books, readers forum

Voreblog Readers Forum, Part IX: Your Top 5 Favorite Books, Please



Mr. Andrew Cashmere recently tipped off the most successful Readers Forum to date by suggesting Voreblog readers share their top 5 albums of all time. We’ll continue in the same vein: What are your top 5 books of all time? Remember, the Readers Forum accepts you for who you are. Be yourself. Who cares if some snob wants to crap on your favorite book of all time even if it’s The Notebook? No, seriously, if it’s by Nicholas Sparks we’ll totally ridicule you. But any other book or author is totally in-bounds. Unless you list Stuff magazine and anything by Tucker Max. Then you’ll be virtually and publicly shunned.

Otherwise, welcome to the Readers Forum IX!

The wrinkle: One of the books must be a childhood favorite. And we strongly encourage (but will not discredit you if you fail to include) comics (like, say, “Calvin & Hobbes” or “Bloom County” anthologies if these were deeply influential during your formative years) and/or graphic novels. That’s literature too, people.

Bonus points if you list Phil Jackson’s Sacred Hoops.*




* = That joke was solely for Stephen Heck’s benefit.

[photo: flickr]


40 thoughts on “Voreblog Readers Forum, Part IX: Your Top 5 Favorite Books, Please

  1. Ahem. Allow me to start this party right.

    – “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” T.S. Eliot
    – “What Will Fat Cat Sit On?”, Jan Thomas
    – “If You Give a Cat a Cupcake,” Laura Numeroff & Felicia Bond
    – “Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul”
    – “In Search of Lost Time Vols. 1-6,” Proust

  2. Okay, this is a forum I can get behind…

    1. “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand
    2. “Beach Music,” Pat Conroy
    3. “Shadow of the Wind,” Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    4. “Outlander,” Diana Gabaldon
    5. Childhood favorite….”Mossflower,” Brian Jacques

  3. this forum’s going to be a nightmare…a disaster of bad taste. but maybe you set the bar high by already maligning Nicholas Sparks (the Sarah McLaughlin of american writers). i’ll make an offering, but with averted eyes

    –“Public Burning,” Coover
    –“Moby Dick,” that one guy
    –“Blood Meridian,” McCarthy
    –“Ulysses,” Joyce
    –“Invisible Man,” Ellison [childhood favorite…seriously…i was a genius]

    sorry for the high-brow list, you anti-intellectual hosers. i’m smart!

  4. I am going to jump on the the Jerry Grit bandwagon, that fearful Jesuit, and storm the ivory tower with my little pretentious (mostly) Western Canon. So sorry for the “true scholastic stink.” (Public Burning, eh? Could never make it through that carnival, although I did try…)

    In no order:

    “Repetition” by Kierkegaard
    “Gravity’s Rainbow” by Thomas Pynchon
    “The Names” by Don Delillo (not his best, but my fave)
    “The Sleepwalkers” by Hermann Broch
    Probably “Absalom!, Absalom!” but maybe “Light in August” by Faulkner

    Kid’s title: “The Crying of Lot 49”

    Scooter: Where are you in Proust?

  5. Jerry Grit, ladies and gentlemen! Right on cue! We suspected this forum would bring out your curmudgeonliness.

    It’s been said that true Joyceans consider “Ulysses” to be Joyce’s own “The Notebook” and that serious scholars go with “Finnegan’s Wake” as the superior, more rigorously intellectual work.

    Or at least that’s what Mark Hoobler said after he pinned a picture of you to his dartboard.

  6. And let’s welcome Katie 2 to the Readers Forum! Do you have June 16 circled on your calendar? (Hint: Release date for the prequel to “Shadow of the Wind,” “The Angel’s Game.” But you already knew this.)

  7. I didn’t know anyone other than me had even heard of Sacred Hoops.

    1. Wrinkle In Time, Madeleine L’Engle
    2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
    3. Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
    4. The Lorax, Dr. Seuss
    5. Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck

  8. Allison Barney, ladies and gentlemen! We’ve never seen anyone handsell copies of “Sacred Hoops” quite like her.

    No John Green?

    1. I agonized over leaving John Green off of the list. If I hadn’t included grown-up books he definitely would have made it.

