I write a lot about Utah divorce. A lot.

No surprise there since divorce attorneying is my vocation and what I think about most of the day.

Some days, though, it’s best to take a step back and think and write about something different.

Today’s different is lists. Almost every day I make lists. I make lists of goals, things to do, favorite restaurants, top vacation spots, etc.

One of my favorite lists is my top books. These aren’t the best books ever written, but they are my favorite books that I’ve ever read. I love books, and this list is always changing depending on my stage in life and what I’ve reflected on over the years.

So, here’s my top 5 books of all time:

  1. The Trial by Franz Kafka.

Best existentialist book ever written. The premise is a man wakes up one morning and is informed he’s on trial. Problem is he can never figure out why he’s on trial, or when he’s on trial, or the charges against him. It’s a wonderful look in to the banality of bureaucracy and the nature of law.

  1. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris.

Best biograph ever written. Roosevelt lived life to its fullest. So much so that his life reads more like a comic book than a presidential biography. The Rise is the first volume in a three-volume series, and it is by far the most interesting of the three. Morris brings Roosevelt to life like no one else ever has, or probably ever will.

  1. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

An amazing story of sin, redemption, and forgiveness. There’s nothing quite like the interplay between Jean Valjean and Javert. Take the time and read the unabridged version (all 1200+ pages); it’s worth it. I freely admit I cried all the way through.

  1. Open by Andre Agassi.

Best autobiography ever. I grew up watching Andre Agassi play tennis. I loved his style and his game. I also figured he was a vapid Las Vegan. Man, I was way off. Agassi is intelligent and writes extremely well. His personal story is compelling and incredibly poignant. What struck me almost more than anything else is how different he is in real life compared to what I assumed he was from watching him on TV for years. Never judge a person’s life from the outside. Lesson learned.

  1. Il Cucciaio d’Argento [The Silver Spoon].

Best cookbook ever. This is the Bible of Italian cooking. I swear every Italian woman from Torino to Taranto has this in her kitchen. So many amazing recipes. If you like to cook at all, this will be your joint.

There you have it: the top 5.

In case you were wondering my 6-10 are: The Big ShortAlexander HamiltonMarket Education: The Unknown History, and Money: Mastering the Game.

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