What Are Your Top Three Books?

reading books

We’ve asked about your top three movies, and I’d love to know your top three books. As of this month, I have a new all-time favorite…

olive kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge. Have you ever read it? Even though Elizabeth Strout is one of my favorite authors, and this particular novel won the Pulitzer (no biggie), I had somehow never found my way to it, but I picked it up this summer and never put it down. The story features Olive Kitteridge, a crotchety retired schoolteacher in Maine, and the townspeople around her, who are just trying to get through life (easier said than done). I adored the lines that echoed her no-nonsense personality, like, “The girl was neat as a pin, if plain as a plate” and “She didn’t like to be alone. Even more, she didn’t like being with people.” I absolutely fell in love with Olive and her brutal honesty — she calls people “nitwits” and “flub-dubs,” but she’s deeply caring underneath it all and touches many more people than she realizes.

Oh, how I loved this book! When I finished it, I lay in bed and hugged it for 10 minutes. I now have that sad, nostalgic feeling after ending a novel — there should be a word for that — and miss living in Olive’s windswept world.

Since it’s often hard to name your #1 favorite book — people seem to freeze and forget every book they’ve ever read — I’d love to ask about your top three. My list would also include Dept. of Speculation and An American Marriage. And if we’re allowed to include short stories, Away From Her.

Tell me! What are your top three books? I want to hear…

P.S. Our top three movies and what’s the most beautiful line you’ve ever read?

  1. Merrie says...

    Wow! What an incredible list!
    – The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg (anything by Elizabeth Berg)
    – Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (Especially when she makes a petition to God. It was not in the movie and was a huge disappointment!)
    – Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
    – Molly Murphy series & The Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen
    Also agree with others:
    The Alchemist
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    The Kite Runner
    Anything by John Irving
    Anything by Pat Conroy

  2. Tracee says...

    Thank you all for jogging my memory! I’ve recently been trying to write down my favorite books and I just realized how many great ones I had yet to add to the list! I’m cheating here because
    1. To Kill a Mockingbird – reading this again as an adult was a whole new
    revelation for me
    2. Anne of Green Gables
    3. Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight
    4. The Color Purple
    5. All the Light We Cannot See

  3. 1. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
    2. The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
    3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

    I’m a sucker for classics.

  4. Brittny Gettman says...

    My “want to read” List on Goodreads has blown up thanks to these comments!!

    1. The Glass Castle
    2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
    3. The Hearts Invisible Furies

    & (Pride & Prejudice, The Nightingale, Wild, Normal People)

  5. Meghan says...

    I could never narrow it down!

    From the nineteenth century –
    North and South (Elizabeth Gaskell)
    Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)
    Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
    Runners-up: Mill on the Floss, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Evelina, Wives and Daughters

    From the twentieth –
    The Blue Castle (LM Montgomery)
    To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
    Sunset Song (Lewis Grassic Gibbon)
    Runners-up: Five Little Pigs (Agatha Christie), The Sun Also Rises, The Gowk Storm, Crossing to Safety

    In translation-
    The Cave (José Saramago)
    Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy)
    Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafón)
    Runners-up: Au Bonheur des Dames (Emile Zola), Madame Bovary, The Crime of Father Amaro

    More recent reads –
    And the Land Lay Still (James Robertson)
    The Snow Child (Eowyn Ivey)
    Crossing to Safety (Wallace Stegner)
    Runners-up: A Tale for the Time Being, All the Light We Cannot See, Hag-Seed, Circe

    • Sara Santos Silva says...

      You know Saramago :)

    • Stephanie says...

      Saramago. All the Names. His book are transporting.

    • Meghan says...

      Yes!! Not enough people do! Do you have a favourite Saramago?

  6. Erica says...


    1. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
    2. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
    3. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

    (I know very early 2000s of me, this list, but these still have my heart almost 20 years later)

    I’ve read so many books mentioned on your blog, currently reading My Name is Lucy Barton!

    • Kim says...

      Erica! History makes my heart ache just thinking of it. I hadn’t heard of Life after life, thanks for the rec!

    • Elle says...

      Your #1 and #3 are on my list too! Now I have to go read your #2 pick!

    • Kate says...

      Ahhhh… “The History of Love”! So good.

    • Ebba says...

      Catcher in the rye
      Confdereacy of a dunces
      Ronja the robbers daughter ( All Astrid Lindgren childrens book)

    • Janinne says...

      Lifetime favorites are all based on themes of family:
      Gone with the Wind
      Pride and Prejudice
      The Hiding Place

      Quarantine favorites:
      Olive Kitteridge (bought because of your post)
      Olive Again (sequel)
      American Dirt
      Such a Fun Age
      Cold Sassy

  7. Jessica says...

    – Pachinko – I revisit this book every year :)
    – Normal People
    – The Sellout
    – Homegoing – a mult
    – The Death of Vivek Oji
    – The Vanishing Half
    – Know My Name (auto-biography)
    – The Handmaid’s Tale / The Testaments

  8. Christine says...

    Late to this but here are my top 3:
    1. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving
    2. The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields
    3. Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese

    Oldies but goodies! All three books are beautifully written and I still reread them every few years. And after finishing the books (What? This happened? I forgot. Oh right. Wow!) I hug them and hold them against my heart thanking them.

    Fun fact: In A Prayer for Owen Meany, Owen’s father worked in a rock quarry… that means all three books are connected somehow by rock references. How cool is that??

  9. It’s difficult without considering beloved reads I’ve given away over the years but off the top of my head:

    1. The Cape Ann
    2. White Oleander
    3. The Thorn Birds

    • 1. The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht: Eastern European magical realism!
      2. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell: poetic epic historical romance in 19th century Japan
      3. Circe by Madeline Miller: Modern retelling of the Ancient Greek myth of Circe, OG witch
      (+Wolf Hall, A Tale for the Time Being, Things in Jars!)

      Don’t get me started on memoirs and literary nonfiction! ?

  10. Nina says...

    Possession by A S Byatt
    Pride and Prejudice
    Vanishing Half

    All are so transporting and play with language so beautifully.

  11. Adrienne says...

    Oooh! Loving this list! Been needing suggestions so this is great!
    Off the top of my head:
    1. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson- I love this beautiful book.
    2. Anna karenina (long, slow and totally worth it)
    3. East of Eden
    And just for fun: the physick book of deliverance Dane (save it for October when you want something for Halloween)

  12. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
    On Living – Kerry Egan
    The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

    • Anne says...

      A Fine Balance! I don’t often meet people who have read that, it really made an impact on me.

    • Kendra says...

      A Fine Balance for me too. I’ve never felt more attached to characters in a book (and never again so sad afterward)

    • Michelle says...

      A Fine Balance is life changing…

  13. Molly says...

    The Sellout- Paul Beatty
    Story of my teeth- Valeria Luiselli
    The Goldfinch- Donna Tartt

    Special Topics in Calamity Physics- Marisha Pessl
    When will there be good news? Kate atlinson

    • Liz says...

      Special Topics in Calamity Physics totally blew my mind!

  14. Weasel says...

    So many comments but I had to add mine because I *really* want people to read my #1!

    1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I have purchased and given away my copy of this book (always hard copy, always tear soaked for the last 50 pages) more times than I can count. My current copy sits on my boyfriend’s nightstand 1,000 miles from my own.

    2. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed – I will never forget reading her response to “WTF” that began with a heart wrenching personal story of molestation and ended with “the fuck is your life.” Her writing is perfection and again, I’ve purchased and given away this book so many times. It makes a great gift for any friend going through something big and hard.

    3 – Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs by Judi Barrett – A perfect children’s book, in my opinion, as the illustrations are gorgeous, the story is silly and captivating, and it’s a perfect length for a bedtime story. I would know, my dad read it to me every single night of my childhood. Another great gift for children’s birthdays or new parents!

    • Sarah says...

      I love your list completely.

  15. Merry says...

    1. The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
    2. My Struggle (6 volumes) by Karl Ove Knausgaard
    3. The Outline Trilogy by Rachel Cusk

    What can I say, I love auto-fiction.
    Plus, a bonus –

    4. The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard
    (brilliant, under-read, unforgettable)

  16. Sophie says...

    Even top three is hard!! But I think I’d go for:
    – Life after life by Kate Atkinson
    – The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe
    – Persuasion by Jane Austen

    But these are subject to change ?

    • Karen in VA says...

      … loved the movie The Best of Everything … great cast

  17. Katie Sparrow says...

    cheating here…but favorite CHARACTER is Armand Gamache and all his friends and neighbors from Louise Penny’s Three Pines series. I cry, I laugh, I need them in my life!

  18. Tess says...

    So many books! But here are three I loved that you might not have read yet:
    1. There, There by Tommy Orange
    2. Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie
    3. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

    • Heidi S says...

