Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodreads: Top 150+ Books

First posted 6/24/2020.


Top 150+ Books

This list was created by aggregating three different lists (links posted at bottom of page) from and then averaging the rankings of the books on the three lists. Ties were broken by books’ overall ratings in Dave’s Book Database. If more than one book from a series appeared on the list, the entire series was ranked based on the highest book of the series. Here’s the results:

    Books on All 3 Lists:

  1. Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
  2. George Orwell Animal Farm (1954)
  3. C.S. Lewis The Chronicles of Narnia (series, 1950-1956)
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit (1937)
  5. F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby (1925)
  6. J. K. Rowling Harry Potter (series: 1997-2007)
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings (trilogy: 1954-55)
  8. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) (1943)
  9. Margaret Mitchell Gone with the Wind (1936)
  10. William Golding Lord of the Flies (1954)

  11. Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
  12. J.D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
  13. Shel Silverstein The Giving Tree (1964)
  14. John Steinbeck Of Mice and Men (1937)
  15. E.B. White Charlotte’s Web (1952)
  16. Arthur Golden Memoirs of a Geisha (1997)
  17. George Orwell 1984 (1949)
  18. Aldous Huxley Brave New World (1932)
  19. Lois Lowry The Giver (1994)
  20. Gabriel García Márquez One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967)

  21. Paulo Coelho O Alquimista (The Alchemist) (1987)
  22. Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham (1960)
  23. Orson Scott Card Ender’s Game (1968)
  24. Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (series: 1979-2009)
  25. L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables (1908)
  26. Frances Hodgson Burnett The Secret Garden (1987)
  27. Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)
  28. Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale (1986)
  29. Vladimir Nabokov Lolita (1955)
  30. Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962)

  31. Maurice Sendak Where the Wild Things Are (1963)
  32. S.E. Hinton The Outsiders (1968)
  33. Alice Walker The Color Purple (1982)
  34. 1953: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (Scribner)
  35. Betty Smith A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943)
  36. Stephen King The Stand (1978)
  37. Herman Hesse Siddhartha (1922)
  38. Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged (1957)
  39. Barbara Kingsolver The Poisonwood Bible (1998)
  40. Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange (1962)

    Books on 2 Lists:

  41. Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice (1813)
  42. Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl (aka The Diary of Anne Frank) (1947)
  43. Markus Zusak The Book Thief (2005)
  44. Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games (2008)
  45. Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre (1847)
  46. William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet (1597)
  47. Emily Brontë Wuthering Heights (1847)
  48. Lewis Carroll Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) / Through the Looking Glass (1871)
  49. Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)
  50. Victor Hugo Les Misérables (1862)

  51. John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
  52. Fyodor Dostoyevsky Crime and Punishment (1866)
  53. Elie Wiesel Night (Un di Velt Hot Geshvign) (1958)
  54. Kathryn Stockett The Help (2009)
  55. Khaled Hosseini The Kite Runner (2003)
  56. Madeleine L’Engle A Wrinkle in Time (1962)
  57. Stephenie Meyer Twilight (2005)
  58. Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
  59. Louisa May Alcott Little Women (1869)
  60. Khaled Hosseini A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007)

  61. Homer The Odyssey (800 B.C.)
  62. Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar (1963)
  63. Richard Adams Watership Down (1972)
  64. Albert Camus The Stranger (L’Etranger) (1942)
  65. Audrey Niffenegger The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003)
  66. Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
  67. Yann Martel Life of Pi (2001)
  68. Arthur Conan Doyle The Complete Sherlock Holmes (series of 4 novels and 56 short stories: 1887-1927)
  69. Frank Herbert Dune (1965)
  70. Ken Follett The Pillars of the Earth (1989)

  71. Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis (1915)
  72. Joseph Heller Catch-22 (1961)
  73. Leo Tolstoy Anna Karenina (1877)
  74. Daphne Du Maurier Rebecca (1938)
  75. George R.R. Martin A Game of Thrones (1996)
  76. Mary Shelley Frankenstein (1818)
  77. John Irving A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989)
  78. Daniel Keyes Flowers for Algernon (1958)
  79. Erich Maria Remarque All Quiet on the Western Front (1929)
  80. Frank McCourt Angela’s Ashes (1996)

  81. A.A. Milne Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)
  82. Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House (9-book series: 1932-1971)
  83. Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky The Brothers Karamazov (1880)
  84. Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote (1615)

    Books on 1 List:

  85. John Green The Fault in Our Stars (2012)
  86. Dan Brown The Da Vinci Code (2004)
  87. Veronica Roth Divergent (2011)
  88. John Steinbeck East of Eden (1952)
  89. Stephen Chbosky The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999)
  90. Cassandra Clare City of Bones (2008)

