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My 10 Favorite Books

October 2nd, 2009 by Bob Bly

Here are my 10 favorite fiction books. I say ?fiction books? instead of novels so I can include book-length plays.

1??Death of a Salesman? by Arthur Miller.

2??A Prayer for Owen Meany? by John Irving.

3??A Brief History of the Dead? by Kevin Brockheimer.

4??The Time Traveler?s Wife? by Audrey Niffenegger.

5??Creatures of Light and Darkness? by Roger Zelazny.

6??The Stars My Destination? by Alfred Bester.

7??Inherit the Wind? by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee.

8??To Kill a Mockingbird? by Harper Lee

9??The Great Gatsby? by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

10??The Lovely Bones? by Alice Sebold.

Are any of these on your favorite books list?

Are there any of them you DON’T think are worthy?

What others are on your list that I don?t have?


This entry was posted on Friday, October 2nd, 2009 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

51 responses about “My 10 Favorite Books”

  1. Tom McKay said:

    Good list, Bob, although I confess I haven’t read much fiction in years (except for the occasional guilty pleasure of Lee Child and Michael Connelley). 🙂

    Personally, I LOVED The Lovely Bones. Great concept, a narrator from heaven. Ditto Mockingbird, another great story + message. I liked Gatsby in HS but never really “got” it until much later.

    I was curious about Time Traveler’s Wife when it first appeared, and your recommendation may have pushed it back on my “Gotta Read” list. Although it might be much more fun watching the lovely Rachel McAdam in the film version.

  2. Fern Dickey said:

    Here are my books, in no particular order:
    1. Catch 22, Joseph Heller
    2. King Rat, James Clavell
    3. The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
    4. Sight Hound: A Novel, Pam Houston
    5. Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s, John Elder Robison
    6. If This Is a Man and The Truce, Primo Levi
    7. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irvin
    8. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
    9. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
    10. The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer
    I could keep going and I’m probably forgetting some favs!!!! Time Traveler’s Wife was GREAT. Also loved Great Gatsby, Lovely Bones.

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  4. Katie Yeakle said:

    Great list, Bob. Thanks. How about Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner? That’s on my top 10 list.

  5. Mike Duffy said:

    @Tom McKay: The Time Traveler’s Wife is much better in print.

  6. Ken Norkin - Freelance Copywriter said:

    Great list. I don’t read as much as I should. But “To Kill A Mockingbird” is one of my all-time favorites.

    I thought “The Time Traveler’s Wife” was really good until the ending, because I felt there wasn’t one.

    Others I’ve really enjoyed:

    The Godfather – Mario Puzo
    The Stand – Stephen King

  7. Henry said:

    Great list, although I haven’t read “Inherit the Wind” or “A Prayer for Owen Meany.”

    Here’s my top 10 (also starting with a play)

    1- “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” by Tom Stoppard
    2- “The English Patient” by Michael Ondaatje
    3- “The Lone Ranger and Tonto, Fistfight in Heaven” Sherman Alexie
    4- “Never Let Me Go,” Kazuo Ishiguro
    5- “Wonder Boys,” Michael Chabon
    6+7 – “1984” and “Animal Farm” George Orwell
    8- “To Kill A Mocking Bird”- Harper Lee
    9- “American Gods”- Niel Gaiman
    10- “Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy” Douglas Adams

    Kind of an eclectic list, but all good reads.

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  12. Rich Martin said:

    East of Eden by Steinbeck. The study of the Hebrew word TIMSHEL by the housekeeper is fascinating.

    Hawaii by Michener. Great recreational read. Wonderful historical fiction.

    Great Expectations – Somebody had to give Dickens some props!

  13. Bob Bly said:

    Rich: I love East of Eden, but I would have to go with Of Mice and Men — sappy but heart-breaking. Hawaii is great, too, and yes, I love Dickens and would pick GE as his finest.

  14. Chick J said:

    Thoughts on your picks.

    2—“A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving. (I didn’t really like this at first. But the book stay in my thoughts for days. A sign of a true classic.)

    5—“Creatures of Light and Darkness” by Roger Zelazny. ( I like this one but like the Amber series much more.)

    6—“The Stars My Destination” by Alfred Bester. ( Real sf classic.)

    8—“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee ( A superb book.)

    9—“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. ( It was ok but I didn’t think it was that great.)

    10—“The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold. (A sad book on a terrible subject.)

    On other books = King Rat, James Clavell An incredible story, which was base on Mr. Cavell’s captive in that Japan war camp. My favorite of Cavell is Tai-Pan .

