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January 25, 2010

Best of Lists: Enduring Favorites

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At the end of every year the editors of ReadingGroupGuides.com take a look back at the year and put together their best of the best in three categories; Enduring Favorites, New Favorites and Ongoing Favorites.

Since I’m new to the group, I thought I’d take a look at this year’s lists and share my personal favorites and the ones I’m just dying to read. In today's post I thought I'd take a look at the 20 titles on the Enduring Favorites List. I have to admit that I’ve only read about half of them, but of those, my absolute favorites are:

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.






I think the thing these three books have in common is that while I was reading a compelling story I also felt like I was learning something about a world I knew very little about.

The Devil in the White City might be my favorite non-fiction book of all time, I think in large part because of its narrative style. The story and characters were fascinating and I really liked tying all of it to products, places and things that are familiar in my own world.

Though fictional, One Thousand White Women also gave me insight into a time period and culture I knew very little about. Being able to “experience” the late 1800s through the eyes of women and the Cheyenne people on such a personal and human level rather than just as facts in a textbook was as important as it was heart-wrenching.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a much smaller canvas in the sense that the world we get to experience as readers is our own but as seen through the eyes of an autistic boy.

The books on the list that I really want to read and intend to get to this year are:

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
Gorgeous cover (and I admit sometimes I DO judge a book by its cover!)

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
For some reason I keep putting this one off, but now I really want to read her new book and I feel like I should read this one first.

and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never read this one so I’m officially resolving to get this done so I won’t have to be embarrassed any more!

But of course, it’s not just about me -- I’d love to know which ones touched you, which ones are on your list for this year and which you just couldn’t get excited about so feel free to share right here on the blog, or email me at dana@bookreporter.com

-- Dana