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In My Library – part 3

February 12th, 2013

Many of you are avid readers, like me, you are probably interested in what other people have on their bookshelves. While I was looking for a book the other day, the thought hit me that you might be interested in seeing what books I have gracing the shelves in my home. This will be a series, every now and then I’ll feature a few of the books on my shelf and tell you about them, where I got them, if I love them, etc. For part three, we’ll be looking at a section of my favorite fiction books.
my library shelf
I’m not much of a fiction reader, generally I find them a little less engaging that historical books or books about things I want to learn more about. There are a few exceptions, pretty much anything by John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway are sure to make me read late into the night. Here’s a glimpse into a portion of my fiction library.
hemingway book
If you asked me what my favorite fiction book of all time was, I would quickly respond “East of Eden“. John Steinbeck is my favorite novelist, I’ve read every book he’s ever written, many of them multiple times. While I love all of them, East of Eden is my favorite. What I most love about this book is the complexity. Modern fiction books don’t find their way onto my library list very often because I generally find them not engaging enough. My mind needs something complex or it wanders easily.
East of Eden
Grapes of Wrath is also in this stack, I’ve read it a few times. If you’ve never read it, I’d highly recommend it, it is labeled “classic” for a reason. Even though it’s fiction, it will give you a better idea of what life was like during the dust bowl and the depression. Grapes of Wrath reads like a history book, you can almost believe the characters are real. Feel good literature it is not, so don’t be expecting any of that.  There is a lot of pain, suffering, grittiness and reality. When you do read it, think about all the migrant farm workers living in the same conditions now.
grapes from wrath
Hemmingway is also one of my favorites. Enduring Hemingway came to me by way of my dad, as you can see, like Grapes of Wrath, it’s an old library copy. These are my favorite kinds of books to buy. You feel a sense of history when you read them, knowing many people have leafed through their pages before you. Enduring Hemingway is a collection of his writings, if you’ve never read any of his stuff give this one a read.  You can pick and choose from a wide range of his writings. This book is a hefty tome, coming in at 864 pages. It’s filled with 20 of his books, from The Old Man and the Sea to Farewell to Arms. It includes The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, which is one of my favorites and is part of The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, which if you’ve never read Hemingway I highly recommend starting here with these.
sherlock holmes
The last book on the shelf I have not read, at least in my adult life. I vaguely remember reading Sherlock Holmes as a kid, who doesn’t. Another classic book, I hope to read it this coming winter. Oddly enough, I actually have two copies of this book, both old library editions.

What’s your favorite “Classic”?

The Series:
In My Library – part 1
In My Library – part 2
In My Library – Part 3
In My Library – Birding Books
In My Library: the Edible Garden Edition

If you do want to purchase any of these books or anything else from Amazon, use my Amazon Link, I’ll earn a few pennies to help pay for my now outrageous hosting bill for this blog!

19 Comments to “In My Library – part 3”
  1. daisy on February 12, 2013 at 7:02 am

    To Kill A Mockingbird is my all-time favorite book (and movie). I enjoy novels, but also prefer nonfiction books where I can learn and grow.

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    • kathi Cook on February 13, 2013 at 9:20 am

      Mine too. I enjoy it every time I reread it!

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  2. Joan on February 12, 2013 at 8:39 am

    John Steinback is definitely one of my favorite authors as well! My favorites are Grapes of Wrath, and Travels with Charlie (a wonderful non-fiction book about Steinbeck’s travels across the country with his dog, Charlie. My favorite part is that Charlie stops to pee on every tree he sees, until he gets to the giant redwoods, which are apparently so big that he doesn’t recognize them as trees and leaves them alone!)

    Winnie the Pooh and many other childrens books are some of my favorites (though my son has outgrown everything except for Pooh, which I read to him, even at 15, when he is sick or very down). I also love anything by Wallace Stegner, though I’m not sure his books would be considered classics (yet anyway!). I also like John Nichols. And Pam Houston, and my latest favorite book, The Call, by Yannick Murphy (still haven’t read anything else of hers yet). These newer books probably won’t ever be considered classics (well, maybe John Nichols), but they are an easy, upbeat read, which is what I need right now. I go through different periods in what I like to read, and right now I’m not into anything very complex – when my life is very complicated I need simple reads, and when life is easy I like something more engaging and complex.

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  3. anno on February 12, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Gotta confess to an embarrassing attachment to Jane Eyre and just about anything by Jane Austen. Also a fondness for Robert Browning, Tennyson, and Carlyle.

    But I’ve also been known to binge on Stephanie Plum…

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  4. amy on February 12, 2013 at 9:35 am

    My adult favorite fiction……Gene Stratton-Porter……Elizabeth Goudge….Herman Melville……The Bronte sisters and Shakespeare….I have many “favorites”….but “The Scent of Water” by Elizabeth Goudge is what I am rereading at the moment….so I will say it is very nearly at the top:)

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  5. Johanna on February 12, 2013 at 10:19 am

    I just read “Grapes of Wrath” about a year ago and it was life changing! I loved it. I’ve read a few of Steinbeck’s other stories (including “East of Eden”) and enjoyed those, although “Grapes of Wrath” will probably always be at the top of my list now :).

    I also enjoyed the Little House on the Prairie books as a child (well, and as an adult!)