  91. Various writers The Holy Bible: King James Version (1451)
  92. J.R.R. Tolkien Tolkien on Fairy Stories (1947)
  93. William Shakespeare Hamlet (1603)
  94. Bram Stoker Dracula (1897)
  95. William Goldman The Princess Bride (1973)
  96. Truman Capote In Cold Blood (1966)
  97. Rick Riordan The Lightning Thief (2005)
  98. Alice Sebold The Lovely Bones (2002)
  99. Dr. Seuss The Cat in the Hat (1957)
  100. Gabriel García Márquez Love in the Time of Cholera (1985)

  101. Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol (1843)
  102. Shel Silverstein Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974)
  103. Milan Kundera The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984)
  104. Sara Gruen Water for Elephants (2006)
  105. Umberto Eco The Name of the Rose (Il Nome della Rosa) (1980)
  106. Mark Twain The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)
  107. Dr. Seuss The Lorax (1971)
  108. Roald Dahl Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)
  109. Alexandre Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo (1844)
  110. Mikhail Bulgakov The Master and Margarita (1967)

  111. Jack Kerouac On the Road (1957)
  112. Dr. Sess Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (1990)
  113. Ernest Hemingway The Sun Also Rises (1926)
  114. Charles Dickens Great Expectations (1861)
  115. James Joyce Ulysses (1922)
  116. Mitch Alborn Tuesdays with Morrie (1997)
  117. Toni Morrison Beloved (1987)
  118. Pearl Buck The Good Earth (1931)
  119. John Kennedy Toole A Confederacy of Dunces (1980)
  120. Jodi Picoult My Sister’s Keeper (2004)

  121. Diana Gabaldon Outlander (1991)
  122. Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter (1850)
  123. Stieg Larsson The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2005)
  124. Amy Tan The Joy Luck Club (1989)
  125. William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury (1929)
  126. William Shakespeare Macbeth (1623)
  127. Roald Dahl Matilda (1988)
  128. Ayn Rand The Fountainhead (1943)
  129. Ernest Hemingway For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)
  130. John Irving The World According to Garp (1978)

  131. Zora Neale Hurston Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)
  132. Ernest Hemingway A Farewell to Arms (1929)
  133. Cormac McCarthy The Road (2007)
  134. Ralph Ellison Invisible Man (1952)
  135. Margaret Wise Brown Goodnight Moon (1947)
  136. Wilson Rawls Where the Red Fern Grows (1974)
  137. Leo Tolstoy War and Peace (1869)
  138. C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity (1952)
  139. Richelle Mead Vampire Academy (2007)
  140. Samuel Beckett Waiting for Godot (1953)

  141. Larry McMurtry Lonesome Dove (1985)
  142. Philip Pullman The Golden Compass (1995)
  143. Tim O’Brien The Things They Carried (1990)
  144. Anita Diamant The Red Tent (1997)
  145. Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)
  146. William Styron Sophie’s Choice (1979)
  147. Hunter S. Thompson Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971)
  148. Muhammad Qu’ran/Kuran (632 A.D.)
  149. J.D. Salinger Fanny and Zooey (1961)
  150. Nicholas Sparks The Notebook (1996)

  151. Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse (1927)
  152. James Joyce A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)
  153. Edgar Allan Poe The Complete Tales and Poems/Complete Stories and Poems (1849)
  154. Joseph Smith The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ (1830)
  155. José Saramago & Giovanni Ponteiro Blindness (1995)
  156. Herman Melville Moby-Dick (1851)
  157. Kurt Vonnegut Cat’s Cradle (1963)

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Graveyard Book: Location, Location, Location

I've knocked off yet another book in my continuing endeavor to read the Newbery award-winning books. This time around it is Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book (2010). As with the previous Newbery books I've read, I focused on what I can learn in my own writing from this book.

The opening of the book leaves a toddler abandoned thanks to a grisly murder scene. He wanders out of his out, losing his diaper along the way, and ends up at the local graveyard. While the scenario is preposterous, it sets up one of the more interesting settings I've read in the Newbery winners so far. The boy (nicknamed "Bod" for "Nobody") ends up raised by a collection of interesting ghosts and undead creatures. While he appreciates his home, he longs for a life among the living - and he wants to find out what happened to his family.

However, we are left wondering through most of the book why Bod's family was murdered and when the answer comes, it is abrupt and unsatisfying. As for Bod's dream of a life outside the confines of tombstones and crypts, this is also undermined by the author. Gaiman clearly relishes describing the world of the dead and ends up making the world from which Bod wishes to retreat more interesting than the one to which Bod dreams of going.

