Topping the Top Ten (Part 2)

So, a little while ago, I got tagged on a top-ten-books-ever meme.  The instructions were very simple – name the top ten books that have stuck with you, in any order, without thinking about it too long – which means that I was completely incapable of following the instructions.  Instead, I wondered what kind of books – collections of poetry or astronomy textbooks or Our Bodies Ourselves or books that came with finger puppets?  I wondered a while about the phrase “stuck with you” – like, in an I-Remember-Important-Quotes-Down-To-The-Punctuation Way or a This-Overall-Changed-Like-All-My-Life Way or an I-Hate-This-So-Much-I-Threw-It-Against-The-Wall-And-A-Mark-Stayed-There Way, or even a Like-Oatmeal-Sticks-To-Your-Ribs Way?  And why do we say that oatmeal sticks to our ribs in the first place?  Doesn’t oatmeal go into your stomach?  Is oatmeal constructed in such a way as to somehow leak out of your stomach, locate your ribs through some kind of terrifying internal GPS systems, and stick there?  Is my ribcage, at this point, constructed mostly of rolled oats, stuck to my ribs and sort of waving around, like vitamin-rich deep-sea coral?*

Things got complicated.

So I’ve decided to break this up into three categories – poetry, fiction, and nonfiction – and then do the not-thinking part within each of the categories.  And I’m going to do that very quickly, so I don’t start thinking I need to break into sub-categories (hybrid work!  sonnet sequences!  featuring zoo animals as main characters!).


  1. Glass, Irony, and God by Anne Carson
  2. Bad Boats by Laura Jensen
  3. Green Notebook, Winter Road by Jane Cooper
  4. Sad Little Breathing Machine by Matthea Harvey
  5. Ariel by Sylvia Plath (I mean, obvs)
  6. Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions by Maurice Manning
  7. What the Living Do by Marie Howe
  8. The Red Bird by Joyelle McSweeney
  9. Forth a Raven by Christina Davis
  10. V.WaveSon.Nets by Stephanie Strickland


  1. The Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard
  2. The Body: An Essay by Jenny Boully
  3. One Day I Will Write About This Place by Binyavanga Wainaina
  4. On Looking by Lia Purpura
  5. An Elemental Thing by Eliot Weinberger
  6. The Narrow Road to the Interior by Kimiko Hahn
  7. The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon
  8. The Interior Castle by Teresa of Ávila
  9. The Pharmacist’s Mate by Amy Fusselman
  10. The Nearly Born Woman by Hélène Cixous and Catherine Clément


  1. Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
  2. Do The Windows Open? by Julie Hecht
  3. Boys and Girls Like You and Me by Aryn Kyle
  4. Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson
  5. A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by E.L. Konigsburg
  6. The Hunger Games triology (natch)
  7. No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
  8. Oh! by Mary Robison
  9. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
  10. Life Before Man by Margaret Atwood

* In case you are wondering, yes, this is kind of how everything happens inside of my head and also why I can go to the store for bread and come out with pudding cups and an African violet.


One response to “Topping the Top Ten (Part 2)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: