Here are my all-time favorite books.
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. A sci-fi story told in the distant future, long after civilization has started to rebuild itself after an apparent nuclear holocaust. Several children in a quiet village cope with the fact that they are telepathic...but fear the repercussions of how they will be treated if their secret is discovered.
Booze and The Graduate by Charles Webb. The famous Dustin Hoffman film is extremely faithful to Webb's first novel about a young man searching to find his place in the world (and having an affair with Mrs. Robinson along the way). His 1978 novel Booze is the study of an iconoclast who feels adrift and alone in the world; it's remarkably funny and touching. Well worth seeking out.
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Published posthumously, this Pulitzer-winning novel is a comic masterpiece -- "a fantastic novel, a major achievement, a huge comc-satiric-tragic one-of-a-kind rendering of life in New Orleans," says author Walker Percy. "Crazily magnificent once-in-a-blue-moon first novel," raves Publishers Weekly. "A masterpiece of character and comedy...brilliant, relentless, delicious, perhaps even a classic," boasts Kirkus Reviews. And they're not even scratching the surface. Buy it now.
The Morning After by Jack B. Weiner. Absorbing, tragic story of a man's battle with alcoholism; how it destroys his family, his career and finally himself.
Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. As a child, I adored Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But for my money, this is Dahl's best book for children -- an adventure story filled with wonder and just a touch of naughtiness. The children I read this to as an adult were spellbound by the characters, the good vs. evil theme and the superb ending.
Insomnia, Misery and Pet Sematary by Stephen King. My three favorite novels by the master of horror and suspense.
Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss. I meant what I said, and I said what I meant: An elephant's faithful, one hundred percent.
Little Boxes of Bewilderment by Jack Ritchie. My favorite short-story writer's best collection. Mystery tales that are straightforward and damned funny.
Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman. The inner workings of a metropolitan high school are laid bare in this hilarious and touching story of a committed, idealistic teacher whose dash with school bureaucracy. The story is conveyed through a series of memos, letters, directives from the principal, comments by students, notes between teachers, and papers from desk drawers and wastebaskets, evoking a vivid picture of teachers fighting the good fight against all that stands in the way of good teaching.
Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey. The first in a series of hilarious non-sequitor collections. Makes me laugh out loud even after multiple readings.
What are your favorite books?