Why? I don’t know. It’s just that over the course of my life I’ve probably read in the neighborhood of 2,000 or so novels and I was thinking about my favorite books a few weeks ago and starting to wonder what my “Top 10” would be. This led to a listing which, at first, fit neatly into 10 titles but which also subsequently grew – and continued to grow – far beyond that nice, neat “10” despite my best and most frantic whittling.
At some point, much like an airplane, the ever-increasing altitude of the list reached it’s vertical stall limit and began to fall softly back to earth, but only after continued cutting and the implementation of some parameters regarding what books are allowed on the list which led to a second – albeit smaller – list that the first list is governed by which I have thoughtfully included below:
- No non-fiction. That cuts out a lot right there, including some great biographies, self-help titles, and historical events, as well as the all-time biggest selling book ever, the Bible. So be it.
- No classics. Can I make a case for Silas Marner, David Copperfield, Last of the Mohicans, The Moonstone, East of Eden, Treasure Island, White Fang, etc., etc., etc.? Yes. Do you already know that you should read them? Yes.
- I’m allowed to list other books that should be on the list but can’t be because there can only be ten. I realize that this could be seen as “bending” the rules, but these books are not actually “on” the list per se; they’re listed as alternatives or additions to “listed” main titles.
Bear in mind that I’m not saying that any of the books on my list are “great fiction”, or “important”, or any other literary claptrap distinctions like that. They are simply my favorites. The predominant characteristics about each of the books on my list are that they made me feel different, they prompted me to think, they made me want to experience them again, and they have never wandered too far from my mind.
Just as every family has a couple of stray cousins that don’t fit the mold, an estranged black sheep or two, and a crazy uncle who lives in the basement, my list is simply my literary family. The fact that I may have more than one crazy uncle just makes them all the more endearing to me.
See you Monday!