Accents for a Caribbean Latino/a Literature class. Have you read any Junot Díaz? I’ve only gotten to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Drown is on my reading list.

  8. I love An American Tradgedy but I also love Robert Benchley’s mickey take of it in the Benchley Roundup, I think it might be called Compiling and American Tradgedy.
    I loving Thomas Wolfe and Dickens at the moment though.

  9. Am new to your great blog for last couple of weeks. Bryce Courtney’s, The Power Of One is my favourite book of all time. Also loved Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth and have the follow up, Sons on bookshelf waiting to be read

  10. It’s wonderful to see Daphne Du Maurier’s name on your list. I loved Rebecca, my high school English teacher recommended it to me and it change my life. Now I’m an English major with the hopes of one day teaching at the high school level. Love your blog!

  11. I made a motion to “follow” you first because the picture of your bookshelf looks remarkably like mine. Second because, our favorite books list is also similar. When I was 14 or 15 my mother told me she would give me $50 if I could name the title character in “Rebecca.” I read that book 4 times before admitting I could not. I love to write and have many ideas in my head, but fail to find the style and know-how to put them down to paper. Maybe following your blog will help, even so, it certainly will be a fun read. I’m glad I found you. Thank you.

    1. I am thrilled that you are here! I love the Rebecca story. Your mom is one clever lady! It sounds like we have similar tastes, and I am always happy to meet people that I can identify with. Welcome!

  12. I like your list. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is in my to be read soon pile as well as many of the others you listed such as The Power of One, An American Tragedy, and Life of Pi. I was happy to see Christy by Catherine Marshall there, too. I loved that book as a kid but always thought of it as one of those books that no one I knew read or had even heard of.

    1. I’m glad to know you’ve heard of Christy! I know quite a few people who love it, but it is somewhat “older” in the sense that it isn’t contemporary anymore. I bet you’ll like The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I couldn’t put it down!

  13. Gr8 to see “The ‘Picture of Dorian Grey on ur list”………..one of my favourites……………..recently read Adiga’s “White Tiger”…….fascinating read that

  14. I am an avid reader of historical romance and historical fiction. I find that love stories in a different time and a different culture speak to me a little more than the vampire romances and sexually driven bondage stories of today. I like to have characters that I relate to and care for. I must recommend my most recent find, “Shanghai Love” by author Layne Wong ((http://laynewong.com/). The main character, Peilin, is a woman of honor and tradition. She is betrothed to marry a man but he is killed before her wedding. Bound by duty she takes his name and adopts his family as her own. A young, vibrant character, married to a ghost and stuck in what seems to be a hopeless situation. The story takes place in World War 2 and brings Peilin to Shanghai to look after her deceased husband’s family herbal medicine shop. She is introduced to a new world and new people. Shanghai is also Henri’s destination as he has graduated from medical school as Hitler is rising to power. The young Jewish refugee soon meets Peilin and you can guess what happens from there! It’s beautifully written and allows some time for their relationship to grow and develop. You really want these two to end up together and be happy 🙂 I hope you check it out! Thanks for sharing your favorites with us!

  15. I LOVE A tree grows in Brooklyn – someone at Barnes and Noble recommended it to me years ago. Now I see I must get busy and read some others on your list! I’m surprised you don’t have To Kill A Mockingbird – my all time favorite book and movie.

  16. Dracula by Bram Stoker is an incredible book. I had no idea that a book written during the 19th century could have so much suspense and terror! So glad to see it on your list. 🙂

  17. While you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, one suspects you can judge a person by their bookshelf. So what does this list say about you? I have no idea because I have not read most of those books! I prefer non-fiction and that may tell you something about my dusty bookshelf… although (and I risk being far too common here) no novel has moved me as “To Kill A Mockingbird”. It had everything IMO. That said, as I look to my left I do see that abandoned copy of the “Life of Pi”. Maybe I shall try again…

    1. I say that life is too short to suffer through a book you don’t like. And more and more these days, I am reading nonfiction, by assignment for school and by choice. There are so many interesting books out there that rival fiction! I think this list says that I like fiction. 🙂

  18. So happy to have come across your blog. I’ve enjoyed many of the books you’ve mentioned. I would have to say that my favorite book of all time is Steinbeck’s “East of Eden.” It never fails to move me.

    You mentioned one of my all time favorites: Dreiser’s “An American Tragedy.”

  19. Hi
    Am enjoying your blog. While Rebecca is Daphne’s best known, I am also partial to The Scapegoat and My Cousin Rachel.
    I like the way she always ends on a haunting ‘if-only ‘ note.

  20. Nice looking through your favorites. I fall into the category of a late starter as I didn’t get as into reading until college, so it’s nice to see the opinions of someone who is probably a bit more well-versed than myself. Found some books on here to add to my list and some that are already there and I’ll move them up in priority. Glad to see The Picture of Dorian Gray on here. Definitely one of my favorites.

  21. Hi
    I am new here, but I found your blog inspiring. There are so many books I haven´t had the chance to read. Some of the books you mention, I haven´t even heard about. This is good! Time to broaden my horizon soon, I think.

  22. Hello Emily,

    Your blog is amazing! I currently started a blog about literature ( in German though) and thought Í´d have a look at other blogs about reading, too and I must say that that was a pretty good idea.
    I really like your style of writing and am personally totally jealous of your day to day life, I mean reading, blogging, two kids, household, you must be bursting with energy!
    Maybe we can exchange emails and chat along about blogging and literature, I would feel honoured!

    And by the way, Rebecca is one of the best books I´ve ever read! So evil, but so true!

    Love, Katherine

    1. Katherine, I wish I knew German so I could read your blog! Thanks for taking the time to look at mine. And I really needed to hear today that my life sounds interesting. I’m going through a bit of a low phase where I’m feeling overwhelmed with all I have to do as a mother, wife, student, and researcher. That dissertation won’t write itself! Thank you for boosting my spirits. I’ll send you an email.

      1. You should start learning, German can be a quite wonderful language. You know life is a rollercoaster and after a storm, the sun is always waiting out there , so keep your head up and your spirits high ! Looking Forward to keeping in touch with you 🙂

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