1000 Books Before You Die discussion

Challenges and More > Top Five Favourites

Comments Showing 1-28 of 28 (28 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 1047 comments Mod
This is the place to share your favourite five reads from each category.
Of course, you can list less than five reads.

This is also the place to share books that were disappointing.

message 2: by Christopher (new)

Christopher (Donut) | 45 comments Glancing at the complete list, the top five for "Love" is pretty easy:

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Emma by Jane Austen
Persuasion by Jane Austen

(I know this is a scandal to non-Austenites. Kind of like how much Ian McEwan is on the OTHER lifetime list..)

Other standouts for me:


Zuleika Dobson


The Man in the High Castle

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) I'm going to have to put some thought into this. I'll come back around when I get some time

message 4: by Trisha (new)

Trisha | 275 comments I’ve chosen 5 books only from those I’ve read this year. Some of them were a huge surprise to me, without this challenge I probably wouldn’t have read them.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy is my favourite classic author.
The Outsider
Fahrenheit 451
The Well of Loneliness
Diary of a Provincial Lady

The worst book I’ve finished this year:
Scoop - comedy? Sorry, not my sense of humour at all, especially as it seemed racist (though, to be fair, the language was probably acceptable at the time the book was written).

message 5: by Rosemarie (last edited Aug 22, 2018 05:56PM) (new)

Rosemarie | 1047 comments Mod
I have to think about this as well, but I do have a couple of books from the Comedy section that I really enjoyed.

The two are Just William by Richmal Crompton and Something Fresh by P.G. Wodehouse.

I will only be using books that I read since joining goodreads in 2016.

Thomas Hardy is my favourite classical author too, Trisha.

Jude the Obscure is one of the top five for Love.

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) Okay, I'll start with comedy.

These were my favorites from the comedy list:

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

With special mention going to Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

I've only read 15 from the comedy list--I'm sure that'll turn out to be the one I've read the least from.

The worst, I thought, was The Sacred Book of the Werewolf by Victor Pelevin

message 7: by Rosemarie (last edited Aug 23, 2018 07:04AM) (new)

Rosemarie | 1047 comments Mod
Two books I absolutely loathed were Die Klavierspielerin (The Piano Teacher) by Elfriede Jelinek and Les Enfants terribles (The Holy Terrors) by Jean Cocteau.
I read them both in the original language so the reason for my not liking them is not the fault of the translator.
I think that in both cases, the translated title is not that accurate.

message 8: by Rosemarie (last edited Aug 23, 2018 07:23AM) (new)

Rosemarie | 1047 comments Mod
For Science Fiction and Fantasy, Fahrenheit 451 and Dune stand out, both re-reads.

For State of the Nation, The Kingdom of This World by Alejo Carpentier, A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines, and The Moon and the Bonfire by Cesare Pavese stand out.

Crime: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Of Mice and Men and two by Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone and The Woman in White.

These are all books that I read or reread since joining this group.

message 9: by Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (last edited Aug 23, 2018 08:29AM) (new)

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) Rosemarie wrote: "Two books I absolutely loathed were Die Klavierspielerin (The Piano Teacher) by Elfriede Jelinek and Les Enfants terribles ([book:The Holy ..."

Both those books were kind of creepy, I thought. I will give Jelinek the benefit of saying that she made the brutal life of her damaged character very real. There was something about Cocteau's book that seemed a bit degenerate, but no doubt that was what he was going for. I think both authors achieve what they were trying to do, but I wouldn't want a steady diet of either one. (I also read Les Enfants in the original, but I don't have enough German to tackle a novel. After I say Danke Shon, I'm about tapped out)

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) My standouts in the Crime category were:

The Mask of Dimitrios by Eric Ambler
The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Misery by Stephen King

I've read 26 out of this category, which means I must like a good crime better than a good laugh. I can't say there are any of the Crime selections that I out and out didn't like, but I've never been a fan of Pynchon, and neither V nor The Crying of Lot 49 changed my mind.

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) Family and Self:

The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
by Ken Kesey
Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry
A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Can't narrow it down from there.

I've read 36 of these titles--two I didn't really care much for were The Immoralist by André Gide and The Holy Terrors by Jean Cocteau. Another one I thought didn't match the hype was The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. But looking over this list, I see a lot that was 'just okay' to me.

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) Love:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

I've read 24 of these--two I did not care much for were The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford and Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) Hmm...I guess I'm the only one doing this.

Well, for what it's worth, here my Sci-fi and Fantasy top reads:

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Though I could easily add another five. I'll have read 45 of these titles, as soon as I finish A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.

There are a couple books here I didn't like--Crash by J.G. Ballard tops the list, followed by Orlando by Virginia Woolf

message 14: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 1047 comments Mod
I am having trouble choosing books for Family and Self.
I do have two favourites:
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family by Thomas Mann, which I read a few years ago.

message 15: by Christopher (last edited Aug 24, 2018 08:38PM) (new)

Christopher (Donut) | 45 comments Bryan wrote: "Hmm...I guess I'm the only one doing this.


You're the only one doing it... so far.
Meaning you're doing groundbreaking work, brah.

