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Social Distancing Toolkit brought to you by the Department of English

April 9, 2020

Social Distancing Toolkit brought to you by the Department of English

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As English majors, graduate students, faculty and friends of the English department, many of us find solace in our favorite books. During this unprecedented and challenging time, the department reached out to our community, including faculty, alumni and current students, and asked for their Top Ten Favorite Books, which has led to the creation of this Social Distancing Toolkit! Please share your favorites with us by filling out this survey, and be sure to check back on this page, and on Facebook and Twitter, to see books recommended by your fellow students, alumni and English department colleagues.

The Social Distancing Toolkit is already helping us feel more connected to our fellow Buckeyes who love books. We hope this is useful to you in the coming months and that it inspires discoveries new and old. 

Based on the results of the Social Distancing Toolkit survey, we've started a series of virtual book clubs! Check out our Events page for details on upcoming book clubs, and check out the "Book Club Recordings" accordion below for recordings of past book club meetings!

Top Books Lists

Faculty Top Books Lists

Professor Robyn Warhol's Top Ten List:

  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend
  • Anthony Trollope, The Way We Live Now
  • George Eliot, Middlemarch
  • Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence
  • Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
  • William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!
  • Alice Walker, The Color Purple
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved
  • Alison Bechdel, Fun Home

Professor Susan Williams' Top Ten List:

  • William Shakespeare, King Lear
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
  • Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
  • George Eliot, Middlemarch
  • Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady
  • Sara Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs
  • Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Walker Percy, Love in the Ruins
  • Ann Patchett, Bel Canto
  • Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere

Professor Lee Martin's Top Ten List:

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Kent Haruf, Our Souls at Night
  • Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge
  • Tobias Wolff, This Boy's Life
  • Bobbie Ann Mason, Shiloh and Other Stories
  • Kathleen Finneran, The Tender Land
  • Richard Ford, Rock Springs
  • Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried
  • Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Professor Michelle Herman's Top Ten List:

  • George Eliot, Middlemarch
  • Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
  • Cynthia Ozick, The Puttermesser Papers
  • Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Anne Tyler, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (or really most any of Anne Tyler's novels)
  • E.B. White, Charlotte's Web
  • Madeline L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
  • Saul Bellow, Herzog
  • The stories of Anton Chekhov

Assistant Professor Elissa Washuta's Top Ten List:

  • Debra Magpie Earling, Perma Red
  • Lauren Slater, Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir
  • James Welch, Winter in the Blood
  • Billy-Ray Belcourt, This Wound Is a World
  • Jesmyn Ward, Men We Reaped
  • Claudia Rankine, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely
  • Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance
  • Angel Garcia, Teeth Never Sleep
  • Aleksandar Hemon, The Book of My Lives
  • Graeme Base, The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery (I loved it as a child and I love it now)

Gretchen Ritter, Vice Provost and Executive Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences:

  • Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Ann Patchett, Bel Canto
  • William Shakespeare, Hamlet
  • Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
  • Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved
  • Jon Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
  • Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Professor Adélékè Adéẹ̀kọ́'s Top Ten List:

  • Femi Osofisan, Kolera Kolej
  • Wole Soyinka, Death and the King's Horseman
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Purple Hibiscus
  • Nadime Gordimer, Burger's Daughter
  • Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Petals of Blood
  • Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
  • Toni Morrison, Sula
  • Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
  • D.O. Fagunwa, The Forest of a Thousand Daemons
  • Sherley Anne Williams, Dessa Rose

Professor James Phelan's Top Ten List:


  • Jane Austen, Persuasion
  • George Eliot, Middlemarch
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved
  • Ian McEwan, Atonement


  • Tobias Wolff, In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War
  • Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air
  • Katie Green, Lighter than My Shadow
  • Abraham Verghese, My Own Country


  • Anne Fadiman, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
  • Atul Gawande, Being Mortal

Assistant Professor Nick White's Top Ten List:

  • James Baldwin, Another Country
  • Louise Erdrich, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse
  • Alice McDermott, Charming Billy
  • Anne Tyler, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant
  • John Updike, Rabbit at Rest
  • Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
  • Phillip Roth, The Ghost Writer
  • Elizabeth Strout, My Name is Lucy Barton
  • Jesmyn Ward, Men We Reap
  • Jennifer Egan, Look at Me

Professor Kathy Fagan Grandinetti's Top Ten List (not including books of poems):

  • William Shakespeare, The Tempest
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
  • Virginia Woolf, The Waves
  • James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
  • Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider
  • Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body
  • Rose Tremain, The Way I Found Her
  • Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
  • Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
  • Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby

Recently Added Faculty and Staff Top Books Lists

Professor Jared Gardner's Top Ten List:

This is a list of good books I am reading or have read recently, but not necessarily my all-time favorites:


  • Ling Ma, Severance 
  • Arkady Martine, A Memory Called Empire
  •  R. F. Kuang, The Poppy War  
  •  Amal el-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, This Is How You Lose the Time War
  •  Charlie Jane Anders, All the Birds in the Sky
  •  Basma Abdel Aziz, The Queue
  •  Omar El Akkad, American War


  • Andrew Pettegree, Brand Luther 
  • Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
  • Abbas Amanat, Iran: A Modern History

Academy Professor Emeritus Murray Beja's Top Ten List:

  • James Joyce, Ulysses
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
  • Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
  • George Eliot, Middlemarch
  • Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
  • Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past (In Search of Lost Time)
  • Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Professor Wendy S. Hesford's Top Ten List:

  • Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow 
  • Edwidge Danticat, The Farming of Bones 
  • Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions 
  • Virginia Woolf, Orlando 
  • Christina Sharpe, In the Wake 
  • Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Dictee 
  • Maxine Hong Kingston, The Women Warrior 
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved 
  • Loung Ung, First They Killed My Father 
  • John Edgar Wideman, Philadelphia Fire 

Professor Dorothy Noyes' Top Ten List:

  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice 
  • George Eliot, Middlemarch 
  • Josep Viçenç Foix, Unreal Omegas 
  • Heinrich Heine, poems and travel memoirs 
  • Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God 
  • Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady 
  • Anthony Trollope, Phineas FinnPhineas Redux 
  • Derek Walcott, The Star-Apple Kingdom 
  • P.G. Wodehouse, Right Ho, Jeeves 
  • Marguerite Yourcenar, Memoirs of Hadrian 

Assistant Professor Amrita Dhar's Top Ten List:

  • Ilya Kaminsky, Deaf Republic 
  • Helen Mort, No Map Could Show Them 
  • Natalie Diaz, Postcolonial Love Poem 
  • Tracy Smith, Wade in the Water 
  • Manoranjan Byapari, There's Gunpowder in the Air (English translation)
  • Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement 
  • Amitav Ghosh, Gun Island 
  • Mohsin Hamid, Exit West 
  • Javier Zamora, Unaccompanied 
  • Georgina Kleege, Blind Rage 

Arts and Sciences Marketing and Communication Staff Member Josh Friesen's Top Books List:

  • Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See,  
  • Samin Nosrat, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat 
  • Andy Weir, The Martian 
  • Bill Simmons, The Book of Basketball 
  • David Benioff, City of Thieves 
  • Shea Serrano, Basketball (and Other Things) 
  • Stephen King, The Institute 
  • J.K. Rowling, The Harry Potter series

Associate Professor Tommy Davis' Top Ten List:

  • Ling Ma, Severance 
  • The Invisible Committee, To Our Friends   
  • Alex DiFrancesco, All City 
  • Jenny Offill, Weather 
  • Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bone
  • Ada Limón, Bright Dead Things
  • Dina Gilio-Whitaker, As Long as Grass Grows
  • Errico Malatesta, The Complete Works of Errico Malatesta Volume III
  • Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian
  • Aaron Cometbus, Cometbus

Associate Professor Sandra Macpherson's Top Ten List:

  • Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem 
  • Wallace Stevens, Harmonium 
  • Penelope Fitzgerald, The Blue Flower 
  • Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida 
  • J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace 
  • Virgina Woolf, Monday or Tuesday 
  • Rachel Cusk, Outline 
  • Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose 
  • Zadie Smith, On Beauty 
  • Norman Rush, Mating 

Professor Elizabeth Weiser's Top Ten List:

  • Homer, The Odyssey 
  • Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching 
  • Emily Dickinson poems 
  • Joshua Slocum, Sailing Alone Around the World 
  • E. Nesbit, Five Children and It 
  • Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises 
  • Kenneth Burke, Permanence and Change 
  • Ursula K. LeGuin, The Earthsea Cycle 
  • Orhan Pamuk, My Name is Red 
  • Debra Monroe, A Wild Cold State 

Professor Hannibal Hamlin's Top Ten List:

  • Jim Crace, Being Dead
  • George Eliot, Daniel Deronda
  • Adam Thorpe, Ulverton
  • Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain 
  • William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale
  • Derek Walcott, Tiepolo's Hound
  • Diarmaid MacCulloch, Silence: A Christian History
  • Thomas W. Laqueur, The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains
  • Albert Camus, The Plague
  • Joan Nathan, King Solomon's Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World

Associate Professor Catherine C. Braun's Top Books List: 

Recent good reads and some all-time favorites (in no particular order): 

  • Glennon Doyle, Untamed
  • Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt, The Rainbow Comes and Goes
  • Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy
  • Cinema-(to)-Graphy, ed. Ellen Bishop 
  • David Coon, Look Closer
  • Louisa May Alcott, Eight Cousins
  • Mike Rose, Lives on the Boundary
  • Deborah Brandt, Literacy in American Lives
  • Thomas Mallon, Bandbox
  • Willa Cather, My Antonia
  • Alice Walker, Possessing the Secret of Joy
  • Barbara Delinksy, Family Tree 

   And a bonus few that I want to read (heard good buzz about): 

  • Alex George, The Paris Hours
  • Robin Ha, Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir
  • Jenny Lee,  Anna K: A Love Story (a re-telling of Anna Karenina) 
  • Marie Lu, The Kingdom of Back
  • Olivia DeHavilland, Every Frenchman Has One
  • Michael E. Hobart, The Great Rift: Literacy, Numeracy, and the Religion-Science Divide

Associate Professor Alan B. Farmer's Top Ten List:

  •  Paul Sheldon, Misery's Child
  •  Hawthorne Abendsen, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy
  •  Miranda Carroll, Dr. Eleven 
  •  Van Veen, The Texture of Time 
  •  Rev. Edward Casaubon, The Key to All Mythologies 
  •  Philip Swallow, Collected Literary Questions
  •  Kilgore Trout, The Pan-Galactic Memory Bank 
  •  John Shade, Pale Fire: A Poem in Four Cantos, ed. Charles Kinbote 
  •  Pierre Menard, Don Quixote
  •  William Shakespeare, Cardenio 

Alumni Top Books Lists

Frank Mauceri's Top Ten List:

  • Crockett Johnson, Harold and the Purple Crayon
  • Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
  • Nico Walker, Cherry
  • Elif Batuman, The Possessed
  • John Backderf, Trashed
  • Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Urgency and Patience
  • Jean-Philippe Toussaint, The Truth About Marie
  • Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely
  • Charles Bukowski, Post Office
  • Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

R. L. Stine's Top Ten List:

  • P.G. Wodehouse, Right Ho, Jeeves
  • Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine
  • Ira Levin, A Kiss Before Dying
  • Garrison Keillor, Liberty
  • Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth
  • Sebastian Barry, A Long Long Way
  • Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire
  • Stephen King, Misery
  • Brian Selznick, The Marvels


Linda Kass' Top Ten List:

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Ann Patchett, Bel Canto
  • Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
  • Yoko Ogawa, The Housekeeper and the Professor
  • Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge
  • Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad
  • Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life
  • Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
  • Colson Whitehead, The Nickel Boys

Andrea Lunsford's Top Ten List:

  • Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria
  • William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
  • Beowulf
  • Anne Carson, Fragments of Sappho
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved
  • The Poems of Dylan Thomas
  • Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera
  • Art Spiegelman, Maus
  • The poems of Emily Dickinson

Recently Added Alumni Top Books Lists

Matthew Purcell's Top Ten List:

  • R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before
  • K.J. Parker, Academic Exercises
  • Dan Simmons, Hyperion
  • China Miéville, Perdido Street Station
  • Katherine Addison, The Goblin Emperor
  • J. V. Jones, A Cavern of Black Ice
  • Catherynne M. Valente, In the Night Garden
  • Steven Erikson, Midnight Tides
  • Tad Williams, City of Golden Shadow
  • Sean Russell, The Initiate Brother

Clara Davison's Top Ten List:

  • Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Isabel Allende, The House of the Spirits
  • Olga Tokarczuk, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
  • John Steinbeck, East of Eden
  • Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
  • Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
  • William Shakespeare, Macbeth
  • Anand Giridharadas, Winners Take All
  • J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter series

Tracy Vezdos Healy's Top Ten List:


  • Tana French, The Witch Elm
  • Kiley Reid, Such a Fun Age
  • Sally Rooney, Normal People
  • Ann Patchett, The Dutch House
  • Matthew Dicks, Twenty-one Truths About Love


  • Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
  • John Steinbeck, East of Eden 

David G. Roberts's Top Ten List:

  • John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment
  • Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind
  • José Saramago, Death With Interruptions
  • Naguib Mahfouz, Midaq Alley
  • Joseph Heller, Catch-22
  • Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
  • Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel
  • Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Madeline Anderson's Top Ten List:

  • Gretchen McCulloch, Because Internet
  • Jeff VanderMeer, Borne
  • Jeff Vandermeer, Dead Astronauts
  • Malcolm Gladwell, Talking to Strangers 
  • Alan Moore, Watchmen 
  • Marlon James, Black Leopard, Red Wolf
  • Ronan Farrow, Catch and Kill
  • Hanif Abdurraqib, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us
  • Diana Gabaldon, Outlander
  • Liz Bohannon, Beginner's Pluck

Helena Goscilo's Top Books List:

  • Blaise Pascal, Pensées
  • Aleksandr Pushkin, Evgenii Onegin
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust
  • Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
  • Joseph Heller, Catch-22
  • Henri Stendhal, Le Rouge et Le Noir
  • Federico Garcia Lorca, Poeta en Nueva York
  • Edith Wharton, Age of Innocence
  • William Shakespeare, Sonnets 

Ann Wilson Constien's Top Books List:

  • Right now: Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere   
  • Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
  • J.K. Rowling, The Harry Potter series
  • Peter Godwin, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun
  • William Shakespeare, Hamlet
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Complete Sherlock Holmes
  • Nancy Farmer, The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm
  • J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
  • Isabel Allende, The House of the Spirits

Rachel Stewart's Top Ten List:

  • Bram Stoker, Dracula 
  • Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice 
  • Florence Marryat, The Blood of the Vampire
  • Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
  • Tana French, In the Woods
  • Ann Leckie,  Imperial Radch trilogy
  • Becky Chambers, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet 
  • Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, Monstress comic series
  • Carmen Maria Machado, In the Dream House 

Nicole Craven's Top Ten List:

  • Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge
  • John Boyne, The Heart's Invisible Furies 
  • Fredrik Backman, Beartown
  • Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life
  • Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah 
  • Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone
  • Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  • Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close 

Joseph L. Brand's Top Ten List:

   These are books I loved when first I read them and I come back to them now and again.    

  • William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!
  • Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping 
  • A.E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad 
  • Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita 
  • Marcel Proust, Swann's Way 
  • Carolyn Forché, The Country Between Us 
  • Pat Barker, Regeneration 
  • T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets 
  • Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya 
  • Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory 

MW Larson's Top Books List:

  • Elena Ferrante, The Days of Abandonment
  • Yūko Tsushima, Territory of Light
  • Dazai Osamu, No Longer Human
  • Ben Lerner, The Topeka School
  • Lisa Halliday, Asymmetry

Jeff Anderson's Top Ten List:

  • Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See
  • Susan Meissner, As Bright as Heaven
  • Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • John Boyne, The Heart's Invisible Furies
  • Ralph Ellison,  Invisible Man
  • Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life
  • Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth
  • William Shakespeare, Othello
  • Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible

Jim Griffith's Top Books List:

  • Jane Austen, Persuasion 
  • James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk 
  • Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness 
  • Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure 
  • Kazuo Ishiguro, A Pale View of Hills 
  • James Joyce, Dubliners 
  • Bernard Malamud, The Natural 
  • William Keepers Maxwell Jr., They Came Like Swallows 
  • Tim O’Brien, Going After Cacciato 
  • Katherine Anne Porter, Pale Horse, Pale Rider 
  • Anthony Trollope, The Small House at Allington 
  • John Edward Williams, Stoner 

James Vander Hooven's Top Books List:

  • Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code
  • Ann Patchett, The Dutch House
  • Fredrik Backman, Beartown
  • Fredrik Backman, Us Against You
  • Kate Moore, Radium Girls
  • Stephen King, Under the Dome
  • Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train
  • Paula Hawkins, Into the Water

Patrick Conley's Top Books List:

  • Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds 
  • Adam Johnson, The Orphan Master's Son 
  • Adrian Goldsworthy, The Encircling Sea 
  • [Shameless Self-Promotion] Patrick Conley, Two Tales for the Twenty-Twenties 
  • Patrick Conley, The Thirty by Thirty Solution 
  • Patrick Conley, Broken Families, Dreams, and Hopes 
  • Patrick Conley, Conversations with the Living and the Dead 

Terrence Sowers's Top Books List:

  •  Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing 
  •  Franklin Toker, Fallingwater Rising 

Charlotte Hamilton's Top Books List:

  • Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
  • Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
  • Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden 
  • Mark Kurlansky, Salmon: A Fish, the Earth, and the History of Their Common Fate
  • Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women who Run with the Wolves
  • Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
  • Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
  • Pam Muñoz Ryan, Echo

Brenda Layman's Top Books List:

Reading now, or recently read:

  • Thomas Piketty, Capital and Ideology,  
  • Julie Satow, The Plaza 
  • Witold Rybczynski, Looking Around 
  • James Thurber, Collected Fables, edited by Michael J. Rosen 
  • Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence

   Old favorites:

  • Joyce Cary, The Horse's Mouth;
  • Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  • Dorothy L. Sayers, The Nine Tailors
  • P.G. Wodehouse, Week-end Wodehouse

Jill McLure's Top Ten List:

  • Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches
  • Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • Madeline L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
  • Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • CS Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Han Jang's Top Ten List:

  • Christina Haag, Come to the Edge
  • Joan Didion, Blue Nights
  • Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air
  • Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
  • Kristopher Jansma, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards
  • Charles Portis, True Grit
  • Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca
  • Elena Ferrante, My Brilliant Friend
  • Andre Aciman, Call Me by Your Name
  • Flannery O'Connor, Everything that Rises Must Converge

Gerald Moss's Top Ten List:

