My Favorite Books Of All Time.

My Favorite Books Of All Time

Let’s talk favorite books! This post has been a long time making. I am an avid reader and have been that way for the better part of my life. And I typically read at least 6 books a month, though usually that number is closer to ten. I just love to read. It’s how I escape, how I relax… it’s my favorite thing. Any time I do a Q&A this comes up… so I thought I’d finally write them all down and get a post up! Some books just stand out from the rest. Each of these books have moved me in some special way. The sort of books you just want to read and re-read, like Harry Potter for some, Jane Austen novels for others (though neither made my list!). Without further ado, a round-up of my favorite books of all time.

PS: More posts you might also love: books to read by the beach, my favorite romance books, and a slew of young adult book recommendations!

PPS: Please tell me YOUR favorite books in the comments!

My Favorite Books Of All Time

Devil in the white city, by Erik Larson

Devil in the white city | My Favorite Books Of All Time

I actually really want to re-read this book this summer as I’ve always said that this is my favorite book of all time but I read it so long ago that I don’t actually remember the whole plot. It’s a hybrid of my two favorite things (non-fiction, thriller) and I just remember it being so unbelievable that it felt like it had to be fake. And it’s one of those haunting books that just stays with you (I also learned a lot about the Chicago World’s Fair). It’s the best true crime book ever… before true crime was a thing! Order on Amazon or Bookshop!

The seven husbands of evelyn hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The seven husbands of evelyn hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I have mixed feelings on Taylor Jenkins Reid. Mixed because I will always pre-order her books and consider her one of my favorite authors… but, I do think they’re a little overhyped. I’ve been just medium on the last few books she’s written. Not the case with Evelyn Hugo. This is the first book of hers I ever read and will forever be one of my favorite books. The story is incredible and very moving, but also salacious. I wish Evelyn Hugo were a real person, I would have liked to know her. So thrilled that it will be a movie. (Should have been a TV series but I’ll take what I can get). Order on Amazon or Bookshop!

The book thief, by Markus Zusak

The book thief | My Favorite Books Of All Time

This is one of those books where I can tell you exactly where I was when I read it. I was sitting at a bar in Copenhagen, crying into my steak tartare, book in hand. It’s a classic, but I somehow didn’t read it until 2017. Set in Nazi Germany and told from the perspective of “Death”, you can imagine that you will need tissues… a lot of tissues. It follows the story of the main character Liesel (aka the book thief) from age nine to fourteen and what her life was like during Hitler’s rule. It’s heartwarming and even funny at times but also heartbreaking. One of those books that sticks with you for a very long time. Order on Amazon or Bookshop!

save me the plums, by ruth reichl

save me the plums, by ruth reichl

I love food and I love magazines (and now I love Ruth Reichl – this book made her one of my favorite authors) so this book is a must. Ruth is a former food critic who was brought in to bring big changes to the magazine (and she does!) Save Me The Plums takes you inside the glamorous world of Conde Nast during its heyday… from S.I. Neuhouse’s birthday party (and art collections!) to the private kitchen inside the magazine, with looks at all of the most famous celebrity chefs. I don’t remember the last time I loved a book so much. I cried during the bits about 911 and then again at the end when Conde Nast decided to fold the magazine. Order on Amazon or Bookshop!

city of girls, by elizabeth gilbert

This is one of those fiction books that just totally sucks you in. Elizabeth Gilbert is one of my favorite authors has such a gift for writing. The characters she creates, the worlds they live in… I bow down. The book follows Vivian Morris (a 19 year old Vassar dropout) to New York City, through ups and downs and middle age all the way until she’s 89 years old. She moves to the city to her aunt Peg’s house, where she takes up costume design for glamorous showgirls… spending most nights out on the town . When she makes a terrible mistake her whole world implodes and she faces ruin but ultimately lands on her feet. This is the story of female friendship, of female sexuality, of redemption… and so much more. I could not put it down. Order on Amazon or Bookshop!

The chiffon trenches, by andre leon talley

The chiffon trenches | My Favorite Books Of All Time

I love reading memoirs from people who have worked in publishing. In college and my earlier years in New York, I dreamed of going to work for a magazine but it never happened for me. The book chronicles André’s rise from growing up in the Jim Crow South to moving to New York and working under Andy Warhol at Interview Magazine. From there he wound up at WWD, moved to Paris, then back to New York to Vogue. This book is positively dazzling. When it was over, I felt really sad to leave his glittery world.. Besides all of the glamour and fashion it also tackles some more serious (and timely things) like racism: the reason André left WWD and Paris was a terrible racist incident with a publicist at YSL. There is also some SERIOUS fashion tea. From his forty year long friendship (and falling out) with Karl Lagerfeld, to all things Anna Wintour, to the political dynamics at Vogue…. it’s fascinating. Order on Amazon or Bookshop!

