Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Your Top Ten

Your Top Ten Books

I ran across this site yesterday and it is fun to read top ten lists.

What are some of the top ten books you'd put on a list? This is is my list today. It would be different tomorrow.


1. Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
2. The Stories of Alice Munro
3. A Fan's Notes, Frederick Exley
4. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth
6. The Good Soldier, Ford Maddox Ford
7. A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O'Connor
8. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Raymond Carver
9. Last Night at the Lobster, Stewart O'Nan
10. True Grit, Charles Portis


Top Ten List of Crime Fiction

1. Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
2. The Postman Always Rings Twice, James Cain
3. The Friends of Eddie Coyle, George V. Higgins
4. The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
5. Beast in View, Margaret Millar
6. When the Sacred Ginmill Closes, Lawrence Block
7. New Hope for the Dead, Charles Willeford
8. Winter's Bone, Daniel Woodrell
9. The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
10. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote


Bill Crider said...

For today, my General Top 10 would be these:
1. Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
2. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
3. The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
4. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
5. The First 49 Stories, Ernest Hemingway
6. Lolita, Vladimir Nabakov
7. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
8. The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger
9. The Moviegoer, Walker Percy
10. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens

pattinase (abbott) said...

See, already I want to add THE MOVIEGOER and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Great list, Bill.

Anonymous said...

Nice lists. I'll have to think a little while on mine.

Jeff M.

Dave Zeltserman said...

My top 10 crime would be:

1) Red Harvest by Hammett
2) Maltese Falcon by Hammett
3) Glass Key by Hammett
4) Dain Curse by Hammett
5) The Thin Man by Hammett (there's a pattern here, but that's because IMHO no one else has come close to Hammett in crime fiction)

6) Savage Night by Jim Thompson
7) The 7th by Richard Stark
8) Double Indemnity by James M. Cain
9) The Name of the Game is Death by Dan Marlowe
10) Cockfighter by Charles Willeford

My top 10 General fiction needs more thought but would include both Catch-22 and Something Happened by Joseph Heller, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor, Far From the City of Class by Bruce Jay Friedman, and The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury.

pattinase (abbott) said...

A real pattern. And shamefully I have never read RED HARVEST, SAVAGE NIGHT or The 7th.

Joe Clifford said...

Hard to find fault with any of these. I'm more a Chandler fan than Hammet, Dave (although I realize it's sorta like putting a band ahead of the Beatles; couldn't have one without the other). It's interesting, Patti, that Crime & Punishment is your top crime book. Can't disagree, although the rest of your list are much more fun reads (I'm glad I read C&P a couple times, but I don't think I have the heart to try again). Bill, I think your #8 should be a little higher. Then again, I named my son "Holden," so I might not be the best judge.

Joe Clifford said...

My Top Ten (without drawing distinction)

1. Catcher in the Rye
2. Razor's Edge
3. Wuthering Heights
4. Slaughterhouse Five
5. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
6. The Killer Inside Me
7. War and Peace
8. The Long Goodbye
9. Affliction
10. Knockemstiff

Keith Rawson said...

1: L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy
2: Give Us A Kiss by Daniel Woodrell
3: Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (Really, anything by Vonnegut)
4: The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow
5: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
6: The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
7: Choke by Chuck Palahiuk
8:The Last Exit To Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr.
9) The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins
10)Jesus' Son by Dennis Johnson

Joe Barone said...

I don't know what my top ten would be, but close to the top would be The Sound and the Fury.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, god, I hate seeing books I love and forgot. Like Affliction although Continental Drift is amazing too. Give Us a Kiss may be my second favorite Woodrell.
Joe-great story in PI2. Occupy Opportunity. I have it on my list. Great use of a setting and phenomenon.
Winslow it hot, hot, hot. I love THE DAWN PATROL but haven't read this one.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I also love AS I LAY DYING and LIGHT IN AUGUST. I don't think I understood SOUND AND FURY when I read it. Need to reread.

Anonymous said...

Not a Faulkner fan but then I was so turned off by what we read of him in high school that I never tried again. I'm with Dave Z. on Hammett over Chandler all the way.

These are NOT in order (sorry but it's hard enough to narrow things down this much):

1. James Clavell, Shogun
2. Stephen King, The Stand
3. Ernest Hemingway, The First 49 Stories (also The Sun Also Rises)
4. Anton Chekhov, 201 Stories
5. John O'Hara, Collected Stories
6. Anthony Powell,A Dance to the Music of Time (12 volumes - read them back to back to back...)
7. Frederick Exley, A Fan's Notes
8. Jack Finney, Time and Again
9. Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
10. William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

That's it, as of this second. In half an hour it will probably change.

I'll work on the crime list.

Jeff M.

F.T. Bradley said...

Not sure what mine would be, but I'm taking notes on everyone else's...

Anonymous said...


1. Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon
2. Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles (oh what the heck, make it The Complete Sherlock Holmes)
3. Hammett, The Continental Op (all the stories)
4. James Crumley, The Last Good Kiss
5. (joint related entry) Josephine Tey, The daughter of Time & Colin Dexter, The Wench is Dead
6. Val McDermid, A Place of Execution
7. Jim Thompson, A Hell of a Woman
8. John D. MacDonald, The End of the Night
9. Vincent Bugliosi, Helter Skelter
10. Truman Capote, In Cold Blood

A couple of true crimes in there.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

How could I forget A PLACE OF EXECUTION. I have been meaning to read A DANCE TO THE MUSIC my whole life.

Dave Zeltserman said...

Jeff, I also love the Continental Op stories. With Jim Thompson, it's almost a coin flip for me deciding between A Hell of a Woman, A Swell-Looking Babe, The Getaway and Savage Night--all great books. I should've made the complete Nero Wolfe one of my selections because no mystery writer's works have given me more joy than those. Of course, there would be no Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin with Sherlock Holmes and Watson.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Steve Oerkfitz
Huckleberry Finn-Mark Twain
The Sot Weed Factor-John Barth
The Long Goodbye-Raymond Chandler
Handling Sin-Michael Malone
Water Music-T.C. Boyle
Collected Stories-Flannery O'Conner
Little Big Man-Thomas Berger
The Book of the New Sun-Gene Wolfe
The Last Good Kiss-James Crumley
Blood Meridian-Cormac McCarthy

Charlieopera said...

Wow, is this tough, but we share at least 4, Patti. No order ... they change day to day, year to year.

1. Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates (rereading it now for the 5th time for class)
2. The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck
3. The Stories of Alice Munro
4. Good Evening Mr. and Mrs. American and all the good ships at Sea (Richard Bausch)
5. The Stories of Richard Bausch
6. The Easter Parade, Richard Yates
7. American Pastoral, Philip Roth
8. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Raymond Carver
9. Crime & Punishment, Dostoyevsky
10 The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway

Many, many, many more than what I can think of right now ...


1. The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Higgins
2. The Digger’s Game, Higgins
3. Cogan’s Trade, Higgins
4. Late Rain, Lynn Kostoff
5. Pike, Benjamin Whitmer
6. Print the Legend, Craig McDonald
7. Cruel Poetry, Vicki Hendricks
8. The Long Fall, Lynn Kostoff
9. The Chieu Hoi Saloon, Michael Harris
10. The Dead Women of Juarez, Sam Hawken

pattinase (abbott) said...

The Collected Stories of Richard Bausch is one of my favorites. THE EASTER PARADE was my first Yates and I love ELEVEN KINDS OF LONELINESS, LATE RAIN is such a terrific book. Craig MacDonald, another favorite And Vicki, she is the best. FLORIDA GOTHIC STORIES is a great collection.

Ed Gorman said...


Ed Gorman said...

The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
Collected Stories of F.Scott Fitzgerald
The First 49 Ernest Hemingway
Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
Eleven Kinds of Loneliness Richard Yates
A Walk On The Wildside Nelson Algren
Collected Stories of Raymond Carver
Collected Stories of Stephen Crane
The Red and The Black Stendahl

Jerry House said...

From the top of my head, the mysteries:

1. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
2. Mujo Mojo - Joe R. Lansdale
3. Calamity Town - Ellery Queen
4. The Doorbell Rang - Rex Stout
5. The Dain Curse - Dashiell Hammett
6. The Far Cry (or, perhaps, The Lights in the Sky Are Stars) - Fredric Brown
7. The Guards - Ken Bruen
8. The Killer Inside Me - Jim Thompson
9. The Burning Court - John Dickson Carr
10. Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood

For the general list:

1. Huckleberry Finn
2. Alice in Wonderland

I'd just list the two above books five times to make up my ten.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Tough one, Patti. My list would include books by Dickens, Hardy, Burroughs, Wells, Steinbeck, Bradbury, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Wodehouse, Rushdie, and Vonnegut.

Charles Gramlich said...

In General and in no particular order, for this minute.
1. The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen.
2. To Tame a Land, by Louis L'Amour,
3. The short stories, Ernest Hemingway
4. The martian Chronicles, Bradbury
5. Teot's War by heather Gladney
6. The swords of night and day by David Gemmell,
7. The science fiction hall of fame, vol 1
8. House made of Dawn by M. Scott Momaday.
9. The Night Country by Loren Eiseley,
10. The odyssey by homer

Margot Kinberg said...

Honestly, I don't do well with Top 10 lists. Too often my views change. And every time I've ever put such a list together, it's only to pick up a new book the next day that belongs on the list *sigh*.

Deb said...

