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Top five books

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In the order to which they came to mind:

All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren

Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis

The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy

Blankets by Craig Thompson

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

What are yours?

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obsession by a.s.byatt

the bone people by keri hulme

the name of the rose by umberto eco

a prayer for owen meany by john irving

incredibly loud and unbelievably close by jonathan safron foer

though i reserve the right to change this list tomorrow...

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Silence by Shusaku Endo

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

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The Bible (NKJV for preference!)

A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers

Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens

The Man Born to Be King, Dorothy L. Sayers

Not much variety there, I realize! But my full top 10 list would look more well-rounded, I think.

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The Bible

Winter's Tale, Mark Helprin

Watership Down, Richard Adams

The Lord of the Rings, JRRT

Orthodoxy, GK Chesterton

Argh. Only 5? Sorry, Dostoevsky, L'Engle, Yancey, O'Connor, Dillard...

Edited by Overstreet

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BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley

LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov

THE MAGUS by John Fowles

PETER PAN by J. M. Barrie

RASHOMON AND 17 OTHER STORIES by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

Edited by Ryan H.

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Argh, indeed.

Look Homeward, Angel - Thomas Wolfe

Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace

Gilead - Marilynne Robinson

Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee

The Moviegoer- Walker Percy

A Prayer for Owen Meany- John Irving

Mr. Ive's Christmas- Oscar Hijuelos

Brideshead Revisited- Evelyn Waugh

Edited by Jim Janknegt

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Orthodoxy - GK Chesterton

The Book of the Dun Cow - Walter Wangerin Jr. (to read aloud)

Pobby and Dingan - Ben Rice

Lord of the Rings - JRR Tokien

The Little Prince - Antoine de St. Exupery

Egad! I don't even think it's possible to do this. Because the I that exists right now hasn't read some of these books--only the I that existed a few years ago--I don't know if they are still tops. But I'm pretty confident I'll be reading these five over and over throughout my life. Some close runners up that also fit that criterion: Beginning to Pray - Anthony Bloom, Walking on Water - Madeleine L'Engle, Letters to a Young Poet - Rainer Maria Rilke.

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Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell - Susannah Clarke

So Young, Brave, and Handsome - Leif Enger

Winter Tale - Mark Helprin

Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

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Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell - Susannah Clarke

So Young, Brave, and Handsome - Leif Enger

Winter Tale - Mark Helprin

Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

Winter's Tale almost made it in to my top five. I own Cryptonomicon (My brother gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago) but I haven't read it.

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Confessions - Augustine

Collected Poems - W. H. Auden

The Anatomy of Melancholy - Robert Burton

The Stories of J. F. Powers - J. F. Powers

The Life of Samuel Johnson - James Boswell

Others that could have easily made it:

Stories - Anton Chekhov

Centuries - Thomas Traherne

Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

At Swim-Two-Birds - Flann O'Brien

Selected Essays - Samuel Johnson

Religio Medici - Thomas Browne

Tom Jones - Henry Fielding

The Geography of the Imagination - Guy Davenport

The Art of Eating - M. F. K. Fisher

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Limited to fiction, changes with the tides:

The Moviegoer - Walker Percy

Dandelion Wine - Ray Bradbury

The Sound and The Fury - William Faulkner

The Complete Stories - Flannery O'Connor

Dhalgren - Steve Delaney

Non-Fiction:

My dual-bound BHS/NA 27 (Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament)

Commentary on Romans - Karl Barth

The Dark Interval - John Dominic Crossan

Theology and Social Theory - John Milbank/Politics of Jesus - Yoder

Pensees - Pascal

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This is so hard.

Gilead, Marilynne Robinson

The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien

Collected Short Stories, Flannery O'Connor

Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson

The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler

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I spent about fifteen minutes agonizing over the selections and then just figured, well, there's no way I could pick a top five for all time, so I'll just pick five fiction books that rip through me every time I consider them with an emphasis on books I've read multiple times and will likely read again. Let it flow.

Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

In Our Time - Ernest Hemingway

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain

The Last Good Kiss - James Crumley

Wow, just saw your list, Jason. The Robinson, O'Brien and Chandler books all could have made my list on another day. Classics.

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The Idiot (Dostoevsky)

Absalom Absalom! (Faulkner)

Crime and Punishment (Dostoevsky)

The Sound and the Fury (Faulkner)

Tristram Shandy (Sterne)

I actually keep a running top ten list, and the bottom five honestly show more variety than one would expect from the three authors here.

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The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler

For some reason, I think of crime fiction as something different from everything else I read, even though I could probably edit my list and fill it with Ellroy, Chandler, Mankell, Burke, Lehayne, James, George, Doyle, Poe, Hammett, Rankin, Highsmith, Parker... I guess that is way more than five. This is a hopeless exercise. Top 30 books would be more manageable.

Edited by MLeary

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This is a hopeless exercise. Top 30 books would be more manageable.

Ah, but that's the beauty of it... A list of 5 books almost forces you to "feel" the choices instead of thinking about it too much. Wonderful little exercise, this.

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Wow, just saw your list, Jason. The Robinson, O'Brien and Chandler books all could have made my list on another day. Classics.

Yeah, I was actually thinking about what McCarthy to put on the list; I guess I realized that if I was thinking about it and didn't have the title seem obvious, it might not be on my top five (though several of his could be on there). And man, Crime & Punishment is 5.5.

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*Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Wolfe

*House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday

*Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

*The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

*Time's Arrow by Martin Amis. Read it 2 weeks ago over Thanksgiving break and I still haven't worked out all the kinks it put in my brain. 8O

Cheryl R

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The Holy Bible (Authorized King James Version - 1611)

The Complete Sherlock Holmes - by Arthur Conan Doyle

Let Us Talk Of Many Things - by William F. Buckley, Jr.

Orthodoxy - by G.K. Chesterton

Master and Commander - by Patrick O'Brian

Mr. Standfast - by John Buchan

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This is an older post but I figured I would add my favorites to the list, dive a little bit deeper into this fabulous community:

Crossing to Safety, Wallace Stegner

Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry

Brideshead Revisited, Waugh

Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy

Collected Stories, Flanno

Runners up:

Huck Finn, Twain

Gileadand Home, Marylinne Robinson

The Great Divorce, Lewis

The Last Battle, Lewis

The Man Who Was Thursday, GKC

Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro

All the Pretty Horses, McCarthy

Hannah Coulter, Berry

To Kill a Mockingbird

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