Personal Canon of Books

An idea: A personal canon of books.

Ruth, at A Great Book Study, writes:

Every avid reader has a particular and unique way of composing a personal canon.  The list is characteristic of who you are.  It says, “These are my books.”

What sorts of books are in one’s personal canon? Again, from Ruth:

Some of these books have affected my worldview, some shook me to my core, some left an imprint on my heart, and others changed my life forever.  These books matter to me.

It was Jillian, Ruth tells us, who inspired her to compose her personal canon. And now Ruth has inspired me. And, perhaps, I shall inspire you.

What books would you list in your personal canon of books?


12 thoughts on “Personal Canon of Books

  1. I’d start with ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte, move to Dorothy Dunnett’s ‘House of Niccolo’, ‘Lymond Chronicles’ and ‘King Hereafter’. I may have to include Hilary Mantel’s Cromwell trilogy at some stage, but not yet. I would add Lian Hearn’s ‘Tales of the Otori’ series: I’ve read it three times and love it. I have no logical reason for this love, it just is. As soon as I finish this post I will think of other authors and other books, but the key for me is not thinking about it – just ‘knowing’.

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    1. It’s interesting how many of us have Jane Eyre on our list (within this thread, at least). That was actually my first classic & totally hooked me. 🙂

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  2. My favorite novel of all time is Gone with the Wind. I’m also not sure how I ever lived without Little Women, the Little House on the Prairie series, Jane Eyre, Sense & Sensibility, or Anne of Green Gables. Too, there is Walden, To Kill a Mockingbird, Testament of Youth, A Christmas Carol, A Room of One’s Own, The Killer Angels, John Adams (by David McCullough), & The Lord of the Rings. x

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    1. I will definitely second The Lord of the Rings! but I think I will have to come back to this topic later after I have had a chance to answer the other topic for May (what kind of classics you prefer)

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  3. In the first off-the-top-of-my-head round: Austen (mostly); Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte; The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis; Hamlet by Shakespeare; The Bible; Audubon Field Guide to Birds.

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  4. Where to start? Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Mr Standfast by John Buchan, The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliffe….

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  5. Pride and Prejudice, The Count of Monte Cristo, the Chronicles of Narnia, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and A Widow for One Year.

    I’m hoping to come across more.

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