My Favoritish Books
Victor Monreal, Austinite friend, collects lists of people's favorite books. Recently, he requested mine with attendant summaries. I'm opening myself to all kinds of liability listing these for all the world to see. They're perhaps too sentimental, too Western, and too juvenile for an English major to conscionably list as her favorite. You should know, I also haven't read Moby Dick.
In the order I thought of them to write them down:
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
Perhaps the most beautiful book I've ever read. As I read it, I kept thinking, "I can't believe someone wrote this. I can't believe some one wrote this." About four people in Italy in late WWII after the Italian fighting was largely over. Feels, however, very WWI.
The Living by Annie Dillard
About 19th-century pioneers in Bellingham, Washington. Called a novel, but every sentence reeks of human detail Annie could not have invented. It's about the living--felling trees, eating food, digging wells, and about the living--those left alive. Super beautiful.
For the Time Being by Annie Dillard
Technically and effectively my favorite book. It's a collection of short essays about sand, clouds, birth, China, Jews, humanity, etc., that deal with what it means to be one of a billion billion things in the eyes of God.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Short, childlike. Very nearly a perfect book about a little prince who falls from a comet to earth and meets a pilot in the desert. Translated from the French.
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
Perfect. Slim, simple. About Caleb and Anna, two children growing up on the plains, who must welcome a Maine woman into their home when their quiet widower father advertises for a wife.
The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery
Invariably the cover of the book will be terrible, like a trashy teenage Harlequi This is the only adult novel written by the author of Anne of Green Gables, "adult" meaning it has (a) a swear word and (b) no children. About a 29-year-old old maid who, when diagnosed with a fatal heart condition, decides to say and do the things she's always wanted, to the horror of her prideful and prim early 20th-century family. I read it yearly, maybe more.
The Island by Gary Paulsen
About a teenage boy who decides to move to the island of a small nearby lake, to think and read and write and draw.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
The classic sci-fi novel about a brilliant child (Ender) sent to Battle School to learn how to save the world from the Third Invasion. The crux--in order to destroy something, Ender needs to know it as well as it knows itself. And as soon as Ender knows it well, he loves it but must destroy it. I plan on reading it every year until I die.