Just trying to make it, a day at a time…

Favorite Books

Here is a list — incomplete most certainly — of some of my very favorite books ever, over 100 of them.  They are comprised of books of poetry, fiction, short stories, nonfiction, horror, science fiction, plays, and a few stragglers that didn’t fit anywhere. Many of these are classics, but many are not, in the traditional sense. Still, they’re MY favorites, and that’s why I’m listing them. They are not arranged in any order whatsoever, with the sole exception being that the first book listed under each category is my favorite book in that category. Otherwise, sorry for the chaos! Feedback and discussion = most welcome.


  • Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit — Charles Bukowski
  • Howl – Allen Ginsberg
  • A Coney Island of the Mind —  Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  • The Southeast Asian Book of the Dead — Bill Shields
  • What Is This Thing Called Love: Poems —  Kim Addonizio
  • Colossus and Other Poems — Sylvia Plath
  • Factory – Antler
  • Variety Photoplays — Edward Field
  • Lifetaker – Bill Shields
  • Human Shrapnel – Bill Shields
  • The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over The Hills —  Charles Bukowski
  • You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense — Charles Bukowski
  • Love Is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977 — Charles Bukowski
  • Lunch Poems — Frank O’Hara
  • Pictures of the Gone World — Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  • Poems of Humor & Protest —  Kenneth Patchen
  • Firebird Poems – Gerald Locklin
  • The Doctor Poems —  Lyn Lifshin
  • Cold Comfort: Selected Poems 1970-1996 –  Lyn Lifshin
  • Song of Napalm —  Bruce Weigl
  • A Season in Hell and The Drunken Boat — Arthur Rimbaud
  • The Iliad — Homer
  • Chicago Poems — Carl Sandburg
  • Tell Me — Kim Addonizio
  • The Continual Condition — Charles Bukowski
  • How to Get Heat Without Fire — Marilyn Kallet
  • Joker, Joker, Deuce — Paul Beatty
  • The Life Force Poems — Gerald Locklin
  • Gasoline – Gregory Corso
  • Stand Up Friend With Me — Edward Field
  • After Oz – Michael Bugeja
  • The Last Night of the Earth Poems — Charles Bukowski
  • The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain: New Poems — Charles Bukowski


  • The Plague —  Albert Camus
  • On The Road —  Jack Kerouac
  • Naked Lunch —  Williams Burroughs
  • Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit —  Jeanette Winterson
  • Possession: A Romance —  A.S. Byatt
  • Dogeaters — Jessica Hagedorn
  • Ask the Dust —  John Fante
  • Dreams From Bunker Hill — John Fante
  • Women – Charles Bukowski
  • The Painted Bird —  Jerzy Kosinski
  • Nausea – Jean-Paul Sartre
  • The Stranger — Albert Camus
  • A Happy Death — Albert Camus
  • Interzone — William Burroughs
  • Tristessa — Jack Kerouac
  • Sense and Sensibility — Jane Austen
  • Catch-22 — Joseph Heller
  • A Clockwork Orange — Anthony Burgess
  • Wide Sargasso Sea — Jean Rhys
  • Slaughterhouse Five — Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Sun Also Rises — Ernest Hemingway
  • The Harry Potter series — J.K. Rowling
  • The Chronicles of Narnia series — C.S. Lewis
  • Get Shorty — Elmore Leonard
  • Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  • Juliette — Marquis de Sade
  • Money — Martin Amis
  • The Remains of the Day — Kazuo Ishiguro
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest — Ken Kesey
  • Watership Down — Richard Adams
  • The Handmaid’s Tale — Margaret Atwood
  • The Joy Luck Club — Amy Tan
  • The Trial — Franz Kafka
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls — Ernest Hemingway
  • Heart of Darkness — Joseph Conrad


  • The Decameron — Giovanni Boccaccio
  • Notes of a Dirty Old Man — Charles Bukowski
  • The Metamorphosis — Franz Kafka
  • The Yellow Wallpaper — Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • The Minority Report — Philip K. Dick


  • The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage — Clifford Stoll
  • An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness — Kay Redfield Jamison
  • Ill Nature — Joy Williams
  • Invisible Sisters – Jessica Handler
  • Thus Spoke Zarathustra — Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Beyond Good and Evil – Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Man’s Search for Meaning — Victor Frankl
  • Philosophical Investigations — Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • Mere Christianity — C.S. Lewis
  • Inside the VC and the NVA — Michael Lee Col Lanning
  • Ho – David Halberstam
  • Dien Bien Phu: The Epic Battle America Forgot — Howard R. Simpson
  • Against the American Dream: Essays on Charles Bukowski — Russell Harrison
  • The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales — Bruno Bettlheim
  • Final Exit — Derek Humphry
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas — Hunter S. Thompson
  • Helter Skelter — Vincent Bugliosi
  • The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier — Bruce Sterling


