My Favorite Books
Print View

Here’s an extemporaneous list of some of my favorite books. I’ve probably overlooked a great many. Certain people may question my choice of pigeonholing (“Dandelion Wine—a Y. A novel?”) but the fact is I didn’t really sweat the classification. These aren’t necessarily the greatest books ever penned—I’ve simply chosen those titles that gave me the most enjoyment, or made me stop and ponder, whether I was twelve years old at the time or forty. Please note that, while some of the specific titles I mention here may be out of print and/or extremely scarce, I’m confident all or almost all of the works can be found in other editions.

Bon appétit!

Lincoln C.


“SERIOUS” LITERATURE (for want of a better term)

PRE-1900
Aeschylus, Oresteia
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White
William Congreve, The Way of the World
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Charles Dickens, Bleak House
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
George Eliot, Middlemarch
Homer, The Iliad
Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
Samuel Pepys, The Diary
William Shakespeare, Plays
Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy
William Thackeray, Vanity Fair
Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn

POST-1900
James Dickey, Deliverance
William Faulkner, The Bear
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
E. M. Forster, A Room With a View
Ernest Hemingway, Complete Short Stories (Finca Vigia edition)
Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
Somerset Maugham, Collected Short Stories
H. F. M. Prescott, Man on a Donkey
Douglas Preston, Jennie
Marcel Proust, ŕ la Recherche du Temps Perdu
Herman Wouk, The Caine Mutiny

EVERYTHING ELSE (PRE- OR POST-1900):

MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS
John Dickson Carr, The Three Coffins
John Le Carre, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Agatha Christie, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles
Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo
Ken Follett, Eye of the Needle
Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs
Tony Hillerman, Skinwalkers
Geoffrey Household, Rogue Male
Richard Matheson, Collected Stories
Dorothy Sayers, Murder Must Advertise
Martin Cruz Smith, Rose
Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

HORROR, GHOST STORIES, AND THE SUPERNATURAL
Robert Aickman, Complete Strange Stories, Volumes 1 & 2
Clive Barker, The Books of Blood
Algernon Blackwood, Best Ghost Stories
William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist
M. R. James, The Ghost Stories
Stephen King, Night Shift
Stephen King, Pet Sematary
H. P. Lovecraft, The Outsider and Others
Arthur Machen, Tales of Terror and the Supernatural
Edgar Allan Poe, Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque
Karl Edward Wagner, In a Lonely Place

SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY
J. G. Ballard, The Voices of Time
Arthur C. Clarke, Rendezvous With Rama
Michael Crichton, The Andromeda Strain
Robert Heinlein, The Puppet Masters
William Hope Hodgson, The House on the Borderland
Larry Niven, Ringworld
Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light

CHILDREN’S / Y. A.
Richard Adams, Watership Down
Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine
Edward Fenton, The Nine Questions
Owen Johnson, The Lawrenceville Stories
Rudyard Kipling, Just-So Stories
Hugh Lofting, Dr. Dolittle’s Circus
E. Nesbit, The Treasure Seekers
E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web
T. H. White, The Once and Future King

ANTHOLOGIES
Healey & McComas (eds.), Adventures in Time and Space
Wagner & Wise (eds.), Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural
Sayers (ed.), The Omnibus of Crime

HISTORY
Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Johan Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages
James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom
Joshua Shenk, Lincoln’s Melancholy
Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August

POETRY
T. S. Eliot, Collected Poems
John Keats, Complete Poems
Andrew Marvell, Poems
John Milton, Paradise Lost
Alexander Pope, Selected Poems
Rexroth (ed.), 100 Poems From the Japanese
W. B. Yeats, Collected Poems

CRITICISM, ESSAYS, BELLES LETTRES
Henry Adams, Mont St. Michel and Chartres
Basho, Narrow Road to the Interior
T. S. Eliot, The Sacred Wood
Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism
E. M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel
E. H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion
E. B. White, Essays

COOKING AND CUISINE
Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volumes 1 & 2
Culinary Institute of America, The Professional Chef
Montagné, Turgeon, Froud (eds.), Larousse Gastronomique (1961 edition)

COMPUTER SCIENCE
Frederick P. Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month
Tracy Kidder, The Soul of a New Machine
Stephen Levy, Hackers
Clifford Stoll, The Cuckoo’s Egg

GUILTY PLEASURES
Peter Capstick, Death in the Long Grass
G. H. Hardy, A Mathematician’s Apology
Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach
Sheldon Jaffery, The Arkham House Companion
David Kahn, The Codebreakers
Mark Lewisohn, The Beatles: Recording Sessions
Patrick O’Brian, The Aubrey-Maturin Novels
Bruce Schneier, Applied Cryptography
James Thurber, The 13 Clocks
 

© 2018 Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child