19 thoughts on “Favorite Fiction for Every Letter of the Alphabet

  1. There are a lot of good As, but I’ll go with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

    Also-rans: The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, Another Fine Myth by Robert Asprin, Animal Farm by George Orwell, And to Think That I Saw it On Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss, Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry, All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren, All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, The Alienist by Caleb Carr, All Alone in the Universe by Lynne Rae Perkins, The Alfred G. Graebner Memorial High School Handbook of Rules and Regulations by Ellen Conford, and A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton, all of them quite terrific.


    1. I felt I probably missed a lot of other good candidates, and while there are some good ones on your list, none of them make me want to change my pick.

      For what it’s worth, I re-read Huck Finn recently, I came away less impressed.

  2. B

    The Book of Disquiet
    I haven’t finished this, but this is a serious candidate for one of the greatest “novels” I’ve read. (I have novels in quotes because it feels more like a collection of poetic-philosophical aphorisms–but it’s fictional.)

    …Oops, while The Book of Disquiet is great, I probably have to choose The Brothers Karamazov.

    (Man, I’m wondering if I’m forgetting other books.)

  3. Here are some really good B fictions!
    B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton
    Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss
    A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
    Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
    Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban
    Bearing an Hourglass by Piers Anthony
    A Bell for Adano by John Hersey
    The Best Christmas Pageant Ever* by Barbara Robinson
    The Black Stallion by Walter Farley (all titles in series begin with B)
    The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
    Blu’s Hanging by Lois Ann Yamanaka
    Blubber by Judy Blume
    The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Bridge to Terabithia** by Katherine Paterson
    The Bridges at Toko-Ri by James Michener (underrated)
    The Bronze Bow** by Elizabeth George Speare
    Bud, Not Buddy** by Christopher Paul Curtis

    These are all outstanding books, but for my favorite I have to go with The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander and for best, I take Beloved by Toni Morrison, which may be the best novel I’ve ever read.

    * I was just reminded of this book while making this list, and if you haven’t heard of it, I recommend taking a look. It would make really good reading aloud for your kids around Christmas time. Delightfully naughty children. In the novel, not in your homes.

    ** Newbery Medal recipient

    1. I really liked The Bluest Eye. I need to get to Beloved.

      I also liked the two Lloyd Alexander picks.

      I will try to remember The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. (I’m looking for book recommendations to read to my kids. They’ve finally gotten into Holes, and we should be finishing it soon.)

  4. C

    I had a hard time thinking of a title that starts with “C.” The first one that came to mind that I read and liked was Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins.

    1. There are some excellent C fictions, such as

      C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton
      Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon by Spider Robinson
      Can You Sue Your Parents for Malpractice? by Paula Danziger
      Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
      Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys, and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina
      Carry On, Mr. Bowditch* by Jean Lee Latham (surprisingly engaging)
      The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander
      Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings
      The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger
      The Cat in the Hat and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr. Seuss
      The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
      Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
      Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
      Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
      The Chosen by Chaim Potok
      Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
      The Color Purple by Alice Walker
      A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty
      Crispin: The Cross of Lead* by Avi
      The Crossover* by Kwame Alexander
      Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

      But hey, we’re only on C and we’ve already found one in common. My favorite is Criss Cross* by Lynne Rae Perkins. This is an interesting list because I’m fairly certain Penny has read and enjoyed five of the novels, and when I made this list yesterday, I was reminded of the Spider Robinson book, which I immediately recommended to Penny.

      * Newbery Medal recipient

      1. Oh man, I missed Catcher in the Rye (for shame), and I’m switching my pick to that. (Sorry, we’ll have to wait to find another mutual pick. I really like Criss Cross, though, so that should count.)

        I also really enjoyed Cloud Atlas. If it’s on your list, I assume your read it. Did you like it?

      2. I liked this line,

        …not finishing this one would be sort of like making all those folds in a piece of origami paper and never opening it up in its last step to reveal the crane.

        Perfect for the novel, without really spoiling it.

        It’s not all enjoyable to read, but I forced my way through parts I didn’t enjoy…

        Huh. I don’t remember reacting this way, but maybe I just forgot those parts. What I remember is that it was a very well-written, entertaining, and clever book. Mitchell’s ability to write in different genres and voices was also impressive. (He’s a good writer in my opinion.)

        It’s a very difficult novel to write about without spoiling it, but what’s going to give anyone a handhold on it if I don’t write something about it?

        Hey, I thought you were against writing sentences in the form of questions?

  5. D isn’t as common a first initial, at least in my experience, but there are some really good ones!

    D is for Deadbeat by Sue Grafton
    Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint* by Jay Williams and Raymond Abrashkin
    Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
    Daughters of Eve by Lois Duncan
    A Day No Pig Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
    Dear Lovey Hart, I Am Desperate by Ellen Conford
    Dinosaur Tales by Ray Bradbury
    Divergent by Veronica Roth
    The Divorce Express by Paula Danziger
    Double Trouble in Walla Walla by Andrew Clements
    Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, and Dragondrums by Anne McCaffrey

    I’m going with Cynthia Voigt’s Dicey’s Song, the 1983 recipient of the Newbery Medal. Its predecessor, Homecoming was a Newbery Honor recipient and a really good novel too, but Voigt really kills it with this sequel. At her best, she has a way of establishing connections between characters that makes me question everything I think of myself as a writer.

    * There are fifteen short novels in this series, all beginning with Danny Dunn…. I read them all, multiple tmes, between grades 4 and 6. The first books I ever bought myself with my own money were Danny Dunn books, they recently became available in Kindle editions. I’m re-reading them now, and while they don’t take me away the way they did when I was 11, I’m still rather enjoying them.

    1. Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

      This was a terrific recommendation you gave me. I enjoyed this, and I’d probably choose this over Dune.

  6. Not as many Es as Ds, even. But some good ones:

    E is for Evidence by Sue Grafton
    Elbert’s Bad Word by Audrey Wood (one of my favorite read-aloud picture books)
    Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
    Enchanter’s Endgame by David Eddings
    Encyclopedia Brown (series) by Donald J. Sobol
    Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

    As (slightly) flawed as it is, my favorite is East of Eden by John Steinbeck, a novel I read in one long day in tenth grade so I could do my book report for Miss Long. It was a long read, and I’m a slow reader, but I pulled an all-nighter to get it all done, and scored a 98.

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