Mary Bentley Houk's Favorite Books

shelved under Personal Favorites


Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance

by Atul Gawande

Ann Klefstad from Duluth, MN says:

Atul Gawande writes accurately about the harrowing bliss of practicing medicine. My own dad was a surgeon/cowboy, but also a general practitioner/father confessor/voyeur. All of these things exact their cost and pay out their immense, often tainted, riches. Gawande does seem to understand the physician's privileged position between body and soul, praise and blame, life and death. It's a strange, glorious, harsh role; some of our best writers have occupied it, in one way or another — Keats, W. C. Williams. Gawande makes a serious contribution to the genre.


The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

by J. R. R. Tolkien

Danielle S. says:

I have read all four of these books too many times to count. While I typically read for the sheer enjoyment of reading, these books to have a message to impart. If you've only seen the movies or listened to the songs by Zeppelin (yes, Led Zeppelin), then you should definitely read these books.


Prodigal Summer

by Barbara Kingsolver

Melissa Daniel says:

My favorite author is Barbara Kingsolver, so it was difficult to decide which book I wanted to include on this list. Since this is a “Survival Guide,” I picked a great love story. Actually, I believe this novel contains at least three different love stories wrapped up together, as well as a bit of information on pesticides. Don’t let the insects and pesticides deter you; this book is full of passion and will warm your heart.

This book also appears on A Working Mom's Survival Guide


The Road

by Cormac McCarthy

Shannon Turlington from Books Worth Reading says:

In what is probably the bleakest of titles here, a man and his son wander through a desolated landscape of ashes, eking out their survival from the little that’s left remaining, while trying to get — for lack of a better destination — "South".


Run with the Horsemen

by Ferrol Sams

Peter from Flashlight Worthy says:

This book, and the second in the trilogy, tell the story of a very, very bright boy growing up on a family farm in rural Georgia during the Great Depression.

While it started a little slow — I recall questioning the book for about 50 pages — it soon picked up and then held my attention straight through for all 1,000+ pages of the trilogy. As an added bonus, it's not only one of my favorite books of all time, it's also one of the funniest books I've ever read.