Truth is, I'm not so deft at sorting the list for read/not read. I will take a look when I have a little more free time.

It's nice of you to nominate a couple of disappointments in each category too.

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) Top picks for State of the Nation:

The Plague by Albert Camus
The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth
The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
White Noise by Don DeLillo
USA: The 42nd Parallel / 1919 / The Big Money by John Dos Passos
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

I've read 25 of these--I wasn't all that crazy about A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry or A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul, but I didn't out and out dislike any of the titles I've read from this section.

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) Last one: War and Travel

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek
Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Moby-Dick or, The Whale by Herman Melville
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald
The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman

and that still leaves some really good stuff off my 'best-of' list.

I've read 31 of these titles--The Tin Drum by Günter Grass and Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser I didn't care too much for, but there were several other disappointments as well.

message 18: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 1047 comments Mod
Thanks for all the lists, Bryan. There are at least one or two of my favourites on each of your lists.
I have read five of your War and Travel picks, Heart of Darkness, The Good Soldier Schweik, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Austerlitz and The Complete Maus.
They are all very different and good in their unique way.

message 19: by Trisha (new)

Trisha | 275 comments Has anyone read Lark Rise to Candleford? It seemed ok initially, but became a random list of reminiscences. For now, I’ve abandoned it - I was going to persevere, but then realised I had more than 5 hours of it left to read! I may return to it after a break, but for now have more interesting books that I want to read.

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) Wow--that's one I don't even remember being on the list. It's funny, I've looked over this list so many times, I'm always surprised when a title comes up that I'm still unfamiliar with. I guess a thousand titles is just too many to remember

message 21: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 1047 comments Mod
I read Lark Rise to Candleford and enjoyed it, but then I like slow paced books about rural England, fact or fiction.

message 22: by Jenny, Makeing a world of books (new)

Jenny Clark | 989 comments Mod
Bryan, I must disagree with Catcher In The Rye- I despised it last year when I read it. It was too pretentious for me! I do agree with 1984, and want to get around to Hitchhikers Guide soon, as I have the complete series. Have you read We or Brave New World from Sci Fi section? They are both really good as well.
Rose, I am looking forward to Brother Karamazov when I get to it, hopefully in the next few years! There is just something about a Russian novel!

message 23: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 1047 comments Mod
So true, Jenny. There is something about Russian novels, especially Dostoevsky.

I liked Catcher in the Rye, mainly because I felt sorry for Holden, even though I really didn't like him. And I enjoyed the writing in this one.

message 24: by Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (last edited Aug 26, 2018 06:35PM) (new)

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) For Catcher, I had to go back and rely on the impact it had on me as a younger man. I've been up and down about Salinger since then--I'd like to read Catcher again someday in it's entirety; I pulled it down and read a section of it not too long ago and I re-evaluated my re-evaluation. In other words, I liked it, then I didn't like it, and now I'm leaning toward like again.

It probably is pretentious and full of other problems, but I know I thought it had a powerful voice for me at one time. Franny and Zooey is similar--I can't quite decide if I hate it or love it.

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) I did read Brave New World but not We. There's something about BNW that I didn't like, though I have to agree with my friend Chris when he says that Huxley had a better idea of how the future would look than Orwell did. It's just that reading Nineteen Eighty-Four was like a punch in the gut to me as a teenager--I do think there are some hard truths in that one, and that's why he makes my 'best-of' list

message 26: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 1047 comments Mod
I reread 1984 a couple of years ago and found it a very powerful book. I reread Brave New World a little while ago and enjoyed it, but it didn't have the impact of 1984, at all.

message 27: by Wend (last edited Aug 27, 2018 09:46AM) (new)

Wend (wends) | 99 comments I will start with my favourite 5 since I joined goodreads

The Machine Gunners - Robert Westall
The Haunting at Hill House - Shirley Jackson
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit - Jeanette Winterson
Exit Music - Ian Rankin
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

If a little indulgent would also pick, Emma - Jane Austen, Tess Of The D'Urbevilles - Thomas Hardy and A Murder Is Announced - Agatha Christie

message 28: by Jenny, Makeing a world of books (new)

Jenny Clark | 989 comments Mod
These are my picks, as of right now. Comedy I have only read five of, and of those only two I really enjoyed and considered Comedy. Zuleika Dobson I can not recommend because Zuleika is terrible. Brewster's Millions is ok, but not very funny and The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Nighttime is more Crime than anything else. Sci Fi and Fantasy was the hardest to choose!

Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
Anna Karenina
Sense and Sensibility
Northanger Abbey

State of The Nation
Oliver Twist
A Tale of Two Cities
Oroonoko: Or the History of the Royal Slave
The Red and the Black

War and Travel
Gulliver's Travels
The Call of the Wild
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Robinson Crusoe
Black Beauty

The Hound of the Baskervilles
Of Mice and Men
To Kill a Mockingbird
Jurassic Park
The Postman Always Rings Twice

Sci Fi and Fantasy
Brave New World
Flowers for Algernon
The Golden Compass

Family and Self
The Color Purple
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
The Bell Jar
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Stranger

The Wind in the Willows
The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories

back to top