Thus the lesson I learn about writing is to make setting and location an important part of the book, but not one which overwhelms the story. My latest project, tentatively titled Abigail's Atlantis, will delve into the ocean and the famous lost underworld city. It will become crucial to make sure that while I try to capture the wonder and awe of such a fabled location, I don't do it at the expense of creating a moving and involving story.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games published

First posted 6/25/2020.

The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins

First Publication: September 14, 2008

Category: young adult novel

Sales: 23 million

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

About the Book:

“Every generation projects its fear: runaway science, communism, overpopulation, nuclear wars and, now, reality TV.” PW “This book will definitely resonate with the generation raised on reality shows like Survivor and American Gladiator.” SLJ In the tradition of books like Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, and Brave New World, Suzanne Collins creates a “postapocalyptic world” PW in which “the United States of America has collapsed…to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts.” SLJ Two youth from each district are selected by lottery each year to participate in the Hunger Games “as gladiators in a televised fight to the death.” PW

Katniss Everdeen, 16, volunteers when her younger sister is plucked for the games. As she and Peeta, her male counterpart, are from the poorest district, they “will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.” SLJ “Although Katniss may be skilled with a bow and arrow and adept at analyzing her opponents’ next moves, she has much to learn about personal sentiments, especially her own.” BL

“This is a superb tale of physical adventure, political suspense, and romance.” BL Collins’s characters are completely realistic and sympathetic as they form alliances and friendships in the face of overwhelming odds; the plot is tense, dramatic, and engrossing.” SLJ

Resources and Related Links:

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Telegraph: The Perfect Library

First posted 6/27/2020.


The Perfect Library

This British magazine assembled its ultimate reading list of 110 books presented, unranked, in the following categories: classics, poetry, literary fiction, romantic fiction, children’s books, sci-fi, crime, history, lives, books that changed the world, and books that changed your world.


  • Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice (1813)
  • Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre (1847)
  • Charles Dickens David Copperfield (1850)
  • George Eliot Middlemarch, a Study of Provincial Life (1872)
  • Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary (1857)
  • Homer The Odyssey (800 B.C.) / The Iliad (800 B.C.)
  • Jonathan Swift Gulliver’s Travels (1726)
  • William Makepeace Thackeray Vanity Fair (1848)
  • Leo Tolstoy War and Peace (1869)
  • Anthony Trollope The Barchester Chronicles (1857)


  • Dante Alighieri The Divine Comedy (Divina Commedia) (1320)
  • William Blake Songs of Innocence and Experience (1794)
  • Geoffrey Chaucer The Canterbury Tales (1387)
  • T. S. Eliot The Waste Land (1922)
  • Ted Hughes Collected Poems (2003)
  • John Keats Odes (1819)
  • John Milton Paradise Lost (1667)
  • William Shakespeare Sonnets (1609)
  • William Wordsworth The Prelude (1799)
  • William Butler Yeats Collected Poems (1927)


  • Ernest Hemingway For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)
  • Henry James Portrait of a Lady (1881)
  • James Joyce Ulysses (1922)
  • Gabriel García Márquez One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967)
  • Toni Morrison Beloved (1987)
  • Marcel Proust In Search of Lost Time, aka Remembrance of Things Past (A La Recherche du Temps Perdu) (series: 1913-1927)
  • Philip Roth The Human Stain (2000)
  • Muriel Spark The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960)
  • John Updike Rabbit (series: 1960-1991)
  • Evelyn Waugh Sword of Honour (trilogy: 1952-1961)


  • Daphne Du Maurier Rebecca (1938)
  • Robert Graves I, Claudius (1934)
  • Thomas Hardy Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891)
  • Choderlos de Laclos Dangerous Liaisons (Les Liaisons Dangereuses) (1782)
  • Sir Thomas Malory Le Morte d’Arthur (1485)
  • Margaret Mitchell Gone with the Wind (1936)
  • Patrick O’Brian Master and Commander (1969)
  • Jean Plaidy The Plantagenet Saga (series: 1976-1982)
  • Boris Pasternak Dr. Zhivago (1957)
  • Mary Renault Alexander Trilogy (1969-1981)


  • Jean de Brunhoff Babar (series: 1931-1940)
  • William Grahame The Wind in the Willows (1908)
  • C.S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950)
  • A.A. Milne Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)
  • Edith Nesbit The Railway Children (1906)
  • Philip Pullman His Dark Materials (trilogy: 1995-2000)
  • Arthur Ransome Swallows and Amazons (1930)
  • J.K. Rowling Harry Potter (series: 1997-2007)
  • Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island (1883)
  • J.R.R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings (trilogy: 1954-55)


