Recently, Erlanger staff had a fun competition where they anonymously submitted their five favorite books of all time, then tried to guess which books matched with which staff member. Here are a few of their favorites, including some favorite quotes and why they love the books on their lists. Look for the display near the entrance of the Erlanger Library to check out some of these books for yourself!
Chris Walters, Library Associate
The Lord of the Rings trilogy – J.R.R. Tolkien
Why I love it: The most involved epic story ever. LOTR has all the trappings of the hero’s journey within an incredibly detailed world with history, verse, and wonderful characters. More to discover every time you read it.
Favorite quote: “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” – Gandalf
The Stand – Stephen King
Why I love it: While The Dark Tower series has its tendrils in King’s entire catalog, this book still comes out on top as my favorite by the author. The opening half concerning the spread of the plague and the fall of civilization is amazing in its storytelling.
Favorite quote: “Under the California desert and subsidized by the taxpayers’ money, someone had finally invented a chain letter that really worked. A very lethal chain letter.”
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series – Douglas Adams
Why I love it: Strange, irreverent, full of satire and consistently hilarious.
Favorite quote: “One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about humans was their habit of continually stating and repeating the very very obvious.”
Slaughterhouse-five – Kurt Vonnegut
Why I love it: Impossible to describe. This book has to be experienced.
Favorite quote: “So it goes.”
Why I love it: While Contact is a great novel (and Sagan’s only fiction book), this one is my favorite by him. A guide to skeptical thinking and a great explanation of the scientific method.
Favorite quote: “We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.”
Jude Noel, Library Associate
Oblivion – David Foster Wallace
Favorite quote: “It’s interesting, if you really think about it, how clumsy and laborious it seems to be to convey even the smallest thing.”
Favorite quote: “The glass had a picture of snoopy and Woodstock playing on top of a doghouse with a balloon that said: ‘Happiness is a Warm Friend.'”
Swing Time – Zadie Smith
Favorite quote: “Nostalgia is a luxury.”
The Hospital Suite – John Porcellino
Favorite quote: “I drive with plastic bags on my hands — deal with it.”
Wildwood – Colin Meloy
Favorite quote: “She breathed a quick benediction to the patron saint of sleuthing. — ‘Nancy Drew, be with me now.’”
Brent Caldwell, Public Services Coordinator
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen – Christopher McDougall
Favorite quote: “If you don’t have answers to your problems after a four-hour run, you ain’t getting them.”
Moby Dick; or, The Whale – Herman Melville
Favorite Quote: “It is the easiest thing in the world for a man to look as if he had a great secret in him.”
No Country for Old Men – Cormac McCarthy
Favorite quote: “I tried to put things in perspective but sometimes you’re just too close to it.”
Theodore Rex – Edmund Morris
Favorite quote: “Yet there was no doubt that Theodore Roosevelt was peculiarly qualified to be President of all the people. Few, if any Americans could match the breadth of his intellect and the strength of his character. A random survey of his achievements might show him mastering German, French, and the contrasted dialects of Harvard and Dakota Territory; assembling fossil skeletons with paleontological skill; fighting for an amateur boxing championship; transcribing birdsong into a private system of phonetics; chasing boat thieves with a star on his breast and Tolstoy in his pocket; founding a finance club, a stockmen’s association, and a hunting-conservation society; reading some twenty thousand books and writing fifteen of his own; climbing the Matterhorn; promulgating a flying machine; and becoming a world authority on North American game mammals. If the sum of all these facets of experience added up to more than a geometric whole – implying excess construction somewhere, planes piling upon planes – then only he, presumably, could view the polygon entire.”
A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn
Favorite quote: “I knew that a historian (or a journalist, or anyone telling a story) was forced to choose, out of an infinite number of facts, what to present, what to omit. And that decision inevitably would reflect, whether consciously or not, the interests of the historian.”