My Favorite Books of All Time

A few times recently, I have placed a book I have read “Into my top ten” after reviewing them.  I’ve been thinking that over, trying to figure out just what those top ten are.

To be completely honest, until just recently I have not been an avid reader.  It is not that I didn’t enjoy reading… I just didn’t have time.  When I was younger I used to always read before I went to bed, but in later years that just seemed to dwindle away.  Yes, I did still read, but it would take months for me to finish a book.

Now that I am reading again, I am discovering great new writers to challenge my older classics, although my top spots are still pretty firm.

So the books in my list are a mix of things I read when I was in high school and college, and those I’ve read in the last year.  My top ten list of novels I’ve ever read:

10. Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison – This is “so not my style”, but this book resonated with me.  This is a case of being forced to read something for a college course, and having it haunt you for a long time.

9. The P.U.R.E, Claire Gillian – I don’t think it was so much the story in this one.  Mysteries, as a rule, bore me, but the writing was so dern awesome I was drawn in.  I have notes typed all over my copy.  Really good.

8. Eragon, Christopher Paolini – Okay, don’t laugh.  I really enjoyed this book for the sheer fun of storytelling.  I read it before I started beta-reading and dissecting novels, and I’m glad I did, because I’m sure I would look at it differently if I read it today.  Despite a talking dragon, which I usually gag over, this was a great light-hearted read for me.

7. Dragons Lance Series – I can’t pick out just one.  I always bought them in boxes sets.  I ate these for lunch daily.  It’s probably not good that I can’t remember what any of them were about, but I would finish a book, and scramble for another.  I always got a kick out of the character with no fear and no common sense that always got into trouble.  Great fun.

6. The Glass Man, Jocelyn Adams – Yeah, I have two at #6.  I kept switching these back and forth for different reasons, so I’m giving them both the #6 slot.  Great action – and one of the best villians I’ve read in a long time.  I’d love to see a novel just about him.

6. Crux, Julie Reece – See my recent review.  The only thing better than a good action movie is a good action book with characters you can relate to.

4. Dragon Riders of Pern, Mercedes Lackey – What’s better than dragons?  Dragons on other planets!  What an awesome concept.

3. The Great Hunt, Robert Jordan – The second in the Wheel of Time series, and the first RJ book I ever read.  I was immediately hooked on his style.

2. Mists of Avalon – I had to read this in college, and I couldn’t put it down.  I’m a King Arthur junkie, but this was the first time (for me) to see the story from the women’s perspective. It blew me away.

1. Vertical Run by Joseph R. Garber – This is a book that would have been a great Bruce Willis movie in the Die Hard Era.  This guy goes to work one day and his boss tries to kill him.  So he runs downstairs and the mailman tries to kill him, and then his neighbor and on and on.  He ends up trapped in a building, running from people.  The fun comes in the form of him being a former special agent of some kind, so he knows how to take all these people out.  Unfortunately, some of these hunters are people he cares about.  A huge thrill ride, despite one stupid element in the final action scene.  I’ve never read anything this intense, and I LOVED it.

So what’s the greatest novel you’ve ever read?


22 responses to “My Favorite Books of All Time

  1. Dragon Lance and Dragon Rider’s of Pern, I knew you were a smart cookie!

  2. Just added several of these to my TBR! Thanks for sharing your faves, Jennifer!

  3. Hmmm, Hobbit and Lord of the Rings; Dragonriders of Pern; X-Men during the 1980s; Earthsea; Jim C. Hines’s Goblin trilogy. Okay, I guess I’m supposed to be choosing single titles. FAIL! (As my son would say.)

  4. The original – A Moveable Feast – by Ernest Hemingway. There is a new version published by a different family member, but the original was published by his wife at the time and is all about Hemingway’s time in Paris with his first wife Hadley. It is brilliant and caused me to give his other works a second look. I had previously not been a fan, finding his work too masculine and stark, but have changed my mind.

  5. umm, dragonriders of pern was Anne Maccaffrey, not Lackey FYI 😉
    Fav series: Hobbit/LOTR by Tolkien, always
    Chronicles of Narnia (both of these series I grew being read from and then reading on my own)
    Entire Sword of Truth series by Goodkind (definately not for kids, but hands down best fantasy series I’ve ever read, and had a huge impact on me and my writing)
    David Brin’s Uplift saga – sci fi on a cosmic scale, hitting on every note both philosophical, ethical, emotional and action. many of Brin’s books are like this, so he’s my fav sci fi
    Jack Chalker is my guilty, dark, closet reading pleasure, be it sci fi or fantasy, I’m just a sucker for a good transformation story
    Those are just some off the top of my head. A bunch more are clamoring to get out of my memory right now, but they’re crammed in the gateway for the time being and won’t get themselves straightened out until I hit the post button. Just as well, this post would get even longer otherwise.

  6. One just popped into my head. It’s tough picking a favourite. Among the ones I’ve enjoyed the most, I absolutely love ‘Galileo’s Daughter’ by Dava Sobel. I don’t recognize any of those in your list either, except for Song of Solomon.

  7. The Chronicles of Magravandias series by Storm Constantine (the three books in the series, Sea Dragon Heir, The Crown of Silence, and The Way of Light, are falling apart, I’ve read them so much). Flight of the Nighthawks, one of many Raymond Feist books I can’t put down. Of course the Harry Potter books have been read multiple times with Order of the Phoenix being my absolute fave. Julie Reece’ Crux is also on the top of my list as is almost anything by Cassandra Clare. Loved The Glass Man and Shadowborn by Jocelyn Adams. There’s also a fantastic sci fi/fantasy novel by the wonderful author, Jennifer Eaton, that really needs to see the light of day, sooner than later. Harris Stanton really needs to be shared with the world, missy.

  8. Oh, so hard to pick, but I guess my favorite–for its beautifully written style and its story telling–is ‘A Fine Balance’ by Rohinton Mistry. I also loved ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ by Arthur Golden and ‘Midwives’ by Chris Bohjalian.

    • I find it interesting that people are mentioning books I’ve never heard of.

    • A Fine Balance—loved it. It’s interesting to see how a country, an entire culture, can become a character in a novel. Plainsong, by Kent Haruf is one of my favorites. He’s got a new novel out called Benediction, that I just saw in the airport. Sounds like it may be another award winner. When I get home, I’m going to buy it. Memoirs of a Geisha didn’t affect me as strongly as Julian Barnes’s, The Sense of an Ending or Ishiguro’s, The Remains of the Day. But then there’s Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury and Absalom!Absalom! How they haunted my dreams. God, I could go on forever. I’m not one to make a top ten list and stick with it.

  9. Yeesh, that’s a tough one. If we’re putting aside classics (my favorite of which is Jane Eyre,) and looking at just contemporary novels, my favorite would be a toss up between The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri and The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure by Adam Williams. Both excellent novels.