Your top-10 all-time favourite books

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Your top-10 all-time favourite books

Postby Sanderling » 21 Aug 2011, 07:38

A couple of weeks ago, NPR released their top-100 science fiction and fantasy novels, as voted on by their readers. There're a lot of repeats by popular authors, of course, and many of the classic SF/F books made it on, but there's also a fairly broad range of other books represented. The full list is here: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/11/139085843 ... tasy-books

I was a little surprised, in browsing the list, to find six of my top-10 all-time favourites represented on the list. The list is only adult titles, so a couple of the other books on my list weren't included simply by virtue of being YA. But all but one of my favourite books happen to be considered SF/F, which I hadn't really considered before.

This is my top-10 list, in alphabetical order by author because I don't think I could order them easily:

Watership Down by Richard Adams
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
All The Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
Sunshine by Robin McKinley
The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
HP and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

For all of these books I got swept up in the story and strongly connected to the characters, and found that, for most of them, when I reached the conclusion of the book I was reading it through tears. (In the case of Outlander it was book #2 in the series that left me crying, but #1 was my favourite story-wise.) The only two I didn't cry during were City of Glass and Sunshine. I can only think of a couple of novels where I cried but wouldn't place them on my toplist (not enough space, I guess. ;)). It's that emotional connection that unifies all the titles on this list, I think, though they all had unputdownable stories, too.

What are your top-10 favourite books and why?
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Re: Your top-10 all-time favourite books

Postby Aimée » 21 Aug 2011, 11:33

I don't read much sci-fi or fantasy, but here is my top ten list. :)

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
Time's Arrow by Martin Amis
Chu Ju's House by Gloria Whelan (YA)
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
and... um I can't really think of a number ten. Perhaps On the Road by Jack Kerouac.
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Re: Your top-10 all-time favourite books

Postby Sanderling » 21 Aug 2011, 12:29

I've read a few of those, Aimée. The Time Traveler's Wife was one that just missed my top ten. I cried at the end of it, too. On The Road is among my husband's favourite books; our dog is named Jack Kerouac. ;)
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Re: Your top-10 all-time favourite books

Postby CharleeVale » 21 Aug 2011, 20:05

Oh My goodness. Wow. I don't even know.

These are my top ten right now, although i have a lot of books to read in the very near future. So this could change.

In no particular order.
The Scent of Magic by Andre Norton
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Divergent by Veronica Roth
A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Watermark By Joseph Brodsky
East by Edith Pattou
The Spectrum Chronicles by Thomas Locke (Trilogy)
Firebird Trilogy by Kathy Tyers (Trilogy)
Impossible by Nancy Werlin
Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

I had to have a list of ones that just missed the cut because they're also SOOO good.
Night by Elie Wiesel
Mara, daughter of the nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'dell
Paper Towns by John Green
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

And there's so many more!!! This is too hard!

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Re: Your top-10 all-time favourite books

Postby Sanderling » 21 Aug 2011, 22:29

I had that problem, too, Charlee - how to narrow it down to just a few! Although I find ten not too hard, it's five I wouldn't be able to do. I have lots of books that I really enjoyed that sit on the fringe of the ten, but that I don't struggle with excluding from the list.

I've read a few of yours, but surprisingly not that many. I'm afraid The Handmaid's Tale was ruined for me by high school english and I have no favourable thoughts for it... which is too bad, because Atwood is such a renowned Canadian author. I keep telling myself I should read some others of her books, now that I'm "grown up".

I read Island of the Blue Dolphins when I was really young; I don't remember anything about it other than the title and cover. ;)

I'll have to check out some of your others, too.

A few books that sit on my fringe:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
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Re: Your top-10 all-time favourite books

Postby Sommer Leigh » 22 Aug 2011, 06:12

My favorite books seem to change a lot, so I can only say for right NOW these are on the list of top 10, but that could change in 20 minutes :-)

In no order and also, I'm counting a series as a whole-

1. the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
2. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
3. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (just read this for the 9th time this weekend, in fact)
4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
5. the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld
6. The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman
7. How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
8. Night Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko
9. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood and Good Bones and Simple Murders by Margaret Atwood (Sorry, I couldn't decide!!)
10. Frankestein by Mary Shelley
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Re: Your top-10 all-time favourite books

Postby dios4vida » 22 Aug 2011, 08:38

Ooh...oh my...um, let's see if I can do this...

1. The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
2. The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher
3. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
4. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
5. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
6. Dragondoom by Dennis L. McKiernan (actually, the entire Mithgar series)
7. Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
8. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
9. The DemonWars Saga by R.A. Salvatore
10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

...and an honorary shout-out to Heidi by Johanna Spiri for being my favorite children's book.

(Yeah, my tastes are a bit ecclectic. Classics and fantasy are my favorites.)
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Re: Your top-10 all-time favourite books

Postby MattLarkin » 22 Aug 2011, 10:47

1. Dune
2. Song of Ice and Fire
3. Mistborn
4. Wheel of Time
5. Long Price Quartet
6. Night Angel Trilogy
7. Kingkiller Chronicles
8. Hythrun Chronicles
9. Lord of the Rings
10. Ender Series
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Re: Your top-10 all-time favourite books

Postby dios4vida » 22 Aug 2011, 11:13

Your list of favorites was very interesting compared to my tastes, Matt.

Dune, Mistborn, and Ender - I loved the first book of those series. With the exception of Ender's Shadow, though, I didn't like any of the sequels.

Song of Fire and Ice and Wheel of Time - I don't understand the hype of those. I didn't like the characters of Fire and Ice and I didn't hardly understand the Wheel of Time (what the heck was the Eye of the World, anyways?!). I feel like the misfit of fantasy fans because I don't like those series.

Lord of the Rings - Love love love. It almost made my top ten, but I prefer the Hobbit.

About everything else is on my TBR list.
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Re: Your top-10 all-time favourite books

Postby MattLarkin » 22 Aug 2011, 12:12

dios4vida wrote:Your list of favorites was very interesting compared to my tastes, Matt.

Dune, Mistborn, and Ender - I loved the first book of those series. With the exception of Ender's Shadow, though, I didn't like any of the sequels.

Song of Fire and Ice and Wheel of Time - I don't understand the hype of those. I didn't like the characters of Fire and Ice and I didn't hardly understand the Wheel of Time (what the heck was the Eye of the World, anyways?!). I feel like the misfit of fantasy fans because I don't like those series.

Lord of the Rings - Love love love. It almost made my top ten, but I prefer the Hobbit.

About everything else is on my TBR list.

Much of your list is on my TBR list, too.

Admittedly, I only read the first two books of Ender (first was better). It was hard to pick the last two, and LotR almost didn't make, even though it holds great nostalgia for me since it was the first fantasy I read, and I read it as a small child.

The first three books of Dune were the best, but I liked all the main series.

On Eye of the World, I don't know. That part was kind of out there. But after following the series for thirteen books, the emotional connection and impact of the characters is huge, and the world feels very real. And his ability to plot and foreshadow is great.

SoIaF is all about characters, so if you didn't like them, I can understand why that wouldn't work for you.
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Re: Your top-10 all-time favourite books

Postby dios4vida » 22 Aug 2011, 12:21

MattLarkin wrote:Much of your list is on my TBR list, too.

Admittedly, I only read the first two books of Ender (first was better). It was hard to pick the last two, and LotR almost didn't make, even though it holds great nostalgia for me since it was the first fantasy I read, and I read it as a small child.

The first three books of Dune were the best, but I liked all the main series.

On Eye of the World, I don't know. That part was kind of out there. But after following the series for thirteen books, the emotional connection and impact of the characters is huge, and the world feels very real. And his ability to plot and foreshadow is great.

SoIaF is all about characters, so if you didn't like them, I can understand why that wouldn't work for you.


So, if you only read the first two Ender (Ender's Game and...Speaker of the Dead, I think?) have you heard of Ender's Shadow? It's parallel to Ender's Game but told from Bean's POV. I actually like it better than Ender's Game. Highly recommended, especially if you liked the Battle School.

My husband loves the first three Dune books, too. I think I got lost in the politics of the second and third. The Sci-Fi channel did a miniseries of Dune and Children of Dune (really, the second and third books) that took all the good parts of those books and put them together. That was good. I wanted to like the second and third Dune books a lot more than I did.

It's good to know that I'm not the only one lost on Eye of the World. After that, I had a hard time caring enough to continue on. I might have to pick it up and try it again, though, if you have a similar opinion.
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Re: Your top-10 all-time favourite books

Postby MattLarkin » 22 Aug 2011, 12:39

[quote="dios4vida]
So, if you only read the first two Ender (Ender's Game and...Speaker of the Dead, I think?) have you heard of Ender's Shadow? It's parallel to Ender's Game but told from Bean's POV. I actually like it better than Ender's Game. Highly recommended, especially if you liked the Battle School.
[/quote]
I've heard of it. It's somewhere pretty far down my TBR list...But maybe it should be higher.

I liked the SciFi miniseries a lot, too.
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Re: Your top-10 all-time favourite books

Postby Quill » 22 Aug 2011, 15:44

Interesting that not one person so far has named a non-fiction book among their faves. For me, just about all my top ten would be non-fiction. Among my favorite fiction tomes would be a number of children's books, which actually inspired me, at that young age, to write!

Wind in the Willows
Winnie the Pooh
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Mary Poppins
Stuart Little
King Arthur
The Once and Future King
Huckleberry Finn
Grimm's Fairy Tales
The Black Cauldron
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Re: Your top-10 all-time favourite books

Postby CharleeVale » 22 Aug 2011, 18:13

Quill wrote:Interesting that not one person so far has named a non-fiction book among their faves.


Actually, Watermark By Joseph Brodsky is literary non-fiction. :P

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Re: Your top-10 all-time favourite books

Postby Cookie » 22 Aug 2011, 18:45

Ah man, you're going to pin me down? *bites nails. Um. Um. If I have to choose--

1. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
3. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
4. Harry Potter Series by Jk Rowling
5. Angelique and the King by Anne Golon
6. Leviathan Series by Scott Westerfeld
7. Love and Louis XIV by Antonia Frasier (non-fiction)
8. 1984 by George Orwell
9. The Iliad by Homer
10. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Gah! There are so many good books out there!
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