      I’m finding this comment section overwhelming (soooooo many books!), but the fact that I loved two of your three (Lincoln and Americanah) means I HAVE to put the third one on my list!!

  19. Allison says...

    Right off the top of my head the three books I can think of are:

    1. The Red Tent
    2. My Wife Said You May Want To Marry Me
    3. The Light We Lost

  20. I agree with so many of you. I will add THE WEIGHT OF INK by Rachel Kadish. It’s a monumental piece of research and writing.

    • Erin Armitage says...

      Loved The Weight of Ink!

    • Erin Armitage says...

      In addition to so many favorites I’ve already seen listed:
      Guernica – Dave Boling
      Salt to the Sea – Ruta Sepetys
      The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
      The Lager Queen of Minnesota – J. Ryab Stadal
      The Story of Edgar Sawtelle – David Wroblewski

  21. Lexie says...

    Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. The Nightingale. The red tent. ❤️❤️?

    • Rebecca says...

      Eleanor Oliphant is a joy!!! I listened to the audio. . . just wonderful.

  22. Deb says...

    Soo many grest books! Three I loved
    – All the light we cannot see
    – Long bright river
    – Where the crawdads sing

  23. Barbara says...

    Pride and Prejudice and A Gentleman in Moscow are immediate choices, but I can’t think of a third offhand

    • Elle says...

      Your #1 and #3 are on my list too! Now I have to go read your #2 pick!

  24. Carrie, UK says...

    My all time favourite is My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell – first read at school then re-discovered later in life, I remember tears of laughter rolling down my face, also the BBC adaptation recently has been amazing, I challenge anyone not to want to visit Corfu after reading/watching this!
    Second is Pride and Prejudice simply because there are too many books I love but this is the only one I have read 4 times and would still read again…
    Third place goes to my ‘comfort reading’ authors who are PG Wodehouse, Agatha Christie, Alexander McCall Smith amongst others.
    Currently obsessed with travel writing during lockdown whilst foreign places are off limits, doing some serious armchair travelling with books on Italy, Botswana and Morocco!

    • Katy says...

      Love this question! (and my answer is constantly changing as many have said):
      – The Neopolitan series – Elena Ferrante (she also has a new book out that I’m dying to get my hands on!)
      – Bluets – Maggie Nelson
      – Pride and Prejudice

    • Lucy says...

      The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell
      To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
      Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa

  25. The Neapolitan series
    The Last Samurai (Helen DeWitt)
    Men We Reaped
    Normal People

  26. 1. “In the Time of The Butterflies” by Julia Alvarez
    2. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
    3. Can´t help to include my own book “In Our Thirties: Insights and Expert Advice for This Decade and Beyond”, the book that taught me how to write, and how to read, now in my thirties!

  27. Noa says...

    Top 3 books:
    1. To kill a mockingbird / Harper Lee. Always and forever.
    2. In cold blood / Truman Capote. I don’t even completely know why, but there’s something so memorable and captivating about this book. And I love the fact that the authors of my #1 and #2 were best friends.
    3. The year of magical thinking / Joan Didion. Another “I don’t know why” book, and so heartbreaking. But also so human and real.

    • Janinne says...

      I loved a year of magical thinking too

  28. Caitlyn says...

    wow this is so good!!

    1) a little life – i think about this book all the time
    2) goldfinch – i’ve never been more wrapped up in a story
    3) rules of civility – loved this book so so much

    • KB says...

      A little life. So much yes.

    • Shea W says...

      A little life stays with you — in my top 3 as well.

    • Ruth says...

      Have you read A Gentleman in Moscow? I liked it even more than Rules of Civility! That and A Little Life are among my tops too. ❤️

    • Absolutely agree about “The Goldfinch”, I listened to the audiobook and it’s fantastic with the perfect narrator. Too bad they messed up the film so badly.

  29. Ruth says...

    Here to recommend a great SOURCE for book recommendations: Molly Young’s newsletter Read Like the Wind! She started independent but now it’s through Vulture. Such intriguing reviews!

    • Allison W says...

      Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, #1. So hard to pick 2 and 3…trying to choose between multiple Kerouac’s, Just Kids, Patti Smith. (The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath?)

    • Ève says...

      Thank you so much for this rec! I read a few of her posts online and promptly subscribed… she’s so funny!

  30. So hard to just choose three! Here are my current three…

    1) Circe by Madeline Miller
    2) Writers & Lovers by Lily King
    3) The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

    And a bonus nonfiction that I re-read often: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

    • Shea W says...

      Yes, Circe, can’t wait for it to come to the small screen.

  31. shannon says...

    Poisonwood Bible
    My Mrs. Brown
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

    • Col says...

      Now I’ll look up “My Mrs Brown” because I totally agree with your other choices. Also– a shout out to the person up above who mentioned the “Thorn Birds”. So good.

  32. Natalie says...

    If you have an appreciation for the outdoors, I highly recommend reading Pam Houston. In her most recent memoir “Deep Creek” she discusses her relationships with animals (wild and domestic), her experience in beautiful natural environments, and her fear of the destruction of our planet.

    I have read two of her books this year and can say she now easily shares the #1 spot with Mary Karr and Mary Oliver.

  33. Kathryn says...

    The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies
    Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series
    The Old Filth Trilogy by Jane Gardam

    • Sally says...

      Thumbs up for Robertson Davies. Also anything by Milan Kundera.

    • Joan hreno says...

      Yes! Loved all of these. Adore Jane Gardam.

    • Malika says...

      OH!!! Another Jane Gardam fan! I love her!!! That trilogy is the best!

  34. Bb says...

    Ok I can’t pick my favorite book but I can say favorite authors: hemingway, murakami and Richard russo. Weird that they’re all male! Also love Anne Patchett, kate atkinson, louise penny, jk rowling. Books are the best. Just finished a new to me author charles martin who wrote water keeper which I found gripping and beautiful. I have wanted to read cloud atlas and goldfinch for years but just haven’t. Oh and David foster wallace for the laughs.

  35. Jennifer De la Rosa says...

    oh my gosh, me too. Add the Kiterunner in there are we are the same reader!!

  36. Pearl McElheran says...

    Joanna, Do you know that Strout has written a follow-up to “Olive Kitteridge”? It’s “Olive. Again.” I loved both books. Maybe the first one just a tad more, but both are wonderful. An apt title for her second Olive book could be “Still Olive” because she still the blunt, crotchety Olive with surprising glimpses of tenderness and kindness that get out from time-to-time. She’s older. And, without betraying anything, she, surprisingly to her and to us, re-married! Characters from Strout’s other books pop up. Really quite wonderful.

  37. Heather M says...

    The Last Time I was Me – Cathy Lamb
    52 Small Changes for the Mind – Brett Blumenthal
    Under the Egg – Laura Marx Fitzgerald

  38. Stephanie Creasy says...

    I read An American Marriage a few months ago and absolutely loved it. I can see why it would be one of your favorites. It’s hard to choose mine, but a few would be: All About Love by bell hooks, Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Dream Work by Mary Oliver, Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans, and Pride and Prejudice <3

  39. Abby says...

    If you loved The Night Circus, you must also read The Starless Sea by the same author, Erin Morgenstern. It’s so magical.

    • Tracee says...

      My husband is begging me to read those!

    • A says...

      I loooovvved the night circus, and couldn’t get into the startless sea at all, couldn’t even finish it!

  40. Michele says...

    Memoir of a Geisha
    A fine Balance
    I know this much is true

    • we might be the same person. those are such amazing titles!

    • Marisa Ozburn says...

      2 of my favorites too! (Memoirs and I know this much is true!).

      My 3rd would be A Little Life

  41. Rachel says...

    The book I come back to time and time again, when I need comfort or distraction, is Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. I can literally open up to any page and dive back in.
    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi’s writing feels like a hug to me because it’s so beautiful and full and poetic. I’ve immensely enjoyed both Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun.
    I also can’t get enough of Jasmine Guillory’s contemporary romance novels. They’re light, fun and sexy, but still deal with real issues like racism and politics. I get lost in each of her books and am waiting with baited breath for her next announcement!

    • Angie Vossler says...

      If you like Under the Tuscan Sun, try To Tuscany with Love by Gail Mencini. It’s a fun read!

    • margaret says...

      Adichi! Have you read Purple Hibiscus? I loved it so much!

    • Shell says...

      I loved the Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory.

  42. Kate A. says...

    Educated – Tara Westover [the writing style, the story, the similarities between her childhood and mine that by reading, helped me heal]
    The Wind Boy – Ethel Cook Eliot [a book that soothes and gives you hope all at the same time]
    Lady Knight – Tamora Pierce [Kel was who I wanted to be when I grew up, ethical, inner strength, a good friend, honest, and fights for those who can’t]

    • Debbie says...

      I LOVE educated for all the same reasons you articulated.

    • Lindsay G. says...

