Books I Want You to Read

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Picking a favorite book is an impossible task for someone who loves reading as much as I do.  But I’ll do my best to give you a top 10 list.  Or two.  Or three.  The books aren’t on the list in any particular order.  And they are subject to change at any time.

 


 

Best overall:

  1. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
  2. A Chaplain’s Duty: Letters Home from a WWII Chaplain by Gayle Knapp
  3. Empire of the Summer Moon:  Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S.C. Gwynne
  4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  5. King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry
  6. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  8. Unbroken:  A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
  9. What Looks Like Crazy (on an Ordinary Day) by Pearl Cleage
  10. Words by Heart by Ouida Sebastyen

 


 

Favorite non-fiction:

  1. A Chaplain’s Duty: Letters Home from a WWII Chaplain by Gayle Knapp
  2. The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal by David E. Hoffman
  3. D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Battle for Normandy by Stephen E. Ambrose
  4. Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice by Adam Makos
  5. Empire of the Summer Moon:  Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S.C. Gwynne
  6. Ernie’s War: The Best of Ernie Pyle’s World War II Dispatches by Ernie Pyle
  7. Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell
  8. Natural Born Heroes: How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance by Christopher McDougall
  9. Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis by Elizabeth Letts
  10. Unbroken:  A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

I give the following books an “honorable mention”.  I felt that the writing was a bit too “non-fiction” in the case of The Race Beat and Children of Los Alamos, and not as tight or deep as I would like on the rest.  But they are worth mentioning because they really made me think or dealt with interesting subjects in a new or unique way.

  • Children of Los Alamos: An Oral History of the Town Where the Atomic Age began by Katrina R. Mason
  • In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson
  • Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly
  • The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation by Gene Roberts
  • Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt

 


 

Favorite fiction:

I’m doing a “Top 30-ish” here.  Because it’s just too hard to choose, and I may find more amazing books as I read.  Plus, 7 of my all-time best were fiction, so that’s not quite fair to the category, is it?

Yes, there are some books that are considered juvenile fiction.  There are some chick-lit.  There are some war stories.  I know it’s strange to have them on one list, but I’m not a big fan of labels.

Every one of these was well-written, and thoroughly delightful to read.  Several of these are part of a series, and I would encourage you to read the series.  For a few, I had to pick a single book from an author I loved.  And there are at least as many books that almost made the list.  Hang on while I revise it again…

  1. At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen
  2. Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos
  3. The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim
  4. Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg
  5. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
  6. Charlie Mike by Leonard B. Scott
  7. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
  8. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
  9. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  10. Delicious! by Ruth Reichl
  11. Dog on It by Spencer Quinn
  12. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  13. Island of Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  14. King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry
  15. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  16. Lost & Found by Jacqueline Sheehan
  17. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  18. Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
  19. Moloka’i by Alan Brennert
  20. My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara
  21. One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern
  22. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  23. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  24. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  25. Rifles for Watie Harold Keith
  26. The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigani
  27. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
  28. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
  29. What Looks Like Crazy (on an Ordinary Day) by Pearl Cleage
  30. Words by Heart by Ouida Sebastyen
  31. An Acceptable Time by Madeline L’Engle
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