This blog inspired me to try to answer that very question.
I’m a big fan of James Lee Burke, so any of his Dave Robicheaux series would do, but I’m partial to The Tin Roof Blowdown. If you want to read a fictional account of what Katrina was like, it’s worth the read.
Last Chance Saloon by Marian Keyes would definitely make the shelf. It’s probably my favorite out of all the books she’s written.
I would have to include something by Ann Rule, probably The Stranger Beside Me, her book about serial killer Ted Bundy, whom she knew from working with him at a suicide hotline. Ann is the only true-crime writer I’ve ever read.
I also have to include The Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough as well. I go back and reread this book every couple of years. It has stood the test of time and still has a relevant message even after all these years.
I’m a big history buff, so I would have Alison Weir’s The Life of Elizabeth I on my shelf. Elizabeth was a woman ahead of her time, strong-willed and exceptionally intelligent.
To lighten things up a little, I would have Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life by Laurie Notaro, and Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster.
I have to have the classic western novel Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. The mini-series they made from this book is one of my favorites and stays relatively true to the novel.
Another favorite is Weekend in Paris by Robyn Sisman. This is the first of Robyn Sisman’s work that I read and it remains my favorite. It serves as a reminder that sometimes you just have to take a chance in life.
In the same general vein is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. I know many people absolutely hate this book. They call Ms. Gilbert selfish and self-centered. I think she chose happiness over what was expected of her. I think that’s what really offends people about this book. You can read my views on Eat, Pray, Love here.
I would also include the creepy and disturbing Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. It shows a really awful side of human nature and what some people will do for money.
Last, but not least, I would have The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun on my shelf. This book is the one that got me to start reading the mystery genre in the first place.
This is just a small sampling of the books I’ve read over the years. It’s difficult to pick favorites, so I chose books that I keep going back to over and over again. There are others that I could have listed here, but then I wouldn’t have a shelf, I’d have an entire bookcase of titles.