      Yes Lady Knight!!! Did you read the Alanna series too? Some of my favorite books! You might like the series Throne of Glass – strong female leads, magic, different kingdoms, etc

  43. Kate says...

    Circe – Madeleine Miller
    Winter Solstice – Rosamunde Pilcher
    (this one may seem random, but honestly I give it to every one of my female friends when they are ill or in hospital or depressed, and it sees them through. It is light-ish but wonderful)
    The Artists Way – Julia Cameron (oldie but goodie, this book changed my life)

    • Katie says...

      Winter Solstice is my mother’s favorite book! She reads it at least once a year, but only when the weather turns cool ?

  44. Jimjam says...

    So hard to pick just three:

    1) White Noise – Don Delillo
    2) Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
    3) Ballet Shoes – Noel Streatfeild ♥️

    • jdp says...

      ha! such an interesting list. postmodern angst and old-fashioned little girl dreams! appreciated both 1 and 2, but of course loved #3. :) (and it reminded me of another all-time childhood favorite of mine, a little princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.)

    • Sara Campbell says...

      I completely forgot about Ballet Shoes! I read it as a kid and loved it – putting it on hold at my library right now! <3

  45. melody says...

    The Language of Flowers -Vanessa Diffenbaugh
    The Mists of Avalon – Marion Zimmer Bradley
    Educated – Tara Westover

    As a teacher, I have to list my favorite young adult books. These may even top my adult books.
    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
    Freak, the Mighty -Rodman Philbrick
    The Hobbit -J.R.R. Tolkien

    • Lacey says...

      The Language of Flowers is one of my favorites!! As is Educated, but I haven’t seen anyone else post the former so I had to comment in solidarity. :)

  46. C says...

    It’s impossible to only pick three but the first that came to mind were
    The Year of the Runaways – Sunjeev Sahota
    Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
    and of course Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling

  47. Kiersten says...

    Not too long ago I would have said the Harry Potter books were my #1 all-time faves, but something has shifted. I loved them with every fiber of my being when they were first released but I find they are increasingly being retroactively ruined by the new Grindelwald movies, which are ignoring canon established by Rowling herself in her original 7-book series. First they mess up Albus Dumbledore’s age in the timeline (just because they wanna cast Jude Law), then they suddenly hint at there being another Dumbledore sibling, despite there being absolutely NO mention of any such thing previously. Doubt any such scandal/development could’ve been missed by the infamous village gossip and historian Bertha Bagshot, or Aberforth the other actual brother! Yes they might pull a bait-and-switch later and say oh yeah he was just a cousin — whom Albus and the entire Wizarding community had somehow inexplicably never met/known/heard of before — and if so that would be a cheap shot because the whole point of the big reveal of Clarence’s true identity was to piggyback on the prestige of the Dumbledore family name for maximum dramatic impact.

    I didn’t even enjoy Harry Potter and The Cursed Child much because (spoiler alert!!!) when on earth during the course of the 7 HP books in his relentless pursuit of Harry’s destruction would Voldy have had the time (or predilection!) to have had a relationship with Bellatrix, much less consummate it? And how did she keep the pregnancy and birth from the other Death Eaters and really everyone else, since the child’s identity was this big secret/mystery all along?

    Phew, sorry this turned into an unexpected critique of HP. Guess I had some stuff to get off my chest as a (former?) long-standing diehard HP fan!

    • Kiersten says...

      As for my actual top 3 books, I adore

      1) Bossypants by the inimitable Tina Fey. I seriously want her to adopt me even though she’s only a few years older than I am!
      2) the classic Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery. I also watch the !985 film adaptation every time it comes on TV/cable and swoon all over again. It’s gotta be the Megan Fellows-Jonathan Crombie version!
      3) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Both the book and its movie adaptation were done SO beautifully.
      4) All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. In fact all his stories/books about being a small-time country vet are hilarious!

      I also have a soft spot in my heart for all the YA novels — the Shadowhunters series, the Hunger Games trilogy, the Maze Runner series, the Percy Jackson books, and the I Am Number Four series (with the notable exception of the Twilight saga and related 50SOG series). I did however love love love the How to Train Your Dragon books, which are unexpectedly much darker and thought-provoking than you’d think for a children’s book series. For someone who studied Eng Lit and did all the ‘heavy’ classics — The Mill on the Floss, Of Mice and Men, The Pearl, Julius Caesar, Lady Chatterly’s Lover and the like — in my later years I find myself gravitating to/wanting to lose myself in pure escapism and a bit of fast-paced, frothy fun for a few hours.

    • Colleen says...

      You are so right. The Cursed Child is an abomination. How could Harry grow up to be such an unkind parent after all that he longed for in a home and family? And the Grindelwald movies are definitely not worth watching. Have a great weekend soul sister!

    • Kiersten says...

      Thank you so much Colleen, for letting me know I’m not alone in feeling this way! I’ve often felt like I was the outlier for feeling deeply disappointed after finishing The Cursed Child, which by all $$$ accounts was another smashing success for the author. I guess part of that could be attributed to the existing fan base’s pent-up excitement for another Harry Potter tale — only it was nothing like the HP of old, IMHO — but still a lot of ppl must’ve liked it for it to do so well.

  48. Hayley B says...

    My all time favourites are

    1. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell — this book holds such a special place in my heart not just because it’s chock full of incredible laugh-till-you-cry anecdotes, it’s also populated by the most charming characters (both human and animal) and captures a time in the 30s-40s when the world seemed more innocent and full of wonder somehow. And the island of Corfu, Greece is on my bucket list of places I must see before I die solely thanks to this book!
    2. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery — at first glance it seems like a simple children’s book but really it’s one of the most profound and magical books I’ve ever read. The way the author describes what it means to befriend others (I particularly love the wild fox teaching the protagonist how to tame him, and how in the process he also comes to see the boy as an inextricable part of him), to value what is truly meaningful (the most important things in life can only be seen with the heart), and to be open to new experiences while staying trusting and true to oneself, is so so brilliant and touching, without crossing the line into being maudlin.
    3. Anything by the master of comedic writing P.G. Wodehouse — especially the stories starring Jeeves, the seemingly superhuman and droll butler who can and does extricate his hapless employer from every manner of scrape imaginable! As a reviewer on a jacket cover said, it is “simply sunlit perfection” and I couldn’t have said it better myself! *chef’s kiss*

    • cherry says...

      are we the same person!?

    • Hayley B says...

      Cherry — We must be, lol! ? I’ve never seen any of these books mentioned by anyone else in the comments before. It’s so fun to meet a kindred spirit!

    • cherry says...

      choosing three is impossible so our list doesn’t perfectly match up, I picked The Once and Future King and Never Let Me Go as my other two, but no list can be complete without The Little Prince, forever! wondering if you’ve read/like the other two on my list as well?

    • cherry says...

      omg, tell me you love james herriot too!!

    • Hannah says...

      I love the Little Prince and collect it in many different languages. It has been translated A LOT and whenever my friends are traveling I ask them to pick me up a copy. So I have about 20 versions. Full disclosure: I also have the cover tattooed on my arm so I end up having a lot of great conversations about it. It is deceptively simple but man it really gets to the heart of things. I have Chapter 21 when he meets the fox memorized and would frequently recite it to my baby when she was small.

    • shannon says...

      I was thinking the same thing- love all three of those authors. When I read Wodehouse I lose myself laughing.

    • jen b says...

      THE DURRELLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      I agree with everything here profoundly!!!!

    • Hayley B says...

      Cherry — OMG how did you know I love James Herriot as well *squeeeeeeal* I’m so excited!!!! I simply adore all the books on the big city vet transplanted to the bucolic English countryside and his many many adventures on the job trying to win over the sceptical farmers suspicious of modern medicine and all his newfangled medical contraptions, as well as his deeply uncooperative and unimpressed patients, haha!! I have to admit I haven’t read the other 2 books on your list, but now I must go and check them out!!!!

      Hannah — Wow that collection sounds awesome!! And how wonderful that your daughter too will (hopefully, if she doesn’t already) grow up to love the Prince and the fox and the pilot and even the vain rose! And your tattoo, what an amazing conversation starter! Have you been to the official museum in Hakone, just outside of Tokyo? The Little Prince is BIG in Japan!

      Shannon — Me too, Wodehouse never fails to lift my mood, anytime, anywhere! ♥️

      Jen — Right??! I also love his 2 follow up books on the Durrell family — Birds, Beasts and Relatives; and The Garden of the Gods, part of what’s called The Corfu Trilogy — with other anecdotes that didn’t make the cut for his first autobiography, MFAOA, but which are still side-splittingly funny. I would have LOVED to be able to run wild in the Greek countryside like he did in the bosom of an ultra quirky yet loving family while surrounded by a total menagerie of every conceivable animal!! My favorites have to be Ulysses the owl, Achilles the tortoise, Roger his faithful dog and the Magenpies!

  49. Katie S. says...

    Posting because I want to be part of the best post ever. I refuse to pick three, but here are three I haven’t seen mentioned (in my brief review) and LOVE.
    1. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
    2. Bel Canto
    3. On the Island
    4. Prince of Tides (cheating, try to stop me!)
    THANK YOU for a one-stop shop for what I’ll be reading for the next 5 years!!

    • Stephanie Creasy says...

      Bel Canto has always been a favorite of mine, as well. Have you read A History of Love? I always loop those two together in my mine. If you haven’t read it you might enjoy it :)

    • AnnieM says...

      I absolutely loved Bel Canto. My favorite Ann Patchett Novel, although I really enjoyed her novel State of Wonder.
      My number one book of all time—without hesitation tho—is Anne of Green Gables. :)

  50. Brooke C says...

    Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
    The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
    Know My Name by Chanel Miller

  51. GM says...

    The Orphan Master’s Son – Adam Johnson
    All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
    Where the Red Fern Grows – Wilson Rawls

    • Sally Dayton says...

      Mrs Dalloway- Woolf
      The Hours-Cunningham
      All the Light We Cannot See- Doerr
      Also (no book lovers can really pick only 3!)…
      The Great Believers- Makkai
      State of Wonder- Patchett
      Interpreter of Maladies- Lahiri
      Hunger- Gay

    • Vanessa says...

      Oh my! Like many of you, I’m leaving out many beloved books, but here are 3 faves in no particular order:
      – Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
      – The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
      – The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

  52. Any Human Heart- William Boyd
    The Goldfinch- Donna Tartt
    A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

    • Ellie says...

      Oh God that last one. One of my favourite ever books, and I doubt I will ever read it again.

    • Stephanie C says...

      A Little Life. A fantastic book! I never remember to list it in my favorites and yet I think about it frequently.

    • pascale says...

      I’m going to go pick up Any Human Heart now, because those other two touched me so profoundly – those stories are with me for life.

    • Heather says...

      A Little Life was positively gut-wrenching and so incredibly beautiful at the same time. I’ve never had such a response to a novel! Next I’d add Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler…I’ve read this book again and again and can continue to reread it, although similarities to today’s crises might make it another difficult read right now. These two are my top and it’s so hard to pick just one more, so I’m cheating… Never Let me Go (Ishiguro), The Hate U Give (Thomas), This Is How It Always Is (Frankel), The Mosquito Coast (Theroux), The Handmaid’s Tale (Atwood), South of Broad (Conroy), A Prayer for Owen Meany (Irving).

  53. Alexandra says...

    Oh my. Only 3.
    1) All time favourite: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen!
    2). Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel
    3). The Secret History, Donna Tartt
    I’m cheating! (forgive me?)
    4). The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry: found this last year. So weird and well written!

    • Kathryn says...

      Yes! The Secret History is brilliant!

  54. Sara Montoya says...

    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer may be an all-time favorite. It is just a masterpiece and it will irrevocably break your heart.
    Snow Falling on Cedars and Jane Eyre jump to mind because they are two of the only physical novels I own (for some reason I don’t keep many books) and have re-read.
    The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver (amazing author in general).
    Holes by Louis Sachar, and Where’d you Go, Bernadette–some of the more fun books I’ve read.. I could go on and on (and on and on) but a lot of my other faves are covered by these amazing comments! Happy reading!

    • Sara says...

      Oh! And one I have been recommending left and right in this BLM moment–Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. It takes on racism with such nuance and humanity and prompted some serious soul-searching for this white woman.

  55. Kay says...

    Choosing 3 is difficult! Aside from the Harry Potter series, my 3 are:
    Homegoing- Yaa Gyasi
    Song of Achilles- Madeleine Miller
    (I have Circe waiting to be read on my shelf)
    A Fine Balance- Rohinton Mistry

    • Libby says...

      Circe is so good!

    • Olivia Jane says...

      Homegoing! And this reminds me I have Song of Achilles and haven’t read it yet—so excited now! Enjoy Circe. It’s magic.

    • Jimjam says...

      A Fine Balance is so beautiful and heartbreaking

    • Colleen says...

      Song of Achilles made me weep even though I knew how it would end. I liked it better than Circe (though I did like Circe too).

    • Ange says...

      Barbarian days – William finnegan – It pulls you along like a wave, with such force that you feel the sand and salt water on your skin.

      Pedro paramo – juan rulfo – still really occupies me, especially because of the many temporal and narrative levels.

    • Ange says...

      Barbarian days – William finnegan – It pulls you along like a wave, with such force that you feel the sand and salt water on your skin.

      Pedro paramo – juan rulfo – still really occupies me, especially because of the many temporal and narrative levels.

      What i loved – siri hustvedt

    • Kay says...

      I read Song of Achilles while I was on maternity leave after having my son and I just cried and cried for the 2 boys in the book. It’s such a devastatingly beautiful story. You’ll love it Olivia Jane!

  56. Kim says...

    Loving this post and the comments. It’s so hard to think of 3 favorite books EVER so instead I’ll list 3 excellent books I’ve read lately:

    1) The Overstory by Richard Powers
    2) Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
    3) Recursion by Blake Crouch

    Another couple that were just beautiful include:

    1) A velocity of being: letters to a young reader by Maria Popova (a collection of essays by celebrities, artists, and influential people on their love of reading) <3
    2) The wildlife friendly vegetable gardener by Tammi Hartung

    Side note, I recently read a book called "Reading Picture Books With Children" by Megan Dowd Lambert and it was so interesting how you can point out structural components of books to children that adds a fun element to story time! Now my kids always recite the authors and illustrators of books and even comment on the endpapers of picture books and its the sweetest thing.

    • Kim says...

      Oh! And I can’t believe I forgot Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. It was such a lovely and powerful ode to nature and indigenous wisdom that has changed the way I view the world and particularly the land of North America.

    • Megan says...

      The Overstory floored me. I think about it all the time as I’m walking through my local park staring up at the towering eucalyptus and redwood trees.

    • Heather says...

      Two people recently recommended The Overstory to me in recent weeks, and I’d never heard of it before that!

  57. YRC says...

    I have difficulty with “top” lists because I can never decide! But I will say one book that is up there is Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. It is beautifully written, incredibly moving and inspiring, and can be picked up anywhere in the middle at any time (doesn’t need to be read cover to cover). I keep it on my bedside table and share it with my closest girlfriends. Highly recommend!!

  58. Erin says...

    So hard to choose and can’t wait to get some new favorites off of this list!

    My favorites are:
    Zorba the Greek
    Never Let Me Go
    The Night Circus

    …they’ve all written themselves into me in one way or another and that’s my favorite kind of book. The one that just won’t let you go!

    • Juliette says...

      Zorba the Greek is an amazing read!

  59. Brendy says...

    So many great books in this thread. Here are some of mine!

    The Power of One – Bryce Courtney
    A Place for Us – Fatima Farheen Mirza
    Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
    The History of Love – Nicole Krauss
    Beartown – Fredrik Backman
    Beach Music – Pat Conroy

    • Molly says...

      I second The Power of One!

  60. Jamie Howe says...

    Only 3….!!!!! These kept me up all night to finish:
    The Help, Kathryn Stockett
    Half a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Stones from the River, Ursula Hegi

    • Claudia Baskerville says...

      I loved Stones from the River so much! Think this is the first mention here and so glad it got some love. I also loved Hotel of the Saints and The Vision of Emma Blau and Tearing the Silence.

    • ARC says...

      Yes! Stones from the River. And most of Ursula Hegi’s book. I am a German immigrant, so I loved to read and re-read.

  61. Cassidy says...

    A Little Life
    The Heart’s Invisible Furies
    The History of Love

    • Olivia Jane says...

      Ok, but have you read Aminata Forna’s The Memory of Love? Pure masterpiece.

    • pascale says...

      history of love is one of those books I’ll pick up once a year to reread because I love it so! Wish I could do the same with A Little Life but not sure my heart can take it.

    • COlleen says...

      We have similar taste! I loved The Heart’s Invisible Furies SO MUCH. And The History of Love. Now I need to read A Little Life, clearly. It’s appeared so much here!

  62. MJ says...

    Although my main language is French, I make sure to read all Pulitzer prize for fiction winners (in English) and I have never been disappointed! The Overstory by Richard Powers blew my mind, and it completely changed my perspective on trees. Respect! Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry, is an absolute favourite: even if I hate hate hate westerns, this epic saga is a masterpiece and the protagonists are so vibrant that you feel like you know them. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, is the touching, inspiring and unputdownable story on the coming of age of an hermaphrodite. And I can’t help but add Michael Chabon’s magical The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier & Clay and Anthony Doerr’s divine All the light you cannot see. I also read lots of finalists. Among them, Blonde, Joyce Carol Oates’ spectacular Marilyn Monroe mock biography, and Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, which needs no introductions. I also read most Goncourt prize winners (for French-language books), and you might want to take a look at them, since many are translated in English.