kitchen confidential, by anthony bourdain

kitchen confidential | My Favorite Books Of All Time

This book made me incredibly nostalgic. I grew up in a restaurant – literally – my house was attached to the restaurant and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, from hanging around as a kid to working every single possible job from potato peeling and dish drying to busing tables, food running, and ultimately waitressing in high school and college. You know this, but Bourdain is a master storyteller. This is a memoir of his kitchen days; starting with his days as a dishwasher in a dive-y Provincetown restaurant all the way through life in New York. Through terrible lows and wonderful highs, you feel like you are sitting next to your slightly reckless, very brilliant friend recounting his wildest and most honest stories. Many will be shocked by some of the stories (and things like why you should never order the “special” or eat fish on a Monday. Order on Amazon or Bookshop!

joyful, by ingrid fetell lee

joyful, by ingrid fetell lee

This book came highly recommended to me by my sister and I can’t recommend it enough. It took me forever to read as I was taking copious notes like a good little student. But she mentions so many different artists, architects, creators… that I wanted to stop, pause, look them up, and then keep reading. So I’d read maybe a quarter of a chapter at a time and I do not regret that. I learned so much from it. This book is all about the power of aesthetics and objects to impact our happiness. From the way we delight over rounded objects, to why we are drawn to symmetry, and beyond. It is such an interesting read… if you are someone who nerds out over good design OR are just somebody who wants to create a personal space that leaves you feeling joyful, absolutely read this book. I loved it and learned so so much from it. Order on Amazon or Bookshop!

the midnight library, by matt haig

the midnight library, by matt haig

This book felt like a warm hug. When you finish it, you just feel like everything is going to be okay. It starts out as a book about regret. Nora Seed showed so much promise. At one point, she could have been an Olympic swimmer. At another, a rockstar. But bad decision after bad decision leads her to a sad and lonely life. When her cat dies, she decides it’s time to end her life. But in between life and death, she arrives at a place called The Midnight Library. There, she meets her childhood librarian who shows her around. Each book on the shelf represents a different regret or decision, and the life she would have had if she’d chose differently. But as soon as she finds a life to be disappointing she is taken back to the library to take out another book. And so Nora goes on to live tons of different lives. I won’t say anything more as I don’t want to spoil it. Order on Amazon or Bookshop!

the last flight, by julie clark

the last flight | My Favorite Books Of All Time

This is one of the best thrillers I have ever read. It is SO good. Like, read in 12 hours good. I started it after work, read it all night until 2am, then got up early to finish it. That good. The book surrounds two women, both looking to escape very different (but equally dark) circumstances. When they meet in an airport bar, they hatch a plot to swap plane tickets and take each others flights: Claire going to Oakland and Eva going to Puerto Rico. But when the plane to Puerto Rico crashes, all bets are off and Claire must take Eva’s identity in California (and deal with the secrets she’s left behind). This has it all: a disappearance, an abusive husband, money + power, drug deals… I could go on. And I loved it so much and was on the edge of my seat the whole time reading it.. I can’t recommend it enough! Order on Amazon or Bookshop!

gone girl, by gillian flynn

gone girl | My Favorite Books Of All Time

I had to include this one as it is what started my thriller obsession. I think I am still, ten plus years later, searching for that same thrill I got when I first discovered the big “twist” in this book. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve found it? You never forget your first twisty thriller. It’s Nick and Amy’s wedding anniversary when beautiful Amy disappears. Nick looks guilty in every sense of the word, and Amy’s diary certainly doesn’t help. I am sure you have seen the book, or watched the movie (if you somehow haven’t, you must!) but I had to include it here. Again, you never forget your first! (I do wish Flynn would write again, I have loved all of her books. Order on Amazon or Bookshop!

the maid, by nita prose

the maid, by nita prose

I think this was the most heartwarming murder mystery I’ve ever read? Molly is a maid at an upscale London hotel. She loves her job and can’t think of anything else she’d rather do. But Molly is different. She’s smart and kind and well intentioned, but doesn’t always pick up on social cues and tends to misread people. Because of that, sometimes, she trusts the wrong people. One day, one of the hotel’s VIP clients turns up dead. A murder investigation ensues and Molly finds herself at the center of it, as the main suspect… wanted for murder! Everything she says only seems to make the situation worse. Her entire life is upended, but friends in unlikely places come through to help her search for clues and figure out what really happened: who the real murderer was, and what actually happened. I loved this book. Order on Amazon or Bookshop!

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I had to include something more classic in this list! This is a great book and will always be one of my favorite books of all time. The film, too! Written in 1925, it is part cautionary tale, the darker side of the American Dream. Set in the Jazz Age on Long Island, near New York City in West Egg, the novel depicts first-person narrator Nick Carraway’s interactions with mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and Gatsby’s obsession to reunite with his former lover, Daisy Buchanan. It’s glittering and opulent at times (the parties! the clothing! Gatsby’s home), but dark at others. And after watching the film, when I read it I still see Toby and Leo as the characters. Order on Amazon or Bookshop!

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Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. Katie:

    I haven’t read Devil in the White City yet! My favorite book of all time is still The Heart’s Invisible Furies, I think it might be time for a re-read as well!

