Favourite Books

I have accumulated thousands of books over the years and have dozens of bookcases around my house. Nearly every shelf has books stuffed across the top and stacked in front. I have acquired an average of at least one book every day for more than 35 years. That’s a lot of books (including haiku journals). Poetry, especially haiku and tanka, has been my central focus (thank goodness that many haiku books are small), but I also collect books on science/mathematics, language/grammar, world religions (especially Zen and Taoism), children’s literature, fiction, graphic design and typography, humour, travel, art, music, and more, such as small collections on the theory of play and shelves devoted to such topics as optical illusions, Japanese culture, concrete poetry, plagiarism, Paul Reps, John Cage, Alan Watts, comics, and photography. I have bookcases devoted to Martin Gardner, E. E. Cummings, and Lewis Carroll, including books dating back to the 1800s, and another large bookcase filled with hundreds of computer books I’ve edited. Amid all these thousands of books, I would say the following, in alphabetical order by author, have risen to the top as among the most influential and admired in my life. How many of these books have you read?



I also have a habit of reading bathroom books, such as quotation books or other short episodic collections. Haiku and tanka books sometimes make good bathroom books. My favourite bathroom book, though, was 99 Red Balloons and 100 Other All-Time Great One-Hit Wonders by Brent Mann.

See also “Favourite Movies.”