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BookEnds’ Favorite Things

Well, who says Oprah’s the only one that can list her favorite things! (No giveaways here. Sorry.) I guess it’s no mystery that books are at the top of our list, but each of us has varied tastes and preferences. In October my client Jolie Mathis wrote an entry on the Berkley Babes blog that got me to thinking . . . What are my top five favorite books, and why are they so special to me? Obviously we couldn’t possibly pick favorite clients. They’re all our favorites. That’s no way to narrow it down! So excluding BookEnds authors, all of us came up with our top five books and we’ve created a blog series.

I get to go first!

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen—I could read this book over and over again. Probably because I was the girl who always had a crush on the snooty boy that wouldn’t pay any attention to me. Darcy proved that all of those boys were just secretly in love with me! And reading the book only got better after I could picture Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. (Drooling.)

RED DRAGON by Thomas Harris—No book has scared me so much in my entire life. I remember finishing this book in bed one night, too frightened to get up and turn off the light before I went to sleep. All serial killer books will forever be held up to this one. Genius.

INTENSITY by Dean Koontz—Well, Dean Koontz is probably my favorite author of all time. I could write an ode to him. I think what I love most is that he continues to grow as a writer, even after he’s already become so incredibly successful. So often it seems as if a writer’s just going through the motions once they’ve hit a certain level of success. Not so with Dean. He just keeps getting better. At any rate, it’s tough to pick just one of his books, but I chose INTENSITY because I read it in one sitting and it has the most amazing pacing of any book I’ve ever read. Anybody who wants to write suspense should read this book.

ENVY by Sandra Brown—I’ll admit it. I didn’t think it could be done. But somehow Sandra Brown wrote a book with a tremendously sexy hero in a wheelchair. And oh, yeah . . . I was totally into him. That’s some amazing characterization.

WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE? by Peter Hedges—If you’ve just seen the movie, you’re cheating yourself. This may very well be my favorite book of all time. I love the characters and the quirkiness. If only Peter Hedges would write more books! I hear one is coming. . . .

Sorry . . . I couldn’t narrow it down to five! My list wouldn’t be complete without including:

THE WISHBONES by Tom Perrotta—Not only is Tom one of my favorite writers of all time, he’s also a really nice guy. I had the great fortune to work with him for a while, and I’m so thrilled that I can see his name on the New York Times bestseller list now. LITTLE CHILDREN is a great book, and I hear a great movie (I’m dying to see it), but I think THE WISHBONES will always be my favorite. It’s hysterically funny, and it’s set in a Jersey town just a couple of miles from where I live.

It’s truly impossible to narrow them all down. I have a new favorite book every month! What would you put on your own list?

—Kim

Category: Blog

15 comments

  1. Wow! Great list! I love Dean Koontz as well, Velocity and The Husband being my new favorites. Anything Sandra Brown writes is good as well, but I still love Standoff the first I ever read of hers.
    I enjoy Michael Connelly, Joseph Finder and Stephen Frey.
    Ray Bradbury is a favorite (Fahrenheit 451 being at the top of the list). Also Robert Ludlum, John Saul, and Tami Hoag.
    And of course, John Grisham, who I buy blindly without even reading the jacket cover.

  2. I always like reading these kinds of lists…alas, I don’t think I can narrow it down to five books — five *authors* maybe, as Leo did: Orson Scott Card (with XENOCIDE being my very fav, perhaps), Tamora Pierce, Mary Stewart, Madeliene L’Engle (SWIFTLY TILTING PLANET as the top there, though I love all of her books), and Linda Howard, perhaps.

    but I have to add that I love Harry Potter and reread all those books at least once a year, as well.

  3. I love to do “favorites” lists.

    Here are my top 5, in no particular order:

    1. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater/or Mother Night — Kurt Vonnegut

    2. Jane Eyre/Charlotte Bronte

    3. Cannery Row/Grapes of Wrath/Sweet Thursday/Tortilla Flat/Of Mice and Men — hard to choose from Steinbeck!

    4. Collected Stories of Frank O’Connor — oops, also of Flannery O’Connor esp. Good Country People

    5. ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King and The Great Gatsby by you know who.

    What a cheater I am!!

