Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Top 10: Books

A co-worker asked me to list my Top 10 favorite books the other day. I couldn't do it in order at the time, I just spouted off favorites until it seemed like I'd hit 10 (turns out, I hit 12, as you'll see below). The conversation started because he said that Ender's Game was his favorite book and I'd never read it. I soon found out that he'd never read the Harry Potter series (WHAT?!), so I'm loaning him my books (one at a time, they're precious and I can't be without them all at once) while he loaned me the Ender's Game 200-page novella. I won.

My list was hard to compile. There's books I love because I read them young and have loved them forever, even if I realize now they're not as good as some of the others that probably should be on my list, and there's books I love right now that I'm in the middle of re-reading for only the 7th instead of the 20th time and who knows what their staying power will be for me, and then there's books that are good in a meta sense and books that are good in a "I enjoyed every freaking second and can't wait for the next one to be published even though they're about teenage witches" sense. I've been reading for more than 20 years. I love books, love good stories and characters and dialogue, and I'm not high brow or picky about content, time period, or general adherence to reality; in fact I rarely find myself drawn to (or enjoying) the books I'm supposed to read according to official lists and recommendations from people more literary than me. I don't want to think very hard, don't want to be depressed, don't want to get annoyed or angry at characters that are overly good or overly evil, and definitely don't want read anything that has any relevance to my daily life. I just want you to tell me a story- a great story with fun, believable dialogue and three-dimensional characters that I want to visit again and again.

These are my favorite stories:

1. Harry Potter series, JK Rowling
2. Outlander (the rest of the books can go here too, but the first one will always be my favorite; Claire's name came from this book and if I'd had my first choice, Landon's would have too), Diana Gabaldon
3. Betsy, Tacy, and Tib series (all of them, I'm in the process of buying the whole series for me Claire), Maud Hart Lovelace
4. Here Be Dragons (the rest of the series is also great, but I re-read this one every few months), Sharon Kay Penman
5. Lords of Deliverance (sequel series to the Demonica books), Larissa Ione
6. Lord of the Rings trilogy, JRR Tolkien
7. Circle trilogy, Nora Roberts (I've re-read these so much the pages are getting feathery on the edges)
8. The Hunger Games trilogy (#2 was my favorite, but all three go here), Suzanne Collins
9. Immortals after Dark series, Kresley Cole- very fun actiony, romancy books (MacRieve, book #12 is out July 2)
10. Lord of Scoundrels, Loretta Chase (a great regency romance, though most of Lisa Kleypas's books could also have filled this spot and now I'm wondering if I should switch them out of honorable mention; just read them all)
11. Little House series (my favorite always being Little House in the Big Woods because it reminded me of my grandparents' cabin in Wisconsin), Laura Ingalls Wilder
12. Anne of Green Gables series, LM Montgomery

Honorable mention:
~ Arcana Chronicles, Kresley Cole- I'm looking toward Endless Knight, book 2 out in October, more than any other book on my "coming out soon list."
~ Divergent, Veronica Roth- excellent, but too early to determine if I will re-read it as often as I seem to be doing right now; also, book 2 was a disappointment and I'm waiting for #3 to convince me otherwise when it comes out in October
~ any Lisa Kleypas historical romance, particularly the Wallflowers series, Bow Street Runners, and Then Came You; these should probably be in my Top 12 but I don't know what would come out.
~ JR Ward- love her books, but her dialogue is sometimes too choppy/not believable to be at the very top of my list; fantastic characters and relationships though
~ Nora Roberts "Sisters of the Heart" trilogy- I always skip book 2, but I adore 1 and 3 and read them all the time
~ Through a Glass Darkly (and the sequel Now Face to Face to some extent; the prequel, Dark Angels, was better), Karleen Koen
~ Whitney, My Love (and most others by the author), Judith McNaught

And so many others.

What are your favorites?


  1. Wait, something other than the next Diana Gabaldon is atop your list of new books coming out? Really?!?! Totally agree with you on #1 and #2 (and owe #2 all to you!)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. In addition to some of yours (Harry Potter, Anne of GG esp.), I must add Sherlock Holmes. All of them. And I think I've read everything Maeve Binchy ever wrote, some I loved more than others.

    Oh, and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, of course.

  4. Like Becky, I owe Outlander all to you - I'm currently reading the series for the third time, which just make my husband laugh at me.

    I also love the Chronicles of Narnia and the Wrinkle in Time series. Anne Rivers Siddons has written some good ones. The early Kay Scarpetta books by Patricia Cornwell are entertaining (probably the first five before they started getting ridiculous).

  5. I LOVE "Whitney, My Love" ,too!! And many, many others on your list. But I haven't known many folks to have read "Whitney, My Love", so I had to comment on that! ;-)

  6. Several you mentioned, Harry Potter, LOTR/Hobbit, Hunger Games, Ender's Game (but not the sequels).

    Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None."

    Anything Sherlock Holmes, but "A Scandal in Bohemia" is my favorite.

    Dashiell Hammett's "The Thin Man."

    "The Great Gatsby."

    Currently, I'm obsessed with Game of Thrones, etc. I'm almost through the second book, I can't stop reading.

  7. You and I have the same exact thoughts on the Hunger Games & Divergent!
    Other books I've loved recently: Room (Emma Donoghue), Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore (Robin Sloan) and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)

  8. Great list, and I love that you are not a literary snob. :)

  9. YES to Betsy, Tacy, and Tib! And if you loved Little House in the Big Woods, read Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink. I loved all those books growing up because they were set in Wisconsin and Minnesota and it was so much fun for me to imagine these long-ago girls in places that I knew.

  10. I also love the Harry Potter series.