As you say, the list would change tomorrow (or even by noon today), but for right now, off the top of my head, and in no partcular order:


MOLLOY - Beckett
WOMEN IN LOVE - Lawrence


THE BIG SLEEP - Chandler
A DARK-ADAPTED EYE - Vine (aka Rendell)
GAME OVER - Harrod-Eagles

Now I have to post this right away before I start tinkering with it!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Sister Carrie is a great book. Dreiser really had something to say, didn't he?
Alias Grace is a great pick too. Atwood can be brilliant or annoying on occasion.
Therese Raquin could be on both lists, Deb. Zola also had things to say.
I should have chosen a Bradbury novel. I think I need three lists. And now that it's a new day I see the folly in some of my picks and need to start again.

Anonymous said...

I considered Yates on my top 10 too. The shorts would come first probably, but REVOLUTIONARY ROAD and THE EASTER PARADE are also possibles. I've been meaning to try the Bausch stories for years. This could give me the push I need.

See, there's the problem. I forgot A KISS BEFORE DYING which should have been on my list too.

Jeff M.

Anonymous said...

The other one I almost included was AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, my first Christie and one I reread. But it's been so long since I've read it (or any of the Golden Age crime novels).

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I don't reread them because I fear they are too dependent on appreciation of "who done it" and not enough on character, writing. Instead I let them linger in my mind as part of my nineteenth and twentieth year when I discovered a love for mysteries--not crime fiction.

Deb said...

In her wonderful book, 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT THE NOVEL, Jane Smiley contends that all novels are at heart "mysteries" because something that is unknown is always being uncovered.

Anonymous said...

I'm adding authors to my "to be read" list from these as we speak.

Jeff M.

Ben said...

Interesting exercise, Patti. I'll play.

General Top 10

1) The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
2) Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
3) The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, Haruki Murakami
4) The Count of Monte-Christo, Alexandre Dumas
5) Mystic River, Dennis Lehane
6) Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
7) L.A Confidental, James Ellroy
8) The Godfather, Mario Puzo
9) Tender Is The Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald
10) Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov


1) Mystic River, Dennis Lehane
2) L.A Confidential, James Ellroy
3) The Godfather, Mario Puzo
4) Darkness, Take My Hand, Dennis Lehane
5) Savages, Don Winslow
6) The Getaway, Jim Thompson
7) The Last Kind Words, Tom Piccirilli
8) Winter's Bone, Daniel Woodrell
9) Red Harvest, Dashiell Hammett
10) Prayer For The Rain, Dennis Lehane

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am determined to read BLOOD MERIDIAN, which my husband has been touting for years.

Ben said...

It's a slow and low type of reading, Patti. A bedside kind of thing. If you read more than 10 pages at the time, your eyes will roll to the back of your head.

That said, your husband has amazing taste.

pattinase (abbott) said...

He said he didn't find it slow just surreal.

George said...

Here's my TOP 10 favorite mysteries:
1. The Complete Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle (Included in this are The Hound of the Baskervilles, A Study in Scarlet, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Sign of Four.)
2. The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett
3. Tales of Mystery and Imagination, by Edgar Allen Poe
4. The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey
5. A Deadly Shade of Gold, by John D. MacDonald
6. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, by John le Carré
7. The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins
8. The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler
9. Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
10. And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie

Anonymous said...

So difficult, and the more other lists I read, the harder it gets. I do know that the ALEXANDRIA QUARTET by Lawrence Durrell would be in my top 10 non-crime, as would SHOGUN by James Clavell. Perhaps PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, BARCHESTER TOWERS, GRAPES OF WRATH, BABBITT, OUR TOWN (or don't plays count?). Also probably TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE by Robert Heinlein.

My crime list would certainly contain Chandler, Christie, Rex Stout, Colin Dexter, Bill Pronzini.

Ben said...

It's not slow, it's just very demanding. It has to be read slow for better consumption. Like whiskey you know? The more potent the stuff, the smaller the sips.

pattinase (abbott) said...

It comes up after CANADA and the Picirilli book.

Erik Donald France said...

This is fascinating ~!

I always vote for Proust. All of the ones above (of the ones I recognize) are great. Wonderful reads.

As librarian, need to double check we have them all . . . and if not, they will be added.

Barry Ergang said...


The Sound and the Fury--William Faulkner
Huckleberry Finn--Mark Twain
The Great Gatsby--F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Lords of Discipline--Pat Conroy
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay--Michael Chabon
The Tenants--Bernard Malamud
Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal--Christopher Moore
Edwin Mullhouse--Steven Millhauser
Demian--Herman Hesse
Nothing Like the Sun--Anthony Burgess


The Long Goodbye--Raymond Chandler
The Three Coffins--John Dickson Carr
Rim of the Pit--Hake Talbot
The Chill--Ross Macdonald
The Glass Key--Dashiell Hammett
Strip for Murder--Richard S. Prather
Bright Orange for the Shroud--John D. MacDonald
Good Night and Good-Bye--Timothy Harris
Vertical Run--Joseph R. Garber
The Adventures of Max Latin--Norbert Davis

pattinase (abbott) said...

Every guy I know loves Kavalier and Clay. I have tried it many times but I can't get past my disinterest in magic.
Great lists, Barry.