      I recently started watching his video blog again. He sure is dreamy…

      1. I’m not sure how John Green would feel about being excluded from your list because of “grown-up” books. But if I had to guess, I’d venture his response would be, “Pshaw!” (Or, “Yes, I am indeed dreamy in my video blog.”)

      2. Oh, now I feel like my comment insulted him, which is certainly NOT my intention. His books are good for grown-ups too.

  9. In absolutely no order:

    – childhood favorite (tie!) (sue me!) “Watership Down,” Richard Adams and “Bunnicula,” James Howe
    – “East of Eden,” Steinbeck
    – “The Things They Carried,” Tim O’Brien
    – “Walden,” Thoreau
    – “Gilead,” Marilynne Robinson

    I will be struck by lightning for excluding Tobias Wolff.

  10. “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” – Tucker Max

    “Juiced” – Jose Canseco

    “The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts About the World’s Greatest Human” – Ian Spector

    “Heroin Diaries” – Nikki Sixx

    “Marmaduke: You Dog You!” – Brad Anderson

    Honorable Mention to G.K. Chesterton’s “The Everlasting Man.” Last place again, Chester!

  11. – Childhood favorite: Tie between “Baseball Fever,” Johanna Hurwitz and “Dear Mr. Henshaw,” Beverly Cleary
    – “The Chosen,” by Chaim Potok
    – “Charming Billy,” by Alice McDermott
    – “Crossing California,” by Adam Langer
    – “The Book Thief,” by Markus Zusak

  12. the secret garden – frances hodgson burnett
    to the lighthouse – virginia woolf
    franny & zooey – jd salinger
    a home at the end of the world – michael cunningham
    what we talk about when we talk about love – raymond carver (truly, not inspired by the voreblog)

    andrew cashmere’s criminal rap sheet is also a real page turner – as scintillating and lengthy as a stained danielle steel paperback.

    also – i hate the comments from the bottom up almost as much as i hate your boring facebook status updates about basketball, ben vore.

  13. Ohhh!!! I love this one! Here are my top five picks in no particular order (and no judging my completely bipolar choices):

    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Confessions of a Shopaholic (and all books in that series) by Sophie Kinsella
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
    Lucia Lucia by Adriana Trigiani

    And my favorite kids’ book: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (what a wonderful concept!)

  14. S.T. – I like your form in replying. Enjoy Marcel in his own tongue. Did you teach yourself French? Or is there one of those Rosetta Stone sets for cats?

    Miss Barney – I think I remember you from a while back when you came to visit Cincinnati as an ambassador from Nashville. If I recall I made a small disparaging remark about the Chicago Cubs.
    Then you punched me in the shoulder.

  15. 1. West With the Night (Beryl Markham)
    2. On the Road (Kerouac, duh)
    3. Songlines (Chatwin)
    4. Wrinkle in Time (L’Engle)
    5. The Dark is Rising (Cooper)

    4 and 5 were also childhood favorites, but when I was really, really little my favorite book was called “Come Follow Me” and it was illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa.

    I’m realizing now that this list might explain the number of homes and jobs I’ve had in my adult life (many, many, many)

  16. Katie 1 LOVES something? Shocking- I could have called her top 5. Katie- I miss borrowing from your ‘library’!
    Mine in no particular order:
    1. “The History of Love” Nichole Krauss
    2. “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” Betty Smith
    3. “The Brothers K” David James Duncan
    4. “Grapes of Wrath” Steinbeck (Ben- I’m working my way through East of Eden for the first time now…)
    5. “Blueberries for Sal”/ “Cheese Peas and Chocolate Pudding”

  17. My list changes all the time, I’m as fickle with my favorite books as Scooter-T is with his toys.

    In no particular order:
    1. “Jesus’ Son,” Denis Johnson (Are we aloud to include short story collections? I’ll do six books just in case.)
    2. “Invisible Man,” Ralph E. (look at Beez and I bonding over a book. Makes me blush.)
    3. “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee
    4. “The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” Junot Diaz. (Probably too new to include on a best of ever list, but it’s my birthday.)
    5. “Franny and Zooey,” J.D. Salinger (Yes! Lee!)
    6. “Everything is Illuminated,” Jonathan Safran Foer (Ben and I “became pals” with this book.)

