Straight Off the Shelf: Judith Viorst

Judith Viorst’s children’s classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is one of our all-time favorite books. Judith Viorst was kind enough to share with us nine of her favorite books—and we’ve added short descriptions for each of them below.
  1. Atonement by Ian McEwan
    This novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness unravels the repercussions of a crime. Closely observed, psychologically penetrating, and sweeping in scope, this is a dazzling, complex novel of the twentieth century.
  2. The World as I Found It by Bruce Duffy
    A daring reimagining of the philosophers Bertrand Russell, G. E. Moore, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, this book moves from Vienna to the trenches of WWI to the colleges of Cambridge. This group portrait explores the lives, loves, and losses of these very different men.
  3. Collected Poems by Philip Larkin
    One of the best-known and best-loved poets of the English-speaking world, Philip Larkin had only a small number of poems published during his lifetime. Collected Poems brings together not only all his books but also his uncollected poems from 1940 to 1984.
  4. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
    Captivating generations of readers, this epic work of literature is considered Tolstoy’s masterpiece. Set during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812, War and Peace brings to life peasants and nobility alike and their personal and political struggles.
  5. The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
    The course of a Hungarian-Jewish family’s history is forever altered when a secret comes to light. This novel of love, loss, loyalty, and luck is told across war-torn countries during World War II.
  6. The Glass Room by Simon Mawer
    A young married couple in Czechoslovakia in the 1920s builds a modernist home with a glass room at its center only to find their exuberant faith in the future eclipsed by the storm clouds of WWII and their own personal desires and darkest secrets.
  7. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
    Edith Wharton was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Age of Innocence, which explores the joys and scandals surrounding the marriage of an upper-class New York couple during the Gilded Age.
  8. Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar
    A critically acclaimed novel written from the perspective of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the form of a letter to his cousin, Marcus Aurelius, who would be his successor.
  9. The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker
    This Pulitzer Prize winner is Ernest Becker’s impassioned answer to the “why” of human existence, prompting readers to see our humanity and mortality in a new light.