    • Stephanie Hawkins says...

      1. A tree grows in Brooklyn
      2. The girls’ guide to hunting and fishing
      3. I know this much is true

    • Ren says...

      Yes to Middlesex, a great book. And a girls guide to hunting and fishing would be a top pick for me. I wish Melissa Bank the author had written more books!

  63. Sadie says...

    Lonesome Dove – Larry McMurtry
    The Last Unicorn – Peter S Beagle
    Jane Eyre – One of the Brontes (I always forget which one… quick google: CHARLOTTE, of course.)

    • Colleen says...

      Finally, Jane!

  64. Gretchen Caldwell says...

    Love this post…it’s adding to my very long TBR list.

    My 3 favorites are:
    Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
    Cutting for Stone – Abraham Verghese
    Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    It’s hard to pick just 3!!

    • Annie M says...

      Cutting for Stone affected me deeply, especially as a OB nurse.

  65. Y says...

    Happy birthday, Mona! I hope you get some good reads for your birthday :)

  66. Michele says...

    I cannot choose all-time favorites, but some that I’ve read more recently and very much enjoyed are:
    The Great Believers
    Daisy Jones and The Six
    The Great Alone

    Two of my favorite classics are East of Eden and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

  67. L says...

    The Power of One is one of my top two also!

  68. Hanna says...

    Just finished ‘Olive Kitteridge’ too and also have ‘post-book letdown’. I am excited to read another one of her books…suggestions?

    I really enjoy all of Lisa See’s books, ‘All the Light You Cannot See’, ‘The Signature of All Things’. Also, I just read ‘Calypso’ and it proved itself worthy as it made me laugh out loud many times over!

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      – My Name is Lucy Barton
      – Amy and Isabelle
      – Anything is Possible
      – Olive, Again (Some characters in the abovementioned books appear here.) Enjoy!

    • Hannah says...

      1. Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller
      2. Paper Towns – John Green
      3. Gregor the Overlander series – Suzanne Collins

  69. Sonia says...

    Pride and Prejudice
    War and Peace
    Catch 22


  70. Eszter K says...

    A staggering 978 comments?! wow, just wow. This is an absolute gold mine for book recs :)

    My top three:
    – Margaret Mitchell – Gone with the Wind
    – Hanya Yanagihara – A Little Life
    – Louise May Alcott – Little Women

    p.s.: the books you hug after you read them are the best :)

    • Eszter K says...

      *Louisa May Alcott…oops.

  71. jodi says...

    i love all these posts lately…they are such a pick me up!! So much going on everywhere in every it’s ok to have this forum to relax into and exhale. i love books and can’t get enough of the recommendations…how about since we did movies and books…can we pick three of our favorite podcasts? also what might be fun is to post our bucket lists thanks for Cup of Jo…it’s such good medicine!!!

  72. Praxis says...

    Boy Swallows Universe – I finished this book last week and I’m stiiiiill thinking about it.
    Pachinko – I love how the characters span generations but are in the same family
    The Harry Potter series because well, that’s what got me reading so devoutly in the first place.

    • Stacy says...

      If you liked Pachinko for that reason, try Homegoing and The Vanishing Half! I love multigenerational novels.

  73. KASS says...

    My all time favorite book is “Lolita.” It’s a controversial choice, I know, but Nabokov is the best writer. It’s the kind of book that, after reading it, you become sad that you will never create anything as good.

    Other favorites include “Everything is Illuminated,” “Norwegian Wood,” and all of Jessmyn Ward’s novels.

    • Cassidy says...

      Yes to Everything is Illuminated! How could I forget that one!!

    • Colleen says...

      Jesmyn Ward is incredible. Have you read her recent essay in Vanity Fair? Bring tissues.

    • Cindy says...

      Did you read My Dark Vanessa by chance? Lolita is a strong theme in that book, which I found unputdownable (though not a top 3 for me).

  74. Mina says...

    One Room in a Castle – Karen Connelly
    The Know World – Edward P. Jones
    Crow Lake – Mary Lawson

  75. Mona says...

    I can’t sleep so I’m up looking at this list. It’s actually also my birthday lol and a list of book recs feels like a gift right now! I was blown away by The Overstory and that might be my favorite. I loved the Alchemist, And The Mountain Echoed, Olive Kiterage, AND Olive again – I just related to Olives voice so much. Honorable mention to almost anything Judy Bloom. Every couple years I end up re-reading Just As Long As We’re Together or something from the Fudge series to get those nostalgic childhood warm ‘n’ fuzzies. Oh gosh, and the Laura Ingalls books…asking me to pick just my too three books is clearly impossible…

  76. Rachel says...

    Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

  77. Lydia says...

    Joanna, thank you for linking your recommendations to Bookshop over Amazon.
    You made my day by making that small, but important, intentional choice.

    • Elizabeth says...

      Yes, thank you so much for this!

  78. Jennifer says...

    Loving these comments! My top two books are:
    A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
    Villette by Charlotte Bronte

    Picking a third is tough! Of all time? Probably A Hundred Years of Solitude or The Secret Garden. More recently? All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr or A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza.

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      A Place For Us is amazing. It broke my heart in the most delightful way.

    • Mamie in the 505 says...

      Welp, Jennifer, I think we are now officially best friends. A Prayer for Owen Meany is also one of my favorites and I’ve never met anyone else who loves it as much as I do!

  79. Emily says...

    All the light you cannot see – Anthony Doer (and everything he writes)

    The thing around your neck- Chin amanda N’gozi Adichie
    (And everything she writes)

    Slaughterhouse Five -Kurt Vonnegut

    Honorable mentions of books I’ve hugged for 10 minutes after reading: Song of Achilles, Gentleman in Moscow, Constellation of Vital Phenomena

    • Claudia Gator says...

      So many times I’ve seen this book mentioned here (All the light you cannot see), that I’ve just bought it for my e-reader. :) It will be my next reading.

    • HR says...

      Yes! Constellation of Vital Phenomena! Such a good read.

    • Christina McClure says...

      I LOVED Constellation of Vital Phenomenon Also ::

      The Samurai’s Garden
      Stones for Ibarra

  80. Patricia says...

    I’m 63 and have been a happy reader since kindergarten, so you can imagine how many books I have read and loved.
    When I was 30 and had been happily married for a few years, I read Light Years, a novel by James Salter. My take on the book at that time was sympathy and shock for a married couple who were obviously so miserable together. I just had no understanding of that kind of pain and hopelessness.
    I read it again 25 years later and sobbed uncontrollably because I was now living exactly the same life as those characters. I understood all of it, and it really shocked me that a book could so closely mirror my marriage and my feelings. It’s remarkable that I kept the book all those years since I usually pass novels onto friends. I actually still have and one of these days will read it again.

    • Emily says...

      Such a profound book.

    • Sara says...

      Such a beautifully written book too! And I get that same sense, that I’ll understand it differently with the years.

    • Lin says...

      I just looked this book up and found a review by Jhumpa Lahiri. Now on my must-read list!

  81. Stephanie says...

    I don’t read as much as I used to (mainly because I don’t find a lot that I really love and can stick with), but here are my top 5!

    1) The Power of One
    2) The Alchemist
    3) Memoirs of a Geisha
    4) Harry Potter series
    5) Bridges of Madison County

  82. Loved Olive Kitteridge SO much. Elizabeth Strout strings words together in the most beautiful way. One of those writers who I’d love to take a class with!

  83. Alison says...

    The Boof Thief
    The War That Saved My Life (read to myself first and then again to my children. Gasped at the ending even though I had JUST read it. A must read!)
    Alias Grace

  84. Cory says...

    The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
    The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
    The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov

  85. ariane says...

    Girl in Times Square – Paulina Simons
    Tully – Paulina Simons
    The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

  86. Edie says...

    The Alchemist
    Swing Time
    The mixed up files of Ms. Basil E Frankenweiler

    This was a great question and I love reading everyone’s answers!

    • jdp says...

      i just finished reading from the mixed up files to my kid! i had never read it before and loved it.

  87. Tamara says...

    This Tender Land-William Kent Krueger
    If You Want to Make God Laugh-Bianca Maris
    The Book of Longings-Sue Monk-Kidd
    Code Name Helene-Ariel Lawhon
    Parked-Danielle Svetcov
    Louisiana’s Way Home-Kate DiCamillo
    To Kill A Mockingbird-Harper Lee
    This Is How it Always Is-Laurie Frankel
    Hum if You Don’t Know the Words-Bianca Maris
    Little Britches-Ralph Moody
    Anne of Green Gables-L.M. Montgomery
    All The Light We Cannot See

  88. Amy says...

    When breath becomes air!