    My favorite 10 books are

    The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    It by Steven King

    Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein

    The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

    Great Expectation by Charles Dickens

    Tai-Pan by James Clavells

    The Murder of Roger Ackroyed by Agatha Christie

    Castle Roogna by Peir Anthony

    Atlas Shrugged by Ann Rand

    Nercoscope by Brian Lumley

    Les Miserable by Victor Hugo

    Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

  15. Bob Bly said:

    Chick: I read most of Clavell’s books years ago and loved them all. I like Stephen King but think IT is one of his weaker efforts; I’d pick Pet Semetary or Misery. For Heinlein, I’d go with The Moon is a Harsh Mistress or Stranger in a Strange Land.

  16. Lorraine said:

    Of your list, only To Kill a Mockingbird might be a contender for one of my my Top Ten Favorite Books. Let’s see…

    1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    2. Madam Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
    3. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
    4. Hamlet by Wm. Shakespeare
    5. King Lear by Wm. Shakespeare
    6. Shakespeare’s Scottish play (1st career was in theater–& I’m still superstitious)
    7. Alexandria Quartet by Laurence Durrell (I’m counting all four as one–is that cheating? If so, just Justine.)
    8. Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
    9. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
    10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

    Well, I guess Harper Lee’s great novel didn’t make it–but it’s right up there.

    Clearly I was born in the wrong century–love 19th century literature.

  17. Lou Wasser said:


    Although I’m sure you asked the question strictly to provoke comment, how can you possibly ask whether a book is “worthy” of your list? The great thing about personal lists is that each of us is the ultimate judge of the worth of books on his own list.

    That said, hat’s off to Lorraine for the many classics she promotes and to both her and Fern Dickey for mentioning foreign titles. (Fern puts the Italian author Primo Levy on her list).

    One of the reasons I read is to get out of my own skin and to expand my own experience. Reading authors from other lands, either in the original language or in translation, helps enlarge my view of the world.

    Speaking of expanding my own experience,I’d like to offer an unsolicited testimonial for Bob Bly’s new book “How To Create Irresistible Offers.” You’d have to be dead between the ears not to become a better copywriter after reading this book.

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  19. Phil Dunn said:

    Can’t resist here.

    Owen Meany – for sure – on my top 10 list, too.

    Maybe Great Gatsby.

    Brothers Karamazov and Atlas Shrugged – absolutely concur with @Chick.

    We – Zamiatin

    The Castle – Kafka

    Replay – Ken Grimwood (maybe not a classic, but dang fun and trippy)

    Candide – Voltaire(thinking back to college)

    Tropic of Cancer – Henry Miller

    The Cry and the Covenant – Thompson

    (very difficult to make it 10!)

  20. Phil Dunn said:

    Honorable mentions:

    Many by Philip K. Dick – A Scanner Darkly, perhaps

    William Gibson – Neuromancer

    Paul Auster – many (inc NY Trilogy and Moon Palace)

  21. W. Tinnen said:

    On the Road, Jack Kerouac
    How’s that for a wrench in the works.

  22. Steve Rainwater said:

    Hi Bob,

    When you consider this list with your favorite comedies list, very interesting.

    If you haven’t read The Alchemist – by Paulo Coelho, I think it’s one you would enjoy.


  23. Bob Bly said:

    Phil: I like Philip Dick, though probably would go with “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” Also like Gibson. My favorite science fiction novels are:

  24. Phil Dunn said:

    I’ll have to try The Time Traveler’s Wife. Appears to be like Replay – premise-wise. Yes – Blade Runner!

  25. James Palmer said:

    Great list, Bob.

    I haven’t heard of that Zelazny book, but I’m going to look it up. If you like Zelazny, you’ll love his novel Lord of Light.

    I love Bester’s The Stars My Destination too. If you haven’t already, you should also read his The Demolished Man. It won the first Hugo award for best novel.

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  27. Rebecca said:

    A prayer for Owen Meany… I still hear his voice today.

    A confederacy of Dunces was also one that left a mark on me.

  28. Rebecca said:

    A prayer for Owen Meany

    I still hear his voice in my head and I haven’t read the book in years.

    The other book that marked me is

    A confederacy of Dunces.

    Also a tree grows in Brooklyn.

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  31. Carol Magnuson said:

    Aside from my childhood favorites of The Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (JRR Tolkien), I’ll add, too, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World; Richard Adams’ Watership Down, and Then, I’ll add The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart; Jimmy Buffet’s A Pirate Looks At Fifty (hysterical and soberting)as well as Starhawk: Dreaming the Dark.

    Being an avid reader from a young age its very hard to “decide” which are the best. But, the above list provides a broad look at human reality and fantasy. Enjoy!

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