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In August 2009 a friend sent me this prompt in Facebook:
Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.
Here's the list I came up with at the time:

All Quiet on the Western Front (Erich Maria Remarque)
At Swim, Two Boys (Jamie O'Neill)
The Corrections (Jonathan Franzen)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Mark Haddon)
David Copperfield (Charles Dickens)
Devil in the White City (Erik Larson)
Dream Boy (Jim Grimsley)
East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
Ghost Writer (Phillip Roth)
The Harry Potter series (J. K. Rowling)
The House of Mirth (Edith Wharton)
Middlesex (Jeffrey Eugenides)
Night (Elie Wiesel)
Ragtime (E. L. Doctorow)
The Road (Cormac McCarthy)

And then, after thinking about it, two more came to mind:

Trinity (Leon Uris)
Shibumi (Trevanian)

So I just finished reading A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, and it needs to be on the list, which I now think is too long. Plus, the list includes books which I no longer would want to include. Some I'd just read, and after some time has passed, their impact is diminished. That would apply to The Road and The Curious Incident. Both are good books that I think are definitely worth reading, but neither has remained with me. I suppose the same could happen with Goon Squad, but it feels different -- it feels like a book that matters.

I also think I should narrow down the list to my top ten. Some of the books naturally fall off the list when I do that (Harry Potter, Ghost Writer). But I need to make some hard choices too.

First, the books that absolutely need to be on my top ten list:
  1. At Swim, Two Boys
  2. The Corrections
  3. East of Eden
  4. The House of Mirth
  5. Middlesex
  6. Night
  7. Ragtime
  8. Trinity
That leaves me with two spots and a lot of options. I will have to think about this some more. I'm not ready to commit yet.

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