  • Frank Norris, McTeague 
  • Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt 
  • Joseph Mitchell, Up In The Old Hotel 
  • Raymond Chandler, The Little Sister 
  • John Dos Passos, U.S.A. Trilogy 
  • Jerzy Kosiński, The Painted Bird 
  • Hampton Hawes, Raise Up Off Of Me 
  • Charles Mann, 1491 
  • Lawrence Durrell, The Alexandria Quartet 
  • Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay 

Michael Nye's Top Ten List:

  • Herman Melville, Moby Dick
  • Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • Nella Larsen, Passing 
  • Gabriel García Márquez, Chronicle of a Death Foretold
  • John Knowles, A Separate Peace
  • Andre Dubus, Selected Stories
  • Elizabeth Hardwick, Sleepless Nights
  • Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
  • Viet Than Nguyen, The Sympathizer

Lauren Pace's Top Books List:

Right now:

  • Michelle Obama, Becoming

To read:

  • Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing 
  • J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy
  • Andy Greene, The Office 

Favorite books:

  • Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
  • Ruth Ware, The Woman in Cabin 10
  • Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises 

Thomas Alan Smith's Top Ten List:


  • Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
  • Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • J. L. Carr, A Month in the Country
  • Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood's End
  • H. P. Lovecraft, The Colour Out of Space and Others
  • William Faulkner, Light in August
  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
  • John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath


  • Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own 

Izzy Darling's Top Ten List:

  • Jennifer Egan, A Visit From the Goon Squad
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • John Steinbeck, East of Eden
  • J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven 
  • Tommy Orange, There There
  • Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • Jesmyn Ward, Salvage The Bones
  • Cormac McCarthy, The Road 

Mike Houdeshell's Top Books List:

  • David McCullough, The Wright Brothers
  • John M. Barry, The Great Influenza 
  • Michael Finkel, The Stranger in the Woods
  • Douglas Preston, Lost City of the Monkey God 
  • Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs 
  • Donald Ray Pollock, The Devil All the Time 

Timothy Cheeseman's Top Ten List:

   Not reading "now"...but a top ten, some recently revisited: 

  • Donna Tartt, The Secret History
  • Jon Krakauer, Under the Banner of Heaven
  • John Nichols, The Milagro Beanfield War
  • John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany
  • William Least Heat-Moon, Blue Highways
  • Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
  • Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
  • Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol
  • Herman Melville, "Bartleby, the Scrivener"
  • Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Anitra White's Top Ten List:

  • Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
  • Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad Poor Dad
  • Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter
  • The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou 
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All be Feminists
  • Philippa Gregory, The Red Queen
  • Philippa Gregory, The White Queen
  • Philippa Gregory, The Kingmaker’s Daughter
  • Philippa Gregory, The White Princess
  • Philippa Gregory, Three Sisters, Three Queens

Savannah Gress's Top Ten List:

  • Trevor Noah, Born a Crime
  • Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
  • Justin Cronin, The Passage
  • Diana Gabaldon, Outlander
  • Edward Humes, Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash
  • Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches
  • Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale
  • Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects
  • Ken Follett, Pillars of the Earth

J. Brendan Shaw's Top Books List:

  • Brit Bennett, The Mothers
  • Zadie Smith, On Beauty
  • Jenn Shapland, My Autobiography of Carson McCullers
  • Toni Morrison, Jazz
  • Carmen Maria Machado, In the Dream House
  • Mona Awad, Bunny 

Molly Rauch's Top Books List:

   I'm a school librarian and youth literature specialist, and my focus is reading and evaluating literature for children and young adults -- including picture books, middle grade stories, and young adult literature across all genres. I update books lists and reviews at my website (and on Twitter and Instagram). Public libraries and indie bookstores are also providing great reader's advisory services now too!    

  • Richard T. Morris, Bear Came Along, illustrated by LeUyen Pham 
  • Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Just Like Me


  • Jasmine Warga, Other Words for Home
  • Jerry Craft, New Kid


  • Kim Liggett, The Grace Year
  • David Yoon, Frankly in Love

Mitch Briner's Top Ten List:

  • Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber
  • Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
  • Flannery O'Connor, A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories
  • Bernard Malamud, The Natural
  • John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men
  • Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North
  • Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes
  • Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

Esther Swartzentruber's Top Ten List:

  • The Bible 
  • Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
  • Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
  • Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
  • Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Sheldon Vanauken, A Severe Mercy
  • N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope
  • James K.A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom
  • A Capella: Mennonite Voices in Poetry, ed. Ann Hostetler
  • Malcolm Guite, Sounding the Seasons 

Vincent Nicolosi's Top Books List:

Reading right now

  • Stefan Zweig, Montaigne
  • Revolution and the Meanings of Freedom in the Nineteenth Century, ed. Isser Woloch
  • Plutarch, Alexander the Great

   My 10 favorites (in no particular order and which change with the wind)

  • Paul Zweig, The Adventurer: The Fate of Adventure in the Western World
  • Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
  • Hannah Green, The Dead of the House
  • Sir Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning
  • Herbert Butterfield, The Whig Interpretation of History
  • Judith Freeman, The Long Embrace
  • Loren Eiseley, The Modern Dilemma
  • Beverley Donofrio, Looking for Mary: (Or, the Blessed Mother and Me)
  • Marie Bashkirtseff, I Am the Most Interesting Book of All & Lust for Glory
  • Alan Hollinghurst, The Folding Star 

Nina Hoppes' Top Books List:

  • George Eliot, Middlemarch 
  • Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina 
  • Kazuo Ishiguro, Remains Of The Day 
  • Marilynne Robinson, Gilead 
  • George Saunders, Lincoln In The Bardo 
  • Arundhati Roy, God Of Small Things 
  • Robert Caro, The Passage of Power 
  • Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall 
  • John Williams, Augustus 
  • T.H. White, The Once and Future King 
  • Ursula K. LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness 
  • J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings 

Jason Gray's Top Ten List:

Recent Favorites: 

  • Esi Edugyan, Washington Black
  • Brian Evenson, Song for the Unraveling of the World
  • Brooke Matson, In Accelerated Silence
  • Wayne Miller, Post
  • Jenny Molberg, Refusal
  • Carl Phillips, Pale Colors in a Tall Field
  • Elizabeth Lindsey Rodgers, The Tilt Torn Away from the Seasons
  • Jeff VanderMeer, Dead Astronauts
  • Christian Wiman, He Held Radical Light

Patrick Crerand's Top Ten List:

  • Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall 
  • Ernest Gaines, Of Love and Dust 
  • Charles Portis, True Grit 
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night 
  • Flannery O'Connor, The Complete Stories 
  • John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces 
  • Annie Dillard, For the Time Being 
  • David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day 
  • Flann O'Brien, The Third Policeman 
  • Carolyn Forché, What You Have Heard Is True 

Gina Langen's Top Ten List:

  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
  • Timothy Egan, The Good Rain
  • Truman Capote, In Cold Blood
  • Alan Paton, Cry the Beloved Country
  • Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth
  • Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
  • George Eliot, Middlemarch
  • William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
  • Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

William Kinnison's Top Ten List:

  • Thomas Hardy, The Woodlanders
  • Henry James, The Ambassadors
  • Jack Matthews, Hanger Stout, Awake!
  • C. S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet (+ the rest of the trilogy) 
  • Kate Chopin, The Awakening
  • Willa Cather, O Pioneers!
  • Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Virginia Woolf, The Waves
  • William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Kristen Beck's Top Ten List:

  • Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven
  • Becky Chambers, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
  • Arkady Martine, A Memory Called Empire
  • Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice
  • Katherine Addison, The Goblin Emperor
  • Susan Cooper, The Dark is Rising
  • Hilary Mantel, The Mirror & The Light
  • Casey McQuiston, Red White & Royal Blue
  • Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volumes 1 & 2
  • Hanif Abdurraqib, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us

Karlton A. Laster's Top Ten List:

  • Michael Arceneaux, I Don’t Want to Die Poor
  • Damon Young, What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker
  • Kiese Laymon, Heavy
  • Jesmyn Ward, The Fire This Time
  • Colson Whitehead, The Nickel Boys
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Water Dancer
  • Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing
  • Kevin Young, Brown
  • Morrison, Song of Solomon
  • Gloria Naylor, Linden Hills

Kara Spaulding's Top Ten List:

  • Don Freeman, Corduroy
  • Lauren Slater, Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir
  • George Eliot, Middlemarch
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
  • Jane Austen, Persuasion
  • A.S. Byatt, Possession
  • Anthony Trollope, The Eustace Diamonds
  • Margaret Wise Brown, The Runaway Bunny
  • William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair
  • John Berger, Ways of Seeing

Zachary Dean's Top Ten List:

  • Charles Dickens, My Early Times, ed. Peter Rowland
  • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, The Last Man (dense, but appropriate for these times) 
  • Robin Waterfield, Why Socrates Died
  • Iain McCalman, Darwin's Armada
  • Richard Dawkins, An Appetite for Wonder
  • The Great Tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides
  • Frederick Luis Aldama, Why the Humanities Matter
  • Ifor Evans, Portrait of English Literature
  • Lou Cannon, Reagan
  • Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation

Noah Blacker's Top Ten List:

  • Olivia Laing, The Lonely City
  • Yoko Ogawa, The Memory Police
  • Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
  • Bernardine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other
  • Karl Ove Knausgaard, Autumn
  • Bessel Van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score
  • Marcel Proust, Sodom and Gomorrah: In Search of Lost Time, Volume 4
  • David Bohm, On Creativity
  • Mari Ruti, Reinventing the Soul
  • Brené Brown, Dare to Lead  

Susanna Routte Cerasuolo's Top Ten List:

  • Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
  • The Mary Daly Reader, ed. Jennifer Rycenga and Linda Barufaldi 
  • Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now
  • bell hooks, all about love
  • Jane Schaberg, Mary Magdalene Understood
  • Elisabeth Fiorenza, In Memory of Her
  • Debra Hirsch, Redeeming Sex
  • Gloria Steinem, The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off!
  • The Cambridge Companion to Feminist Theology, ed. Susan Parsons 
  • Brian McLaren, The Great Spiritual Migration

Jacob Gillam's Top Ten List:   

  • James Scott, Seeing Like a State
  • Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels
  • Tade Thompson, Rosewater
  • John Harper, Blades in the Dark (this is a roleplaying game, but an excellent example of the heist and steampunk genre conventions) 
  • Malka Older, ...and Other Disasters
  • Arkady Martine, A Memory Called Empire
  • Espen Aarseth, Cybertext
  • William Covino, Magic, Rhetoric, and Literacy
  • Malka Older, Infomocracy
  • Robert McKee, Story

Michaela Corning-Myers' Top Ten List:

  •    Ian McEwan, Atonement 
  •    Charlotte Brontë, Villette 
  •    Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon 
  •    Chanel Miller, Know My Name 
  •    Jennifer McMahon, The Winter People 
  •    Alan Moore, Watchmen 
  •    André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name 
  •    Marisha Pessl, Night Film 
  •    Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome 
  •    Tracy Chevalier, Girl with a Pearl Earring 

​​​​​​Asha Mall-Graves' Top Ten List:

  • John Ajvide Lindqvist, I Am Behind You
  • Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher Series
  • Haruki Murakami, 1Q84 
  • Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Wizard of the Crow
  • Jose Saramago, Blindness
  • Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary
  • Truman Capote, In Cold Blood
  • China Miéville, Perdido Street Station
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Half of a Yellow Sun
  • Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye

Renee Aitken's Top Ten List:

  • John Milton, Paradise Lost
  • William Landay, Defending Jacob
  • Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns
  • Jim Crace, Quarantine
  • Jim Crace, The Pesthouse 
  • Jonathan Kellerman, The Museum of Desire
  • Rebekah Crane, The Infinite Pieces of Us
  • Fiona Valpy, The Dressmaker's Gift
  • Barbara Davis, When Never Comes


Elaine H. Hairston's Top Books List:

  • Hilary Mantel, Cromwell Trilogy: Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies, and The Mirror and the Light
  • Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
  • Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life
  • George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
  • Ian McEwan, Atonement and Machines Like Me
  • Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See
  • Edith Wharton, Age of Innocence   
  • Kate Atkinson, Life After Life


  •    Roger McNamee, Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe
  •    Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

Paul Dyer's Top Ten List:

  • Henry David Thoreau, Walden
  • Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles
  • John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
  • Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
  • Philip Lymbery, Dead Zone: Where the Wild Things Were
  • William Shakespeare, Othello 
  • Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
  • Émile Zola, Thérèse Raquin
  • John Updike, ​​​​​​Rabbit novels
  • Dawn Powell, My Home is Far Away

Amanda Deighen's Top Books List:

