No, no, don’t run away! I have a good singing voice, I swear!*
This is the first in a short series of posts that will have my favorite things relating to books. All of these posts will be updated and linked to whenever I feel like it. What’s up for today? Why, my favorite novels of all time, OF COURSE!
In no particular order:
1. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle – Delicious prose, self-aware characters, anachronisms galore… This book has it all! I loved the animated cartoon when I was a wee child and when I learned, in high school, that there was a book, I bought it immediately and fell in love all over again. I am a sucker for breathtaking prose and, boy, is Beagle ever the author for that. Just listen to this opening (which I have memorized): “The unicorn lived in a lilac wood and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam, but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.” *sighs the happy sigh of utterly beautiful prose* Uh, okay, sorry. I have more to say about this stunning book, but honestly, just go do yourself a favor and read it!
2. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – A young boy, a terrible war, a frightening gift… Don’t you think I should write cover copy? In all seriousness, this is a classic YA (but with plenty of crossover to adult) science fiction novel, and it’s a classic for very good reason.
3. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card – The sequel to Ender’s Game. It’s rare that a sequel will get on this list, and even rarer that it will get a separate spot (normally I would just include it with the first), but Speaker for the Dead is such a different book that I wanted to give it it’s own place.
4. Sabriel (and the rest of the Abhorsen trilogy) by Garth Nix – A fantasy world that feels real, a new take on necromancy, a female heroine written by a male. It can’t be so! Sabriel is, like so much YA, about finding yourself and growing up, but it comes with wonderful plotting, snarky characters, and as I mentioned before, great world-building.
5. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay – It took me a long time to read this book, but it was worth it. Kay, like Beagle, is a master of words (see also his Fionavar triology). While I wasn’t a fan of a couple of the younger characters, the older ones and their relationships with each other are magnificently done. Every other element of good novels (plot, world-building, excellent writing, etc) are without reproach.
6. Persuasion by Jane Austen
7. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
8. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein – The only Heinlein book I’ve read (I can never get past the first couple of chapters of Stranger in a Strange Land), but it made a fairly profound impact on me. It is one of the few novels on this list that I’ve only read once.
9. The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling – I got to grow up with Harry Potter and let me tell you, I feel blessed that I did.
10. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – I need to reread this (again). So, so intricate and lovely. I read Love in the Time of Cholera last year, but it, for me, pales in comparison to this masterpiece.
11. A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – What an amazing author. I have only read this and the Blind Assassin by her and both were wonderful.
12. The Astonishing Tale of Octavian Nothing (Parts I and II) by M.T. Anderson
13. Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry – Some books need to be read at a certain time in your life to have their fullest impact. The Giver may be one of those books, based on my own and my brother’s experiences. This book may have changed my life. My brother has it as three stars on Goodreads.
15. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
16. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – Without a doubt, the funniest book I have ever read. I mean, really. This is one of my most reread books. In fact, I should go track down my (extremely beat up) copy.
17. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
18. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
19. Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman – This is a beautiful little book about dreams and time and people (as a whole, not as individuals). There is a sense of fairy tale in each dreaming, where the people of this other world are strange but familiar, where life is lovely and cruel, and where the flow of time might not be a flow at all, but a waterfall or a block of ice or flames.
20. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino – In some ways this is a similar book to Einstein’s Dreams, but where Lightman explores time, Calvino explores landscape. Both books take my breath away with the beauty of their prose and the depth of their imagination. They both make me wish our world was a little less uniform, with more pockets of utterly delightful weirdness.
What are some of your favorite books?
Other posts in this series: Favorite Authors