Ever since I was a little kid, I loved to read books. I also used to write a lot of short stories and poems. I managed to write a 200 page novel on my Windows ME computer when I was 13, but I wasn’t able to salvage it when the PC became riddled with viruses. While I may not write fiction very much anymore, I still love to read. My tastes vary vastly and ultimately comes down to a few key things: is the book funny, is the book realistic, is the book fun. My favorite books usually answer all three questions with a ‘yes’.
I’m going to be lazy now and make this a list! It will be Title, Author Person: and some blurbs about why I put it here. I suppose I will list 10. Notice that the book list might change as I read more or learn more. My favorite books when I was a teenager are mostly different from what I enjoy now. Especially when it comes to YA books… I find that YA books tend to either be very well written or very poorly written. The books will not be listed in any order. I love these books equally.
- World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, Max Brooks: I couldn’t put this book down for very long between reads. Not only was it engaging, the book actually caused me to wonder what would it really be like for a zombie apocalypse? In zombie films and novels, the initial outbreak is never discussed at length and skips right into the apocalypse. Most media depicts the zombie apocalypse as an event that most likely ends the human race and that there are no areas left in the world with large communities of people. No places that still resemble major cities or nations. One of my biggest peeves with zombie fiction is the lack of narrative on the initial outbreak, but the total lack of imagination on setting. The closest I’ve seen the zombie genre get to speaking about cities of human survivors was The Forest of Hands and Teeth and even that novel left a lot to be desired.
- And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie: For a short while in college, I wanted to read murder mysterious. As it turns out, Agatha Christie is the best of the best. While I haven’t gotten the chance to read any of her other works, ATTWN blew me away. I was guessing the whole time as to who would be the murderer. I really appreciated that Agatha Christie wrote the novel in such a way that we could view the character’s thoughts and motivations, yet the murderer wasn’t some random character. My big peeve with some mysteries is that the person “who dun it” turns out to be a character that wasn’t introduced until the end. GG, Christie, you are amazing.
- Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell: This book is a MUST read for anyone who enjoys romance. I would highly recommend this book for struggling readers as well. The story takes place in the 1980’s and is not only about romance, but also about learning to love and trust. I honestly dislike romance when it takes precedence over the story, but in Eleanor & Park the romance IS the story. If someone like me can read the whole book without rolling an eye, I think this book has definitely accomplished reminding me what it was like to be a young fool in love.
- The Color Purple, Alice Walker: I love the setting, the style, and the language of this book. When you are reading it, you really do feel like you are reading the letters of a person. While some letters include more detail than a real letter would, the reader can come to understand that the letters are really a diary after some point. The book challenges our views on religion, the social structure of the US, and our understandings of morality. Many people, especially black men, hated the book. Its fascinating to read the book and see the kind of slurs people have written against Alice Walker and TCP. I highly recommend this to anyone. Its an easy, yet uncomfortable read.
- Ready. Player. One., Ernest Cline: There is honestly TOO much I could say about this book. Its quick paced, its hilarious, and it makes me wish the Oasis was a real thing. I loved all the main characters, particularly Ache. Some of the mysteries and riddles in the book were definitely solvable by the reader too, which earns it many bonus points. The only ones that aren’t involved the characters seeing or touching certain objects. Still, this is an AMAZING read for anyone that fits into the following categories: nerd, geek, 80’s pop culture, internet addicts, gamers. Wil Wheaton is also the reader on the audiobook, and he definitely brings the book to life! He was the made reason I gave the book a listen, and I am glad I stayed for the story.
- A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin: I am falling in love with the series this book comes from. I am listing only the first, because out of all I have gotten to read from the series so far, this book had the most movement and the most surprises. The world of Westeros is so very big and the political, emotional, and daily struggles of the characters has me in its grip. I also enjoy that no family seems to be 100% evil or 100% goodguys.
- I, Robot, Isaac Asimov: Its so completely mind blowing to read this knowing that, at the time this book was first publicated, there were no real concepts of robots. We can take it further and stand in awe of the amount of psychology that went into Isaac Asimov’s works in general. The characters are very lifelike, even the minor ones. In this book, an original book by all means, you can see the blueprints for future sci-fi stories. Robots that turn on humans, robots that love humans, humans that love robots, how humans are so very dependent on robots, and how we may possibly be dominated by robots one day. I can’t say too much more without spoiling it, so go read it. This is worth every hour it takes you to finish!
- Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East Teaches Us About Living in the West, T. R. Reid: There is a degree of mystery when it comes to the East. Japan is, for me, a main source of culture clash, because through movies, books, manga, and Anime their culture is revealed to us. They have a low crime rate, a high suicide rate, and completely different views on the world. I’ve always been fascinated by different POV and Japan is a perfect society for study. While they are like the U.S. in some ways, such as opportunities for everyone, they have such different ways to achieve similar ends. The emphasis on education in Japan as the U.S. beat. Its too much to go into now, but I think if you ever wanted to have one piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding why the East is so different from the West this book is a great place to start. Just be careful to research what the author claims, because some of it seems more hearsay than factual.
- Dead Until Dark, Charlaine Harris: This is a guilty pleasure read for me. I have an absolute soft spot in my heart for urban/modern occult fiction. Anne Rice was my first experience with the genre and, as a teen, I ate it up. Now that I am older, I am looking for stories less brooding and depressing. I want fun and exciting. DUD was a good fit. The characters are fun and alive (or dead depending) and they are less drama. Less prone to flipping out for no reason. I have yet to read more books in the series, because the TV show seems to be the opposite. Its a total soup opera with ridiculous emotional outbreaks. I may have to continue reading the books and just give up on the HBO show for now.
- The Golden Compass, Phillip Pullman: A fun and adventurous book, yet also very dark, this book was an amazing read. The book seems to attack organized anything, though I think it may be taking on the Catholic Church specifically. Also, despite being a gimmick, the daemons are fun and make me wish I had my soul in the form of an animal. Any book that makes you want something to be real out of it usually is worth mentioning!