    Becoming by Michelle Obama

    Anne of Green Gables

    • Christina says...

      Breath Becomes Air!!

  89. Emily Williams says...

    An impossible question! Three favorites lately have been Circe, Cantoras, and An American Marriage. But those are novels! My favorite nonfiction lately: Trick Mirror, In the Dream House, Intimations.

    Nickel Boys was also brilliant and powerful. As was There There. And Less is currently winning me over.

    I could go on all day. Olive Kitteridge is in my to be read stack, though. :)

    • Stacy says...

      There There. Nickel Boys. So intense…so important…

  90. Erika says...

    In the mid-1980s, when I finished my most favorite Sunfire Romance historical novel (remember those?), I expressed the same feeling to my mom. She told me, very matter-of-fact, that it is “post-book letdown” and you only have with the really good ones. Like you only have heartbreak after true love.

    So, there you go. Mom wisdom.

    My favorite three: A Prayer for Owen Meany, Pride and Prejudice and All the Light We Cannot See (by a fellow Bowdoin alum).

  91. siobhan says...

    seconding so many others in this thread:
    the goldfinch
    the Neapolitan novels

    and one I haven’t seen anyone mention yet – which is heartbreakingly beautiful writing:
    the things they carried

  92. Rachel says...

    1. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
    2. The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz
    3. The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits
    4. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
    5. Any poetry by Mary Ruefle

    Can’t just pick 3! I love this question!

    • Stacy says...

      Exit West! The story haunts me every time I work with asylum seekers. How could our world be different? What are borders? Sigh…

  93. Expecting Adam by Martha Beck, Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells. Tattoos on the Heart by Greg Boyle.

  94. Jackie Jones says...

    My top three, and the more I read the more it changes:
    Becoming Mrs. Lewis – Patti Callahan
    All My Puny Sorrows – Miriam Towes
    Glitter and Glue – Kelly Corrigan (I love all of her books, but this one is the best, get a tissue)

    • Meghan says...

      Yes to @ Miriam Towes. I think Women Talking is my all time favourite book.

  95. Katy says...

    Favorites are just too hard to pick! How about this year so far?
    “Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee
    “The Family Fang” by Kevin Wilson
    “The Dutch House” by Ann Patchett

  96. Cecily says...

    I have SO many books I love, but I will leave these three:

    My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferante (love the whole Neopolitan Series)
    The Marrow Thieves – Cherie Dimaline
    Normal People – Sally Rooney

    • Eve says...

      I was waiting to see Normal People on a list here! So so freaking amazing!!

  97. Michelle says...

    Like any avid reader, I feel like I have a top list depending on age, mood, season, etc. But looking over this collection of comments, I’d add:
    “Master Butcher Singing Club” by Louise Erdrich
    “The Orchardist” by Amanda Coplin
    “Cold Mountain” by Charles Frazier
    All have both a gorgeous sense of place and create lasting impressions of the U.S. regions where they are set, as well as a sense of history through the personal. Each feature character growth over time – the first two over decades – and feel like you are sitting down with an older generation and hearing how live was for them. I turn 50 in a few weeks, so will add these may not have been my top ten at 20 – although I read Middlemarch twice in college (unassigned) so maybe??.
    For more plot driven moods, I’d recommend Philip Pulman’s “His Dark Materials” series, Richard Adam’s “Watership Down” (my favorite as a 4th grader), or anything by Madelaine L’Englen or Douglas Adams. Or a newer delight: “The Rook” by Daniel O’Malley. (If you liked ‘Girl with a Dragon Tattoo’ this has a kick** heroine but you won’t have to suffer brutal sexual assaults.)

    • Michelle says...

      Madeleine l’Engle (Corrected spelling)

  98. Amber says...

    I read anywhere from 20-50 books a year, so I have many new favorites each year! But a few standouts that I can pull to the surface of my mind rn:
    -The History of Love (Nicole Krauss) – all time fave
    -Carrie (Stephen King) – I first read in middle school and have read so many times since, it’s so heartbreaking (but also, classic creepy King)
    -My Own Country (Abraham Vergese) – memoir about his time as a POC doctor in a rural conservative american town during the AIDS crisis
    -All the Ugly & Wonderful Things (Bryn Greenwood) – disturbing and uncomfortable but such a great book (love Reckless Oath by her as well)
    -Undead Girl Gang (Lily Anderson) – fun YA read with super clever dialog and smart well-developed characters
    -Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel) – lots of people have listed this book, I think it has a little something for everyone!
    -Two I just finished that were amazing and have stuck with me: Such a Fun Age (Kiley Reid) and The Vanishing Half (Britt Bennett)
    -Everything by: Jeffrey Eugendies, Jonathan Safran Foer, Celeste Ng, and Grady Hendrix. Gillian Flynn and Peter Swanson mysteries are always twisty and fun quick reads.

    I also think about The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe all the time… I loved both those books and need to do a re-read! They both capture a certain nostalgic summer feeling (even thought they’re sad stories).

    And for fun, a few super popular books that are on a lot of people’s favorites lists that I’m not a fan of/ really didn’t like:
    -Where the Crawdads Sing

    • Stephanie says...

      THANK YOU for adding a few books you don’t like. I also didn’t like Educated; I didn’t like A Man Called Ove either (am I the only one??!).

    • Lindsay says...

      I absolutely LOVED The History of Love.

    • Christina says...

      Ditto on Where the Crawdads Sing, such a good story.

      Another favorite that I haven’t seen yet is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks ( yes the reporters voice was too strong for me too but absolutely amazing!)

    • Lacey says...

      I like the idea of posting what we didn’t like (classic pessimist over here). I LOVED Educated myself, but one that I really disliked was Little Fires Everywhere.

  99. Sarah Bard says...

    An American Marriage is SO good. One of the best written books I’ve read. I had to take breaks reading it because my emotions were so strong.

  100. Christine says...

    I have always loved The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. I’ve read it three times at very different juncture in my life so it has resonated differently each time.

    The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

    Beloved by Toni Morrison. It reminds me of my late High School English teacher who inspired me to read English and Italian Literature at uni.

    Many aspects of my degree were such a let down but this teacher kept my love for literature alive.


    Gomorra by Roberto Saviano

    Surely you’re joking Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman

    Underground – also Murakami. This one helped me to understand some of my own behaviour and ingrained reactions as someone who grew up in Japan

  101. Alicia Cooke says...

    The Kite Runner – Oh my…so SOOO good!!! I’ve read more than once.
    A Thousand Splendid Suns
    Where the Crawdads Sing
    The Nightingale
    Redeeming Love
    Firefly Lane

    …because I can’t just name three.

    • Mona says...

      You have two Khaled Housseini books on here. Have you read “And the mountains echoed” by him? It is my favorite of his. His writing is breathtaking.

    • allie says...

      Agree??- Mountains Echoed is *magic*

  102. Angela says...

    ‘Mister Pip’ – Lloyd Jones.
    That one really stayed with me.
    Years later, I still feel all the feelings when I lay eyes on it at a book store or library.

    • Stephanie says...

      I agree completely.

    • Lin says...

      I didn’t know it was a book! I have seen the movie, which was enthralling, exquisite, brutal and chilling.

  103. Libby says...

    Last night I finished the Alice Network by Kate Quinn…. a historical spy thriller…utterly enthralling!

    Before that was The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes another captivating historical fiction with incredibly unique characters.

    And I can’t forget, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens …Just phenomenal.

    These are the books and many more (limiting to just three here) that are getting me through 2020. Strong and venerable heroines… it’s what the world needs now.

  104. Lila says...

    Top 3, recently read
    A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
    All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
    The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

    • M says...

      I love this question when I’m not put on the spot to answe! It depends on my mood, but today—sorry, can’t pick one:
      Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (or whole HP series)
      Jane Eyre
      Fates and Furies
      Days of Abandonment

    • Courtney says...

      We have the same favorites! :)

  105. betsy says...

    so hard to narrow them down:
    “The Bluest Eye” Toni Morrison
    “Underground Railroad” Colson Whitehead
    “A Manual for Cleaning Women” Lucia Berlin
    “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage” Ann Patchett

  106. Sophie says...

    Every year, at the end of the year, I write down my favourite book for that year. It’s hard to remember our “favourite” books, but looking back on my favourites of the past years brings back memories of those reads and shows how our tastes change!
    So, top ones for the past three years : Patrick Melrose by Edward St-Aubyn, Stories of your Life by Ted Chiang and so far this year, Out of Africa by Karen Blixen (so. well. written. and has very little to do with the movie!).

  107. liz says...

