Daily Connector | List of my FIVE favorite books and why | Dan Halterman

I have a list of books read since 1982.  My permanent bookmark is two pieces of paper – one on which I write the titles of books I want/intend to read, inside a folded sheet for listing that year’s completed titles with author and date.  The books read list is for one year and until 2020 had been filed with the others in a manila folder in chronological order.  The books to read list stays with me until both sides are full and the books read crossed off.

Early this year I finished copying those 1,089 titles into a Word file, so I theoretically should be able to find the requested “top five.”  But that’s a horrible, arbitrary challenge requiring strain and discernment that I’ll forego. I had a bit of help from many years ago when I penciled on the manila folder my favorite titles to that time.  Those are fondly remembered and one is the book I’ve read more times than any other.  I only rarely re-read because so many deserving titles await, any one of which might be worthy of a repeat.

Having discarded the notion of selecting five favorites of all time, I’ll share from the 2019 list: Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle (I shared the Bokononism death rite in worship early in Covid); Scott Russell Sanders, Staying Put – Making a Home in a Restless World (concepts of “home” have intrigued me in several distinct experiences starting at age 3); Zimmer, Microcosm (our DNA is significantly virus-derived); Cameron, The Bear (chilling and delightful novelization loosely based on a bear attack in Canada in the early 90s); Dyer, Bloodroot – Reflections on Place by Appalachian Women Writers (there’s that “home” theme itching again); Maxine Kumin, Inside the Halo and Beyond (a poet’s narrative account of her full recovery from a paralyzing neck fracture – and she got back on the horse!).

Yes, I can count.  Yes, I ignored the instructions.