  4. Great post. All time favorite is Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier.

    Yes, Tom Perrotta is truly gracious. I recently met him at a PEN/New England event, and though I hesitated to introduce myself (I’ve read all of his books and there was one of my favorite authors standing not five feet from me!), he was friendly and even introduced me to another of my favorite authors.

    He has my vote for the Golden Globe’s Best Screenplay.

  5. Hey! Thanks for mentioning the Berkley Babes site. We’ve been having an awful lot of fun over there. Everyone should swing by for a visit (wink!)

    I love to read about other people’s favorite books — it’s where I get the best recommendations. Like you, I love Thomas Harris’s RED DRAGON (his other books too!), and Claudia — I loved SALEM’S LOT. I see several other of my favorites listed here too.

    One book I always recommend to anyone who will listen is: Toni Morrison’s BELOVED

  6. p.s. my husband, a famous non-reader of fiction, loves the Hannibal books. He’s getting the new one for Christmas. Are you looking forward to that one, Kim?

  7. Hi Claudia– It’s on the list, but I have to be in the right frame of mind for those books, and right now I’m too full of sugar, egg nog and holiday cheer to pick up a Hannibal book.

    Jolie–Thanks for the inspiration. I’m ashamed to say that while I’ve read a couple of other Toni Morrison books I never got around to BELOVED for some strange reason. I love her, though, so it’s also at the top of my “to read” list (of course, it’s been up there for a few years already…but this time I WILL get to it!)

  8. Barry Eisler, Neil Gaiman, John Irving, Nora Roberts, and Marian Keyes. I couldn’t possibly pick one book from each!

    (Oh, and of course the Harry Potter books! What other series have I read 4 times, aside from the Chronicles of Narnia?)

  9. I’ve never read the Chronicles, but I am a fan of C.S. Lewis. My favorite of his is THE GREAT DIVORCE — have you read it? I find myself referring to that book all the time…and I don’t even own it anymore. And speaking of books I keep giving away, I think we’d have to include The Accidental Tourist on my list, too, since I’ve given out no fewer than 6 copies of that one…everyone should read that book, I think.

    It’s funny, Kim, how my husband LOVES Christmas, but buries himself in a Hannibal book every year at this time…never considered the strangenes of that juxtaposition until today!

  10. I loved Red Dragon! It takes a lot for a book to scare me so badly I have a hard time sleeping. Thomas Harris did it to me twice, with RD and Silence of the Lambs.

    I think my favorite thing about Pride and Prejudice is that no matter how many times I read it, I still worry that Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy won’t end up together. Every single time, it gets me, even though I know how it will end.

    Hmmm…some of my favorites…

    My all-time fave, The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk. Also loved Marjorie Morningstar.

    anything by Barbara Michaels (aka Elizabeth Peters), especially House of Many Shadows.

    Gone With the Wind.

    Cruel & Unusual by Patricia Cornwell. She really hit her stride here, and the next few books are amazing.

    There’s so many more…I love the way Maeve Binchy draws you into her world…I love Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld books…I used to absolutely adore Elizabeth George and think Deception on His Mind is one of the best mysteries I’ve ever read, but after With No One As Witness I’ve gone completely off her…

    I could do this all night.

  11. Claudia, I’d have to agree with you about THE GREAT DIVORCE…I love that book! I also love Maeve Binchy, especially SCARLET FEATHER — lovely 🙂

  12. I love this topic! And what a great list of books. 🙂 Here’s one of my favorites:

    Haunted Ground by Erin Hart ~ a fantastic mystery (with a teensy bit of romance) set in modern-day Ireland involving a bog body that is linked to a modern-day murder. Her sequel, Lake of Sorrows, is great, too!

    I’m also reading Stephen King’s latest: Lisey’s Story, and so far, so great!

    Holly Black’s YA urban fantasies have been a pleasant surprise, too. I couldn’t put them down!

    Great post, Kim!

  13. THE CONQUEROR by Brenda Joyce, THE PRIZE by Julie Garwood and THE DARK HIGHLANDER by Karen Marie Moning are just a few of my favorite romance novels.

    Anne Rice’s VAMPIRE CHRONICLES is another favorite, as well as Randall Wallace’s LOVE AND HONOR.

    I’ll have to pick up RED DRAGON soon!

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