Nick Hornby's Favorite Books

Below are Nick Hornby's 5 favorite books as listed on his blog. Or, should I say, favoUrite books? (Oh, and he was unclear as to whether these are listed most to least favorite, least to most, or just all really good. Maybe he'll stop by and let us know?)


The Accidental Tourist

by Anne Tyler

Leah Smith from Burtonsville, MD says:

Ms. Tyler was born in Minnesota, but has made Baltimore, where many of her novels are set, her home for many years. Even if you have seen the movie adaptation of this novel starring William Hurt and Geena Davis, you must read the book. The author’s charming, dysfunctional characters leap off of the page. Tyler does in this novel what she does so very well in all of her novels: teaches the reader about life and love.

This book also appears on The Best Books by Maryland Authors


Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

Dena from New York, NY says:

I like Dickens. Even so, I didn't read "Great Expectations" until I was in grad school — I'd seen the movies, and they all seemed boring and love-storyish. Mawkish, what with Miss Havisham and her house and Pip longing for Estella...

Charles Dickens, how could I have forgotten? That's not what you do at all. "Great Expectations" has a mystery at its heart, and it plows along until all of a sudden you're on page 500 and you've laughed out loud — to Dickens! — on the subway.


This Boy's Life: A Memoir

by Tobias Wolff

Michael Hill says:

A haunting, unsentimental memoir of a boy growing up with a close-to-dysfunctional mother, whom he deeply loves, and the abusive man she allows in their lives in her desperate search for family and stability.

Tobias takes you through the pains of adolescence as they are turned up to an almost unbearable volume, isolated in a remote logging town in Oregon. There are promises of a better world — a half brother, an absent father — that are always just out of reach.

This Boy's Life tells of Tobias' attempt to do what all of us do — invent ourselves as we figure out who we are — in an atmosphere that robs him of most of the tools needed for that task.


Where I'm Calling From

by Raymond Carver

Hornby didn't specify any one book of Carver's — he just said "The collected stories of Raymond Carver." I chose this book as representative of Carver's work.


I Capture the Castle

by Dodie Smith

Cindy Hudson from Mother Daughter Book says:

This young adult title tells the story of two sisters who live with their family in a crumbling castle in the English countryside. They survive on the dwindling royalties of a best-selling book their father wrote years ago, but times are tight now. When two American men inherit their grandfather's estate down the road, one of the sisters sees the possibility of love while the other sees a way out of their genteel poverty. All of the characters grow and change in complex ways throughout the book though the narrative focuses on the younger sister maturing into adulthood. We read this in our mother-daughter book club when our daughters were 13 and discussed the changing role of women in society, love and marriage, money, children and their parents, moral and ethical decisions, what part religion plays in our lives and more. The book is so well-written that when we talked about our favorite scenes in the book all twelve of us named a difference scene. I think that's amazing depth for one book. Finally, adult book clubs should enjoy it just as much, if not more, than mother-daughter book clubs.