Choosing just one favorite story can be hard when you spend a lot of time reading books. So I’ve decided to share a list of books that come to mind when I try to think of what my favorite book would be. These books are in no particular order and this list is subject to change in the future as my tastes and interests change.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
This book is beautifully written and is basically a magic love story for those of us that lose our hearts to the books that we read. This is one of the books that I recommend to anyone who asks and I’ve even gifted a copy to a few different people.
From the blurb:
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • From the bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world—a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood.
Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues—a bee, a key, and a sword—that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library hidden far below the surface of the earth. What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians—it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also of those who are intent on its destruction.
Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose—in both the mysterious book and in his own life.
Kingdoms of the Wall by Robert Silverberg
This is a journey worth taking. I read it on a recommendation from a friend who said this story had a profound influence during a very tough part of their life. Definitely one of my favorite science fiction stories I’ve read. I would love to see this book as a TV show. I feel it would fit that medium better than a film.
From the blurb:
A pilgrimage leads to a shocking revelation in this “deeply affecting and evocative extraterrestrial novel” from the Hugo and Nebula Award–winning author (Locus).
The village of Jespodar nestles in the foothills of a world-dominating mountain known to all as “The Wall.” Poilar Crookleg has grown up in Jespodar training hard and hoping that he will be chosen for the annual Pilgrimage, a group journey to the top of the mountain from which no pilgrim has ever returned both alive and sane. The pilgrims seek to replicate the legendary journey of a distant ancestor who scaled the mountain and, so the story goes, met with the gods. The Pilgrimage is a a life journey, an overwhelming challenge and a sacred honor and Poilar feels blessed when he is finally chosen to lead it.
But not all is as it first seems. Along the journey lie hazards of all kinds, both vilently dangerous and seductively beguiling and to triumph in the climb is to confront a revelation so surprising and so disturbing that none, not even the smartest and best prepared, are likely to survive. What belief and what devotion leads so many to hope for such a challenging task and what will be the ultimate result of such dedication? Only The Wall itself can reveal the destiny for those who undertake the Pilgrimage.
Acheron By Sherrilyn Kenyon
I have read almost all of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter novels and this one is by far the best. Styxx is a very close second. I love that we dive deeper into the Atlantean mythos in this book and that this book is much darker than the usual Dark-Hunter vibes. As companion novels, both Acheron and Styxx are heartbreaking but great reads.
From the blurb:
The most anticipated story in the blockbuster Dark-Hunter series. The never-before-revealed story of the Dark-Hunter leader, Acheron. He was made human in order to escape death, but in death he was reborn a god. . .
Eleven thousand years ago a god was born. Cursed into the body of a human, Acheron spent a lifetime of shame. However, his human death unleashed an unspeakable horror that almost destroyed the earth. Then, brought back against his will, Acheron became the sole defender of mankind.
Only it was never that simple. For centuries, he has fought for our survival and hidden a past he’ll do anything to keep concealed. Until a lone woman who refuses to be intimidated by him threatens his very existence.
Now his survival, and ours, hinges on hers and old enemies reawaken and unite to kill them both.
War has never been more deadly… or more fun.
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
One of my favorite things about Black Sun and the other books in the series is how it handles concepts and ideas that are very similar to what I have spent the last 10 years playing with within my epic fantasy series, Of Wrath and War. While they are not at all similar stories, Black Sun utilizes a character with an affinity for crows that is similar to a character within my series. There are even some specific scenarios that are very similar to each other – which I am debating on whether or not I ought to change them up in my story even though these things I wrote years before Black Sun was released.
Anyways, I love that Black Sun is inspired by the indigenous cultures of the Americas. The characters are great and what’s not to love about giant animal companions?
From the blurb:
A god will return. When the earth and sky converge. Under the black sun
From New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Roanhorse comes the first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and woven into a tale of celestial prophecies, political intrigue and forbidden magic.
In the holy city of Tova the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.
Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.
Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Another book by Erin Morgenstern? You’re damn right! She may only have 2 books out right now but her storytelling is so whimsical and pretty I will definitely read whatever she publishes. If you like mysterious magic, cool circuses, unexpected love interests, and kittens – then this is the book for you.
From the blurb:
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
As someone who has struggled with mental illness for most of my life, this book resonated with me on a deep level. I don’t want to spoil much about the plot so all I will say is this book does a great job exploring the choices and perspectives around a well-lived life.
From the blurb:
The dazzling reader-favorite about the choices that go into a life well lived, from the acclaimed author of How To Stop Time and The Comfort Book.
