Darcy Lewis Design

Adventures in "Good Enough" Design

My Fave Books!!

I’ve previously done this list as two separate blog posts, but I’m combining and posting this as a page for convenience.

As a VORACIOUS reader and bibliophile, I am frequently asked for book recommendations and to share a list of my favorites.  While I always have suggestions, I have deferred on actually publicly listing my favorites because I feel a bit like a parent being asked to choose between my children and thus my compilation has remained a vague set of preferences in my mind – I have all these stories alive in my mind, and replay my favorite bits all the times, but confessing my favorites aloud….!!!

But, I have decided to write this, so here are my favorite FICTION books (nonfiction below).  You may note that several of them are children’s or young adult books… I still reread them actively, these are not just things from childhood that I’m saving for my kids someday.

SO, roughly in descending order of current favor:

  • Kim, by Rudyard Kipling
  • Oliver’s Travels, by Alan Plater
  • Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood
  • anything from Jennifer Crusie
  • The Venetian’s Wife, by Nick Bantock
  • Wintertide, by Megan Sybil Baker
  • Wisdom’s Daughter, by India Edghill
  • Shiva’s Fire, by Suzanne Fisher Staples
  • Pockets, by Jennifer Armstrong
  • the dragon series (Dealing with Dragons, Searching for Dragons, etc.) by Patricia Wrede
  • The Dot & The Line – a romance in lower mathematics, by Norton Juster
  • The Lost Prince, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • the Aunty Dimity detective series by Nancy Atherton (the stories are cute, but the writing sometimes annoys me)
  • House Husband, by Ad Hudler
  • Mistress of the Art of Death, by Arianna Franklin
  • Q & A, by Vikas Swarup (don’t “LIKE”, but absolutely riveting! Later made into the movie Slumdog Millionaire (which I haven’t seen. Read the book a few years before, could never then see the movie.))
  • select books by Piers Anthony (Death Rides A Pale Horse was immensely comforting after my father died, and his Gaia and Xanth series helped me deal with the difficult teenage years)
  • The Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun (also like the stories, but find the writing annoying sometimes)
  • A Quiver Full of Arrows, by Jeffrey Archer


Favorite NON-FICTION Book list…You will note that it is considerably shorter than my fiction list, not because I read less non-fiction or enjoy it less, but because non-fiction tends to be more about learning for me, and once I’ve learned something, I’m done with it unless I need a refresher.  Whereas fiction is about imagining new worlds for me, and so I’m never really done with a good fiction novel, because those worlds live on forever inside my mind, and sometimes I need to revisit them – just like revisiting your favorite friends and places in real life.

In no particular order:

  • Third Culture Kids by David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken – about growing up in another culture and how it affects you as an adult and how to make the transition easier for kids.  Since this was my life, it was nice to see others were in the same unique spot I am.
  • Survival of the Sickest by Dr. Sharon Moalam – about why some diseases have stayed with us since primitive times and what they offer the body in exchange….
  • Nurture Shock by Bronson and Merrymen – a meta-analysis of many child-rearing studies that show that almost everything you thought about child-raising is wrong (don’t get mad at me, that’s their claim!).  Talks about why lying is good, how to talk about race, videogames, discipline, and many other subjects.  Don’t be put off by the thick size! It is extensively annotated and has a huge bibliography and reference section, and each chapter is a stand-alone subject – so read in any order or just the topics of interest.
  • Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein – it’s dismissive and unfair to call this a feminist diatribe against Disney Princesses, but it is about how to raise strong daughters and how even the most careful parenting cannot protect your child from the negative messages of the outside world and popular culture and how to deal with that.
  • Noah’s Flood by Ryan and Pitman – an interesting look at the actual historical flood that occurred around the Mediterranean and how that led to the nearly-universal flood myth.
  • Gun, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond – a fascinating analysis of why Western Europeans achieved early global dominance over other cultures, and what led some cultures to succeed and thrive, and others to stagger and fail. (Spoiler alert, livestock plays a huge role in this!)
  • Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide by Maureen Down – a funny and relatable book about the struggles of the feminist movement, the difficulties smart women face in dating, (not man-bashing, just talking about the struggles between the sexes), etc.
  • Shattered Hopes, Magnificent Failure: The Road to the Nuclear Middle East by Mark Hertz – fascinating, well-researched, but very controversial, book on Israel’s foundation and threat of nuclear weapons in the region.



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