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By my count (and LibraryThing) I have read 185 books in my entire life. Okay, yes. That’s not accurate. I haven’t added every book I’ve ever read. Even of those books, those are only the ones I remember. Certainly nothing I read for school. So, ever book in middle school, high school, and college. None of those are on the list.

Of course, mitigating that particular fact is the happening that I can remember certain books from middle school and high school. 1984, Brave New World, the Horse Whisperer (urg…), Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I think I’ve just listed a book from every year of high school. Okay, then what’s the point? Well, there are always favorites, books that stand out above the rest.

Important to note, this isn’t a top ten list. These are books that when I look at them, I feel something amazing has transpired when I read the pages. There is a connection there. To confine this list to a faulty criteria diminishes what these books mean. This is not a list of the most technically proficient books or the books I found most challenging. If it were, that’s easier to compose. I guess this is like the Hall of Fame, in baseball. I know it when I see it. With any doubt, the book doesn’t make the list, no matter how great it might otherwise be.

These are in no particular order, since I love each book for different reasons.

Hall of Fame

  1. the Count of Monte Cristo
  2. Gideon’s Trumpet
  3. The Night Country
  4. Snow Angels
  5. The Time Traveler’s Wife
  6. The Signal and the Noise

There’s something interesting about all these books. For the sheer amount of fantasy and science fiction I read, virtually none of it makes this list. There are also two non-fiction books here, in Gideon’s Trumpet, which tells of the landmark trial Gideon v Wainwright, and The Signal and the Noise, which discusses predictions and the misapplication of data. One classic, in the Count of Monte Cristo, which I consider the best book ever written, and one modern literary novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife. The Night Country and Snow Angels are both written by Stewart O’Nan, who I don’t think has ever, in my estimation, written a “bad” book.

Well, that’s my list. Sometime I’ll get around to listing the worst books I’ve ever read, but seeing as how that’s less fun, it might be a while.