My Favorite Books (and a Few Plays)
Books are probably my favorite thing in the world. When I’m not writing one, I’m often reading or watching something inspired by a book. (A shoutout to PBS Masterpiece! If you haven’t discovered it yet, check it out at https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/)
Although I stopped trying to count years ago, I have easily read hundreds of books in my lifetime. Some weren’t very good, and others were perfect for the moment but later forgotten. But I’ve found many great books that stick with me. Many are on my The StoryGraph list at https://app.thestorygraph.com/profile/lynnlovegreen.
I can’t choose one favorite book, but several. They’ve changed over time—my list may shift the next time you ask me, depending on what I’ve read lately or what my frame of mind is. I attempted to pare it down to a few categories and give you a relatively short list. (To do that, I’m limiting myself to YA and adult books.) I hope you’ll find one book that you want to read, or at least one that makes you think, “Oh, I love that book!” Reminiscing about good books is a pleasure in itself.
Persuasion by Jane Austen—A poignant look at women’s lives, and the letter scene is the best romantic scene ever! (This is my current favorite Jane Austen book, but I’d recommend them all.)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain—Yes, I hate that word too, but if you can get past it, Twain shows us a thoughtful snapshot of life in the U.S. and what we did (and In some cases still) need to change about it. Plus, there are some very funny scenes that show his humorous side.
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton—Read this to remember why young people and sunsets are so precious. Stay gold!
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee—Of course this is not the best book when it comes to writing about race in America. But it’s a good starting point for some, and I love the family in this novel. I still can’t read certain scenes without tearing up.
Books about life:
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck—a simple but moving story about what it means to be a good person and have a rich life
The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee—a brilliant novel about when we should stand up for what’s right, set in a little-known part of American history, including great well-rounded characters
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy—Fun, heartwarming story about friendship and body positivity, featuring a teen pageant and Dolly Parton fans
Unpregnant by Jenni Hendrix and Ted Caplan—a funny road trip story with a teen who needs an abortion in a neighboring state and her ex-friend who offers to drive her, about friendship, reproductive rights, and growing up
A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey—feels-like-a-big-hug cross-cultural romance featuring baking and tea
Debating Darcy by Sayantani Gupta—teen love, diverse best friends, and speech and debate competitions all rolled into a lovely tribute to Pride and Prejudice
The Heartbreak Bakery by A. R. Capetta—a sweet queer love story with a scrumptious work family (puns intended)
You Can Go Your Own Way by Eric Smith—a witty rom-com on the surface with good themes about grief, family, and letting go underneath
Newest favorite book:
Man o’War by Cory McCarthy—The journey of a young trans person finding and embracing their identity—there are moments that made me cry, but the witty humor and happy ending is well worth it!
And I didn’t even get to Kinsley Adams’ paranormal rom-coms, or Jennifer Bernard’s baseball romances, or my favorite mysteries---Okay, I’ll stop now. Go look at my The StoryGraph profile. Except for one more category:
Okay, Shakespeare didn’t write books. He did write plays that I adore, even the ones I have taught and seen many times. Will Shakespeare understood human nature so deeply that his themes and characters come to life over 400 years later. My favorite tragedy is Macbeth. My favorite comedy is Much Ado About Nothing, followed closely by The Taming of the Shrew. I’ll list my favorite film versions in case you’d rather watch than read:
Macbeth: 1978, directed by Trevor Nunn, starring Ian McKellen and Judi Dench—two stars in their prime, and spooky enough you may not want to watch it right before bedtime
Much Ado About Nothing: 1993, directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Branagh and Emma Thompson—great acting and setting capture the romance beautifully
The Taming of the Shrew: 1967, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton—wonderful acting, especially between the two leads
Enjoy, and I wish you many hours of great reading, or watching if that’s more your thing!