Table of Contents
- Follow the Author
January 22, 2013
Library of Congress “Books That Shaped America” Available on Amazon
- Rabbit, Run by John Updike
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac
- Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison
- American Pastoral by Philip Roth
- For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
- Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
- The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
- Women by Charles Bukowski
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime
- Press release
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tops Dahl list
- ‘Joy and quality’
Struggling to pick your next book? Well thanks to Good Reads we’ve got our hands on the top 100 books you should read before you die (according to their users). Which means that you won’t need to arbitrarily plump for any of the titles at the airport’s WHSmith, nor will you run out of reads by the pool and be forced to read the hotel groups own magazine.
Stepping away from the next list of new must-reads, the reading list includes old favourites, epic classics and beloved children’s books that have all clearly left an ever-lasting imprint on all that read them.
Cult reads like the woven word magic of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s insanely beautiful The Great Gatsby, Sylvia Plath’s devasting only novel The Bell Jar and the scandalous Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov feature as well as a host of classics like War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
You might recognise childhood favourites like The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne and Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White as they still clearly hold a special place in our hearts.
And, of course, there are a whole heap of modern day classics like Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.
If you’re struggling to find time to read your way through this quintessential list then don’t worry because we’ve thought of that too, here’s how to fit more reading into your life.
Follow the Author
Until I read it.
Like so many boys who grow up in the Midwest, I revered my father. My father was a Republican, who loved Reagan and taxes and the military and said God Made America. And like so many boys, I wanted to please my father. Truth be told there was once a time in my life where I too would talk about taxes and abortion and guns and our revered troops and our God Given Right.
And then, I turned 18 and went to college. And just like all the other Midwestern white boys who find themselves in school, alone and without the need to please their patriarch, I fell in love with being Progressive. I’d talk about ignorant, closed minded country bumpkins and their pickup trucks. I’d say Bush needed to be put on trial for war crimes and that taxes needed raised and it’s a woman’s body so it’s her choice. I came to hate my father, and I came to know that I knew better than him in his closed mind in the Midwest. That the future didn’t look like him. I never did drugs, I didn’t even drink alcohol until I was a few months over 21, and I never traveled to Berlin or Chile or Thailand, and I may have never owned the Birkenstocks or the old, travel-worn bag. But I knew from my reading and my friends and my freedom that the old man was just plain wrong. I knew this.
And a large reason I knew it was because of this book. On The Road has been said to be to hippies what the Bible is to Christians. Bob Dylan read this book and then started Folk Rock, it’s said. The Beat Generation may have came before the Baby Boomers, but when Baby Boomers went to the bookstores just as soon as they were old enough they bought On The Road, and Howl and Naked Lunch. The idea of other ways to live, other ways to be other than a company man sending troops all over the world was supposed to have started with the Beats. It was Kerouac and Ginsburg and Burrows and a host of others that turned the Beatles from suit wearing British boys into long haired, bearded, sunglasses wearing hippies who fought the war and the squares and expanded their mind. And the hippies just wanted peace and free love and an end to racism and sexism, right? It was Nixon who killed real freedom, the freedom our long haired brethren from Berkeley and Frisco fought for. That was something I knew.
And I went on believing this, really knowing this, for a long time. That somewhere in our past was a truth that was squelched by oppressive forces like Nixon and Reagan and even Clinton and then Bush. The names of other old patriarchs who were stopping the future from coming. That all we needed was the future and the future promised to us years before by the long lost Counter-Culture of the 1960s.
I knew all this, right up until I was watching CNN about three weeks ago. I was on my Amazon Fire TV, on the CNN App, watching this show produced by Tom Hanks called “The 60s.” It was this little mini-series, that has been replicated for every decade since, and it talked about Rock and Roll and Vietnam and Jack and Bobby and 1968. But it also talked about the hippies, and toward the end of that hour of television something happened that I started me un-knowing what I had known. Because it turns out that Jack Kerouac, in 1968, went on William F. Buckley’s TV show and completely and unequivocally dis-owned the hippies.
I was floored. Here was the hero whose foundation held up the Counter-Culture’s house, on the show of an old-school white guy Republican ideologue, saying he wanted nothing to do with the hippies. Just what in the heck?