  18. Two-time nominees so far:

    – “To Kill a Mockingbird”
    – “Franny & Zooey”
    – “Grapes of Wrath”
    – “The Book Thief”
    – “A Wrinkle in Time”
    – “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”
    – “Invisible Man”

    Will anyone make one of these titles a three-time nominee?

  19. Erin, Denis Johnson is gonna be at UC on the 21st of April.

    “Everything is Illuminated” should now be considered a two-time nominee. Suck it Erik.

  20. I’ll start with a story. During the first year of graduate school, my class had weekly meetings with our Director of Clinical Training. The topic of one meeting was finding balance between work and school and she mentioned that the hardest adjustment for her in graduate school was the loss of pleasure reading. There is so much stuff we are required to read that it eventually warps your brain and when you finally get some free time, the last thing you want to do is read. Maybe social workers have more time to read for fun, but psychologists are held to a higher standard. My DTC said that after she graduated, she had the hardest time learning to read for fun again. She started small by reading magazines with a highlighter in her hand and eventually moved on to more exciting stuff.

    I say all this because the books that sound palatable to me right now will probably be shunned by the literary elitists. There is no Salinger or Kerouac or any other white favorites on here. Sorry if I offend you with my taste, but this is all I can stomach right now.

    1. “Zombie Haiku,” Ryan Mecum – redefined the zombie haiku genre.

    2. “Hello, My Name is Scott,” Scott Ginsberg – I wrote a section in this book, so I am a little biased.

    3. “Stuff White People Like,” Christian Lander – I am typing this on a MacBook and drinking from a bottle of water. At home I have New Balance sneakers.

    4. “The Hunt for Red October,” Tom Clancy – this is actually a really good book. It’s too bad Tom Clancy had to turn Jack Ryan into his alter ego and make him president and save the world every book after this. I think if he had written a final book in the series, Jack Ryan would be dating Catherine Zeta-Jones and would have a bumbling assistant named Samuel L. Chang that suspiciously resembled John Grisham.

    5. “Mere Christianity/Screwtape Letters,” C.S. Lewis – these are great books. I think I like Screwtape more, but I’m only half way through so I lumped them together.

    Bonus books:

    -“Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders,” David Barlow – I have this on my desk and review it before I see each client. This preparation is what separates me from a mere social worker.

    -“Pretentious Douchebaggery,” Jerry Grit & Lee Fuoco – this book is an essential guide to what you should be reading so that you aren’t made fun of for reading “the Sarah McLachlan of American writers” or made up rap sheets.

  21. How did Allison Barney do that cool branch-off reply thing? Is it some magic dark art they teach in Nashville? A secret cybernetic cabal that only she and Ben Vore are privvy to?

    Oh. I bet you just click on ‘reply’

  22. I could not remember any kid’s books that were my favorites over the past few days that I have been thinking about it. Then I remembered that when I was one of those kid things, I did not read too many kid’s books but maps. I loved maps. I dont know why. Every year for Christmas for a number of years one of my gifts was the latest Rand McNally road atlas.
    When I was in the first grade I knew the capitals of every state. (But I don’t anymore.)

  23. ooohhhhhhhhh. andrew cashmere is a psychologist. well at least this goes a long way to explain the otherwise baffling affinity for sarah mclachlan. and the mind-numbing verbosity. (and the chronic public masturbation. this rap sheet is a total page turner!)

  24. For Mr. Fraser if no one else – and all the way from California for no one else.

    1) Sirens of Titan – some midwestern dude of german descent (big shocker there) as I am some midwestern dude of german descent – do I need to mention that by reading all of Vonnegut you would completely understand my view of everything and that I sincerely believe that he was in my karass.
    2) To a God Unknown – Steinbeck – did I mention I passed through Salinas yesterday and was close to the hell that has become Cannery Row and I’ve been there once and will not return – seriously a Bubba Gump Shrimp place, seriously? Jesus Christ.
    3) Lolita – NaBOKov – if for nothing else that for most creative use of a tennis racket.
    4) The Demon-Haunted World – GOD (the first book I see when I turn my head to the left from where I sit in California – did I mention that I’m sitting in California and slightly drunk and wondering why I am on the internet since I haven’t been on for about a week – did I miss it: no – but did I miss voreblog: yes.)
    5) USA trilogy – Dos Passos – forgive me for three books but it was necessary.

    kiddie books – anything by Dahl or Silverstein.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s