Thought I’d give you all a break from the educational posts for a few weeks. One of my Twitter friends (@JuliaL2445 you might want to follow her – she’s cool) has been asking me to do a top 10 favorite (fiction) book list for a while now, so here it is. This was a lot harder than I expected because my list keeps changing. (BTW – If you’re on Goodreads please friend me there. If not, check it out. It’s the site for book lovers.)
Instead of giving you a plot summary, I’m going to tell you why each book is on my favorite list. If you want to know more about the book, click on the title to go to its Amazon.com page or on the author’s name to go to his/her website.
1. – tie) Interred with Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell – Modern-day thriller meets Shakespeare. This is the only book I’ve ever read with the perfect balance of page-turning plot, characterization, description and smart dialogue. And you don’t have to know much about Shakespeare to understand it. Oh and one of the characters supplanted Edward Cullen as my fictional boyfriend. 😉 The sequel, Haunt Me Still, is amazing as well. But read this one first.
1. – tie) Juliet by Anne Fortier – A thriller with a dash of romance and yes, more Shakespeare. This is the most romantic (not graphic) book I’ve ever read. Amazing characters, fast paced plot and breathtaking descriptions that make you feel like you’re in Sienna.
3.) Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe – There’s only one word to describe this classic: delicious. Scandalous when it was written in the early 1700s, it may make you blush even now. This book has it all: wealth, thievery, poverty, scoundrels, romance, adultery, incest, hangings, etc. The version I read had no chapter breaks, but if you keep with it, you’ll thank me. And if you want a head start, watch the BBC miniseries first. But then read the book because there’s so much more to the story.
4.) Caleb’s Crossing by Gerlandine Brooks – This is what all historical fiction should aim to be. So true to the early American colonies I feel like I’ve traveled back in time. And the author has accomplished the strongest characterization I’ve ever seen. No wonder she’s a Pulitzer Prize winner (for another book). I’m currently reading this and it’s already cemented its place in my top 10.
5. – tie) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Ever since reading 1984 in high school, I’ve been fascinated with dystopian worlds. This one takes it to a whole new level. The privation faced by the characters made me truly grateful for what I have and changed my outlook on life. The story itself is riveting, but it was the emotional connection I formed with the characters while reading that put this on the top of my list.
5. – tie) Divergent by Veronica Roth – I couldn’t put this book down. It’s similar to The Hunger Games in many ways, but also very different. The idea of the factions and trying to figure out which one I’d be in or which one my parents would have raised me in or how/if I’d survive in her world kept me intrigued. And it takes place in Chicago, so of course I love it.
7.) City of Bones by Cassandra Clare – I’m not one for urban fantasy, but hello literary perfection. Cassandra’s descriptions are the best in the biz, her plots are meticulously…well, plotted, and this book introduces one of the most charming characters to grace a page in years. It’s approachable fantasy – more like an alternate world we mere mortals cannot see than a wholly different one. I also recommend the other books in this series, especially #3, City of Glass.
8.) Mage Heart by Jane Routley – This is the first high fantasy book I ever read and it was something like 13 years ago, but I adore this book. It’s funny and poignant all in turns and is a gentle introduction into the world of high fantasy. I also recommend the sequel, Fire Angels, for its rich landscape, romance and enthralling magic.
9.) The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – Mix poetic language so vivid you want it to soak in through your skin with just enough gothic horror to make your hairs stand on end and you have this book. It kept me guessing from the first page to the last.
10.) The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley – This book changed my life in many ways. It was the first place I ever read about Avalon and strongly shaped my views of the sacred isle. (You’ll see similarities in my book, but I also did my own research and formed my own vision, but this was the start.) And without her portrayal of Guinevere (which I hated), I never would have thought to write my own version. It’s a fabulous book with very strong female characters – the first in a great tradition I’m proud to carry on.
Now it’s your turn. Please share your favorite books, and maybe even why they’re so special to you, in the comments.