My Top 10 Favorite Books.
The new list in my series of “Top 10 Favorites.” This time I decided to tackle my favorite books. Some people say that you can’t have a favorite book, that may be so for them, but this is what I came up with…
10. The Godfather, by Mario Puzo.
If you were to see only one mob movie in your life most people would tell you to see The Godfather. It’s the same for mob-based literature. Mario Puzo created a multi-layered mafia masterpiece. He juggled tons of perspective characters and still was able to come out on the top of his genre.
9. Let the Right One In, by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
I would still read this book even if there weren’t vampires in it. The characters feel as if they become you whilst you delve into the book. It’s not the timid little boy that’s being harassed, it’s you. And the world around you is beautifully bleak, gray, and cold…perfect for vampires.
8. Bone, by Jeff Smith.
This is what defines epic. In this nine part installment we follow the characters from when they are little more than farm hands until the fate of the entire universe (or valley) is in their hands.
Mixing humor and dark end of humanity themes might not seem to at first be the best of ideas, but boy would you be wrong. If you haven’t read Bone yet then your missing out on one of the best graphic novels ever written.
7. On Writing, by Stephen King.
This book would be good even if it was just a biography of Stephen King’s life, but no…it’s much more.
If you have even a passing interest in writing then you’re doing yourself a disservice by not reading this book. The “Toolbox” section is filled with writing tips, rules, and guides for writing from one of the most successful writers of all time. Just that alone is enough to warrant a purchase, but if you’re a King fan and a writer, this package could well give you a heart attack.
6. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card.
This is by far the best book ever written about a five year-old boy genius recruited into a futuristic military training program.
Seriously though this is a Science Fiction masterpiece and Card’s best work. Ender is a brutal yet sympathetic character. We cheer for him in his victories, cry at his defeats, and cower fearfully when he gets angry.
It’s a shame the series never achieved this level of greatness again.
5. The Shining, by Stephen King.
Normal family, a husband, a wife, and their little boy. The dad hires on to maintain the Overlook hotel through winter. Settled in, all seems well, husband has plenty of free time to write, wife can do what ever she likes, and the boy is free to explore the massive abandoned hotel, and about once a week they take a trip into town to get the paper and some supplies. And then…winter sets in. Surrounded by snow and ice everything begins to unravel. Husband (who we find out is a recovering alcoholic) starts to see things, and the boy who has psychic powers called “the shine,” begins to feel ghosts.
By the end there is no way to tell what is real, and what is in the mind of the characters.
4. Horns, by Joe Hill.
This book is dirty. If you don’t enjoy raw dirty humanity than steer clear of Horns. There are no holds barred in this book. Rape, murder, sex, devil worship, foul language, drugs, all featured here. With that said, this is one of the best damn horror stories ever written. Even though there are supernatural elements to Horns (the main character wakes up to find he’s turning into the devil) those aren’t what is so horrific about Horns. It’s the acts that human beings can be driven to do.
As the story unfolds we learn more and more about our wrongfully accused protagonist. And the more we learn the more care for, and feel sorry for him. We learn how he met the love of his life, the time he spent with her, and the aftermath of her body being found murdered and raped with him as the prime suspect.
And to make this book even better it’s based in my home state of New Hampshire.
3. Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris.
Never has anything ever made me feel as vile and evil as some of the sections of Red Dragon. Told partially through the eyes of a serial killer/rapist we learn his rituals, and methods. As the novel progresses we might even grow a tiny bit attached to him, we begin to sympathize with him, even though we know what he’s done. Because we were there…
But not only did Red Dragon excel at making us feel for, or like we’re, a killer, but it handles the chapters about investigating the Red Dragon’s murders engagingly, and interestingly, and it also introduced us to Dr. Hannibal Lecter. That alone is an amazing feat in itself.
2. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy.
Post-apocalyptic fiction, in any form (books, movies, video games, etc), has been done thousands of times in the last few years, but the black book that just says “The Road” on it is the best. Cormac McCarthy took all his skills at writing Westerns and put them to surprisingly similar post-apocalyptic story-telling.
The Road tells the tale of a nameless father and son as the wonder the burnt landscape looking for food and shelter as they make their way to the coast.
The way that McCarthy eschews many rules of punctuation and sometimes grammar, add so much to the book. Bleak and comma free pages fill in the front and back cover. I never knew how much just removing things like that could change a book until I read The Road.
1. A Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin.
Epic only begins to describe the Song of Ice and Fire series, and the first book is no exception. Taking out most of the magic in a fantasy surprisingly only made this book better. Without magic getting in the way all the time George R. R. Martin was able to focus on what really matters, the characters.
With so many characters it must be hell to even think of writing another one thousand page book, but so far he’s written five. But also with so many characters it means that we have more to choose from for our favorite, more perspectives to view the incredible detailed world through, more stories to tell, and more characters for George R. R. Martin to kill like in a Coen brothers movie. After you realize just how little it matters to the author whether a character dies or not, you’ll be praying that your favorite doesn’t die.
The first book may not be the absolute best in the series (so far I like the third the best) but it is the one that started it all. But once you start reading more of the series you realize that the first book was only just the setup for this massive and deadly game of thrones.
Posted on July 5, 2011, in Book, Lists and tagged A Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire, Bone, Ender's Game, George R. R. Martin, Horns, Jeff Smith, Joe Hill, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In, Mario Puzo, On Writing, Orson Scott Card, Red Dragon, Stephen King, The Godfather, The Road, The Shining, Thomas Harris. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.