Favorite Books List from Twitter

The other night I just posted a quick question on Twitter: “What’s your single favorite book of all time, based on any criteria you wish?” Here’s the list I got back:

Of those 11, I’ve only read 4, and there are 3 I hadn’t even heard of, which is amazing to me.

But right after I asked the question, Kathy pointed out that that the criteria that you pick can be just about as interesting as the actual book you pick. Meta!

But she suggested: best written? most influential? most inflential now? when you were in high school but might be embarrassing now?

My own choice, The Road, I picked for just overall awesomeness — incredibly written, high impact, memorable — it just sort of towers over everything I’ve read in the last 10 years or so. But I could have picked Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for its impact on me in high school (although I wonder how it holds up). Or The Black Swan for affecting how I frame world events. Or The Design of Everyday Things for lasting impact on what I do for a living. Or The Hobbit and the Narnia books for starting off my lifelong love of reading. Or, for that matter, the Harry Potter books for sustaining it and for my looking forward to reading them with SPL.

Anyway, I guess I’ve got some more reading to do. 🙂

What are your favorites? Why?


  1. Time Enough For Love by Robert A. Heinlein is what I’ll pick. By the standard I’m choosing, a lot of other Heinlein books could fit too. Heinlein always communicates a basic decency and optimism I find refueling and providing of hope. In his early work, his plots are extremely strong, but later on they end up being character studies as much as proper novels. Time Enough falls into that category, but has that Heinlein spirit throughout. It also has some of my favorite characters. I think I love Minerva a little bit. I see some of my myself in Lazarus, and some things that I should perhaps be. I aspire to the love of Dora. On and on. I immerse myself again in that book every year or two.

    I could have chosen books that were most influential on me, or that I learned the most from, or a lot of other things and this book wouldn’t have come close to the top of the list, but still this book is just really important to me.

  2. White Noise by Don Delillo for being so perfect. It is such a short compact book, yet it is simultaneously hilarious and depressing. It makes fun of academia while being academic. It raises the important questions and points out thoughts you’ve had about them but were never brave enough to share with anyone. It points out absurdities in our culture.

    I could go on and on. The style and form of the book are integral to understanding it. Basically everything I’ve ever wanted in a book is in there, yet it could be read in one sitting.