Reading Heaven: A List of Booklists

I’m in heaven – I really like lists (have I mentioned this?), especially when they are about books.  I found several at


The lists are from I Hear America Reading: Why We Read – What We Read by Jim Burke (Heinemann, 1999).  The lists run the gamut, from Ten Books for People Who Think the World is Absurd to Ten Books in Search of the Truth.  The lists are a compilation of those listed on surveys.


I discovered: Ten Books about Books, Ten Books of Booklists, Ten Recommendations for The Great American Novel (I can’t believe A Prayer for Owen Meany was not on this list), Ten Books to Make You Laugh Out Loud (At least Owen Meany made this list – and at #1), and Ten Books You Plan to Read When You Retire (But Probably Won’t).


Here are those lists:


Ten Books about Books
  1. A History of Reading, Alberto Manguel
  2. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, Anne Fadiman
  3. Genesis: As It Is Written, David Rosenberg
  4. Great Books, David Denby
  5. How Reading Changed My Life, Anna Quindlen
  6. Imagining Characters, A.S. Byatt and Iris Sordre
  7. Ruined by Reading, Lynne Schwartz
  8. The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart, Gomes
  9. The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in the Electronic Age, Sven Birkerts
  10. The Most Wonderful Books: Writers on Discovering the Pleasures of Reading, Michael Dorris and Emilie Buchwald
Ten Books of Booklists
  1. 500 Great Books by Women: A Reader’s Guide, Erica Bauermeister, et al.
  2. The Book Group Book, Ellen Slezak
  3. Books for a Small Planet: A Multicultural-Intercultural Bibliography for Young English Language Learners, Dorothy S. Brown
  4. Great Books for Girls: More than 600 Books to Inspire Today’s Girls and Tomorrow’s Women, Kathleen Odean
  5. A Lifetime Reading Plan, Clifton Fadiman
  6. New York Public Library’s Books of the Century, ed. E Diefendorf
  7. The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written: The History of Thought from Ancient Times to Today, Martin Seymour-Smith
  8. The Reading Group Book: The Complete Guide to Starting and Sustaining a Reading Group, With Annotated Lists of 250 Titles for Provocative Discussion, Davis Laskin and Holly Hughes
  9. Strong Souls Singing: African American Books for Our Daughters and Our Sisters and Spirited Minds: African American Books for Our Sons and Our Brothers, edited by Archie Givens.
  10. The Western Canon, Harold Bloom
Ten Recommendations for The Great American Novel
(Note: Everyone who nominated a title said “The Great American Novel” has yet to be written.)
  1. Absalom! Absalom! William Faulkner
  2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
  3. Beloved, Toni Morrison
  4. Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe
  5. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  6. The Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
  7. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
  8. Sometimes a Great Notion, Ken Kesey
  9. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  10. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
Ten Books to Make You Laugh Out Loud
  1. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving
  2. Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
  3. Chicana Falsa, Michelle Serros
  4. Heartburn, Nora Ephron
  5. Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year, Annie Lamott
  6. Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, Camelia O. Skinner and Emily Kimborough
  7. Portnoy’s Complaint, Philip Roth
  8. Seinlanguage, Jerry Seinfeld
  9. The Complete Prose of Woody Allen, Woody Allen
  10. The Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4, by Sue Townsend
Ten Books You Plan to Read When You Retire (But Probably Won’t)
  1. Finnegans Wake, James Joyce
  2. Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  3. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
  4. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
  5. Remembrance of Things Past, Marcel Proust
  6. Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph, T.E. Lawrence
  7. The Bible
  8. The Collected Dialogues of Plato
  9. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
  10. War and Peace, Tolstoy

5 responses to “Reading Heaven: A List of Booklists

  1. Love books. Love lists. Love your design on your blog.

    Reading is my life. My friends and I just started a book club because we all love to read. Thanks for sharing your lists!

    You are much too kind! Have fun with your bookclub.

  2. I must say: I felt like I was in heaven too.

    I like lists. But when I found your post filled with book lists, why, I thought my heart stopped. Dramatics aside, I did enjoy this post: not only did I find possible books to read (and lists for more possible books to read), but I also found myself preening when I recognized a couple of the authors/compilers and learned that I read a few of the books listed in the “Ten Recommendations for the Great American Novel.”

    Then I laughed when I realized I already read a few of the books in “Ten Books You Plan to Read Before You Retire (But Probably Won’t).”

    Thanks for the lists. =)

    I’m with you, I think I had more on the “retire” list than any other.

  3. Books to make you laugh out loud: I’m surprised not to see The Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole, on the list. In particular, if the novel is read aloud to someone, the reader at least will often have to stop reading until recovered from laughing.

    The title alone makes me laugh. I have seen this on several “favorites” lists. I’ll try it. Thanks.

  4. A great book about reading is Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading by Maureen Corrigan. I reviewed it last year. It was excellent. Although given the other nominations I’m not surprised, but shouldn’t Gone With the Wind be one of the great American novels?

    One would think. I’ll try Leave Me Alone. Thanks for the tip.

  5. Pingback: Ten Recommendations for The Great American Novel « Belle of the Books

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