    100 Years of Solitude
    The Goldfinch
    The House of Spirits
    The Secret History
    Time Travelers Wife
    and most recently. Normal People

    • jilly says...

      ahh, the time traveler’s wife….my all time fave

  108. Suzanne says...

    Asking a book lover to choose a top three is like asking to choose a favorite child! Not possible! But here are the three off the top of my head that I have re-read multiple times and always get that feeling you described when they’re over. (Olive Kitteridge would also be a close contender for my list! And I’m excited you now get to read Olive, Again!)

    The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
    A Widow for One Year – John Irving
    I Know this Much is True – Wally Lamb

    (And thank you for doing this because I’m taking notes on all the other books people have mentioned!)

    • Shannon says...

      Ooh A Widow for One Year! I had forgotten about this book and how much I loved it.

  109. Autumn says...

    1. On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks
    2. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
    3. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
    4. True Grit by Charles Portis
    5. Suite Francaise by Irene Neimirovsky

    I know this is FIVE books, but they are seriously my most loved books in all the world. I love them, I love them, I love them.

  110. Lorena says...

    All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – the writing sparkles in this sprawling book. Heart filling and heart wrenching.

    Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple – I love the quirkiness of this book and the relationship between the mother and daughter.

    Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen – I never expected to be wowed by this memoir. There were paragraphs I reread. I was sad when it was finished.

    I love these book posts!

  111. gracesface says...

    I laugh until I cry each and every time I re-read Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny. I absolutely love it and recommend this novel to everyone.

    • Angela says...

      I’ve been looking for a good laugh – thanks!

    • Kristina says...

      From a 17 years now omg how did that happen English teacher:
      1) My Antonia by Willa Cather
      2) The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
      3) Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie

  112. Lisa says...

    Far too many to mention, but first three that spring to mind are:

    All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – recommended to me in a book store by a stranger and English professor – and I will forever thank him in my thoughts.

    A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale – devastatingly beautiful and will stay with me forever.

    The Time Traveller’s Wife – never want to see the movie as I loved this book so much.

    Also, just read The Boy at the Back of the Class with my 8 year old (a refugee boy joins a new school). Amazing, sad and uplifting and a great way to talk to kids about such an important issue.

    • jilly says...

      the movie is awful, don’t bother. also, you don’t want to ruin your personal view of each character.

  113. Shannon says...

    Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand. Much better than the movie.
    Cutting for Stone – Abraham Verghese. Made me want to reread it again as soon as I finished it.
    Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden. Why is he not writing another book?
    Pavilion of Women – Pearl S. Buck. A book that deepens my understanding of a woman’s life as I grow older. I must have read it at least 4 times since middle school.

    Oops, it’s 4 and not 3. My bad.

    • Kimberly says...

      Unbroken- YES. Had forgotten that one. Soooo good.

    • Katie says...

      Shannon– I heard a rumor that he very well IS writing another book!

  114. Joanna, I love your book posts!! I always include so many in my reading list after!!! I find that my favorite book is always the one I’m reading :D The last three were: Where the Crawdads Sing, Silver Sparrow, American Marriage. I am currently reading and loving – def my favorite! – The Vanishing Half. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  115. Dal says...

    A Visit From the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan
    The Great Gadsby – Fitzgerald
    Dharma Bums – Jack Kerouac

    or just
    The Ferrante Trilogy

  116. Michelle says...

    So fun! The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri; Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; The Wives of Henry VII by Antonia Fraser.

    • Michelle says...

      Oops! That should be “Henry VIII”

    • Jeanne says...

      So much to agree with! A few I didn’t see in my perusal if the comments:

      “The English Patient” is gorgeous (and as usual, SO much better than the movie!) Definitely in my top 3.

      “Exhalation” Ted Chiang: there is a 3 page short story that will BLOW YOUR MIND.

      “The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness”: I never thought I’d find Octopuses so INTERESTING!

      Hot takes – HATED Normal People, Little Fires Everywhere, and Nine Perfect Strangers.

  117. K says...

    – Hunger: A Memoir of (my) Body – Roxane Gay
    – Girl, Woman, Other – Bernardine Evaristo
    – Tiny, Beautiful Things – Cheryl Strayed
    – Olive, Again – Elizabeth Strout
    – There, There – Tommy Orange
    – A Tale for the Time Being – Ruth Ozeki
    – Killing Commendatore – Haruki Murakami

    – A House Like a Lotus – Madeleine L’Engle
    – Wild Geese: Selected Poems – Mary Oliver
    – Jitterbug Perfume – Tom Robbins
    – A Light in the Attic – Shel Sliverstein
    – Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
    – Calvin and Hobbes – Bill Watterson

    • Liz says...

      Wishing we could be in a book club! Great picks.

    • Midge says...

      Jitterbug Perfume! A Tale for the Time Being! A HOUSE LIKE A LOTUS!!!

      So, yeah, I will be reading everything else you listed here.

    • Rach says...

      I agree with Liz! I wanna be in a book club with you :) Murakami is one of my favorites and There, There is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Mary Oliver’s poems have gotten me thru some of the roughest points in my life.

    • Janet says...

      I LOVED a Tale for the Time Being. it was tough going at first but just go better and better. I listened to the audio-book and it was wonderful to get the actual pronunciations of things.

    • k says...

      I would gladly be in a bookclub with you, internet friends! Your comments made my day. Books are so important to me :-)

  118. Laura says...

    I have a top 2! There are many books that I have loved and enjoyed but these two have stayed with me over the years:

    1 – Fall on Your Knees by Anne Marie Macdonald
    2 – A Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova

    • Alison says...

      Yes! Fall on Your Knees is incredible.

    • Stefa says...

      Laura – I wonder if we are meant to be friends?! Fall On Your Knees is at the top of my list, too. I read it years ago when it first came out in paperback and then again more recently. I loved it just as much, if not more, the second time around. I will have to check out ‘A Mountain of Crumbs’ :)

    • Gosh, I had forgotten all about “Fall on Your Knees”. Time for a re-read!

    • allie bruce says...

      Fall On Your Knees. Fall On Your Knees. Fall On Your Knees.

  119. Joanna says...

    There should be a word for that! Just got Olive Kitteridge! Thank you! I loved Gentleman in Moscow recently. Xxx

  120. Melissa says...

    I’m a high school librarian and get asked all the time by non-high-schoolers in my life for recommendations. I try to keep a top three list for all types people who ask. My most frequent inquiries are for parents with youngish kids and for books that make good gifts.

    For parents who want to read aloud with their kids and/but also want to enjoy the book:
    1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Read it in the spring, and your children will become obsessed with weeding.)
    2. The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery (Fantastic NonFiction)
    3. Matilda by Roald Dahl (Listen to the audiobook read by Kate Winslet on long car rides, and you’ll never want to get out.)

    Gift-able Books (Book that almost any adult will love and immediately want others to read):
    1. Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge
    2. Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
    3. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
    (And I would definitely include Olive Kitteridge to this list.)

    • Carly says...

      What incredibly helpful lists! Bookmarking these. Thank you!

  121. Meika Johnson says...

    Oh how I love to read about everyone’s favorite books. Very difficult decisions but here I go:

    1. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
    2. Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese
    3. Dove Keepers by Alice Hoffman

    Well 3 just is not enough…
    4. Son of Trickster by Eden Robinson
    5. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingslover
    6. City of Thieves by David Benioff
    7. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
    So, so, so many great books!

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      Burial Rites! Oh, yes. Such a haunting, atmospheric, utterly gorgeous book.

  122. jdp says...

    has anyone out there read suite francaise?

    • Me! It was a few years ago, but I really enjoyed it. :)

    • Rach says...

      Me too! I read it when it first came out in the US in paperback and I still think of it often. Reminds me, it’s about time I pull it off my shelf for a reread…

    • Erika says...

      Loved it. The fact that it was unfinished is what makes it so compelling….

    • Sara says...

      Yes, so beautiful and strangely apt for pandemic reading.

  123. Lindsay says...

    Station Eleven is my one favorite.

    Could you create a Goodreads list with the top suggestions here so I can add them all to my “Want-to-Read” list please???

    • brigid says...

      yesssss. all time fav

  124. Noelle says...

    This is so hard to do! I’m going to cheat a little and break it out by fiction and non-fiction :)
    In no particular order —

    Fiction (I’m not as much of a fiction reader, but I read #1 and 3 this year and they’re still sticking with me long after I finished them):
    1. Kristin Lavransdatter
    2. Jane Eyre
    3. One Hundred Years of Solitude

    1. The Warmth of Other Suns
    2. A Sand County Almanac
    3. Caste (I’m not quite finished with this one but it’s incredible)

    Also for anyone looking for a Goodreads/non-Amazon alternative, try Storygraph! It’s in beta but is a really cool way to track your reading. You can even import your Goodreads data and get all sorts of nerdy data insights into your reading preferences.

    • Kirstin says...

      Oh a massive YES to Kristin Lavransdatter – I think about it all the time too.

    • Nicole says...

      Kristin is SUCH a good book—so long and yet I was sad when it was over!

