Thursday, August 5, 2010

Top Ten Picks: Favorite Books Of All Time

Top Ten Picks is hosted by Jillian at Random Ramblings. This week, the topic is "Favorite Books Of All Time". It took a while for me to come up with a list. I'm not even 100% sure about some of my picks, because I read them a long time ago. They might not still be my favourites. But if I'm going on memory and nostalgia and the "OMG, I loved this book!" feeling I had when I read them, I have to include at least a few of the titles on the following list:

10. The Neverending Story
by Michael Ende

I saw the movie years before I ever got the book out of the library. I just happened to get the awesome edition with alternating green and red type (one for Bastian's "real life" point of view, one for the events he's reading about in Fantastica). I was surprised to find that the book actually encompasses the stories of the first and second movies. It's so imaginative (and it deals with imagination), so it's right up my alley. I don't think I've read anything quite like it before or since.

9. Wren to the Rescue
by Sherwood Smith

This middle-grade book was one of my favourites when I was younger. It's been a long time since I read it, but I remember being completely captivated by the adventures of Wren and her friends. I think I checked this one out of the library numerous times! There are a few sequels, which I haven't read; I enjoyed the first book so much that I'm afraid the sequels might not live up to my high expectations. I hate when that happens (see The Thief, below).

8. The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger

I don't read a lot of adult fiction, but this one just sounded so interesting that I couldn't help myself. I loved the story. The book is so much better than the movie; if you were at all intrigued by the movie, you must read the book. Henry and Clare are unforgettable.

7. Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Brontë

I probably wouldn't have read this book if it hadn't been assigned in my first-year university English class. But I was so pleasantly surprised! It's not the stilted, boring classic you might expect it to be. Jane's voice is fresh and interesting, and it's one heck of a good story. And as far as relationships go, Jane and Rochester will always be one of the most memorable.

6. I Capture the Castle
by Dodie Smith

I adored this book when I first read it. I identified so much with Cassandra, and I loved the setting. A ruined castle in the English countryside? How can you top that? Plus, there are some great characters in this one. Stephen is such a sweetheart.

5. The Light Princess
by George MacDonald

I got this one from the library (and it's also available for free online), but I really would like my own copy to read and enjoy again. As far as fairy tales go, this is one of my favourites. There's nothing like a self-sacrificing hero to make a girl swoon.

4. A Certain Slant of Light
by Laura Whitcomb

I was captivated by this book from the very first page. Aside from the imaginative and gripping story, this book has some of the greatest writing I've seen in years. Seriously. If you want an example of how to make your story and characters come alive on the page, you must read this book!

3. Trader
by Charles de Lint

I fell in love with this book because of the characters... especially Max. Like many of de Lint's novels, this one veers into a sort of alternate/dreamtime universe. It was one of the first books by this author that I had read, though, so the premise was fresh for me.

2. The Thief
by Megan Whalen Turner

Oh, gosh. What can I say about this one? I love Gen, and I love The Thief. I reread this book a few times (which is something I rarely do; it was that good). I know I'm not the only one to gush over this book (and Gen), which makes it all the more peculiar that the author basically did away with the character in the subsequent books. (Not that she killed him off. He's still there, but he's not the same Eugenides that we all knew and loved.)

1. Fire and Hemlock
by Diana Wynne Jones

Sure, there's an older man and a younger girl (and I give authors a lot of flack for that), but this book was written back when every other YA novel didn't have that same theme. I read it about 9 years ago during my bus commute to work. Let's just say that I wished that the bus ride had been longer! I loved the story and the characters and the blossoming romance. I also loved how the author took an old story (the ballad of Tam Lin) and wrote a modern-day fairy tale around it. (I didn't realize that when I read it, but I guess the fact that the guy's name was Thomas Lynn should have been my first clue!) Anyway, if you like modern retellings of old stories, you might like this one. And you can't really go wrong with Diana Wynne Jones.

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