Favorite Books?

Brent Finnegan -- September 16th, 2009

It’s no surprise that local ghostwriter Jeff Haden is into books. But Jeff likes some books so much, he wants to know what books his favorite authors are reading. He has recently compiled some of those lists to share with his readers. Jeff writes:

I got tired of writing “here’s what I’m working on” posts (because, really, what else am I going to say?) but…

I read Where Underpants Come From; wrote Joe a quick email saying I loved the book. He wrote back, asked what I was reading, I asked what he was reading… and realized I thought it would be fun to get recommendations from writers I like/respect/etc. (And thought other people might be interested too.) So I started asking.

He has posted ‘favorites’ lists from a wide range of authors on his website, including Alan Weisman and Howard Zinn.

Jeff suggested it might be interesting to know what books hburgnews readers recommend. I agree. What are your favorite books?

22 Responses to “Favorite Books?”

  1. Emmy says:

    I love that idea, what a great website.

    Reading is my passion and if I could figure out how to turn it into a career I would. I have four books in various stages of being read laying around my house and a fifth in the car. That doesn’t count the books I have to read for class.

    My favorites aren’t nearly as “important” as some of those in the lists on his site but off the top of my head I loved…

    On Writing by Stephen King
    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
    She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
    A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard by James Frey
    The Lord’s of Discipline by Pat Conroy
    Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

    Anything by Hemingway…and yes I like the Harry Potter series.

  2. If I said I was an avid book reader, that would be a stretch. I spend far more time on Google Reader than with a good book. It’s taken me months to get through books I like, let alone books I’m not crazy about. However, I still have a few favorites.

    Animal Farm by George Orwell
    The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein
    Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
    Manufacturing Consent by by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky
    Trinity by Leon Uris

    It seems like these days, I mostly listen to audiobooks or read nonfiction and how-to books, like All Your Worth by Elizabeth Warren. Recent reads: What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis, and Groundswell by Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li. Currently, I’m reading Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, and A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn.

  3. Gene Hart says:

    A quick three off the top:

    Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
    Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
    Down By The River Where The Dead Men Go by George Pelecanos

  4. Justin C says:

    Nothing like some good old American satire. I adore Kurt Vonnegut Jr and Joseph Heller. If you’re looking for a little more wit to go with your satire the check out

    David Sedaris – Me Talk Pretty One Day

    To this day it is still the only book that has caused me to laugh out loud in public.

  5. Jason Campbell says:

    Do androids dream of electric sheep?

  6. Renee says:

    I used to read a lot more than I do lately, and I was always a fan of Michael Crichton books and read many of his between 4th grade and college. Jurrasic Park, Disclosure, Congo, Sphere, and The Andromeda Strain (along with several others) are all worth a read, especially for anyone that likes science. And the books are better than the movies, of course :)

    Lately I’ve done the 4-for-3 thing on Amazon a couple times to get inexpensive books, and just picking the highest rated ones that sound good – which has worked out pretty well. The latest two I read were both sci-fi: “A Deepness in the Sky” by Vernor Vinge (two warring races out in space stranded over an interesting planet, lots of memorable characters and an interesting plot and created world) and “Spin” by Robert Charles Wilson (earth gets incased in a shield that warps the passage of time, story focuses on characters growing up in this strange era in human history, very good storyline). Both of those books were very good, but I wouldn’t call either author a favorite yet.

    The other memorable books I’ve read in recent years were “Sailing to Sarantium” and “The Lions of Al-Rassan” by Guy Gavriel Kay. Kay has an incredible talent at building partially-true-partially-fiction historical worlds with fantastic characters and stories. He’s definitly up there on my list.

    In non-fiction, I recently enjoyed “Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior” by Temple Grandin. I’m not sure why I got that one, but it turned out to be very interesting!

    So, that pretty much sums up most of my reading in the past several years. I’m averaging like 3 novels a year which is much less than I used to, but luckily the ones I have picked up have all turned out to be good!

    I think after all this time, and even though its been years since I’ve read one of his books, I’d still have to call Michael Crichton my favorite author.

    I’m looking for new books to get now, so this list is very timely! Good idea!

