Just the other day, my daughter, a voracious reader, asked me to send her a list of my top 10 favorite books of all time. I knew this list would take a lot of thought on my part and, as I was pressed for time, I emailed her my list of some of the books I’ve read over the past couple of years. Yes, I do keep a list.  Mainly, I think, because I would forget that I’ve read something and would, for the very same reasons I was attracted to it the first time, re-purchase the very same book months later. I’ve done that.

Anyway, I sent a list to Jeanne that contained a rolling list of more than 80 titles. promising her I would get to her specific request ASAP. But try as I may, I still have not determined my 10 all time fiction favorites – I don’t know if I could ever whittle down all the books to just 10 favorites. But here are a few titles that would likely make the list.

The Red Tent by Anna Diamante

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

A Little Life by Hanna Yanagihara

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarity

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

The Great Alone by Hannah Kristen

From this list, if I had to pick the all time favorite, it would have to be A Little Life. Have you read it?  So beautifully done…but haunting. It has stayed with me since I read it 2-3  years ago. Be forewarned – this is not a “feel-good” read and I don’t recommend it for everyone. A few times while reading, I had to close the book fearing what was coming next, or else, so involved in the life of one of the characters that I was feeling this deep pain brought to vivid reality on the pages of the book. It is dark… as graphic descriptions of abuse and human suffering unfold.

I ask myself why this book, of all those  I have read, tops my favorites list. And for me, the reason is so clear. The book was able to call up so many strong, real emotions in me as I read. I loved, I laughed, I cried, I hated, I raged. I don’t think any book has ever brought me to this level of passion. It takes the author more than 700 pages to tell this story, so it is ironic that it is titled A Little Life. The life, or rather lives, revealed here, are anything but little.

What are your top reads? Has anything you’ve read touched you deeply.Please share your picks with us here.