In celebration of the fact that this is my 100th post I thought I would do something a little different. 100 of my favorite books. Some of these I’ve mentioned before in reviews but many are being mentioned for the first time. These are in no particular order since I don’t really have one favorite book.
- Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
Classic Russian tale of a failing marriage and the consequences of doing whatever makes you happy. Love the story because the reader can feel her pain while seeing what the right choices can do through the complex storyline. The ending of this one makes me cry every time I read it. My copy is tatted, torn and written all over.
- The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
One of the best tales of revenge ever written. This story follows a young man who is falsely accused of a crime to protect a powerful man’s family. After enduring prison, he makes a daring escape and comes back not as the simple sailor he had been but as the powerful and mysterious Count who comes back to seek revenge on the people who sent him away. I suggest the unabridged version. It’s a long haul but so much richer in detail.
- Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Jane is one of my favorite characters ever written. She is so normal and humble and yet she wins the love of the man she wants. She is a teacher and a classic introvert. In high school Jane was one of my favorite characters to go back to. You can read a more in my notable character post on Jane Eyre.
- The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Two Towers – J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Return of the King – J.R.R. Tolkien
I read The Hobbit of course but while it’s a fun read, it really doesn’t compare to the epic high fantasy level of the trilogy. The story of Frodo and Sam as they travel to Mordor and to destroy the one ring is broad-sweeping and completely engaging. Definitely worth the read!
- Twilight – Stephenie Meyer
- New Moon – Stephenie Meyer
- Eclipse – Stephenie Meyer
- Breaking Dawn – Stephenie Meyer
On principle I haven’t reviewed these books simply because I know that I am not objective when it comes to this series. While I know that Stephenie’s writing isn’t amazing, I find the story completely captivating. I get lost the world of Edward and Bella and have spent quite a bit of free time writing speculative fiction based on the world she created. I am admittedly a Twilight fangirl and not ashamed of it.
- Wizard’s First Rule – Terry Goodkind
While I love the whole series, the first book is what draws you in and captivates the reader. The story centers around Kahlan and Richard who are sent on an epic journey to stop the evil Lord Rahl from ending the world using an ancient and powerful magic. Richard has lived without magic his whole life until Kahlan comes through the impenetrable barrier that separated them from the world of magic. Richard is one of the best heroes I have ever read and the books are a satisfying long read. This one starts a series that is now on book number fourteen.
- Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
The first book I ever read about an amazing spider trying to spare the life of a wonderful pig. A children’s classic and something every child should read.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkiban – J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling
No matter whether you love the series or hate it, there is no denying the fact that Rowling single-handedly reignited a love of reading in children around the world. A whole generation of kids was turned into bookworms because of this series. From the moment Harry find out he is special to the final battle, the whole journey is a wild ride that shouldn’t be missed.
- Eragon – Christopher Paoloni
- Brisingr – Christopher Paoloni
- Eldest – Christopher Paoloni
- Inheritance – Christopher Paoloni
Starting with Eragon and going through Inheritance this series tells the story of a young boy who finds a dragon egg and becomes a magical dragonrider in a world where they are almost completely extinct. I loved this series, even though the ending was a bit disappointing. My review of the final book can be found here.
- Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
The story of a young man who is born in the hope that he will be the one to save the world from an alien invasion. One of the most original pieces of science fiction I have read with one of the coolest games ever written into a book.
- The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
- Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
- Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins
Futuristic dystopian society where children are forced to fight to death in a modern-day arena while the country watches for amusement. Just came out in film recently and I really want to go see it again! So good that I had to talk about it twice! You can find my reviews here and here!
- The Secret Garden – Francis Hodgeson Burnett
A little girl is orphaned when disease kills her parents in India and she is sent to live with a distant relative in England. A spoiled little girl has to learn how to live without servants and without getting whatever she wants. As Mary grows into a healthy normal little girl she helps her family overcome a tragedy that has plagued the house for years.