    7.13.23 Reply
    • I loved that one!

      7.13.23 Reply
      • Jamie:

        You have to read My grandmother told me to tell you she’s sorry – it is a beautiful written book with rich character development and examines why people behave the way they do! It is SO good!

        7.13.23 Reply
    • Susan:

      Also have to add one of my favorites is a Grace Atwood recommendation, the Paper Palace. I can’t remember the author’s name but it is a lush love triangle that is so vividly written…and she’s 50 and fabulous, which is appealing to this middle aged Gen Xer.

      7.13.23 Reply
    • Madiha Ahmed:

      Some of these are on my TBR list because of you. I LOVED save me the plums AND great gatsby!!!

      some of my faves are The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery), The Gentleman in Moscow, rules of Civility, great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, the Fountainhead, and I can’t think of more right now but I have so many more.

      7.14.23 Reply
  2. LAURA:

    What a great list of books! My list would have to include Remarkably Bright Creatures. I absolutely loved that book! I definitely agree with you on The Last Flight… I remember devouring that book on the beach in the warm sunshine.. aww, sweet memories!

    7.13.23 Reply
  3. Maureen:

    Highly, highly recommend Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka. Elin Hilderbrand recommended it at a talk I attended, and it’s a book that I think about over and over again (which is not typical for me). It’s not gruesome (like the title implies), but such a well-told story that I just couldn’t put down.

    7.13.23 Reply
  4. Sarah:

    Great list! I also love the audiobook for Evelyn Hugo. Some of my favorite books of all time are She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb), Where the Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens), The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck), On the Island (Tracey Garvis Graves), The Help (Kathryn Stockett, the audiobook is even better) and The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah). I’m pretty sure I’ve read every one of those at least a dozen times over the years. Honorable mention to Anne of Green Gables and Harry Potter, for the nostalgia factor

    7.13.23 Reply
    • Thank you so much for sharing your list! And yesss to Anne of Green Gables 🙂

      7.13.23 Reply
    • Grace:

      What a great list! My favorites, however, are 11/22/63 – do not miss it – and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I love historic time travel. Even if you think it’s not your favorite genre, read 11/23/63!

      7.17.23 Reply
  5. m:

    I love this! My all-time favorites include The Goldfinch, The Wager, The Nickel Boys, The Sweetness of Water, The Nightingale, The Road and… Gone Girl!

    7.13.23 Reply
  6. Nancy:

    Erik Larson also wrote Dead Wake about the sinking of the Lusitania off the coast of Ireland. Such a great book especially if you like his other books. I love reading your book reviews, I just ordered The Chateau this week!

    7.14.23 Reply
  7. Lesley McGovern:

    Julia Louis Dreyfus has a new podcast and she just interviewed Ruth Reichl. It was great!

    7.14.23 Reply
  8. A few all time favorites: Prep (Curtis Sittenfeld), Father of the Rain (Lily King), I was Told There’d be Cake (Sloane Crosley), You’ll Grow out of it (Jessi Klein), Naked and Me Talk Pretty One Day (David Sedaris), A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving), One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

    7.14.23 Reply
  9. June Stephenson:

    would you like my favorites? To start Confederacy of Dunces (@esp. the back story) A Man Called Ovi
    and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I am retired teacher and writer who reads a book about every two days, depending on the length.

    7.14.23 Reply
  10. Cy:

    I also really loved Ruth Reichl’s “ Tender to the Bone”. It’s her first book and she talks about growing up with a mother who is a terrible cook. All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr was stunning.

    7.14.23 Reply
    • Teddy:

      hi Grace
      first time I’ve ever read the Stripe and now I have a whole list in front of me thank you
      I read like crazy myself three books a month so I didn’t see you mention this one it’s wonderful it’s my favorite
      The power of One by Bryce Courtney

      7.15.23 Reply
  11. Samantha:

    I adored Andre Talley’s book! I also loved Visible Man by Edward Enninful. Listen to the audio version to hear him read it in his gorgeous Ghanaian accent. Much fashion tea as well! He is less of a tragic figure than Talley. Xx

    7.15.23 Reply
  12. Thanks for the recs! I LOVEDDD Evelyn Hugo. I really loved the way she moved unapologetically through the world. I have an upcoming trip so I’ll be sure to add some of the memoirs to my TBR list!

    7.19.23 Reply
  13. Bridget:

    Hi Grace! Here to recommend a book I think you’ll love: AVID READER by Robert Gottlieb. A memoir from a longtime literary editor at Knopf, the New Yorker, etc. It’s like the bookish version of CHIFFON TRENCHES or SAVE ME THE PLUMS. I found it fascinating and clever, and so enjoyed Bob keeping me company on audio and his experiences in publishing/culture from 1950’s onward. Hope you check it out! Thanks as always for your lists & library

    7.28.23 Reply
  14. Nancy Strain:

    I am going to check out these books to read. Thanks

    8.30.23 Reply