Posted by: Jeanie F | August 31, 2014

What’s Your Top Ten?

There’s a current challenge going around on Facebook to list your top ten favorite books. Personally, I find it almost impossible to do this, as I have favorite books in different genres, categories, connections – and my favorite book one day can be replaced by a different book the next.

Still, it’s fun to think back on books that I’ve loved, so I decided to see if I could select a book from each year since 1995 (as long as I’ve been keeping track of titles) that I could say was my “Favorite.” Here goes:

1995 – A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

1996 – In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez . . . or maybe Tortilla Curtain by T Coraghessan Boyle (see, already I’m finding it hard to choose!)

1997 – Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (but it’s hard to bypass The Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner)

1998 – Wild Swans by Jung Chang

1999 – Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (although I DID love Lambs of God) by Marele Day

2000 – No contest here – Plainsong by Kent Haruf and the beginning of my love affair with Mr. Haruf!

2001 – Blindness by Jose Saramago

2002 – Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

2003 – Half a Life by V. S. Naipul

2004 – The Known World by Edward P. Jones

2005 – Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

2006 – Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

2007 – Reservation Road by John Brunham Schwartz

2008 – Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

2009 – City of Thieves by David Benioff or Heroic Measures by Jill Ciment

2010 – In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenudin

2011 – Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy AND The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt AND The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore

2012 – The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson AND Bring Up the Bodies (and I did love The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evision)

2013 – Oh, this was a great year: Eventide and Benediction by Kent Haruf, The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig, AND The Son by Philipp Meyer

2014 – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

2015 – Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

2016 – Mr. Bridge/ Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell

2017 – The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

2018 – News of the World by Paulette

Wow, it was so much fun to look over this list and remember some old friends, but hard to leave some off the list! You can see the whole list – and which books didn’t quite make the cut – by clicking on the “Books Read” link above.

How about you? Want to share your Top Ten, or more, with us?


  1. I find it impossible to list my favorite books. I love so many of them and comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges. Having said that, I do love most of the books you listed as your yearly favorites. (I’ve been on a Lisa See kick this year. Have you read her detective novels?)

    • No, I haven’t read them. I’ll have to look into them. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. I love this list. I can concur and I have a reading list!!!

    • So, Cathy, I know you’re a reader. What are some favorites that I may have missed?

  3. Loved many of the books on your list
    I have been keeping a list since 2002. For Kent Haruf and Ivan Doig lovers, try Let Him Go by Larry Watson and The Highest Tide by Jim Harrison.
    One of my all-time favorites is The Master Butchers’ Singing Club by Louise Erdrich. Also Waiting For Snow in Havana , a memoir by Carlos Eire.
    Lately I have enjoyed The Painter by Peter Heller and Jane Gardam’s Old Filth.

    • Oh, thanks for the recommendations! All new titles to me – will definitely check them out.

      • Roberta, downloaded Let Him Go – I love it! Does remind me of Haruf and Doig. Thanks again!!

      • So lovely and spare. I am currently reading Smith Henderson’s Fourth of July Creek. I’m finding it gritty but lyrical. I don’t read on a tablet; find it unsatisfying. I love my local library

      • I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts on Fourth of July Creek.

  4. I am drawn to books with quirky characters and beautiful language. This was right up my alley. Pete with all his flaws was heroic. The Pearl saga was well- done, unfolding in layers not chronologically. The children, Ben, Rachel, Cecil and Katie, heartbreaking and fully fleshed. Montana and nature, poetic. Loved it, but not for everyone.

    • So glad you liked it! I loved Let Him Go!! Am planning to read Montana 1948 – if not next, then very soon. Will probably put a post on the blog about Let Him Go in the next day or two. Are you on GoodReads? Would love to stay in touch with you, since we seem to have very similar taste in literature!

      • I am on Goodreads but have not commented.

  5. Just catching up. Love your list – some new titles for me that I look forward to finding. Jane Gardam has already been mentioned (Old FILTH) but i want to add my kudos – read everything she wrote except her latest – wonderful writer.

    • Haven’t read any Jane Gardam – will have to look into her work!

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