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Books I Love

Recent Top 5

The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver

Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann

Where the God of Love Hangs Out, by Amy Bloom

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot

The Emperor’s Children, by Claire Messud

All-Time Top 10

A Death in the Family, by James Agee—for one of the most powerful examples of using specific details to render universal experience.

Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner—for evoking place and character so compassionately.

As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner—for his perfect combination of form and function.

Collected Poems, Elizabeth Bishop—for using words like gems, flinty and light-catching, and only as many as she can afford.

Continental Drift, by Russell Banks—for bringing together two wholly believable worlds,one hot and one cold, and letting the force detonate.

Everything That Rises Must Converge, by Flannery O’Connor—for her go-for-broke collision of man’s better and worse natures, not to mention God’s.

The Ebony Tower, John Fowles—for his rounded creation of a world that had me wholly suspending disbelief.

The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka—for brilliantly demonstrating the most powerful thing fiction can do: make you believe the world could be otherwise.

Rabbit Run, by John Updike—for rendering his world in such stunning verisimilitude that it made me care about someone like Rabbit.

To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf—for letting out perfectly crafted sentences like fishing line, and reeling in something illuminating and important with every sentence.