My Once and Future Favorite Reads

My Once and Future Favorite Reads

Bookshelves with books! That’s my idea of comfort in one’s home. And on those shelves beloved oldies with worn pages, marked paragraphs, and fly-leaf notes. I don’t ever want to lose such friends, because sometimes it’s a joy to go back and read a paragraph and let the feeling of the work flow again. Also on the shelves are future reads by favorite authors who feel like close friends. And even better, sometimes future reads are authored by someone I have never read, someone who will speak to my heart, my thoughts–staying with me for days afterwards.

One Hundred Books

Just before I entered college, all the freshmen were given a list of books to read. There were 100. And though this was not required, the suggestion that we familiarize ourselves with these works was certainly there. Since then, I have enjoyed looking at similar lists and reading from them. Time Magazine has such a list entitled Time Magazine’s All-Time 100 Novels. Interested? Take a look here. From that last I have pulled some of my favorites which line my bookshelves:

My all time favorite novel: THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald (I own a Scribner Library Paperback Copyright, 1953) Remember this one? Its cover is grey and green. For crazy Gatsby fans, and a future favorite, there’s something else to own: So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby  Came To Be And Why It Endures by Maureen Corrigan. My Once and Future Favorite Reads

Others from Time’s List: Harper Lee To Kill A Mockingbird,  Toni Morrison Beloved, William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury, Robert Penn Warren All the King’s Men, Philip Roth Portnoy’s Complaint, John Updike Rabbit Run, Joan Didion Play It As It Lays, Marilynne Robinson Housekeeping, Zora Neale Hurston Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Don’t Know What to Read? Book Lust 

Sometimes I’ve found myself at the library, standing in the fiction aisles and just being overwhelmed. If someone has not recommended a book or you haven’t recently read a book review, or you can’t remember a title it helps to have something like Book Lust in your back pocket. Book Lust by Nancy Pearl shouts out: Recommended reading for every mood, moment and reason. It is truly a book of fiction lists, but compartmentalized to suit your needs. So you will find lists of books under headings like: I love a mystery; World War II fiction; Russian Heavies; Mothers and Daughters.  Etc etc.

With the thousands and thousands of books now available as ebooks, it helps to read reviews and recommendations. You can always:

  • browse Amazon and read reviews of titles you are considering;
  • join Goodreads. After reading and rating at least 20 books, the site will begin to recommend books to you based on your likes and dislikes. Though the site can be confusing to use, you can list books you have read or want to read. And you can join book club discussion groups.
  • find an online book club like this one I belong to: Every Friday you receive an email recommending a new book. And each week a different reader or author makes the choice. This week SILVER SPARROW written by Tayari Jones;
  • browse the shelves for new fiction at the library–this is a great way to support authors who don’t get a lot of press and you never know what jewels you might find;
  • make what I’m reading or what I want to read a favorite discussion topic; In a world of You Tube and unstoppable global news it is sometimes hard to sit down and talk about books. But when you make the effort it is so worthwhile. Last night at a party I did just that with a couple and it was stimulating and fun;
  • check out Boomer Highway!! you can search my blog for book recommendations by typing books into the search bar or checking out the following links: Armor for the Journey: Inspirational Book for Aging Boomers; Armor for the Journey: Books for Boomers Part 2; Boomer Highway’s Summer Fiction Picks; Boomer Highway’s Holiday Gift Ideas Nonfiction Books; 

Here are the titles currently on my future favorite list:

ASTONISH ME by Maggie Shipstead; THE ART OF FALLING by Kathryn Craft; A PARIS APARTMENT by Michelle Gable, A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD by Anne Tyler; LILA by Marilynne Robinson, ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr. And I highly recommend: REMEMBER ME LIKE THIS by Bret Anthony Johnson.

Reading can keep us informed, help us experience other lives, joys and sorrows. Reading can carry us away to better places if we need to escape. Reading can sharpen our vocabulary and our empathy. Reading is the one habit that has absolutely nothing bad to say about it.

Finally, in the world of social media, opinions are sometimes used to hinder or negate the work of an author. Freedom of expression isn’t always polite or considerate. So another way to praise a book you have read and to say something positive about it is to use the following TELL A FRIEND POSTER from B. Morgenroth on whatever social media platforms you use. Just list the title and author of the book you enjoyed and let your friends know about it. Happy Reading.

     My Once and Future Favorite Reads

9 thoughts on “My Once and Future Favorite Reads

  1. Thank you so much for this! I joined a book club a couple of years ago but am always at a loss when asked to provide my own suggestions of what we can read. I will check these out as well as Good Reads. What a relief…!

  2. Hi Margaret. So very nice to get your comment. I totally get what you mean and when it’s my turn to suggest a book for a book group I hope to be prepared. Sometimes great ideas just disappear as we have so much on our minds these days. But that’s your forte.

    Take care, Beth

  3. I LOVE READING! I own more books than I own anything else. I have been reading for as long as I can remember. I used to be upset at the library clerk when I was a child and she told me I could only check out 5 books at a time. 5 books for 2 weeks was she crazy I’d be done with those books in 5 days and my mom wouldn’t bring me back until the 2 week due date. My mom had to start checking books for me under her card because I’d drive her batty wanting to go back to the library for more books every few days.
    I know own a Kindle because it became to difficult for me to carry around the larger novels, I have hundreds of books at my disposal at any given time and I love it. I learn from books. Even fiction, which is my favorite. Even though it may be fiction many parts of those stories are true. Authors that use geography in their books often retell actual geographical sites and those that base their stories on actual events, I.E. World War II, the sinking of the Titanic, the moon landing, and other historical events often have details of the real events woven in. Reading fiction based on real events prompts me to look up the real history and I learn even more. I traveled around the world because of reading. I know about the Flying Horses Carousel on Martha’s Vineyard, and the Louvre in Paris, France from reading. As a young child I read a fiction book about the Metropolitan Museum of Art and fell in love with New York City. I’ve been to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, Bloomingdale’s, I’ve driven over the Brooklyn Bridge and ridden the famous NY Subway all because of books. I’ve journey out west searching for gold and traveled the Mississippi River. I’ve been around the world and back again all because I’ve spent much of my life reading. I could never afford to go on any of these trips in real life but I don’t feel cheated. My mind has seen these places over and over. I’ve been a wizard and a thief, felt the pain of loss and joy of triumph. Reading has brought me happiness when I thought I had none, it has taught me and given me pause for reflection.
    I am grateful for books but even more so for my love of them. My child is an excellent reader and at age 9 is learning joy of reading a good book. We spend time curled up together reading and then we talk about what’s going on in those pages we’ve absorbed. I am always happy to meet a fellow reader… The Great Gatsby is one of my all time favorites too!

  4. Thank you SO MUCH for this. I was an avid reader until a couple years ago. I just stopped making time for it. That must change…this helps.

    • Hi Michelle, I know what you mean by finding the time. Sometimes it’s just easier to fall into the chair and turn on the TV or the phone. But reading requires a bit more effort on our part and thus it stays with us longer, affects how we speak and what we know. Reading is a gift. Beth

  5. Natalie,
    Thanks for your comment, the best of which is how we can see the world, live other lives through reading. Yes today’s video culture can also lead us in similar directions, but reading opens it all up in our minds–we picture the description and often it is as permanent or more permanent than a photo or a film. Reading has been with us since humankind discovered how to think a thought and then share it through the medium of characters or letters. Everlasting. Beth

  6. My imagination is greatly enriched because of reading! I like to think my daughter’s is as well and that the overload of digital media she gets all around will be tempered by the simple joy of reading!

  7. Hi Beth!

    I decided to start reading alot again after seeing a similar list like the one you posted. I realized how many classics and famous authors I never read, so I am starting to read them! So far this year I read some novellas by Flaubert & HG Wells, and The Secret Garden, which was on my list for a long time. I really like reading on my phone or kindle and what I can’t get online free, I borrow from the library. Also love Overdrive which connects up with your local library, and you can borrow and read plenty of books from your library online through the app.

    I’m keeping your post so when I get through my list of books I will try your Time 100 books. Lots of reading!

    How can I find you on goodreads?


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