An Unsolicited Book List For My Daughter – In Case She Never Asks


Your love of reading is one of the most endearing qualities that you possess, not because your father is an English teacher or that your mother is the most voracious reader I know, but because you are curious and allow yourself to listen with your eyes to the words of others.

You, your mother, and I could get lost in bookstores and never really be lost.

I believe that one of the ways that someone can really get to know someone else is to read the books that the other person finds important, whether for its literary merit, the connection to a story or person, the sheer enjoyment, or the intellectual pursuit.

For me, I read for a variety of reasons, but I also would like to think that I explore through books aspects of my life and learn from the experience of characters so that I may not have to repeat the mistakes they may have made.

Below is a list of books, collections, texts, and titles that I believe are worth reading. They are in no particular order. Some have little notes beside them. I simply list them alphabetically.

They can all be found among my possessions here in the house or in my room at school. They are yours for the taking.

Ask your mother the books she thinks you should read.

Ask your Uncle Mike also. It’s his fault that I started reading a lot in the first place.

Ask the English Department at West Forsyth High School. The number of discussions I have had with them about good books worth reading, rereading, and teaching are countless.

Here goes.

  1. A Confederacy of Dunces – a top five for me
  2. A Lesson Before Dying
  3. A Prayer For Owen Meany – get ready to laugh
  4. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  5. All the Light We Cannot See
  6. All The Pretty Horses
  7. Amsterdam
  8. And the Band Played On – about eh rise of the AIDS epidemic in the 80’s
  9. As I Lay Dying – has best chapter in American Lit – Ask Uncle Mike
  10. Atonement – Ian McEwan is one of my favorite writers – I buy his stuff in hardback
  11. Bel Canto
  12. Beloved
  13. Blood Done Sign My Name – Tim Tyson is a social warrior
  14. Blood Meridian – great scene with piss in it
  15. Cannery Row
  16. Canterbury Tales
  17. Crime and Punishment – reason I love this one – talk to Sabolcik bout this one
  18. Cutting For Stone – talk to Serang
  19. Death of a Salesman
  20. Devil in the White City – wow!
  21. Disgrace
  22. Dubliners
  23. Everything Is Illuminated
  24. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  25. Fahrenheit 451
  26. Fast Food Nation – one of the reasons I do a certain unit in AP Lang
  27. Frankenstein – don’t play God
  28. Freakonomics – makes you look at things differently
  29. Gulliver’s Travels
  30. Harry Potter Series
  31. Heart of Darkness
  32. I Am One of You Forever – about uncles
  33. Invisible Man – power
  34. Jane Eyre
  35. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell
  36. July’s People
  37. Le Morte D’Arthur – I used to follow Arthurian Legend quite a bit
  38. Les Miserables
  39. Maus
  40. Middlesex – best opening and closing of a book in the last twenty years – knew exactly where I was when I finished
  41. Moby Dick– Holy sh** what a book
  42. Never Let Me Go – the movie actually did it some justice
  43. Night
  44. Oedipus
  45. Of Mice and Men
  46. On the Road
  47. On Writing by Stephen King – read it in a bookstore then bought it afterwards
  48. Paradise Lost
  49. Possession
  50. Pride and Prejudice
  51. Ragtime
  52. Reign of Error – Ravitch is a hero
  53. Salt, Sugar, Fat
  54. Salvage the Bones
  55. Savage Inequalities
  56. Shakespeare – All of It – you know that
  57. Slaughterhouse Five
  58. The Adventure of Kavalier and Clay
  59. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  60. The Aeneid – Mandelbaum’s translation – you met him in a grocery store, said you were bright
  61. The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  62. The Awakening
  63. The Bible
  64. The Brothers Karamazov – again ask Sabolcik
  65. The Catcher in the Rye
  66. The Chronicles of Narnia
  67. The Crucible
  68. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time – Might want you to consider a book about your brother
  69. The Divine Comedy – Actually, the Commedia – again Mandelbaum’s version
  70. The Great Gatsby – love teaching this book
  71. The Handmaid’s Tale
  72. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  73. The Interpreter of Maladies – Ask Serang
  74. The Life and Times of Michael K
  75. The Life of Pi
  76. The Lord of the Rings
  77. The Moviegoer – Walker Percy!
  78. The Odyssey
  79. The Old Man and the Sea
  80. The Plays of Eugene O’Neill
  81. The Poems of Carl Sandburg
  82. The Poems of Emily Dickinson
  83. The Poems of W.B. Yeats – all time periods
  84. The Poems of Walt Whitman
  85. The Road
  86. The Scarlet Letter – like it more the older I get
  87. The Screwtape Letters
  88. The Secret Scripture – Sebastian Barry is my literary mancrush
  89. The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe
  90. The Stories of Flannery O’Connor – She’s Georgian
  91. The Stories of Nathanial Hawthorne
  92. The Water I Wide – your dad is a teacher
  93. Their Eyes Were Watching God
  94. There are No Children Here
  95. Things Fall Apart
  96. To Kill a Mockingbird – you know how I feel about this one
  97. Waiting
  98. Where Men Win Glory
  99. Will in the World
  100. Writer’s Inc. – ask your Uncle Mike
  101. Zealot

3 thoughts on “An Unsolicited Book List For My Daughter – In Case She Never Asks

  1. If you haven’t read these books, please give them a try. I loved each for very different reasons.
    Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay is a Holocaust survival story from a Jewish French girl’s perspective.
    Push by Sapphire is a shockingly truthful book and an absolute MUST if you teach.
    Slaughterhouse Five by Vonnegut is weirdly amazing.
    McK isn’t ready for Push…


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