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting blockbuster novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
The Art Of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein
I first read this book as a teenager and I finished all 336 pages in a single sitting while avoiding some social function I was dragged to. I love this story because it’s told from the point of view of a dog and it explores the connection between two souls in a nontraditional way. Surprisingly, I have yet to watch the movie. I need to make sure that it’s still on my watch list.
From the blurb:
MEET THE DOG
WHO WILL SHOW THE WORLD
HOW TO BE HUMAN
The New York Times bestselling novel from Garth Stein—a heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope—a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it.
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
I know, I know… this is a series and not a book, but I just love this series so much. I enjoy each book for different reasons, but that’s not to say this series or the individual books are not without flaws. If I had to pick my favorite out of the series, I would probably default to A Game of Thrones because it is the first book in the series.
From the blurb of A Game of Thrones:
Winter is coming. Such is the stern motto of House Stark, the northernmost of the fiefdoms that owe allegiance to King Robert Baratheon in far-off King’s Landing. There Eddard Stark of Winterfell rules in Robert’s name. There his family dwells in peace and comfort: his proud wife, Catelyn; his sons Robb, Brandon, and Rickon; his daughters Sansa and Arya; and his bastard son, Jon Snow. Far to the north, behind the towering Wall, lie savage Wildings and worse—unnatural things relegated to myth during the centuries-long summer, but proving all too real and all too deadly in the turning of the season.
Yet a more immediate threat lurks to the south, where Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, has died under mysterious circumstances. Now Robert is riding north to Winterfell, bringing his queen, the lovely but cold Cersei, his son, the cruel, vainglorious Prince Joffrey, and the queen’s brothers Jaime and Tyrion of the powerful and wealthy House Lannister—the first a swordsman without equal, the second a dwarf whose stunted stature belies a brilliant mind. All are heading for Winterfell and a fateful encounter that will change the course of kingdoms.
Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, Prince Viserys, heir of the fallen House Targaryen, which once ruled all of Westeros, schemes to reclaim the throne with an army of barbarian Dothraki—whose loyalty he will purchase in the only coin left to him: his beautiful yet innocent sister, Daenerys.
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Another series, yes. Sue me. These books hold a special place in my heart. I read them as a kid and they resonated with me deeply. My childhood was rough and so reading about the Baudelaire children dealing with nasty situations and terrible adults and adults who are well-meaning but unable or unwilling to help… well, these books helped me in more ways than one. They allowed me to see and understand that nothing happening was my fault and that I was more capable than I or any adult gave me credit for.
From the blurb of The Bad Beginning:
In the tradition of great storytellers, from Dickens to Dahl, comes an exquisitely dark comedy that is both literary and irreverent, hilarious and deftly crafted. Never before has a tale of three likeable and unfortunate children been quite so enchanting, or quite so uproariously unhappy.
Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent children. They are charming, and resourceful, and have pleasant facial features. Unfortunately, they are exceptionally unlucky.
In the first two books alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, a lumpy bed, a deadly serpent, a large brass reading lamp, a long knife, and a terrible odor.
The Stone Knife by Anna Stephens
Another indigenous American inspired fantasy series that quickly became one of my favorite reads. It is epic, full of interesting characters. War and politics. Monsters and magic. Even some cute dogs. What more could I want in a book? If you haven’t read this book yet I highly recommend checking it out.
From the blurb:
A fantasy epic of freedom and empire, gods and monsters, love, loyalty, honour, and betrayal, from the acclaimed author of GODBLIND.
For generations, the forests of Ixachipan have echoed with the clash of weapons, as nation after nation has fallen to the Empire of Songs – and to the unending, magical music that binds its people together. Now, only two free tribes remain.
The Empire is not their only enemy. Monstrous, scaled predators lurk in rivers and streams, with a deadly music of their own.
As battle looms, fighters on both sides must decide how far they will go for their beliefs and for the ones they love – a veteran general seeks peace through war, a warrior and a shaman set out to understand their enemies, and an ambitious noble tries to bend ancient magic to her will.
It was quite hard to keep this list under 10 books. I know, technically it is over 10 books when you count all the individual books within the both series ASOIAF and A Series of Unfortunate Events… but shut up.
Now back to my rambling. There’s a whole stack of books that could add to this list if I didn’t want to keep it under 10 books. Books such as Mexican Gothic or something by Stephen King, or the Sandman Comic series. The list could go on.
What are some of your favorite books?