  7. seth says:

    marabou stork nightmares: irvine welsh
    absalom, absalom: william faulkner
    and where the wild things are (not sure who wrote that one off the top of my head)

  8. Renee says:

    Maurice Sendak :)

  9. Sarah says:

    I’m an avid reader, always have several books going at a time, can’t imagine life without books. :) I read widely, pretty much anything I can get my hands on – fiction, sci fi, children’s books, non-fiction, history, science…

    A couple of favorites:

    Evensong, by Gail Godwin
    A Life in School, by Jane Tompkins
    The Future of the Past, Alexander Stille
    What Would Google Do, by Jeff Jarvis

    I also desperately love to read (and re-read over and over again) cookbooks, which my husband thinks is crazy. But cookbooks for me are about inspiration and possibilities, not instructions. :)

  10. Cook says:

    Since job (that includes a lot of reading) and family and adulthood have overtaken me, making time to read (particularly lengthy books) has become more difficult. But about ten years ago I discovered books on tape (now CD). I have read many great books over the years in my car; I almost always have one in progress. My wife says, however, that I really shouldn’t say I’ve read a book I’ve heard.

  11. cook says:

    Franz Kafka, The Trial
    Tolkien, LOTR & the Hobbit
    Dostoevsky, Crime & Punishment and Brothers Karamazov
    Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy
    Zemach, The Judge: An Untrue Tale
    Lynd Ward, The Biggest Bear
    …this could become a very long list!

  12. Renee says:

    Sarah, I read through cookbooks like that, too! Though I don’t buy many so it’s usually in the store :)

    Cook, I think listening to a book on audio is as good as reading it! Some people are auditory learners and get more from it that way anyway.

    Everyone, I’m bookmarking a lot of these suggestions on Amazon for future purchase, thanks!

  13. Dan Easley says:

    ah, good clean fun.

    The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Balthasar Gracin (i’ve found this one oddly and consistently useful)

    The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse (i let myself stop reading long german fiction after this one)

    Short Stories by Anton Chekov (prosaic equivalent to Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony)

    The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes (proved to me I can be convinced of nearly anything)

    The Sirens of Titan, Slapstick, & everything else by Kurt Vonnegut (proved to me I should remain unconvinced.)

  14. Tina says:

    I tend to read books in spurts – two or three in a row (and quickly), then months until the next frenzy.

    One of my favorites – I read it several Summers in a row – is “Blue Highways” by William Least Heat-Moon, a chronicle of his travels on the back roads of America.

  15. Adam Sharp says:

    As Emmy said, anything by Hemingway, but especially The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls.

    The Last Hurrah, Edwin O’Connor
    The Art of War, Sun Tzu
    Pudd’nhead Wilson, Mark Twain
    Animal Farm and 1984, George Orwell
    To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
    The Selling of the President, Joe McGinniss
    The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien (I enjoy The Hobbit, the rest of the trilogy, the Silmarillion, but ‘Fellowship’ is in my opinion the best)

    I better stop here.

  16. Jeff says:

    Check out the Guardian’s Books: Top 10 lists. Authors list their top 10 books on a chosen theme. (Little Brit-heavy, but hey, it’s an English newspaper.) Since there are, oh 313 top 10 lists and counting… something for everyone, handily sorted by topic, genre, theme, etc. Don’t know how to embed links, so here it is: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/series/toptens

  17. Emmy says:

    I loved Animal Farm.

    Thought of another one this evening. Lovely Bones. It’s tough subject matter, but it is a beautiful book.

  18. Nicholas Detweiler-Stoddard says:

    I’m not a huge sci-fi guy, but remain in awe of Isaac Asimov’s stunning Foundation Trilogy (Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation)

  19. Nicholas Detweiler-Stoddard says:

    Maybe I do like sci-fi because Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is also high on my list.

    Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kinsolver

    Nonfiction:
    War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, Chris Hedges
    The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan
    Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster
    The Seven Storey Mountain, Thomas Merton

  20. Nicholas Detweiler-Stoddard says:

    How has the increase of hours spent reading and writing online (including twitter feeds and facebook comments) affected your book reading habits?

  21. Renee says:

    Wow lots of great reads from everyone!

    Nicholas, I find I do read books less now that I do a lot of short spurts of online reading, but sometimes I just have the urge to curl up with a good paperback, and that love hasn’t been replaced by the internet. I’d guess most of my magazine reading has been replaced by Google Reader, since it’s a similar format, but not book reading.

  22. Renee says:

    Jeff, thanks for the link to all the top 10 lists!

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