15 Authors on which book they’d choose if they could have only ONE


15 Authors Tell Us Which Book They’d Choose to Read for the Rest of Their Lives

By Johanna Golden•Updated: May 25, 2021•2 min read

One of the best things about reading is that it offers an infinite source of entertainment. But what if you had to choose one book to read for the rest of your life? We asked authors that same difficult question: If they could only read one book for the rest of their lives, which one would they choose? With must-read recommendations from award-winning authors like James Patterson and Kristin Hannah, this list is full of gems we’re excited to share with you.

Book cover for A Court of Thorns and Roses: 4 Books in 1 by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses: 4 Books in 1Sarah J. Maas

Jodi Picoult’s recommendation: “A) It’s a whole series, and I’m bending the rules and B) there are so many reversals of plot in that book that I think I could pick it apart in rereads for hours.”

Book cover for War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

War and PeaceLeo Tolstoy

Emily Griffin’s recommendation: “It’s over 1000 pages. Why pick a short book?”

Book cover for Golden Apples by Eudora Welty

Golden ApplesEudora Welty

Anne Tyler’s recommendation: “It would help me remember all the touching, surprising ways that people in small communities interact with each other.”

Book cover for One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

One Hundred Years of SolitudeGabriel García Márquez

James Patterson’s recommendation: “Every sentence is a jewel and on each successive reading, the story keeps revealing new mysteries.”

Book cover for Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Madame BovaryGustave Flaubert

Armando Lucas Correa’s recommendation“It’s a novel with perfect structure and a character that transcends the ages.”

Book cover for The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

The House of MirthEdith Wharton.

Jennifer Egan’s recommendation: “Every time I read it, I find glints of humor, pathos, satire, and telling detail that I missed the last time.”

Book cover for The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the RingsJ.R.R. Tolkien

Kristin Hannah’s recommendation: “It never fails me. But come on, one book for a lifetime? One book can’t even last a week with me.”

Book cover for The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by William Shakespeare

The Complete Works of William ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare

Jasmine Guillory’s recommendation: “I need something long and endlessly entertaining if it’s going to be the only book I read for the rest of my life!”

Book cover for The Dark Tower Boxed Set by Stephen King

The Dark Tower Boxed SetStephen King

Jennifer Weiner’s recommendation“[Because] it’s a series? So I’m kind of cheating? But I love the characters. I could live in that world forever.”

Book cover for Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Wuthering HeightsEmily Brontë

Alice Hoffman’s recommendation: “My reaction changes every time I read it. It always goes deeper into human psychology.”

Book cover for The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

The Jungle BookRudyard Kipling

Lisa See’s recommendation: “The book is always better than the film. As a kid, I read one of the short stories, “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi,” every Saturday before I got out of bed. From each of the stories, I learned about courage, racism, colonialism, friendship, bravery, and kindness.”

Book cover for Only Mine by Elizabeth Lowell

Only MineElizabeth Lowell

J. R. Ward’s recommendation: “It is my favorite romance of all time, and probably my favorite book of all time!”

Book cover for Diary of a Provincial Lady by E. M. Delafield

Diary of a Provincial LadyE. M. Delafield

Ruth Ware’s recommendation: “I don’t think I would ever stop finding it funny.”

Book cover for Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Cold Comfort FarmStella Gibbons

Meg Cabot’s recommendation: “It is a lovely book about helping others and keeping things tidy (it was also an excellent movie starring Kate Beckinsale).”

Book cover for The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s recommendation: “I always find more to love about it every time I read it.”

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