  • John Steinbeck, East of Eden
  • Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
  • George Orwell, 1984
  • William Golding, Lord of the Flies
  • J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
  • Not a book but this speech inspired a book under the same name: David Foster Wallace, "This is Water" Commencement Speech

Patrick Kaune's Top Ten List:

  • Steven Pressfield, Gates of Fire
  • Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
  • Truman Capote, In Cold Blood
  • Eliot Cohen, Supreme Command
  • Homer, Odyssey
  • George Orwell, 1984
  • J. Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans
  • Rupert Smith, The Utility of Force
  • Bob Woodward, Obama’s Wars
  • Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s End

Michael Bryant's Top Ten List:

  • Peter Matthiessen, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
  • David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Robert Graves, The White Goddess
  • James Wood, How Fiction Works 
  • Aldous Huxley, Ape and Essence
  • Aldous Huxley, The Divine Within
  • Robert McLuhan, Randi's Prize
  • Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind
  • Cormac McCarthy, The Road
  • James Waller, Becoming Evil

Dan Theis's Top Books List:

  • J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye 
  • George Orwell, 1984 
  • Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage 
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved 
  • William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus 
  • Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried 
  • Simon Singh, The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets 
  • Ari Berman, Give Us the Ballot 
  • Bill Walton, Back from the Dead 

Ruth Staveley's Top Books List:

  • Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine
  • Ruta Sepetys, Salt to the Sea 
  • Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
  • Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
  • Kate Chopin, The Awakening
  • Elie Wiesel, Night
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved
  • Caroline Fraser, Prairie Fires 
  • Tommy Orange, There There 

Karen Rosenberg's Top Books List:

  • Louisa May Alcott, Little Women 
  • George Eliot, Middlemarch 
  • Herman Melville, Moby-Dick 
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice & Sense and Sensibility (tie!) 
  • Charles Dickens, Bleak House 
  • Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God 
  • Hamlin Garland, A Son of the Middle Border 
  • Annie Pike Greenwood, We Sagebrush Folks 
  • Annie Tyler, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant 
  • Richard Yates, The Collected Stories of Richard Yates 
  • Elizabeth Spencer, The Southern Woman (short stories)

Margie Tate's Top Ten List:

  • Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre 
  • Elie Wiesel, Night 
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter 
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved 
  • Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club 
  • Ayn Rand, Anthem 
  • Mary Doria Russell, The Sparrow 
  • Edgar Allen Poe, All stories 
  • Stephen King, The Stand 
  • Ken Follett, Trilogy: Fall of Giants, Winter of the World, Edge of Eternity 

Julie Means's Top Ten List:

  • Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth
  • John Steinbeck, East of Eden
  • Diana Gabaldon, Outlander
  • Jennifer Chiaverini, Enchantress of Numbers
  • Louis Bromfield, Night in Bombay
  • Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front
  • John Jakes, North and South
  • Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth
  • Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
  • L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Tory Wagner's Top Books List:

  • Mo Hayder, Jack Caffery series
  • C.J. Box, Joe Pickett series
  • Jo Bannister, Gabriel Ash and Hazel Best series
  • Candice Fox, Crimson Lake series
  • Jussi Adler-Olsen, Department Q series

Beverly Henderson's Top Books List:

  • Anything by Alice Hoffman!:
    • Practical Magic
    • Blue Diary
    • Here on Earth
    • Skylight Confessions
    • The Probable Future
    • Turtle Moon
    • The Story Sisters
    • At Risk
    • The River King

Timothy Bechtol's Top Books List:

  • Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
  • Bram Stoker, Dracula
  • Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park 
  • Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility
  • Jules Verne, The Mysterious Island
  • Jules Verne, Castle of the Carpathians 
  • E.B. White, Charlotte's Web 
  • Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
  • Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions
  • Bart Yates, Leave Myself Behind
  • Jim Grimsley, Comfort & Joy 

Michelangelo Rodriguez's Top Ten List:

  • Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction
  • Manly P. Hall, The Secret Destiny of America
  • The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni 
  • Mary Higgins Clark, Where Are The Children?
  • The Oxford Book of English Love Stories, edited by John Sutherland 
  • Eugene O’Neill, Long Day's Journey Into Night 
  • E. Lynn Harris, If This World Were Mine 
  • Joyce Carol Oates, Night-Side
  • Joyce Carol Oates, Them
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me 

Karyn Johnson's Top Ten List:

  • Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • Diana Gabaldon, Outlander series
  • Ursula Hegi, Stones from the River
  • Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
  • Elie Wiesel, Night
  • Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Bill Bryson, Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe
  • Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
  • William Shakespeare, As You Like It

Jerrod Rosenbaum's Top Ten List:

  • Joshua Slocum, Sailing Alone Around the World 
  • Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene 
  • Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms 
  • 1-2 Samuel 
  • Torquato Tasso, Jerusalem Delivered 
  • John le Carré, A Perfect Spy 
  • Homer, The Iliad 
  • Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose 
  • Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 
  • Captain Edward L. Beach Jr., Run Silent, Run Deep 

Chris Skovron's Top Ten List:

  • Lucy Ellmann, Ducks, Newburyport
  • Paul Beatty, The Sellout
  • W.G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn
  • George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
  • Roberto Bolaño, 2666
  • Haruki Murakami, 1Q84
  • Nick White, How To Survive a Summer
  • Zadie Smith, On Beauty
  • Evelyn Waugh, Vile Bodies
  • David Byrne, How Music Works

Leah Seymour's Top Ten List:

  • Noelle Stevenson, Nimona
  • Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics
  • Scott McCloud, Making Comics
  • Jeff Smith, Bone
  • Neil Gaiman, The Sandman 
  • Richard McGuire, Here
  • Kate Beaton, Hark! A Vagrant
  • Linda Medley, Castle Waiting
  • Ryan North, To Be or Not To Be
  • Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie, The Wicked + The Divine

Casey McConahay's Top Ten List:

  • William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
  • Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle
  • Cormac McCarthy, Outer Dark
  • John Steinbeck, East of Eden
  • Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
  • Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves
  • Raymond Carver, "Where I'm Calling From"
  • Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
  • Salvador Plascencia, The People of Paper

Timothy Rieger's Top Ten List:

  • Stephen King, On Writing
  • Joe Hill, Full Throttle
  • J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
  • Richard Chizmar, Gwendy’s Magic Feather
  • Stephen King, The Institute
  • Joe Hill, Strange Weather
  • Rae Carson, Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker
  • Stephen King and Owen King, Sleeping Beauties
  • Jeffery Deaver, The Coffin Dancer
  • Stephen King, Elevation

Laura Aberg's Top Ten List:

Holocaust Literature: 

  • Betty Schimmel, To See You Again
  • Jenna Blum, Those Who Save Us
  • Tatiana de Rosnay, Sarah's Key
  • Martin Fletcher, Jacob's Oath
  • Nancy Richler, The Imposter Bride

Historical Fiction: 

  • Rebecca Harding Davis, "Life in the Iron Mills"
  • Kathleen Winsor, Forever Amber
  • James Hilton, Random Harvest
  • Jean Auel, Earth's Children Series


  • Trevor Noah, Born a Crime
  • Mark Mathabane, Kaffir Boy

Courtney Skaggs's Top Ten List:

  • Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
  • John D’Agata, Halls of Fame
  • Ross Gay, The Book of Delights
  • Hanif Abdurraqib, A Fortune for Your Disaster
  • Carmen Maria Machado, In the Dream House
  • Abi Andrews, The Word for Woman is Wilderness
  • Karin Tidbeck, Jagannath
  • Jenny Hval, Paradise Rot
  • Niviaq Korneliussen, Last Night in Nuuk
  • David Connerley Nahm, Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky

Sharon Hoover's Top Ten List:

  • John Hart, Redemption Road
  • Nora Roberts, Chronicles of the One series
  • Lorenzo Carcaterra, Gangster
  • Joyce Meyer, Trusting God Day by Day
  • James Patterson, Criss Cross
  • Francine Rivers, Mark of the Lion series
  • Kenneth Paul Rosenberg, Bedlam: an Intimate Journey into America's Mental Health Crisis
  • Stephen King, The Stand
  • Gary Sinise, Grateful American
  • Dick Van Dyke, My Lucky Life in and out of Show Business 

Valerie Jenkins's Top Books List:

  • Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children (thanks to Prof. Jani
  • Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  • Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance
  • Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
  • Upton Sinclair, The Jungle
  • Julia Alvarez, In the Time of the Butterflies
  • Ann-Marie Macdonald, Fall on Your Knees
  • Kate Chopin, The Awakening
  • Sidney Sheldon, The Sands of Time
  • Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
  • Elie Wiesel, Night
  • Ben Macintyre, Operation Mincemeat
  • Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
  • Anything by Agatha Christie 

Maggie Brim's Top Ten List:

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved
  • Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
  • Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing
  • Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift
  • Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury
  • Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak
  • The poetry of Mary Oliver 
  • NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names
  • Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree

Anna Lapp's Top Ten List:

As a librarian, I'm using the heck out of my library's e-check outs with the apps Overdrive/Libby and Hoopla! I hope you can check out some of these great reads too. 

  • Emily Henry, Beach Read - out May 18, this is a rivals to lovers romance/ women's fiction with great character chemistry and emotional depth. It's written by an Ohio author too! 
  • Kim Liggett, The Grace Year- a YA dystopian book that is a feminist mix of The Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies. 
  • Jennifer Robson, The Gown - a historical fiction piece about the women who embroidered Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown - absolutely riveting!    
  • Tracey Garvis Graves, The Girl He Used to Know - A great read for fellow book lovers told in part-present, part-flashback of an unconventional love story. 
  • Jojo Moyes, The Giver of Stars - Historical fiction of the horsepack librarians of Kentucky during the 1930s. 
  • Kerry Winfrey, Waiting for Tom Hanks - A hopeless romantic stumbles into a famous movie actor while filming a romantic comedy in Columbus, OH! What wonderful situation can befall these two? 
  • Casey McQuiston, Red, White & Royal Blue - a love story between the son of the president of the United States and the prince of England, how fabulous! 
  • Angie Kim, Miracle Creek - A courtroom drama that will keep you on your toes guessing who could have possibly done it!
  • Sayaka Murata, Convenience Store Woman - A quirky, short book about a woman who is content to work at a convenience store far past the expectations of society. 
  • Courtney Summers, Sadie - A young adult thriller about a young woman who is set out to avenge her sister's murderer. Told in dual POV between the young woman Sadie and an NPR journalist tracking down the missing girl, you'll have goosebumps the whole book! Excellent as an audiobook. 

Bethe Lewis's Top Ten List:

  • Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
  • F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice
  • Alice Walker, The Color Purple
  • Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Labyrinth of the Spirits
  • Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon
  • Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume
  • Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
  • Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

Haley Studler's Top Ten List:

  • Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing
  • Tara Westover, Educated
  • Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth
  • Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
  • Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air
  • Anthony Doerr, All The Light We Cannot See
  • Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird  
  • Homer, The Odyssey 

Caitlin O'Brien's Top Ten List:

  • Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
  • Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects
  • Joanna Russ, The Female Man
  • Frank Norris, McTeague
  • Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
  • Matthew Gregory Lewis, The Monk
  • Garth Nyx, Sabriel
  • George Eliot, Middlemarch
  • Samuel Beckett, Molloy
  • Joe Hill, Heart Shaped Box

Clarissa J. Markiewicz's Top Ten List:

  • Clarissa J. Markiewicz, Christmas In Whimsy 
  • Jack Finney, Invasion of the Body Snatchers 
  • Stephen King, It 
  • Terence McSweeney, Avengers Assemble!: Critical Perspectives on the Marvel Cinematic Universe 
  • M.K. Wren, Curiosity Didn’t Kill the Cat: a Conan Flagg Mystery 
  • Pander Brothers, Dissident X 
  • Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon 
  • Ralph Ellison, Three Days Before the Shooting 
  • Yevgeny Zamyatin, We 
  • Peter Straub, Ghost Story 

Jamie Watson's Top Ten List:

Top 10 of all time, since I started doing Goodreads, and recently.  