  • City Infernal — Edward Lee
  • Interview With the Vampire — Anne Rice
  • Lost Souls — Poppy Z. Brite
  • The Stand — Stephen King
  • Haunted – Tamara Thorne
  • Candle Bay – Tamara Thorne


  • Snow Crash — Neal Stephenson
  • Neuromancer — William Gibson
  • Islands in the Net — Bruce Sterling
  • Ringworld — Larry Niven
  • The Illustrated Man — Ray Bradbury
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • Catch the Lightning — Catherine Asaro
  • Fahrenheit 451 — Ray Bradbury
  • The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury
  • I, Robot — Isaac Asimov
  • Starship Troopers — Robert A. Heinlein
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? — Phillip K. Dick


  • No Exit and Three Other Plays — Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Saved — Edward Bond
  • King Lear — William Shakespeare
  • The Importance of Being Earnest — Oscar Wilde
  • Mother Courage and her Children — Bertolt Brecht
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead — Tom Stoppard
  • Waiting for Godot — Samuel Beckett
  • The Iceman Cometh — Eugene O’Neill
  • Torch Song Trilogy — Harvey Fierstein


  • Los Angeles: An Architectural Guide — David Gebhard
  • The Portable Beat Reader — Ann Charters
  • Septuagenarian Stew: Stories and Poems — Charles Bukowski

7 Responses to “Favorite Books”

  1. Gretchen said

    This is a very interesting list! I’m sure it took a long time to narrow down a list such as this one. I’d have to include Chicago Poems and Fahrenheit 451 as two of my favorites as well. As far as Shakespeare goes, I have always loved King Lear also. Many years ago, I read Mere Christianity and I found it very thought provoking and essential to my spiritual growth. (as well as The Screwtape Letters)

    • Thank you Gretchen. It did take several days for me to compile this, as virtually all of it was off the top of my head (thus, I am sure I’ve left some important ones out…), and then I had to cut/edit/etc/ to get the list you see here.

      I’m glad you share a like for some of these books. Just curious, but were there some that surprised you, as in perhaps you might think they shouldn’t be worthy of inclusion? Or were there others that you’re unfamiliar with that you might want to look into now? I’d love more feedback, if you’re wiling. Thanks!

  2. Lesley Lau said

    Oh wow. Now it’s interesting that you’ve not only read but have enjoyed these. Here I always thought that some of those (top 1000 books lists) were just because they were great literary works despite the fact that some just aren’t easy to read. It’s eye-opening to learn that some made that list that are read-able.

    I’m always looking for more books to read that are less frivolous reads (although I can’t step away from the frivolous ones as they are so enjoyable). So, do you read anything frivolous (or maybe my idea of frivolous)? My only criteria is that it if can’t capture and keep my interest within the first 4 chapters I will stop reading. Life is too short to feel as though one has to finish every book one starts.

  3. dweezer19 said

    oh my, I would hate to think of making a list. I even treasure so many books I read in elementary school (Virginia Dare and Nancy Drew) as well as high school must reads while in Humanities. I’d have to have a classics section. I see you have read Wide Sargasso Sea. Did you then read Jane Eyre? It’s a bit of a prequel to that book, although not the same author. I have most in common with you in Fiction. Unlike a lot of people, I do enjoy a mental challenge with a book. I decided to always be reading one book, alongside a couple of others, that stretches my mind. Right now that is Archimedes to Hawking, a book about physics theory. I may never remember them but I try to comprehend them when I read. It just makes me feel good to be in the presence of such minds even for a brief moment. On the other side of that I am so lonely for Harry Potter now I could cry. I guess my book tastes range about as far as my musical interests. :)

    • I read Sense & Sensibility in grad school & enjoyed it immensely. Even liked the movie. That’s all the Jane Eyre I’ve read though. I try to stay at about reading six books at the same time. More, I get fried. Less, I get bored. You have a daunting collection of books you’re reading!

  4. dweezer19 said

    Thank you for checking out my blog. Yes, I usually want to be reading at least three, something meaty, something fictional and something on the metaphysical/spiritual side. Lately I am so behind from trying to write and post photos, etc. Who knew creativity could be so harrowing at times?

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