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  6. KimH on February 12, 2013 at 10:49 am

    I havent read any of the classics.. isnt that terrible? I always thought I would but I just never have.. I cant remember now what I read in Literature in college but it wasnt anything that I remember now.. but that was a very tumultuous time of my life, so Im not surprised I dont remember. ;)

    I loved Animal Farm (Orwell) when I was a kid… and Travels with Charlie (Steinbeck) when I was quite young too..
    I probably have read more of the classics than I can remember now since I was a voracious reader from the time I was 3… One of these days, Im going to have to sit down & read some of them.

    The vast majority of the books on my shelves are reference, astrology, psychology, spirituality, herbal, healing, health, gardening, wildlife/Nature, cooking,crafting, and metaphysics.

    There are a few other odds & ends but these are the main genres Im interested in.. Im not a huge fiction reader though every once in a while I’ll get something from the library to “rest my weary brain” so some total fluff is enjoyed every once in a while. Even in that, I tend to most enjoy medieval fiction.

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  7. Jill on February 12, 2013 at 11:31 am

    I loved Steinbeck and Hemingway too…and Sherlock Holmes is so worth a read. If we are at the lake in the summertime I always reread my Alice Munroe shortstories (helps that I keep forgetting it in the camper!). She’s a wonderful Canadian author. Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald is another Canadian great. It really depends on mood; something I loved once might not interest me at a different time. Some books get a reread every couple of years.

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  8. judym on February 12, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Have the complete collection of Sherlock Homes stories. Read “The Red-Speckled Band” in high school and was hooked. I loved mysteries.

    The Old Man and the Sea, To Kill a Mockingbird, Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, are excellent as are the movies. The works of of the Bronte Sisters, Jane Austin, Shakespeare, Dickens are building in my library. I like period pieces written by the authors of the time. Gives me insight of the culture and customs of the time.

    Hubs is into H.G Wells – Bought him the complete works years ago, He was a very happy camper.

    I love looking for the old co pies of books – the smell, the looks, the history of having other owner – it justs adds to the joy of reading. Enduring Hemingway sounds like a good one to get. Happy reading!

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  9. Maybelline on February 12, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Grapes of Wrath is one of my favorites. Plus, I know about the local history behind the story here in Bakersfield plus all the book burning and censorship that followed.

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  10. Nebraska Dave on February 12, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Susy, if I was to pick a classic author it would be Mark Twain. No surprise there. What boy wouldn’t like the “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” or “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” or “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”. Of course then there were the “Hardy Boys” series that were great reads for me. I’m not sure what they read in school these days but during my school years we plowed through “Tale of Two Cities”, “Oliver Twist”, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, “Christmas Carol”,and “Moby Dick”. According to current school administrators, most of those classics are too politically incorrect for the soft little current day minds to absorb. Today, I’m not a very avid reader and any thing longer than a magazine article will lose my interest. Now that I’m on the down hill side of life, I really should go back and read some of those classics over again. I would expect that my understanding and appreciation would indeed be allot different than when I was 14 and just trying to get an assignment done.

    Have a great classic reading day.

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  11. Renee on February 13, 2013 at 2:26 am

    I know I’ve seen you mention watching sci-fi movies, and I’m surprised not to see any sci-fi among your fiction reading! I recommend the Ender’s Game series by Orson Scott Card, or A Deepness in the Sky/Zones of Thought by Vinge.

    I too am a voracious reader, and read a variety of genres and authors. I haven’t read any Steinbeck that I remember, but I like complex stories as well – will have to pick one up for my Kindle!

    A couple nature- and life- related books I’ve read recently are ‘the sound of a wild snail eating’, and ‘take good care of the garden and the dogs’, and I can imagine you liking both!

    Reply to Renee's comment

    • amy on February 13, 2013 at 10:02 am

      I agree….The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating….was wonderful.

      Reply to amy's comment

  12. Nebraska Dave on February 13, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Hey Susy, I forgot to mention there’s a website that has digitized over 100,000 books to download and read. They have several formats which included Kindle. They also have several languages. It’s all free for the taking. All of the classics are on this site. It’s called the Gutenberg Project.

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  13. Mary Ann Newcomer on February 13, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Have you read Steinbeck’s “Travel’s With Charley?” OMG. I have read it twice and listened to it twice. As timely today as it was when he wrote it.

    Sound of a Wild Snail Eating? I have 4 more copies of that. I give it as a gift to dear friends. Wonderful, thought provoking book.

    And now, I am off to find Take Good Care….

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  14. EL on February 14, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Big Tiger and Christian (Muhlenweg)
    Jane Austen
    Rex Stout

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  15. Deb on February 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Don’t have, like, or read classics. Never read the Sherlock Holmes book either. Have many, many homesteading books and as far as I’m concerned that’s all that’s necessary for today’s world. need to know how to survive when it all tanks. Herbal, building, livestock, gardening, etc. books I purchase at auctions, garage sales, and on No better place and new prices are ridiculous.

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  16. Stacy on February 16, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Thank you for sharing your favourites! My all time favourite is Sherlock Holmes. I also love H.G. Wells, H.P. Lovecraft and everything by Agatha Christie.

    Reply to Stacy's comment

  17. Catherine on February 16, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    I generally have non-fiction on my bookshelves, and I love “classic” authors, but I can never turn down anything written by Amos Oz. If you like complexity, you should at least give him a shot. :)

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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