In retrospect, it might have been an easier task to assign myself if I had listed the books I DON'T recommend. I consider myself a voracious and eclectic reader, loving to hunker down with a good classic like Dostoyevsky, and equally enjoying a Young Adult "candy book." Although I have no favorite genre--reading Sci-Fi, Classics, Poetry, Drama, Nonfic, Mystery and Historical Fiction--I do tend to avoid paranormal fiction, horror, and I usually pass over the Western section faster than you can say "Yee-haw." I also don't read books that are depressing or depraved for the sole purpose of shock value, not only because I read for the sake of entertainment (and not to be traumatized), but also because I dislike having my emotions manipulated. 

When I recommend a book, usually it's to someone I know in person. Usually I only suggest titles if they ask for it, and I only comply when I have a good idea what type of person they are and what types of books they've enjoyed in the past. Maturity level and sensitivity to certain thematic elements in books is also a huge factor in recommending books. Unlike music, video games or films, books are not "rated." Therefore since I'm making general recommendations to a wide audience via the internet, I try to carefully label the age-appropriateness of each book, and note any issues that parents might take with the books on this list, no matter how "trivial."*

So, without further ado, here is a (constantly growing) list of books I recommend**:

For Children (of all ages):

The Adventures of Vesper Holly by Lloyd Alexander
Beginning with The Illyrian Adventure, this is a series of six short adventure novels.  All are appropriate for children, except for perhaps the last entry, The Xanadu Adventure, which makes a reference to harems and eunichs that might lead parental readers into a bit of an awkward position of having to explain what those terms mean. 
Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Peter Pan (alternatively entitled Peter and Wendy) by J.M. Barrie
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling
Two are Better than One by Carol Ryrie Brink
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Winnie-The-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne
Rascal: A Memoir of a Better Era by Sterling North
My Father's Dragon series by Ruth Stiles Gannett
The "Ramona" series by Beverly Cleary
The Cat Who Wished to Be a Man by Lloyd Alexander
The Secret Garden and A Little Princess by Frences Hodgson Burnett

For Adults:

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Fifty-six short stories and four full-length novels, starting chronologically with A Study in Scarlet or with the first-published short story, "A Scandal in Bohemia."
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Laughing Gas, Leave it to Psmith, and The Jeeves and Wooster Stories by P.G. Wodehouse
Really, anything by good ol' Plum is worth a read.
The Nero Wolfe Mysteries by Rex Stout
Thirty-three novels and thirty-nine short stories, of which the first is the novel Fer de Lance
Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Vanity Fair: A Novel Without a Hero by William Makepeace Thackeray
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

*Because I know that what one parent considers "good clean fun" could be considered by another parent as "completely inappropriate for my child."

**This list includes only the books I've discussed in previous blog entries.   

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