Author’s All-Time Favorite Novels

Tuesday, June 7

As most of you know, I am currently undertaking a reading of 100 top novels. I call it The Human Narrative Project. I compiled my own list of great novels: classic fiction, novels that are rich with meaning, stories written by diverse authors on diverse topics. I’ve also dedicated myself to writing up a review of each novel. That’s been fun; it lets the novel sink in, and I feel like I take something important away from my readings. After writing the review, I post it online, at my alter-ego theological blog, Theos Project. (

I am currently about 15 or so books in. I’m trying to work at a pace of about one novel a month. Though I’ve been remiss about posting my reviews, I have been writing them out, on paper, and I’ll be posting some of these soon.

In any event, today I came across a list of “Author’s all-time favorite novels” in the Christian Science Monitor. These are novels that the writers themselves most enjoy:

1. Anna Karenina….Can’t say it’s a favorite of mine, but the writing is damn good, and I can see why a writer would love it.

2. Madame Bovary…Haven’t read it. In fact, it isn’t on my list. Should I add it???

3. War and Peace…..More by Tolstoy. This also is not on my list, but I’m tempted to add it; maybe drop a Dostoevsky novel. The thing is, I didn’t really love reading Anna Karenina…soooo….hhhmmm…

4. Lolita……This novel was a page turner for me. I love Nabokov’s style, both in terms of his story telling ability as well as his lyrical prose. It is the closest I have seen, thus far, to a perfect novel. I will possibly add more Nabokov to my list, tough I already have one other novel, The Defense, on my list.

5. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn….Not on my list. But it probably should be.

My favorite read so far….that’s a tough one….I’ll say Catch-22.

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Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

7 thoughts on “Author’s All-Time Favorite Novels”

  1. Yes! You should add War and Peace. And definitely one by Mark Twain. On the side you should read his take on what happened in the garden of Eden. I believe that was just a short story though. It’s a really fun read. Are you going to read Moby Dick? If not, at least watch the movie starring Patrick Stewart. Great stuff!


  2. Don’t add War and Peace. You can always read it after you finish your books. The problem with War and Peace is that it’s a serial novel and Tolstoy had less discipline than other serial others. The book is really repetitive at times.


    1. Thanks for the tip, Pat. It would have been tough to fit in W&P anyway….I might focus on some other novels. Of course, there is the whole thing about, “yeah, I read War and Peace a few years back…..” But I don’t want to add a novel just to say I read it…do I?!?


  3. So I commented on your review of George Orwell’s 1984 on “The Theos Project.” I would love to hear your thoughts about my comment.


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