My wife challenged me recently to come up with a list of my ten favorite books. This was a pretty big challenge. I don’t know that I could say that his list would be my definitive list, since I am continuing to read new books all the time, and meeting new favorites all the time. In other words, I feel like this might be my ten favorite books right now, but that could change in a month. As I put together my list, I thought about series, like Harry Potter or Wheel of Time. If I included all the books from those series, it would be impossible to keep it down to just ten. I decided I could only count one from any given series. I even tried to keep it to just one from each author (I also cheated on both of these rules). I also excluded any religious texts. Yes, I love the Book of Mormon, but I thought of this as more secular titles. So, all of that considered, here is my current, as of today, list of ten favorite books.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
When my wife asked me to make this list, this was the first book that came to my mind. I have loved this book from the first time I read it. It has become a classic,must read science fiction novel, and with good reason. This is the story of child genius Ender Wiggin and his adventures at battle school and then command school as he trains to possibly become the savior of the human race against the Fromics. I have read it multiple times, and I enjoy each time I do.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
This was the second book that came to my mind as I thought about this list. This is also the first rule breaking I have in this list. Yes, it is technically three books, but the story really reads like one. Plus, you can buy them now as one volume. To me, this is the standard by which all fantasy books now are measured. Tolkien’s world building skills are second to none. He established the templates for dwarves and elves that almost everyone uses in high fantasy today. The pacing in this book is much slower than what we are used to in modern story telling, but it is still one of the most amazing stories ever told.
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
This is probably the most recently read book tomato this list. As far as world building goes, I don’t know if anyone is doing better than Sanderson right now. This book is a huge undertaking to read, being over 1000 pages. There is a lot of character development and quite a bit of back story. It works, though, because the characters are compelling and the story is interesting. Yes, it is a lot to read, but it was worth it to make it to the end. This is the next, giant high fantasy series.
The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan
Full disclosure, I have not finished the whole series yet. Of the books I have read in the epic Wheel of Time series, this one is my favorite. It seemed to move along at the best pace for me. Sometimes, with a series that has 14 books, and each book is more than 800 pages long, it tends to get bogged down in back story, or you might have spans of time where nothing is happening. That didn’t happen as much in this book. It was a lot of fun to read, in my opinion, and really sets up Rand al’Thor’s character going forward in the series.
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
This was one of my favorite books growing up,and probably my introduction to the fantasy genre. Lewis’ intended audience is children with the Narnia books, but they are great for all ages. The symbolism in the books is deep and fantastic, and the stories are well written with a good message. My favorite character in the book is Lucy, with her eternal optimism and hope. It is no coincidence that our second daughter is also named Lucy.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
It was hard to decide which Harry Potter book I would include in this list. I was going to go with Prisoner of Azkaban, which is an excellent book. It was the book that really made me feel like I could get into these books, more than the first two. In the end, however, I decided this was the one I needed to pick. It is a bittersweet story, with the ending that hurt the most. It also firmly establishes our characters and where they will be for the conclusion of the series. I really felt like this was there one where Harry grew up. At the endow this book, Harry was finally ready to take on Voldemort.
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
When the movie came out, I was crazy for dinosaurs.I wanted to see it so much, but my mom was concerned I couldn’t handle it. I was relentless though, and wouldn’t leave her alone about it, so she ended up making me a deal. I could see the movie if I finished the book first. Looking back on it, it’s kind of a funny deal, because the book was much more frightening than the film. That being said, though, I am grateful she did it. I loved this book. The copy I had all growing up was the black paperback copy, and it was all beat up from the number of times I read it.
Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
This is just a fun, humorous look at parenthood. I highly recommend getting the audiobook version that is read by the author, it just makes it even more fun. This basically a collection of essays Gaffigan wrote about being a dad. I think he has five kids, and they all live in his two bedroom apartment in New York. How could this not be hilarious? This book will make you feel better about your own parenting skills and shortcomings.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by
This is a strangely intriguing and fun novel. This is as quirky as I can handle as far as SciFi goes. No one does it better than Adams, and this book is a must read for any science fiction fan out there, at least once. When you read it, you will realize that the movie did not do it justice, and you might also realize that no movie ever will do this book justice. It’s just too weird. Weird, but amazing.
Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
This is the other rule breaker on the list. I already have Ender’s Game on the list, so this sequel should not be allowed. I broke my own rule on this one because, for me, this book is just too good not to be on the list, and it is so different from Ender’s Game. This book continues to follow Ender and his adventures, but it is in the distant future and it deals with Ender coming to terms with how he destroyed a whole alien species. This is less action and more intellectual. Very different from the first book, but it launches a great trilogy of books that wrap up the end of Ender’s story.
There you have it. That is my current list of my ten favorite books. I know, it probably doesn’t match your list, and that’s ok. What books would you include if you were putting together a list like this? What if you had to make a list of your least favorite books? Let us know in the comments or you can send feedback to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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