Monday, September 7, 2009


The other day a friend of mine asked me to complete a simple task that turned out to be a lot tougher than I expected it to be. The name of the game: 15 Books That Will Always Stick With You. The rules: Write down the first 15 books you've read that pop into your head. Don't take more than 15 minutes! Ostensibly, these would be the books that made the biggest impression on me, not necessarily my favorites.

The first few were easy. Ayn Rand's magnum opus is never far from my mind. Ditto The Fountainhead. And every once in a while I like to pretend that I possess the cunning of Tom Ripley, which, incidentally, was my alias 13 years ago when I visited Prague. But eventually, much sooner than I expected, the titles stopped coming.

My God! I thought somewhere around No. 9. Can it be that I've read so few books in my lifetime? But I've read hundreds (mostly non-fiction), possibly thousands! Suddenly, my mind went black. I considered going to my book collection for help, but unfortunately, most of my books are locked away in a storage space in Brooklyn. Plus, if I needed a brain boost, then that would mean the book wasn't all that memorable to begin with. So I thought and thought and thought. Finally, I compiled my magic 15.

These are hardly my favorite books, although at least half would qualify. But with my brain apparently running on empty, this is as good as my memory would serve me.

  1. Atlas Shrugged
  2. The Fountainhead
  3. The Talented Mr. Ripley
  4. The Brothers Karamazov
  5. Moll Flanders
  6. The Corrections
  7. Beloved
  8. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
  9. The Lost Language of Cranes
  10. Their Eyes Were Watching God
  11. Dubliners
  12. The Portrait of Dorian Gray
  13. Little Women
  14. The Catcher in the Rye
  15. On the Road
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