- A Little Princess – Francis Hodgeson Burnett
This book is one of the sweetest stories I have ever read. This was a story that I would get lost in over and over again when things were going bad for me as a child because it reminded me that eventually things would be better again. Sara is a girl who has everything but somehow managed to remain unspoiled. Everything is perfect in her life until her father dies and she is left penniless, a charity child who must now serve the people who were once jealous of her.
- Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
The story of a man who goes to jail for fifteen years for stealing a loaf of bread and his fight to be able to live a normal life after being released. I love Jean Valjean’s story but the other characters are so wonderful and deep that I could never pick a favorite. This is a very long read but I would suggest reading the full book. There is so much that is missed in the abridged version. It is worth the long haul.
- The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
This series was one that was read to me over and over again as a kid. Then I read them myself so many times that I’ve worn out two sets of the books and my husband and I have our own copies because it is the one set of books we just can’t share. If you’ve never read them, you need to.
- The Scarlet Pimpernel – Baroness Orczy
The Scarlet Pimpernel, a rogue fighting against the crown to free the people from a corrupt government. A man with a secret identity. A man who is desperately sought by society – some to help and others to catch. This book is just a ton of fun to read. It’s a simple story with a somewhat predictable plot but such a great read that I reach for it when I want something light and fun.
- The Prince and the Pauper – Mark Twain
Normally Twain is not one of my favorite authors. Sad but true. This book however is so much fun to read. It is the original case of look-a-likes swapping lives. I read a simplified version of it as a little kid and had to go back a reread the full book again when I was older more than once. Definitely worth the read!
- Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
I can’t say enough about Anne Shirley and the impact that she had on me as a kid. This is another set of books that I’ve worn out a couple sets of simply because I’ve read them over and over again. I’ve talked about the author on my blog before and my next notable character post will be on Anne.
- Divergent – Veronica Roth
One of the many dystopian novels to come out after the popularity of The Hunger Games but this one stood out from the crowd for its unique story line and the way the society was divided by what people found to be important. I thought the main character is great but Four really steals the show. I hope the author writes a book about Four and his life growing up because I can’t seem to get enough of him.
- The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
I read this one for the first time in college and it was a life changing book for me. Lewis is a master at getting the reader to see Christianity from a fresh perspective. This book in particular really shed light on Spiritual Warfare for me and how important it is. Definitely a must read for any believer.
- The Great Divorce – C.S. Lewis
This book is his spin on heaven and hell. While it is not accurate, it really does make the reader think about being a Christian as more than a life insurance policy. One I have reread many times.
- The Hannibal Lecter series – Thomas Harris
These are the consummate serial killer novels. The way Harris gets into his main character’s mind and the descriptions are complete engrossing. If you’ve only seen the movies, you have no idea how much you are missing.
- The Mortal Instruments series – Cassandra Clare
These are young adult fiction the way it should be written. Clare captures teens in a way that is unique to the teen experience and yet is still engaging for any age. Book five just came out and it is on my must read list. You can find my review of the first three books here.
- Matched – Ally Condie
- Crossed – Ally Condie
The first book of this series is a controlled dystopian society where the government decides who you will marry. A society where there are only 100 books, 100 poems, 100 songs and 100 movies. The government controls what you eat and when you will die. A government that experiments with people’s psyches just for amusement. A great read and while the second book isn’t quite as good, the first is well worth the read. You can find my original review here.
- The Bible
No list of my favorite books would be complete without it. My preferred version is the New American Standard Bible. I also rather enjoy the simple communication style of The Message.
- Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
I would call this the original steampunk novel with an angelic twist. Gaiman’s world between worlds is brilliantly written and the outsider discovering it is a classic way to immerse the reader but in this story t is more than a simple device, it is the center of the story. The main character’s struggle to choose between the two worlds is very descriptive and an excellent read. Definitely one to check out.
- Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
What a fascinating look into a hidden and largely forbidden world. The struggles of this young girl who goes from servant to the highest paid Geisha ever is a gripping fast-paced and heart wrenching read. Her love for the Chairman is amazing and so innocent in the midst of a world driven by money, power and manipulation.
- Jane Bites Back – Michael Thomas Ford
- Jane Goes Batty – Michael Thomas Ford
I must admit, I am more of a fan of the Bronte sisters than Jane Austen but in this book I route for Jane completely. While the books that follow are alright as well, the first one had me laughing almost constantly. How often to read a book where Jane Austen is living today but as a member of the undead? Hilarious book and great read.
- The Complete Wizard of Oz series – L. Frank Baum
The story of a little girl from the middle of nowhere suddenly getting thrust into this great adventure with wizards, witches, lost princesses and an unusual band of friends is one of the books series that every child should be familiar with beyond the classic movie (although that’s good too).
- Wurthering Heights – Emily Bronte
The first time I read this book I couldn’t stand it. The second time I read it, I couldn’t put it down.
- War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
Yes it’s long. Yes it’s definitely worth the time and effort. Good luck keeping track of all the characters though.
- The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Neffenegger
How complicated would your life be if your husband showed up at random points during your life, being a different age every time you met him? The ending on this one didn’t quite make me cry but I sure did get close.
- The Giver – Lois Lowry
The first young adult dystopian novel about a boy who carries everyone’s memories so they don’t have to recall them.
- A Wrinkle in Time – Madeline L’Engle
A series of books that seems like straight fantasy at first until you realize that there is a lot more going on than the surface level story. Charles Wallace and Meg were some of my favorite characters growing up.
- The Once and Future King – T.H. White
One of, if not the best of the Arthur novels. White captures the story in a way that no one else can quite match.
- The Host – Stephenie Meyer
A book claiming to be science fiction for people who didn’t like science fiction is exactly what this book is. This book doesn’t focus on the science but focuses on the people instead which is a refreshing change from quite a bit of modern science fiction.
- Songmaster – Orson Scott Card
I simply love the way that Card talks about music in this book. he is so descriptive. My original review can be found here.
- The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams
I love this book about a child and their love for a toy.
- Redwall – Brian Jaques
Loved these books in junior high. Not normally a fan of books about animals but this series is so well written that it is worth the time.
- Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Paterson
Great book with a horribly sad ending. Makes me tear up every time I read it. All about the senseless loss of a child. Definitely a must read.
- Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babitt
A great story that doesn’t seem like fantasy at first. What would you do if you discovered the fountain of youth and could make the choice to stay young forever?
- Matilda – Roald Dahl
A book about a girl who loves to read and has telekinesis. What’s not to love? Except for the mind tricks I was Matilda with a better family.
- Quiet – Susan Cain
As an introvert, this book was an amazing read. This book celebrates being an introvert and gives people permission to be who they really are. It is a recent addition to the list but one I know I’ll be reading again. My review for this one is here.
- The Swan Thieves – Elizabeth Kostova
A great fantasy novel that doesn’t read like fantasy. This author is an amazing wordsmith and seems to make any plot plausible. Her other book , The Historian is on my “need to read” list.
- Firestarter – Stephen King
The story of a little girl who has a terrible gift. A great read.
- Eats. Shoots & Leaves – Lynne Truss
Might seem like a bit of an odd selection to someone who hasn’t read this one but not strange to anyone who has. Hilarious book about punctuation. No really.
- The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath
Her poems always make me think.
- The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
Not a book for everyone for sure but one that I’ve read time and time again.
- A Walk to Remember – Nicholas Sparks
Read this one long before the movie came out. While the movie is a good flick the book is so much better. Such a sweet and sad story.
- The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks
This book makes me cry. What an amazing love story.
- The Last Song – Nicholas Sparks
I think this one really got to me simply because of the music aspect.
- Violin – Anne Rice
Normally I find Rice’s writing to be extremely boring to read but this book was the exception to the rule. What a ghost story!