  • David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
  • John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany
  • Joe Sacco, Safe Area Goražde
  • Stephen Kelman, Pigeon English
  • Dave Cullen, Columbine
  • Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Shadow of the Wind
  • Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
  • Kevin Wilson, Baby, You're Gonna Be Mine
  • T. Geronimo Johnson, Welcome to Braggsville
  • Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil, Please Kill Me

Gregg Heacock's Top Books List:

Right now (in the past year and a half): 

  • Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope
  • Harry M. Caudill, Night Comes to the Cumberlands
  • Jim Webb, Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America
  • Michelle Kuo, Reading with Patrick
  • William Melvin Kelley, A Different Drummer
  • Anne Tyler, Vinegar Girl

 Favorites before these: 

  • Philip Roth, I Married a Communist
  • Ian McEwan, The Innocent
  • John le Carré, A Delicate Truth
  • Cormac McCarthy, Cities of the Plain
  • Louis Sachar, There’s a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom
  • George Eliot, Middlemarch
  • George Meredith, The Egoist

Chloe Goodhart's Top Ten List:

  • Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus (delightful, engrossing, and magical!) 
  • Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow (rich and warm with lovable characters who also can't go outside) 
  • Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl (a fun and fluffy ode to college and fandom) 
  • Kristin Cashore, Graceling (engrossing fantasy with incredible world building) 
  • Tana French, In the Woods and The Likeness (Technically 2, but The Likeness is an INCREDIBLE atmospheric mystery, and it's much better if you read In the Woods First) 
  • Andrew Sean Greer, Less (perfect intersection of travel, publishing, and romance. Funny, insightful, and full of heart!) 
  • Liane Moriarty, What Alice Forgot (This is maybe the perfect moment for any Liane Moriarty book, but Alice is my favorite. Funny and a little biting, Liane's mysteries are a perfect snack) 
  • Gene Luen Yang, Dragon Hoops (Couldn't believe how much I enjoyed this graphic novel about life, storytelling, and basketball. Perfectly fills the sports-shaped hole in our lives right now) 
  • Jane Austen, Persuasion (Second chances and a little more nuance!) 
  • J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter series (Just as magical every time, and perfect for comfort reading) 

Melissa Bannon's Top Ten List:

  • Kate Atkinson, Life After Life
  • Alice Walker, The Color Purple
  • Alice Munro, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage
  • Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
  • Ian McEwan, Atonement
  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
  • Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections
  • Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting
  • Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
  • Francesca Lia Block, Dangerous Angels

David Nemec's Top Books List:

  • John Edward Williams, Stoner 
  • David Nemec, The Systems of M.R. Shurnas
  • David Nemec, The Picture Maker
  • David Nemec, Mad Blood
  • George Blecher, Other People Exist
  • Mickey Spillane, I, the Jury
  • Alexander Trocchi, Young Adam

Tamika Smith's Top Ten (plus one) List:

  • Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
  • Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
  • George Orwell, 1984
  • James Baldwin, Go Tell it on the Mountain
  • Michelle Obama, Becoming
  • Alex Haley and Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X 
  • William Shakespeare, Macbeth
  • Richard Wright, Native Son
  • Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Honorable Mention: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby 

Molly Hahn's Top Ten List:

  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
  • Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl
  • Eleanor Brown, The Weird Sisters
  • Sally Thorne, The Hating Game
  • Christopher Isherwood, The Berlin Stories
  • James Joyce, Dubliners
  • Nicholas Sparks, The Choice
  • Rachel Winters, Would Like to Meet

Melinda Eliza Sabo's Top Ten(ish) List:

  • Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With The Wolves
  • Glennon Doyle, Untamed
  • N.K. Jemisin, The Broken Earth Trilogy 
  • James Victore, Feck Perfuction
  • Erin Morgenstern, The Starless Sea
  • Anthony Holden, Poems That Make Grown Men Cry 
  • William Shakespeare, The Tempest 
  • Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
  • Jane Austen, Persuasion 
  • Nikita Gill, Wild Embers: Poems of Rebellion Fire and Beauty
  •  Bernard Cornwell, Fools and Mortals
  •  Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

Mitch Mcguire's Top Ten List:

  • Diane Williams, Excitability: Selected Stories
  • Patience Gray, Honey from a Weed
  • Caroline Blackwood, The Last of the Duchess
  • Jen George, The Babysitter at Rest
  • Raymond Kennedy, Ride a Cockhorse
  • Donald Barthelme, City Life
  • Alice Herdan-Zuckmayer, The Farm in the Green Mountains
  • Alice Waters, Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook
  • Horacio Castellanos Moya, The She-Devil in the Mirror
  • Nicholson Baker, The Mezzanine

Miranda Miller's Top Ten List:

  • Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita 
  • Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting 
  • John Fowles, The French Lieutenant's Woman 
  • A.S. Byatt, Possession 
  • Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre 
  • Alison Bechdel, Fun Home 
  • Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad 
  • King Arthur & His Knights 
  • Jandy Nelson, I'll Give You the Sun 
  •  Lisa Brennan-Jobs, Small Fry 

Tim West's Top Ten List:

  • Robert Frost, North of Boston
  • Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude 
  • Donald Ray Pollock, Knockemstiff
  • Steven Millhauser, In the Penny Arcade
  • Karen Russell, Vampires in the Lemon Grove
  • Raymond Carver, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?
  • Victor LaValle, Big Machine
  • Herman Melville, Moby-Dick 
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
  • The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis 

Kristen E. Blum's Top Ten List:

  • Yuval Noah Harari, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century 
  • Dalai Lama, Beyond Religion: Ethics For a Whole World 
  • Robert Iger, The Ride of a Lifetime: 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
  • Clayton Christensen, Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson, Disrupting Class 
  • Ashlee Vance, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and a Quest For a Fantastic Future 
  • Clayton Christensen, The Innovators Dilemma 
  • Adam Morgan & Mark Barden, A Beautiful Constraint 
  • Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life's Purpose 
  • Greg Boyle, Barking To The Choir: The Power Of Radical Kinship 
  • Atul Gawande, A Checklist Manifesto 

Natalie Dalea's Top Ten List:

  • Ada Limón, The Carrying
  • Elissa Washuta, My Body Is a Book of Rules
  • Tommy Pico, IRL 
  • José Olivarez, Citizen Illegal 
  • Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera 
  • Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider
  • Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers, edited by Elissa Washuta and Theresa Warburton 
  • Melissa Febos, Abandon Me
  • The entirety of the Animorphs series, by KA Applegate
  • Essays by Cam Rentsch 

Matt Fenner's Top Books List:

  • Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
  • Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
  • Joseph Heller, Catch-22
  • Lee Child, Jack Reacher series
  • George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Book Club Recordings

The Scarlet Letter Book Club
Frankenstein Book Club
Citizen: An American Lyric Book Club
The Office of Historical Corrections Book Club
A Farewell to Arms Book Club


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