Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Best of the Last Eight Years

My Top Ten Reads Since January 2007

Back in August of 2012 I listed the top ten books I had read since the inception of my blog in 2007.  This is my first attempt to update that list, I expect to update it again by the tenth anniversary of my blog if not sooner.  Sometimes books rank higher one day, and lower the next. These are my favorites today in no particular order. They may vary slightly from my annual book rankings, but they are all included in the best of my reading from each of the years I have been blogging.  

I started my blog in earnest January 2007. So these are my Top Ten Reads for the last eight and a half years.  The mix has swung toward fiction with only two works of non-fiction on the list.  One work is a trilogy of plays, The Coast of Utopia, by Tom Stoppard, and the rest are novels of varying lengths.  I could have easily included more works by Thomas Mann, but limited the list to only one by this author.  I also regret that I had to leave authors that I have rated highly, including Samuel Beckett, Charlotte Bronte, Robert Frost, John Williams, Joshua Slocum, Tim Winton, and others, on the cutting room floor. 

Top Ten Reads 

The Roots of Heaven   by Romain Gary

In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

The Coast of Utopia  by Tom Stoppard

The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

East of Eden  by John Steinbeck

Walden, or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph by T. E. Lawrence

The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz

Joseph and His Brothers  by Thomas Mann

If you'd like the view of a professional writer and reader consider this essay by Joe Queenan from the Wall Street Journal:  My 6,128 Favorite Books


Brian Joseph said...

I love lists, not making them which i hate to do, but reading lists created by others. I guess that indicates some laziness on my part.

Sadly I have only read four of your top ten, The Brothers Karamazov, East of Eden, Walden and the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. So your list is a reminder to me to get back to reading so I can get to all these great books.

Blaine Hill said...

What a wonderful blog! I've just discovered your blog, and I look forward to returning. In the meantime, I am keeping busy with my new blog -- which I hope you will find time to visit every now and then -- and I am fascinated by your list. I am embarrassed to admit that I have not read all that you include. Perhaps if life is long enough, and if my reading of Shakespeare does not monopolize my time, then I can mitigate my embarrassment.

James said...


Thanks for your comment. I'm sure there are some great books that you could recommend to me - like the Trollope you have reviewed so elegantly.

James said...


Welcome to my blog! Thanks for the comment and I will check out your bog as well.

Thomas Hogglestock said...

Gosh, that is a serious list. I know if I chose mine would be a lot more frivolous.

James said...

Thanks for your comment. I like frivolous books too, as long as they are entertaining.