- Faith of the Fallen – Terry Goodkind
Part of his Sword of Truth series. The world perspective in this book and the way that Richard overcomes the obstacles he is faced with makes for one of the best fantasy reads I have ever experienced.
- A Girl of the Limberlost – Gene Stratton- Porter
A book about a girl who never seems to fit in because her mother is haunted by the death of her father. A story about how the pain of loss can pull a family apart.
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
I love how completely impossible and fun this book is.
- Kilemny of the Orchard – L.M. Montgomery
Not quite sure what it is about this small book that I love but it’s one I’ve worn out three copies of. The story of a girl who can’t talk and the man who takes the time to get to know her.
- The Blue Castle – L.M. Montgomery
What would you do if you found out that you only had a year to live? If you had always played it safe and enver done anything? What would you risk to make your last year memorable?
- Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
Great book. Not much more you can say but that.
- Roots – Alex Haley
The story of a family that starts with a man kidnapped from his home and forced into slavery. An amazing story. One I’ve read quite a few times.
- The Neverending Story – Michael Ende
The story of a boy named Sebastian who literally enters the world of the book he is reading. I would recommend that you find a version that is printed with better colors than red and green. The green can be quite straining on the eyes after a while.
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce
Joyce is the master of imagery and symbolism. This book is one that makes me think every single time I read it.
- The Jungle – Upton Sinclair
Not one I’ve read more than once but one that I never need to read again. I couldn’t eat beef for weeks after reading this one.
- Ender’s Shadow – Orson Scott Card
The story of the boy who was the backup to Andrew Wiggin. Bean’s story is a fantastic read and a great series in it’s own right.
- Yertle the Turtle – Dr. Suess
A book about how everything is not all about you.
- Hind’s Feet for High Places – Hannah Hunnard
An allegory of the Christian journey. In my opinion, much better than Pilgrim’s Progress.
- The Lottery – Shirley Jackson
Read it because I had to. Reread it because I loved it.
- The Trumpet of the Swan – E.B. White
A swan that can sing who discovers the trumpet to replace his lost voice. One of my favorite musical tales.
- Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass – Frederick Douglass
Lent to me by my mom’s boss, an eye opening read about the world of slavery.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket
Great series of depressing books about a family of orphans who can’t seem to catch a break. A fun satisfying read.
- The Book of Lost Things – John Connelly
A strange but great book. One of the darkest fairy tale like books I have ever read. Worth the time and effort.
- The House at Pooh Corner – A. A. Milne
Who doesn’t love Winnie the Pooh?
- Mark of the Lion Trilogy – Francine Rivers
A series of books about the life of Christians in the early church. This book series is one of the best works of contemporary Christian fiction I’ve read.
- Hadassah – Tommy Tenney
The story of how Esther became Queen and saved Israel from death. The book that inspired the movie One Night with the King.
- Sundays at Tiffany’s – James Patterson
Who knew that the master of mystery novels could write one of best fantasy novels about imaginary friends? Such a great read!
- Imogene’s Antlers – David Small
One of my favorite children’s books even long after I had outgrown the children’s book part of my life. A story of a girl who wakes up with antlers growing out of her head one morning and how the world reacts.
- Rilla of Ingleside – L.M. Montgomery
The story of Anne’s youngest daughter and her coming of age story in the midst of a world war. I love how real and flawed Rilla is.
- The Child Thief – Brom
A twisted dark version of Peter Pan. You can read my original review here.
- Enchantment – Orson Scott Card
I know there is a ton of Card on this list but this is a fabulous fairy tale fantasy novel that doesn’t get enough attention.
- This Present Darkness – Frank Peretti
- Piercing the Darkness – Frank Peretti
One of the best novels about spiritual warfare I have ever read. Peretti brings the world of demons and angels to life in a way that no other Christian author does with the possible exception of C.S. Lewis.
- The Law of Nines – Terry Goodkind
Goodkind brings his fantasy world into the modern world. Lots of fun and something I wish he would continue. My review here.
- Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
The story of four sisters and their coming of age. A classic that every girl should read.