• Amy Q. Barker

My favorite books (and the ones that got away)

Updated: Sep 6

So hard to narrow it down!

What I love about reading is the escape. It doesn't matter how stressed I am or what's going on in my life or at work, if I sit down and read a good book, I'm transported, transcended, transfixed! Not to mention refreshed and relaxed. There is no better drug.

My favorite books - I tried to stick to ten, but ended up with a baker's dozen instead:

In Amy order:

(1) Ayn Rand: Atlas Shrugged

(2) Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice (also shout out to Emma and Sense and Sensibility)

(3) Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre

(4) Leo Tolstoy: Anna Karenina (also check-out The Death of Ivan Ilych, an amazing study!)

(5) L.M. Montgomery: Anne of Green Gables

(6) Isak Denisen: Out of Africa

(7) Nevil Shute: On The Beach

(8) Maya Angelou: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

(9) Louisa May Alcott: Little Women

(10) Gene Stratton Porter: The Girl of Limberlost

(11) M. Somerset Maugham: Of Human Bondage (also loved the The Razor's Edge)

(12) Zora Neale Hurston: Their Eyes Were Watching God

(13) Fyodor Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment

* Note: Of course, always Gone with the Wind, but it breaks my heart every time, so I can't read it anymore. Also, LOVED the Harry Potter series (but so did everyone else!).

My bookcases are stuffed with many more than this. Sometimes while I'm working, I sit and stare at them longingly. When I can, I take a break and read them. And when I'm really antsy, I get up and rearrange them (i.e., what was I thinking putting Ernst Hemingway next to Virginia Woolf - they would have hated that!). I guess it goes without saying that I don't sort my books alphabetically. For me it's more about "these are the best of the best today" or "birds of a feather stick together." I'm sure I would have been the worst librarian; feeling bad for The Forsythe Saga (very fat, but so good!) I would have displayed it up front next to the The Great Gatbsy (short and pithy, but does that make it better?).

That brings me to the "ones that got away." You're probably wondering what I mean by this. Dare I say it?! Blasphemy! Some of the "classics" are not up my alley. Wah-wah. I'm sorry, but if they don't move me or stick with me, or if I don't get them or want to bother with them, then I set them aside forever. Yes, of course these classics are incredibly well-written - better than I could ever attempt to write! But maybe they don't touch my heart or give me "the feels." Maybe they irritate me or make me mad or bore me. Anyway, here are "the ones that got away," despite my best intentions!

In no particular order:

To Kill a Mocking Bird: Maybe this is because we were forced to read it in 8th grade.

The Catcher in the Rye: Bored me. I liked Franny and Zooey better.

Nineteen Eighty-Four: Too creepy, and I also disliked Animal Farm.

Wuthering Heights: Dark and dreary. I liked the sister's books better.

Moby Dick: How much can you learn about whale hunting?

Lord of the Flies: Ugh, children should never be left on an island to fend for themselves.

The Grapes of Wrath: Too stark and depressing.

The Sound and The Fury: The entire time, I was thinking, why would anyone write this way?

To the Lighthouse: Is there a plot hidden in this book somewhere?

Catch-22: Started a "catch" phrase (amazing!), but still didn't start my engine.

Heart of Darkness: Made me think of how horrible mosquitoes are.

Beloved: I liked Tar Baby better.

Bleak House: I'm not crazy, I love Dickens, but sometimes you can tell he was paid by the word.

Okay, don't hate me if I stomped on your baby. Everyone has their opinions, and I realize mine may not match yours. But isn't that the great thing about reading? There are options for everyone! Beauty is in the eye of the "book-holder"!



  • Facebook Social Icon
  • YouTube
  • Instagram

© 2020 by Amy Q. Barker