12 Writings You Loved Reading

Hello all. I really love diving through everybody’s recommendations for movies and games. I still frequently look over the lists generated from our polls whenever I’m trying to figure out what to spend my spare time doing. That said, I realize that I don’t have a good sense of what books SB people enjoy, which ones hit people the hardest.

That’s why I want to make this thread so people can share 12 books* that are special to them. People don’t have to give reasons and I will not be tallying up votes to make some kind of ranked thing. I will be making some kind of spreadsheet for my own reference, sortable by language, genre, etc. I guess I could share that so others can use it too.

*I define “books” as anything in writing: novels, epic poems, short story collections, a poet’s life of work, plays, webpages, nonfiction. If you’re bringing up a work translated into another language, I’d like it if you shared your favorite translation. I really want to cast as wide a net as possible.

Here’s my list, in chronological order

The Iliad
Su Hui’s Star Gauge
Shahnameh translated by Dick Davis
Canterbury Tales
The Faerie Queene
Dream of the Red Chamber translated by David Hawkes
Haiku by Issa
Moby Dick
The Sun Also Rises
Gravity’s Rainbow


order that they came into my head

high life
wraiths of the broken land
memoirs of a spacewoman
dr rat
a feast unknown
the sympathizer
dictionary of the khazars
cult x
empty mile

yes i tripled down on one author. im playing favorites


The Player of Games
World as Will and Representation Vol I
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Man who was Thursday
Finite and Infinite Games
Rationality: AI to Zombies
Popper Selections
Arms and Influence
The Rebel
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller
Letters from a Stoic


These are not necessarily my top 12. That would take too much thought. These are just 12 that came to mind right away, though some would definitely make my “real” list. I’ve put them in alphabetical order.

  • The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  • The Conspiracy Against the Human Race by Thomas Ligotti
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
  • Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake
  • Ecclesiastes by Kohelet
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (I know, I know.)
  • In Yana, the Touch of Undying by Michael Shea
  • The Righeous Mind by Jonathan Haidt
  • Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance
  • The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

(Also, some of the most memorable books I’ve read in the past few years have been recommendations from Daphny and are in their list.)

Edit: I just realized that one of mine should definitely have been Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. I’ll just be lazy and mention it here rather than figure out what to replace.


a book you sent me made my list!! book buddies!

ngaio marsh books


My tastes are a mix of very mainstream and received SB wisdom, plus also probably not very good. I’m going to lean into it. I’m trying not to read anybody else’s entries yet.

  • Samuel Delany, dhalgren
  • Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide trilogy / omnibus
  • John Barth, The Sot-Weed Factor
  • Adam Cadre, Ready, Okay!
  • Robert Jackson Bennett, American Elsewhere
  • Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
  • Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice
  • John Dos Passos, The U.S.A. Trilogy
  • China Miévile, The City & The City
  • Terry Pratchett, pick a Discworld novel or two
  • Roger Zelazny, Nine Princes in Amber
  • The Thousand and One Nights

Ij/pale king- DFW
Rings of Saturn -Sebald
Home -Saunders
Ducks Newburyport -Ellman
Raise High -Salinger
Mezzanine -Baker
Lost scrapbook -Dara
Notes from the Underground -Dostoevsky
Gravity’s Rainbow -Pynchon
Building stories -Ware
The Work of Art In the Age of Mechanical Reprroduction -Benjamin

Top of the head, traffic thoughts about favorite things to read/most influentual on my brain. Think JR will bump something off, probably the mezzanine or raise high though I will forever have a dumb crush on Seymour Glass and, man!, parts of the mezzanine are so pretty to read. What can I say, I love ramblin’ softies


doubling up on some entries because I feel like it

  • The Hobbit // The Lord of the Rings
  • Gödel Escher Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid // Illuminatus!
  • A Perfect Vacuum // The Investigation
  • The Cyberiad // Chain of Chance
  • Diaspora
  • The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes
  • The Dispossessed // Nova
  • any of Terrance Dick’s Doctor Who novels
  • True History of the Kelly Gang // The New York Trilogy
  • The Dain Curse
  • The Manual of the Planes (2nd Ed.)
  • Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

oops, missed this

  • Light and Color in the Outdoors
  • The Two Cities: Medieval Europe 1050-1320
  • Syllabus
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FUCK I ALSO MISSED NONFICTION swap… fine I’ll take a stokoe book out. get rid of empty mile for blood and guts a history of surgery.


But Empty Mile is my favorite Stokoe book.

One thing I intentionally left out of my list was comics, because I don’t know how I’d go about deciding how many/which ones to include and what to replace with them.


WELL NOW YOU GOTTA PUT IT IN. high life is my favorite, because I’ve watched so many people chase fame, but empty mile is the scariest because it takes place where I used to go on field trips all the time and get lost and seperated from the group and scared I was gonna die out there in the woods. maybe including it feels like I’m telling too much about myself so I gotta take it out for protection BUT I JUST SPILLED THE BEANS HERE OH NOOOO


i managed 4 Lem books and I want to add more… prob just Fiasco

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jules renard’s journal
xavier de maistre - journey around my room by night
frederick seidel - ooga booga
greil marcus - mystery train
flannery o’connor - wise blood
christopher isherwood - down there on a visit
thomas pynchon - mason & dixon
samuel beckett - endgame
robert walser - any collection of short pieces
cellini’s autobiography
grimmelhausen - simplicissimus
thomas mann - the magic mountain


Le Morte d’Arthur
The Hobbit
The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade*
The Faerie Queene
The Master and the Margarita
The Time Machine
The Maltese Falcon
The Sign of the Four
As I Lay Dying
Alice in Wonderland

*in progress, slowly


Convinced that the creators of Columbo were inspired by the structure of Ngaio Marsh’s books.

  • The Fifth Head of Cerberus (Wolfe)
  • Book of the New Sun (Wolfe)
  • Moby Dick (Melville)
  • The Iliad (Fitzgerald translation)
  • Voyage to Arcturus (Lindsay)
  • Dark Reflections (Delany)
  • Viriconium (Harrison)
  • White Jazz (Ellroy)
  • Le Roman de Silence
  • The Modulated Scream: Pain in Late Medieval Culture (Cohen)
  • The Phoenix and the Mirror (Davidson)
  • Sleep Has His House (Kavan)

Our Lady of the Flowers - Genet
Humboldt’s Gift - Bellow
The Temple of the Golden Pavilion - Mishima
The Tin Drum - Grass
The Rings of Saturn - Sebald
Pale Fire - Nabokov
Wittgenstein’s Mistress - Markson
The Loser - Bernhard
Crime and Punishment - Dostoevsky
Against Interpretation - Sontag
The Counterfeiters - Gide
The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems - Gibson


Trying to avoid repeating anyone else:

On the Sublime (Pseudo-Longinus)
Dead Souls (Gogol)
Rubaiyat (Omar Khayyam, Fitzgerald 1st edition translation)
The Face in the Frost (Bellairs)
Star Maker (Stapledon)
Lud-in-the-Mist (Mirrlees)
Gargantua and Pantagruel (Rabelais)
War with the Newts (Capek, Osers translation)
Kindred (Butler)
The Mabinogion (Gantz translation)
Theory of Prose (Shklovsky)
The Neverending Story (Ende)

The most overlap I have if I included books others have listed is with wourme and shrug, unsurprisingly