My friend the Outdoor Voice recently asked for a list of my ten favourite books. Similar requests have been made by other friends via various social media at various times. This is a hard question. To make it easier, I decided to produce both a fiction and non-fiction list, thus (sneakily) doubling my choices.
These are my favourite novels. The first 9 are in alphabetical order by title (excluding “the” of course), and the tenth is my favourite book. Please note that Possession tops anything non-fictional I’ve read, so it would be my number 1 whether or not I made two lists.
- The Children of Men by P.D. James
- Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher
- Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
- Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
- Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
- Killing the Shadows by Val McDermid
- Persuasion by Jane Austen
- The Runaway Jury by John Grisham
- Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
And the top of my list:
- Possession by A.S. Byatt
I sat with this list for a couple of weeks. A few books almost made it, but then were cut in favour of others. I frequently consulted my database of books I have read (records kept since July 1993) in making the list. I excluded two series from consideration: The Chronicles of Narnia and the Potter books. Both of those are favourites, but in both cases the series must be taken as a whole, not split apart. I realize that you can get Narnia all in one volume, but the order is wrong in that volume (in my humble opinion of course).
Which of your favourites are missing from my list?