  125. Ingrid says...

    To Kill a Mockingbird
    A Wizard of Earthsea
    Lord of the Rings trilogy

  126. Y says...

    So hard to choose 3! But if I must ;)

    When Breath Becomes Air

  127. Kim says...

    Love this game! Mine include:
    – My Antonia, Willa Cather
    – The Neapolitan Novels, Elena Ferrante
    – The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
    – Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Three recent reads I also loved include An American Marriage, Homegoing and The Vanishing Half. I used to always cite Catcher in the Rye and For Whom the Bell Tolls, but I might need to reread them as my perspective/worldview has vastly expanded since reading these books in high school.

    • Amber says...

      The History of Love is my #1 favorite book of all time! One year I gave it as a xmas gift to my mom, sister, and a few friends. I used a quote from it for my speech at my sister’s wedding too. Such a beautiful book. I also just finished The Vanishing Half last night and won’t stop thinking about it for a long time.

  128. Everything Michael Ondaatje has ever written.

  129. Donna says...

    Heartbreaker by Claudia Day (if talking recent books)
    The Namesake (or any book by Jhumpa Lahiri)
    Never Let Me Go

    • Stacy says...

      Jhumpa Lahiri! Still viscerally remember finishing Unaccustomed Earth at a cafe on vacation in San Diego and bawling.

  130. Alelia says...

    I agree with so many of these that people have listed and I can’t pick just three so I will share three that I have read this year!

    The Great Alone – Kristen Hannah
    Before We Were Yours – Lisa Wingate
    A Woman is No Man – Etaf Rum

    Loving all the comments!

  131. Kara says...

    Such a great question, and I”ll be returning to this list of recommended books often!

    For me, at this moment (often a changing list!):
    – Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner (Angle in Repose in another favorite)
    – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (an essential coming of age book)
    – Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler (incredible, gentle characters)
    – All books by Jesmyn Ward, Elizabeth Strout, George Saunders, Colson Whitehead, Pico Iyer…

    • ACS says...

      i LOVE angle of repose and never find anyone who’s read it! just incredible.

    • Christina says...

      Crossing to Safety is stellar. If you have cancer in your life you may want to avoid.

  132. Caroline says...

    Ahh novels. I love them. Favorites:
    —Neopolitan novels by Elena Ferrante
    —Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
    —Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
    —(also) Olive Kitteridge!
    —Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (short stories)

    All women writers—yeah!

    • Jacqueline says...

      Bel Canto–YES!!

  133. Patrisha Z says...

    NW by Zadie Smith
    Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald
    Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

  134. patricia blaettler says...

    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.
    Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi.
    Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks.

    • jdp says...

      i love how often a tree grows in brooklyn is on this thread.

    • Annie M says...

      Year of Wonders! So, so good. Also her book, People of the Book!

  135. Nina says...

    Top four recent favorites:
    Valentine – Elizabeth Wetmore
    There There – Tommy Orange
    Golden State – Lydia Kiesling
    Overstory – Richard Powers

  136. Lea M Sanders-Wilcox says...

    1. Song of Solomon, 2. Pride and Prejudice, 3. The Blind Assasin

    • Nicole S says...

      The Blind Assassin was so good- by far, my favorite Margaret Atwood book!

    • Lois says...

      Yes! The Blind Assassin!!
      a few more on my list:
      Pride & prejudice
      The Remains of the Day
      The Sound and the Fury
      And anything/everything by Alice Munro

  137. Wendy Jarvis says...

    My top three don’t match but I love them for different reasons. ‘White Oleander’ by Janet Fitch. ‘Blood Meridian’ by Cormac McCarthy. And ‘The Age of Innocence’ by Edith Wharton. :-)

    • Michelle says...

      Oooh I’d forgotten how much I LOVED “The Age of Innocence”. It’s been so long!

  138. Sara says...

    The Giver by Lois Lowry
    Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
    just added A Gentleman in Moscow to my reading list, based on so many recommendations in the comments!

    • Another Sara says...

      I’m excited for you to enjoy A Gentleman in Moscow! What a fabulous escape that book is!

    • Courtney says...

      In my exhausted state, I can only come up with my most favorite which is She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. It was my favorite in high school and even when I reread it years later, I was just as moved.

      Aldo can you also have a post of the book that people read that we’re recommended and the whole time they asked themselves HOW in the world did someone recommend this?

      I had this once with a Cup of Jo recommendation. I went back to the post OVER and over while reading to make sure that it actually was that highly recommended.

      I think it would give everyone a laugh to see what stirs us all up, good and bad.

  139. Carly A. says...

    I don’t often post but this is a favorite subject of mine!

    The Bronze Horseman – Paullina Simmons
    Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follet
    Bel Canto – Ann Patchett

  140. Brenna says...

    Too hard for me to commit to 3 favorites, but 3 that have stuck with me the longest and I can summon the setting in my mind are:
    The Red Tent by Anita Diamont
    The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
    Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

    …but I can’t stop there so adding in Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead and Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

    • CEW says...

      Ishmael has stuck with me ever since I read it as well. Right on. :)

    • Jillian says...

      Along with Be Here Now, Ishmael was one of those non canonical college works we all passed around!

  141. Eternal Echoes by John O’Donohue is by far one of the most beautiful books. It acts as a daily sermon although it’s not written that way.

    Go goes deep on belonging, identity, pain and so much more.

  142. Taylor says...

    I love to think of my top five books, but I find hat I’m always adding more and never shifting any out of the top five, so my top five is ever growing. But, here are the three of those top “five.”

    – Harry Potter series
    – Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao (Thanks Caroline for this recommendation! My sister and I talk about how deeply this book impacted us all the time!)
    – A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Housseini

  143. mmarciann says...

    A WInter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
    Flesh and Blood by Michael Cunningham
    Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

    • Sage says...

      I just reread Lincoln in the Bardo after having a son and GAH. Even more heart-wrenching. Such a spooky book too! Saunders is hands-down my favourite author, living or dead. (Please don’t die, George, I need at least 10 more collections of short stories from you, thanks.)

    • Maureen says...

      The audio of Lincoln in the Bardo is outstanding as well. Fabulous.

    • A Winter’s Tale, yes! I return to it over and over.
      Also: The Bone People, Keri Hulme
      In Other Lands, Sarah Rees Brennan
      Under a Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes
      The Animal Family, Randall Jarell
      The Broken Earth Trilogy, N.K. Jemisin
      The Tiffany Aching series, Terry Pratchett

  144. Claudia Baskerville says...

    I’m going to have to come back to this post with time to spare to read through all of these responses and make a new “must read” list!

    Hard to choose but..
    – Untamed by Glennon Doyle (absolute 2020 favorite)
    – A man called Ove by Fredrik Backman
    – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

  145. Yda says...

    So many books over the years, I have forgotten many of them!
    My first two choices are books that I read several years ago, both are in my heart and mind forever. My last choices are books I read last year:
    -Love in the time of cholera-Gabriel Garcia Marquez (read it in Spanish)
    -The Lover- Marguerite Duras- read it in Spanish several years ago, then in English (originally in French)
    -The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao-Junot Diaz/ We the Animals-Justin Torres.

  146. Lauren says...

    In order of discovery: The Little House books, Little Women, George Orwell’s A Clergyman’s Daughter, Jane Eyre, Brothers Karamazov, Middlemarch: all worth lots of rereads!

  147. Lauren E. says...

    Top 3, for very different reasons:

    1) Slouching Toward Bethlehem by Joan Didion [I am captivated by this book every single time I pick it up. She is one of the most unique voices I’ve ever read.]

    2) It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover [This one hit me in the gut over and over again and inspired me to write romance novels]

    3) What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage [This book opened my eyes to a whole new world, and an entirely different genre of book than I’d ever read.]

  148. Nicole from the Netherlands says...

    Browsing through the comments thinking oh yes, that’s a good one, and that one etc etc. So I’ll stop reading and put in my two cents.
    1. the Chosen- Chaim Potok
    2. Extremely loud and incredibly close- Jonathan Safran Foer
    3. One Day -David Nicholls
    And my recent fave: Untamed by Glennon Doyle, but that’s not fiction

    • Nicole from the Netherlands says...

      Almost forgot: The Bridges of Madison County, all time favourite romantic read

  149. TG says...

    -Emma – Jane Austen
    -Happy All The Time – Laurie Colwin
    -Slow Days, Fast Company – Eve Babitz

    • Rebecca says...

      Shocked to see Happy all the Time–NO ONE knows that one! I read it when I was in early labor with my first son–love that book!

      Three tops, currently, are Jessmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped–incredibly powerful and understated memoir that helps illustrate the impact of white supremacy on Black lives; Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, my favorite book to teach, and. . .hmmmm. . . I’ll go with Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman–listen to it on audio first for the accent!

      Anyone who loves sharing book recs should join Goodreads!