Peter Steinberg's Favorite Novels

shelved under Personal Favorites and Fiction


Crossing to Safety

by Wallace Stegner

I first read this book in the Summer of 1990 — it was recommended by the owner of the bookstore where I worked. I think I went back and re-read one more time but ever since, I've been afraid to re-read it... what happens if it doesn't live up to my memories how amazing it was??


Run with the Horsemen

by Ferrol Sams

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.


The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

by Michael Chabon

Three of the major sub-currents running through this book are New York City, the comic book industry of the 1940s and Judaism. Being a Jewish life-long fan of comic books who lives in New York City... well the book was more or less written just for me. It would be selfish of me not to share it with you though — it's an excellent, Pulitzer-prize winning book. Extremely well-developed characters, a great love story, a pretty big surprise a good way through... and I don't know how Chabon does it, but somehow he gives the entire tone of the book that sort of broad-shouldered, thugs and dames, Tracy/Hepburn movie feel.


The Cider House Rules

by John Irving

Jessi W. from Michigan says:

Despite the somewhat controversial subject (abortion vs. adoption), this book shows the deep love and affection people can have for one another, and the lengths they will go to prove that love. It's a charming story that everyone should read. I've read all of Irving's books after reading "...Owen Meany" in high school and falling in love with it, but I think "The Cider House Rules" is my favorite. P.S. I've been know to quote "Goodnight my Princes of Maine, my Kings of New England" — to which I usually get strange looks!

This book also appears on John Irving's Best Books


Youngblood Hawke

by Herman Wouk

I recently described this book as "a big hot mess of a novel". Set in New York City during the glamorous post-war mid 20th century, it's the story of a wildly popular young new author. Sort of a Hemingway meets... Wouk? Regardless of plot, it's a page-turner that will keep you up until the wee hours.


Ender's Game

by Orson Scott Card

Stacy from Dallas,TX says:

If you've ever felt like the underdog, you know Ender. If you've ever been the guy pummeling the underdog, you will get to know an Ender someday (and that means you're toast). Ender's Game is THE underdog story about a young boy ripped from his home and sent to military school to fight an enemy he doesn't really know. All he does know is the enemy in the next bunk is almost as dangerous as the one he's being trained to fight.


Winter's Tale

by Mark Helprin

S. K. Edman from Manassas, VA says:

The prose is lovely, and manages to be lush and crystal clear at the same time. The story is at times hilarious and at others heartbreaking; Helprin is a master at locating private tragedy within the context of public history and drawing out the connection between the two. I was reading a book the other day in which the main character, suddenly drawn into a civil war after her marriage, realizes that the problem with recorded histories is that they do not answer the question of what happens to people's babies. Helprin does, and does it beautifully.