Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Great and lovable books

Around the DGLM office, great book lists generally occasion complaints that however talented so-and-so might be, surely no one enjoys reading their work. And so we've decided to challenge ourselves--and you--with some DGLM-generated lists of books that are truly great, but also truly lovable. We decided there'd be no picking a 500 page tome we had to slog through, but begrudgingly admit is a seminal work. We've got to stand by both their quality and their enjoyability.

So over the next little while we'll be anonymously posting batches of lists generated by individuals here at DGLM, and we're challenging you, dear readers, to guess who created those lists. So in the comments tell us who you think posted each list, which of these books you love, and which you're amazed to discover anyone does! If you want to play along yourself, give us your own list in the comments.

Your choices are: Jane, Miriam, Michael, Stacey, Jim, Lauren, Chasya, Jessica, Alex, and--just to make things more challenging--our summer interns Stephanie and Zach. We'll tell you the answers once we've posted them all.

DGLM-er #1:

Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five
Henry Fielding's Tom Jones
Joseph Heller's Catch-22
Joshua Ferris's Then We Came to the End
Nicole Krauss's The History of Love
John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany
Philip Roth's American Pastoral
Nathan Englander's The Ministry of Special Cases
Charlotte Lennox's The Female Quixote
Wally Lamb's I Know This Much Is True
Art Spiegelman's Maus
Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman's Good Omens
Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated
Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife

DGLM-er #2:

Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried
Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach
F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty
Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises
Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre
Joseph Heller's Catch-22
Kurt Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
Cormac McCarthy's The Road
Donna Tartt's The Secret History
John Knowles's A Separate Peace
Robert Graysmith's Zodiac
C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
George Selden's The Cricket in Times Square


  1. I, too, loved THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE, I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE, and A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY. The last title is my favorite John Irving book ever.

    I'm going to guess that Michael made this list.

  2. I really need to finally read Catch-22.

    I'm guessing Jane for list #1, and Jim for list #2.

    I'm probably wrong. It's hard to tell. I'm often surprised by what I find out my own family reads, let alone other people.

  3. I confess that I have no idea who likes what: if I wrote up a list of my favorites, it would look pretty much like these lists -- as though five people had compiled it. It's fun finding James & the Giant Peach on the same list as The Road.

    Am I the only one in the world who liked Donna Tartt's The Little Friend more than A Secret History? By the time I was finished, I loathed Bunny so much I'd have happily pushed him over a cliff myself. It just seemed like a bunch of privileged rich kids indulging their weird conceits.

  4. i think someone stole list number 2 from me.

    Or is there a teacher stowaway on your staff???

    (Also LOVE Prayer for Owen Meany.....)

  5. I know none of the staff...almost at all, but I guess Jessica for list #1.

    Very nice Vonnegut showing on the lists so it!

  6. I forgot to mention Janet Fitch's WHITE OLEANDER -- that would be on my list of favorites. My 15-year old says it's the best portrait of a teenager she's ever read.

    Also, John Steinbeck's THE GRAPES OF WRATH, Virginia Woolf's A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN, and Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE are on my favorite-reads list.


    AWAKENING THE BUDDHA WITHIN by Lama Surya Das (for a beautiful and comprehensible explanation of Buddhism)

    And an old, probably out-of-print children's book that had me riveted when I was ten years old --THE FORGOTTEN DOOR by Alexander Key.