I, now a 30 year old Midwesterner with the Internet, checked out Wikipedia. Turns out old Jack Kerouac was a lifelong Catholic (yes, even when writing the Dharma Bums), who painted portraits of the Pope and carried a rosary. He played football in High School and went to college on a football scholarship. This square was the guy who people flocked to to change the world? This dude wearing jeans and a t-shirt and drinking a tall can of Budweiser? That article on Wikipedia was an eye-opener. Jack was also schizophrenic.
Now, I am not going to ruin this book for you. I want to, I really do. But I bought the book and read it in maybe a week or so. Even now, a few hours after I put it down, I am floored and still collecting my thoughts. Kerouac is not who I thought he was. The entirety of our great, glorious past and our experiment in free love and peace isn’t built on a lie, I’ve checked. There isn’t another On The Road written by another Jack Kerouac that I have accidentally purchased. What it seems to be based on is the most misogynist and most disdainful and most self-absorbed and outright delusional reading of a book that had occurred in the entire Baby Boomer generation. Kerouac and his friends, all subjects of this book written in with their names changed, were deluded about their place in life, disdained the order that let them treat so many people so badly, and what they did to the women in their lives makes Don Draper and Roger Sterling look like Gloria Steinem’s hard nosed instructors. These men were monsters who used people like objects and had the utter gall to appropriate the name of the Beat, originally a term used to describe black people “beaten to their socks,” and apply it to their own over-privileged selves. Sal and Dean actually got up in the morning and thought that THEY were “beat.”
I encourage everyone to read this awful tome to awful men. I hope that you read it when you are 30 like me, or maybe just when you are mature enough to understand that what is happening here isn’t a great adventure but a total abdication. I wish I had actually read this book in college. My father and I argued a lot when I was in school, when I knew he was so wrong and I was so knowing. The truth about Jack Kerouac and his friends is that even their best qualities fail to exceed my father’s worst. For all his many faults, he has never, ever treated any human on this earth the way Sal and Dean treated every single person that had the misfortune to be on the road to Sal and Dean’s kicks.
Don’t get me wrong, this book hasn’t changed my political stripe. I’m not voting for Trump two years ago or two years from now. But Holy God, to think the young people who were going to “change the world” in my father’s youth did so after reading this. It makes sense to me now, sitting here, why the #MeToo movement has ousted so many lefty men in Hollywood and the Senate, and even a lefty woman or two. I think, whether they read this book or not, they actually know what I knew until just earlier today.
I’m sorry, dad.
January 22, 2013
Library of Congress “Books That Shaped America” Available on Amazon
For years, feminists have been trying to convince literary fiction fans of two things: not all female characters need to be likeable; reject the long-abiding notion that stories by and about men are about the human experience, whereas stories by and about women represent only the female experience. Women, we’ve contended, have long read about the lives of men, and are better for it. Men, we’ve pleaded, should learn to do the same.
In a recent essay for Lithub, Rebecca Solnit turns this logic on its head and suggests that women stop reading books by and about unlikeable men. Critiquing the list of books Esquire put together for their “The 80 Best Books Every Man Should Read” list, Solnit wonders whether there should be another list “with some of the same books, called ’80 Books No Woman Should Read.'”
Of course, she says, “everyone should read anything they want. I just think some books are instructions on why women are dirt or hardly exist at all except as accessories or are inherently evil and empty. Or they’re instructions in the version of masculinity that means being unkind and unaware, that set of values that expands out into violence at home, in war, and by economic means.”
She goes on to discuss her ambivalence toward writers such as Jack Kerouac, Vladimir Nabokov, and Jim Harrison, and her aversion to the red-blooded work of Ernest Hemingway, Norman Mailer, and Henry Miller. She ends by encouraging readers to seek out work that provides them with “instructions in extending our identities out into the world, human and nonhuman, in imagination as a great act of empathy that lifts you out of yourself, not locks you down into your gender.”
It’s a nice idea, but one that rests on the dangerous assumption that women lack the same failure of imagination of which we’ve been accusing men all these years. We want the world to be open to books about unlikeable women, and believe that doing so could increase everyone’s empathy, right? Well, then, we shouldn’t be avoiding books about unlikeable men.
“We need to read books by and about macho, sexist proto-frat boys because they are our past.”
We need to read books by and about macho, sexist proto-frat boys because they are our past. Misogyny was not a minor player in the cultural history of the world. Women need to know it and feel it in order to understand its internal logic. Only then can we set to dismantling it. The great novels of the past, whether or not they are worthy of their greatness, present an invaluable opportunity to acquaint oneself with how men have perceived women over time. In other words, know thine enemy.
There’s also the unfortunate yet undeniable fact that the nearly everyone was sexist in the past, including the geniuses. This means that the bulk of the great cultural works created by humans throughout history is sexist. A lack of respect for women wasn’t a box one could check on a personality survey—it was a nearly unavoidable worldview. Women shouldn’t deny themselves the privilege of reading some of humanity’s best efforts to tell our stories and make sense of existence because of the inevitable misogyny we will find within it.
My budding interest in feminism in my early twenties got me to see where my once-beloved On the Road, along with a number of revered male writers, went wrong. But never did I regret—or stop—reading them. They are part of me and, whether or not you like it, they are part of you, too. It’s from these texts we all come. Knowing them helps us figure out where to go next.
Herewith, ten misogynistic books that every woman should read:
Rabbit, Run by John Updike
The Gist: Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, a onetime high school basketball star and full-time man-child, impulsively abandons his wife and son.
The Takeaway: It’s a masterpiece of male, middle-class ennui and a behind-the-scenes look at the type of guy for whom the the grass is always greener on the other side..
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
The Gist: This Beat classic is a road trip novel about two young men traveling across the United States searching for experience and enlightenment.
The Takeaway: This book helped define American counterculture and cultivate our admiration for free spirits.
Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison
The Gist: Three brothers and their father try to make a life for themselves in the Montana wilderness. All the sons go to Europe to fight World War II, but only two return. A love triangle ensues.
The Takeaway: Harrison is the king of the rustic, laconic masculinity that Americans love. These are the kind of men that make regular men feel bad about themselves.
American Pastoral by Philip Roth
The Gist: Swede Levov is a Jewish-American man who has everything he could ever want: money, well-defined biceps, non-ethnic looking features, and a pretty wife. Then his radical hippie daughter starts blowing up things.
The Takeaway: This book sheds some light on the inner mechanics of the trophy wife phenomenon, including why men want them and what happens when they get them.
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
The Gist: The story of Robert Jordan, a young American who goes to fight the fascists during the Spanish Civil War. There is a lot of violence and a beautiful girl named Maria with whom Robert falls in love.
The Takeaway: A great representation of the way femininity is mythologized during war. Women represent all that is fragile, beautiful, and innocent. Eden before the fall.
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
The Gist: Originally banned in the United States for obscenity, this is a largely autobiographical, non-linear novel about Miller’s time in bohemian Paris in the ’20s and ’30s.
The Takeaway: The female characters might lack depth, but the presentation of sex as vice, even addiction, does not.
The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
The Gist: Bellows tell us the story of Augie March, a fast-talking, free-spirit who leaves his family of poor Jewish immigrants to search for success, meaning, and love.
The Takeaway: Augie may lack respect for women (beginning with the disdain he feels for his mother), but his reverence for life is something to which everyone can relate.
Women by Charles Bukowski
The Gist: Henry Chinaski is a poet who has just earned enough fame to leave behind his previously hardscrabble life. There’s a rotating cast of of women, none of whom can satisfy this man on the rise.
The Takeaway: He’s a pathological womanizer. Allow him to explain himself.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
The Gist: A European expat named Humbert Humbert has an unhealthy obsession with a girl he calls Lolita. Lo. Lee. Ta. He kidnaps her and takes her on a road trip around cheery postwar America.
The Takeaway: This is a meditation on love and eros that is both disturbing and hypnotizing, written by one of the greatest prose stylists in history.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Gist: Huckleberry Finn is a young boy who runs away from home and sets off down the Mississippi River where he meets a runaway slave named Jim. The two have a series of escapades during which Finn is confronted with the reality of racism.
The Takeway: The women in this book are mostly nags, shrews, or dummies who stay in the periphery. Nevertheless, the book’s portrayal of racism, as well as the very American sense of momentum it conveys, makes for a very worthwhile read.
Elissa Strauss Elissa Strauss writes about gender, culture, and having it some.
This is a list of one hundred books Amazon thinks you must read before you die and Africa’s Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” and a few others happen to be there. Amazon selected a team of books editors to compile this list of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime. According to the online company, the essence was to come up with a list that will cover all stages of a life (which is why you’ll find children’s books in here), without making it feel like homework. Of course, no such list can be comprehensive – our lives, we hope, are long and varied – but after a long talk and argument, the team eventually came up with a list of favourites. The oldest book on the list is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813) and the latest published book on the list is Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (2013). The Amazon Books editorial team plan to audit the list regularly in order to ensure it always stays culturally relevant.
What do you think about this list? How well do you think the team has performed? Talk about it on Goodreads, where you can vote and add your own selections.
“We listed the books alphabetically by title,” said Sara Nelson, Editorial Director of Print and Kindle Books at Amazon.com, ” because our assumption is that no book is more important than another
See the full list below:
- 1984 by George Orwell
- A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
- A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
- A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
- A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning: The Short-Lived Edition by Lemony Snicket
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
- Alice Munro: Selected Stories by Alice Munro
- Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
- All the President’s Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
- Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt
- Are You There, God? It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume
- Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
- Born To Run – A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
- Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 1 by Jeff Kinney
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
- Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared M. Diamond
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
- Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
- Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
- Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
- Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
- Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
- Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
- Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
- Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
- Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
- Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
- Moneyball by Michael Lewis
- Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac
- Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
- Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
- Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
- Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
- The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- The Color of Water by James McBride
- The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
- The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
- The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
- The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- The House At Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
- The Liars’ Club: A Memoir by Mary Karr
- The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
- The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright
- The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
- The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver
- The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro
- The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt
- The Shining by Stephen King
- The Stranger by Albert Camus
- The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
- The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
- The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki Murakami
- The World According to Garp by John Irving
- The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
- Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
- Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime
Amazon describes this list as “A Bucket List of Books for a Well-Read Life”. As voted upon by Goodreads users, this list spans children’s fiction to adult fiction to non-fiction. Books I have read will appear in bold; books I have read and reviewed will appear in bold red (as links.)
In alphabetical order by book title (they include “a” and “the” in their alphabetizing):
1. 1984, by George Orwell
2. A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking
3. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers
4. A Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah
5. A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning, by Lemony Snicket
6. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle
7. Alice Munro: Selected Stories, by Alice Munro
8. Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
9. All the President’s Men, by Bob Woodward
10. Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir, by Frank McCourt
11. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
12. Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
13. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
14. Born to Run – A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, by Christopher McDougall
15. Breath, Eyes, Memory, by Edwidge Danticat
16. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
17. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl
18. Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White
19. Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese
20. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, by Brene Brown
21. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 1, by Jeff Kinney
22. Dune, by Frank Herbert
23. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
24. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, by Hunter S. Thompson
25. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
26. Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
27. Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
28. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared M. Diamond
29. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling
30. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
31. Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri
32. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
33. Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth, by Chris Ware
34. Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain
35. Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson
36. Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
37. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
38. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
39. Love Medicine, by Louise Erdrich
40. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl
41. Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris
42. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
43. Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie
44. Moneyball, by Michael Lewis
45. Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset Maugham
46. On the Road, by Jack Kerouac
47. Out of Africa, by Isak Dinesen
48. Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
49. Portnoy’s Complaint, by Philip Roth
50. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
51. Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson
52. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
53. Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
54. The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton
55. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon
56. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
57. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
58. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz
59. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
60. The Color of Water, by James McBride
61. The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen
62. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, by Erik Larson
63. The Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank
64. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
65. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
66. The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman
67. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
68. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
69. The House at Pooh Corner, by A.A. Milne
70. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
71. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
72. The Liar’s Club: A Memoir, by Mary Karr
73. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1), by Rick Riordan
74. The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
75. The Long Goodbye, by Raymond Chandler
76. The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, by Lawrence Wright
77. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
78. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales, by Oliver Sacks
79. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan
80. The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
81. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
82. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, by Robert A. Caro
83. The Right Stuff, by Tom Wolfe
84. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
85. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
86. The Shining, by Stephen King
87. The Stranger, by Albert Camus
88. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
89. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
90. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
91. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
92. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami
93. The World According to Garp, by John Irving
94. The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion
95. Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe
96. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
97. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand
98. Valley of the Dolls, by Jacqueline Susann
99. Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein
100. Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
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The Amazon Books editorial team selects the 100 best books of the year – from adventurous fiction and investigative journalism to heartwarming memoirs and so much more
SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nov. 12, 2019– (NASDAQ:AMZN) Today, Amazon announced its selections for the Best Books of 2019, naming Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments – the sequel to her dystopian masterpiece The Handmaid’s Tale – the Best Book of 2019. The annual list features the Top 100 books of the year plus Top 20 lists across various categories ranging from literary fiction, mystery and thriller, biography, children’s and young adult, making it the go-to list for holiday reading and gift giving. All lists are hand-selected by Amazon’s team of editors – first by choosing the best books of every month, and then, finally, the best books of the year. To explore the full list of the Best Books of 2019 and buy the print, Kindle or Audible editions, visit: amazon.com/bestbooks2019
“The Books Editorial team reads thousands of new releases every year, all with the goal of recommending the very best to our customers,” said Sarah Gelman, Editorial Director, Amazon Books. “This year there were so many great books from various genres. Our top 100 Best Books list includes books with clever satire, heartwarming memoirs and psychological thrillers. But as soon as we read it, it was clear that Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments was the book of the year. The sequel to the modern classic The Handmaid’s Tale enraptured our editorial team and readers across the globe with a dramatic continuation of goings-on in the dystopian Republic of Gilead. It’s so exciting to witness literary history being made, and Atwood has done just that with this deeply moving book.”
“I’m Canadian, where modesty is a requirement. So I’m mildly embarrassed, though absolutely delighted, to hear that the Amazon editorial team has chosen The Testaments as their book of the year,” said Margaret Atwood, author of The Testaments. “While I’m no prophet, we seem doomed to live in stressful times. A tale of hope and courage narrated by three strong female voices appears to have connected to this crucial 2019 moment.”
The Testaments joins Amazon Book Editors’ past Best Book of the Year selections including Educated by Tara Westwood, Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann, Underground Railroadby Colson Whitehead, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.
Here are the Amazon Editorial Team’s Top 10 picks of 2019:
- The Testaments by Margaret Atwood: Praise be! After almost 35 years, Margaret Atwood released the sequel to her pioneering work of speculative fiction, The Handmaid’s Tale, and it is well worth the wait. While The Handmaid’s Tale explored how totalitarian regimes come to power, The Testaments delves into how they begin to fracture. At 80 years young, Atwood is at the top of her game.
- The Nickel Boys: A Novel by Colson Whitehead: Having earned a Pulitzer and a National Book Award with his last novel, The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead follows up with a story about two young black men sent to the infamous Nickel Academy in Florida. Set during the 1960s Jim Crow era, the story follows Elwood and Turner who, despite different backgrounds and world views, learn to lean on one another to survive.
- Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur: The subtitle seems to say it all: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me. And yet there is so much more to the story. Adrienne Brodeur was fourteen when her mother started secretly dating Ben Souther. What developed after that was a strange, uncomfortable, impossible-to-look-away-from triangle in which young Adrienne became cover for the trysts between her mother and Ben. This is an engaging and at times breathless memoir that builds with anticipation and continues to unfold with observations and revelations.
- Quichotte: A Novel by Salman Rushdie: An exquisite satire on the world we live in, Rushdie’s latest novel pays Cervantes a great, clever compliment with this deliciously funny Don Quixote for modern times. An unusual romantic quest kicks off a road trip across America in an age that would be utterly surreal if we weren’t actually living it. An antidote to fear, bursting with intelligence and wit—Quichotte is exactly what so many of us need right now.
- The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern: Almost ten years after she wrote The Night Circus, Morgenstern offers readers a shape-shifting, time-bending, otherworldly adventure of storytelling, where pirates lurk and doors lead forward and backward in time, where crowded ballrooms collapse into oceans, and where a young man must piece together the clues to uncover and protect his own life’s story. This magnificent tribute to tales of the imagination is absolutely magical.
- Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac: Super Pumped is a masterful and highly entertaining work of investigative journalism into the evolution of Uber and its maverick founder Travis Kalanick. Perfect for readers who were captivated by Bad Blood, Mike Isaac’s Super Pumped provides an insider’s view of the stunning highs and catastrophic lows of the company that changed the way we use transportation.
- City of Girls: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert: It’s the 1940s, and the frivolous and fun-loving Vivian Morris arrives in New York with the goal of “becoming someone interesting”—and in short order she is, but for all the wrong reasons. The latest novel by the author of Eat, Pray, Love is bawdy, bighearted, and wise.
- They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker: George Takei’s vivid graphic memoir reveals the story of his family’s incarceration during the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, beginning when Takei was only five years old. Even as the memories depicted range from unsettling to infuriating, They Called Us Enemy inspires readers to insist that our country treats fellow human beings with fairness and dignity.
- The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides: In this psychological thriller, a couple seems to have it all until the wife is convicted of shooting her husband in the face. But she will say nothing about the crime—or anything else, for that matter. After a criminal psychologist obsessed with the case comes on the scene, dark twists and delightful turns follow, secrets (and a diary) are revealed, and you will likely find yourself racing to the end of this year’s must-read thriller.
- Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb: What happens when a celebrated psychotherapist finds herself on the other side of the couch? Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is an entertaining, relatable, moving homage to therapy—and just being human.
The top pick in the children’s category is the middle grade novel:
- Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy: Bestselling author Julie Murphy makes her middle-grade debut with a smart, funny novel that tween readers will quickly embrace. Patricia “Sweet Pea” DiMarco is a seventh grader dealing with a wide range of emotions and change, including recently divorced parents and friendships in transition. Dear Sweet Pea is a warmhearted read that is at once reassuring, wise, and utterly relatable.
During 2019, the Amazon Books editorial team read thousands of pages to help customers discover their next great read. Here are some interesting facts about this year’s Best Books of the Year list:
- Most highlighted quote from Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, our number one pick, is: “You don’t believe the sky is falling until a chunk of it falls on you.”
- Customers’ Most Wished For titles in our top 100: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb, and Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
- Top three best of the year selections that readers have used both Audible and Kindle interchangeably throughout are: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, and Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner.
- Alex Michaelides’s The Silent Patient, our ninth pick, is the number one most popular book on Goodreads this year, added to Goodreads shelves by more than 380K members; especially impressive since it’s a debut novel!
- Lori Gottlieb’s Maybe You Should Talk to Someone (#10 on our list) is the number one most popular nonfiction book on Goodreads this year, followed closely by Three Women (#19).
To see the complete list of Best Books of 2019, and to purchase in print, for Kindle or Audible, visit amazon.com/bestbooks2019 or visit an Amazon Books location near you, www.amazon.com/stores.
For more coverage of the books featured on the Best Books of the Year list, as well as insightful reviews on new books, author interviews, and roundups in popular categories, visit the Amazon Book Review, www.amazonbookreview.com, and the Amazon Book Review Podcast, www.amazonbookreview.com/tag/podcast.
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View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191112005423/en/
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — As consumers gear up for the holiday shopping season, Amazon has released its list of the top books of 2019, naming Margaret Atwood’s “The Testaments” this year’s best.
“Our top 100 Best Books list includes books with clever satire, heartwarming memoirs and psychological thrillers. But as soon as we read it, it was clear that Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Testaments’ was the book of the year,” said Sarah Gelman, editorial director, Amazon Books. “The sequel to the modern classic ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ enraptured our editorial team and readers across the globe with a dramatic continuation of goings-on in the dystopian Republic of Gilead. It’s so exciting to witness literary history being made, and Atwood has done just that with this deeply moving book.”
The annual list features the Top 100 books of the year, selected by Amazon’s team of editors. To explore the full list of the Best Books of 2019,
See below for a look at Amazon’s Top 10.
- The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood: The sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” is well worth the wait, according to Amazon. “While ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ explored how totalitarian regimes come to power, ‘The Testaments’ delves into how they begin to fracture,” stated Amazon in a release.
- The Nickel Boys: A Novel, by Colson Whitehead: Set during the 1960s, this is a story about two young black men sent to the infamous Nickel Academy in Florida. The story follows Elwood and Turner who, despite different backgrounds and world views, learn to lean on one another to survive.
- Wild Game, by Adrienne Brodeur: “This is an engaging and at times breathless memoir that builds with anticipation and continues to unfold with observations and revelations,” stated Amazon, as the author was 14 when her mother started secretly dating Ben Souther.
- Quichotte: A Novel, by Salman Rushdie: A romantic quest kicks off a road trip across America. “An antidote to fear, bursting with intelligence and wit — ‘Quichotte’ is exactly what so many of us need right now,” according to Amazon.
- The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern: Amazon described this book as a “shape-shifting, time-bending, otherworldly adventure of storytelling, where pirates lurk and doors lead forward and backward in time, where crowded ballrooms collapse into oceans, and where a young man must piece together the clues to uncover and protect his own life’s story.”
- Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, by Mike Isaac: This book is a “masterful and highly entertaining work of investigative journalism into the evolution of Uber and its maverick founder Travis Kalanick,” according to Amazon.
- City of Girls: A Novel, by Elizabeth Gilbert: “It’s the 1940s, and the frivolous and fun-loving Vivian Morris arrives in New York with the goal of ‘becoming someone interesting’ — and in short order she is, but for all the wrong reasons,” stated Amazon.
- They Called Us Enemy, by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott and Harmony Becker: A memoir that reveals the story of Takei’s family’s incarceration during the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. “Even as the memories depicted range from unsettling to infuriating, ‘They Called Us Enemy’ inspires readers to insist that our country treats fellow human beings with fairness and dignity,” stated Amazon.
- The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides: “In this psychological thriller, a couple seems to have it all until the wife is convicted of shooting her husband in the face. But she will say nothing about the crime—or anything else, for that matter. After a criminal psychologist obsessed with the case comes on the scene, dark twists and delightful turns follow, secrets (and a diary) are revealed, and you will likely find yourself racing to the end of this year’s must-read thriller,” stated Amazon.
- Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, by Lori Gottlieb: “What happens when a celebrated psychotherapist finds herself on the other side of the couch? ‘Maybe You Should Talk to Someone’ is an entertaining, relatable, moving homage to therapy — and just being human,” according to Amazon.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tops Dahl list
Image copyright Getty Images
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is Roald Dahl’s most popular book on Amazon.co.uk.
One hundred years on from the birth of the popular children’s author, the website revealed Dahl’s top 10 books in both digital and print format.
The BFG – recently adapted into a film by Steven Spielberg – was second, followed by George’s Marvellous Medicine.
Matilda and James and the Giant Peach rounded out the top five.
‘Joy and quality’
Dahl published his first children’s book more than 70 years ago – yet he still ranks in the top five best-selling children’s authors on Amazon’s UK site.
Image copyright Disney/AP Image caption The BFG – second in the top 10 – was recently made into a film starring Mark Rylance
Dahl appeared in the top five alongside the modern day best-sellers, Julia Donaldson, JK Rowling, Jeff Kinney and David Walliams.
Dan Mucha, books director for Amazon.co.uk, said: “Having grown up with Roald Dahl’s books and seeing my children read them today, I understand firsthand the joy and enduring quality of his stories.
“The centenary of his birth marks a big moment in the literary calendar and we have seen his books continue to sell incredibly well in both print and on our Kindle store.
“We expect that he will remain one of the top children’s authors for years to come.”
Sales of the titles were tracked over a five-year period.
1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
2. The BFG
3. George’s Marvellous Medicine
5. James and the Giant Peach
6. The Witches
7. Danny the Champion of the World
8. Fantastic Mr Fox
9. The Magic Finger
10. The Twits
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A lost chapter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, deemed too wild, subversive and insufficiently moral for the tender minds of British children almost 50 years ago, has been published for the first time.
The chapter, in Saturday’s Guardian Review, with new illustrations by Sir Quentin Blake, was found among Dahl’s papers after his death. It was chapter five in one of many early drafts of the book, one of the best-loved children’s books, but was cut from the version first published in the US in 1964 and in the UK in 1967.
In the chapter Charlie Bucket – accompanied by his mother, not his sprightly grandfather – and the other children are led into the Vanilla Fudge Room, where they face the sinister prospect of the Pounding and Cutting Room.
“In the centre of the room there was an actual mountain, a colossal jagged mountain as high as a five-storey building, and the whole thing was made of pale-brown, creamy, vanilla fudge,” the chapter reads. “All the way up the sides of the mountain, hundreds of men were working away with picks and drills, hacking great hunks of fudge out of the mountainside … As the huge hunks of fudge were pried loose, they went tumbling and bouncing d own the mountain and when they reached the bottom they were picked up by cranes with grab-buckets, and the cranes dumped the fudge into open wagons.”
The chapter reveals the original larger cast of characters, and their fates, as well as the original names of some of those who survived into later drafts. Dahl originally intended to send Charlie into the chocolate factory with eight other children, but the number was slimmed down to four. The narrator reveals that a girl called Miranda Grope has already vanished into the chocolate river with Augustus Pottle: she is gone for ever, but the greedy boy was reincarnated as Augustus Gloop.
Timmy Troutbeck and “a rather bumptious little boy called Wilbur Rice”, backed by their vile parents, shout abuse at Willy Wonka’s warnings, scramble into the wagons, and are carried off through a hole in the wall.
“That hole,” said Mr Wonka, “leads directly to what we call the Pounding and Cutting Room. In there the rough fudge gets tipped out of the wagons into the mouth of a huge machine. The machine then pounds it against the floor until it is all nice and smooth and thin. After that, a whole lot of knives come down and go chop chop chop, cutting it up into neat little squares, ready for the shops.”
High on the mountain, the workers – who have not yet become the Oompa Loompas – sing “Eight little children, such charming little chicks. But two of them said ‘Nuts to you’, and then there were six.”
Not surprisingly, no more is ever heard of Masters Troutbeck and Rice.
Dahl was living in the US after working for British intelligence at the end of the war, a successful author for adults – his 1960 collection, Kiss Kiss, went straight into the New York Times bestseller list – and married to the film star Patricia Neal, when he began writing for a younger audience based on the tales he was telling his own children. James and the Giant Peach was published in 1961, and by then the first draft of Charlie – in which the title character falls into a vat in a sweet factory and becomes a chocolate figure – had been discarded after Dahl’s young nephew said it was rubbish.
He abandoned the book after his four-month-old son Theo almost died when his pram was hit by a taxi in New York, and the following year his seven-year-old daughter Olivia died of measles.
When he resumed work, his agent, Sheila St Lawrence, suggested that the workers should become “something more surprising” and added that she wanted “more humour, more light Dahlesque touches throughout”. Violet Strabismus, nee Glockenberry, would become Violet Beauregarde, Elvira Entwhistle would return as Veruca Salt, and the mint grass meadow, the chocolate waterfall and the Oompa Loompas would soon appear in later drafts.
The book sold 10,000 copies in its first week and has never been out of print: “He lets his imagination rip in fairyland,” the New York Times said. The book has never been out of print. It has been filmed twice, with Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp as the Wonkas, become an opera, and is also a current hit West End musical which opened in June 2013 and is now booking into late next year.
Like his first book for children, James and the Giant Peach, it initially struggled to find a UK publisher. Dahl blamed the publishers’ “priggish, obtuse, stuffiness”.
Roald Dahl’s manuscripts and many other treasures from his archive are stored at his former home, now the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden.
• This article was amended on 2 September 2014 to remove an unverifiable figure for book sales.