April 4, 2007 archive

Books I Cannot Live Without

Kailana’s Written World is hosting an interesting meme. She’s challenged readers to come up with a list of books they cannot live without – not necessarily their “top ten” reads, but books which add something to their lives and are deemed “essential.”

This was harder than it first appeared! I have a long list of books I love which I recommend to other readers. But how to whittle it down to the top ten essential books?

Here is what I came up with (in no particular order):

1.  The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak – A fairly recent read for me, but one that will stick with me for a very long time. This is a book I will definitely re-read. It makes the top of my list of books I can recommend to other readers and is probably the best book I’ve ever read (so far!).

2.  Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White – A favorite childhood book that I’ve re-read as an adult. This book is a classic children’s book which has stood the test of time and is beloved by all children regardless of the decade in which they are born.

3.  The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger – Oh how I love bread! And this cookbook is one of the most used on my shelf. I’ve never made a bad loaf from it, and I just cannot live without it!

4.  The Hotel New Hampshire, by John Irving – If I had to whittle my bookstack down to only ten, I would have to include at least one book by John Irving; and this would be the book. Any novel that has a family living in a hotel with a pet bear is worth a read…again, and again, and again!

5.  Winterdance, by Gary Paulsen – This is another novel that makes my top ten books of all time list. It’s one I’ve re-read a couple of times and loved it each time. I’ve “loaned” it out a lot and had to replace it several times due to not getting my copy returned! Excellent non fiction.

6.  The Hobbitt, by JRR Tolkien – I remember being magically transported by this novel. A classic read which should be on everyone’s shelf.

7.  War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy – A work of extrodinary talent; an epic that I couldn’t put down and one I hope to re-read someday. This one also makes my top ten books of all time list.

8.  Rogets 20th Century Thesaurus, edited by The Princeton Language Institute – As a writer, I couldn’t live without my trusty thesauras. It has bailed me out of the dreaded repetitive word syndrome more than once.

9.  Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove Series – Oh how I adore the characters in this book. McMurtry really outdid himself with this series. I have read the entire series three times and most likely will read it again.

10. A collection of John Steinbeck’s novels and non fiction books – Okay, I cheated a bit here. I love John Steinbeck. I haven’t found a book yet by him that I don’t adore. I am gradually building up my collection of his books and would not want to part with any of them!

Addendum to Post:

Kailana is twisting my arm to be more specific on #10! So, to make her happy (and play by the rules!), I’ll list a couple of my favorites (so far) of Steinbeck: 

Grapes of Wrath – Amazing literature; dramatic; heartwrenching; incredible character development.
Travels With Charley In Search of America – One of Steinbecks travel memoirs. Delightful, funny, and thought provoking.
Of Mice And Men – A classic that everyone should read.

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