  • Isaac Asimov Foundation (trilogy: 1951-1953)
  • Arthur C. Clarke 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  • Philip K. Dick Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)
  • William Gibson Neuromancer (1984)
  • Aldous Huxley Brave New World (1932)
  • George Orwell 1984 (1949)
  • Mary Shelley Frankenstein (1818)
  • Jules Verne Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870)
  • H.G. Wells The Time Machine (1895)
  • John Wyndham The Day of the Triffids (1951)


  • John le Carré Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974)
  • Raymond Chandler The Big Sleep (1939)
  • Agatha Christie Murder on the Orient Express (1934)
  • Wilkie Collins The Woman in White (1860)
  • Arthur Conan Doyle The Complete Sherlock Holmes (series of 4 novels and 56 short stories: 1887-1927)
  • Dashiell Hammett The Maltese Falcon (1929)
  • Thomas Harris Red Dragon (1981)
  • Patricia Highsmith The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955)
  • Elmore Leonard Killshot (1989)
  • Edgar Allan Poe The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841)


  • Carl von Clausewitz On War (1832)
  • Charles Darwin The Origin of Species (1859)
  • Denis Diderot (editor) The Encyclopedia (L’Encyclopédie) (1772)
  • Sigmund Freud The Interpretation of Dreams (1900)
  • Thomas Hobbes Leviathan (1651)
  • Niccolo Machiavelli The Prince (1532)
  • Karl Marx Das Kapital (1867)
  • Thomas Paine The Rights of Man (1791)
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau The Social Contract (1762)
  • Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America (1840)


  • Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
  • Richard Bach Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970)
  • Malcolm Gladwell The Tipping Point (2002)
  • Peter Mayle A Year in Provence (1989)
  • Dave Pelzer A Child Called ‘It’ (1995)
  • Robert M. Pirsig Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974)
  • Ben Schott Schott’s Original Miscellany (2002)
  • Delia Smith How to Cook (1999)
  • Lynne Truss Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation (2003)
  • Naomi Wolf The Beauty Myth (2002)


  • anonymous The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (9th century)
  • Winston Churchill A History of the English-Speaking Peoples (4 volumes: 1956)
  • Orlando Figes A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891-1924 (1996)
  • Edward Gibbon The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (8-volume set: 1787)
  • Herodotus The Histories (5th century)
  • T. E. Lawrence Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1922)
  • Steven Runciman A History of the Crusades (3 volumes: 1951-1954)
  • Simon Schama Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution (1989)
  • A.J.P. Taylor The Origins of the Second World War (1961)
  • Thucydides The History of the Peloponnesian War (5th century)


  • St Augustine of Hippo Confessions (400 A.D.)
  • James Boswell The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791)
  • Alan Clark Diaries (3 volumes: 2002)
  • Elizabeth Gaskell A Life of Charlotte Brontë (1857)
  • Robert Graves Goodbye to All That (1929)
  • Primo Levi If This is a Man (1947)
  • Siegfried Sassoon Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man (1928)
  • Lytton Strachey Eminent Victorians (1918)
  • Suetonius Lives of the Caesars (aka "The Twelve Caesars") (De Vita Caesarum) (121 A.D.)
  • Vasari Lives of the Artists (aka "The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects") (1550)

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows published 100 years ago today

First posted 7/4/2020; last updated 7/5/2020.

The Wind in the Willows

Kenneth Grahame

First Publication: April 1, 1908

Category: children’s literature

Sales: 25 million

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

About the Book:

“One of the most cherished works of children’s literature ever written.” AZ After Kenneth Grahame “retired…as secretary of the Bank of England, he moved back to Berkshire, where he had lived as a child, and spent his time by the River Thames doing much as the animal characters in his book do – …‘simply messing about in boats’ – and expanding the bedtime stories he had earlier told his son Alastair into a manuscript for the book.” WK

The Wind in the Willows chronicles the adventures of four friends” BN “in a pastoral version of Edwardian England.” WK “The story begins at the arrival of spring where we find the good-natured Mole tired of doing his spring cleaning. Mole decides to abandon his cleaning in order to enjoy the fresh air of spring. He journeys to the river where he meets Rat, whom he quickly befriends. Together the two row down the river eventually meeting up with Toad at Toad Hall. There they discover Toad’s current obsession with his horse-drawn caravan, one which he quickly abandons for a motorcar when his caravan is run off the road by one. A fourth friend enters the story in the form of Badger and when it is discovered that Toad’s obsession is becoming self-destructive, Mole, Rat, and Badger intervene to help protect Toad from himself.” AZ

The novel is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality and camaraderie.” WK It was adapted by A.A. Milne for the state in 1929 and as a musical almost a century later. The first of several film adaptions came in 1946. WK

Resources and Related Links: