TTT: Books you recommend the most

This week’s topic was supposed to be about my favorite things characters have said, but I just did a favorite quotes list here, so this was fixing to be pretty repetitive.

So, I’m throwing back to 2013, for this question from Jen at The Broke and The Bookish—

What are the ten books you recommend the most?

This follows nicely from last week’s “books you recommends to non-readers” list, because it does illustrate that a book that I recommend to a reader is a very different list. There is no overlap, which I think is fascinating.

So, here they are, in the order they occurred to me.

10. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

This is a book about an autistic teen who loves Sherlock Holmes and sets out to solve the crime of who killed his neighbor’s dog. It’s charming, and endearing and will change the way you look at people whose neuro diverges from yours.

It was also one helluva broadway show, for what that’s worth.

9. I Am Not A Serial Killer

John, our MC, thinks that he might have what it takes to be a proper sociopath, and so he lives his life by a very strict set of rules that are designed make sure that he is never, in fact, an actual serial killer. But then, things start to go awry, and John has to adjust on the fly to circumstances that have destroyed his rules.

It’s an amazing ride, and if you are like me, you will feel really protective of John throughout this book (and the rest of the series).

8. The Knife of Never Letting Go

I’ve talked about this book a little bit before, and now that there is an actual, proper movie out, I’m sure that more people are going to inclined to read it.


Well, don’t unless you are up for being angry and scared and getting your heart broken in a thousand different pieces, and wondering if you will ever be the same.

Then, you should totally read it. I hated it so much, but it was without doubt the best book I read that year.

7. Red, White and Royal Blue

Two charming lovely boys fall in love across the Atlantic. They hate each other until they don’t and once they don’t, you, too will fall in love.

Best implementation of GenZ use of social media and texting that I’ve seen in a book. Plus, that happy ending…I’m such a sucker for those.

Is it an idealized world? Yes. Could this story actually take place? Maybe. Will you believe every bit of it while you are reading? Absolutely.

6. The Pillars of the Earth

Another book that I talk about a lot. I know that you don’t think that there is any way that cathedral building in the twelfth century can be interesting, and there is no easier way to say this other than…

You are wrong. So, so wrong.

5. The Monkey’s Raincoat

So, I struggled with this one. I believe that Robert Crais is our best living mystery writer. You can throw John Hart at me, and I’ll give you that the back-to-back Edgars are impressive, but Robert Crais does something far more difficult, and that is that he sustains a series over years without it feeling played out. Usually, when I get eight or nine books into a series, I start feeling like the characters are stale, or the writing feels phoned in. The chapters get shorter, and the resolutions are telegraphed way in advance.

This is not the case with Crais, whom I have recently referred to as the Dashiell Hammett of our time, and I’ll fight you on that.

Having said all that, even Mr. Crais himself suggests that his writing has matured over the years, and this VERY FIRST book might not be the place to meet him at his best.

But if you are anything like me, you can’t start a series in the middle without bringing about the end times, so I still recommend starting here.

4. Suspect

This is the Robert Crais you should read if you aren’t ready to commit to a currently-eighteen-book series. It’s a standalone, and while some of the characters do appear in a later Crais book, you don’t need to read that one to feel like this story is finished.

And if you don’t think that you can relate to a dog as a main character, and you don’t think that anyone could possibly write you an affecting internal monologue for a dog, well, I refer you back to that whole “greatest living mystery writer” thing above.

3. Wool

Brilliantly inventive thrill ride that is both extremely challenging, and completely readable. Everyone should read Wool.

2. The Poet

I recommend this one frequently not because I loved it so much, although I did. I recommend it so much because I am frequently asked for a “scary book” and it was the scariest book I ever read.

This book might be the only thing that Stephen King and I agree on.

1. On Little Wings

Lovely, evocative family drama, with one of the best opening lines ever.

“Not every ocean is wet. The first time I stared at a wheat field and saw the golden stalks roll like a tide pushed by the wind, I knew I’d learned a secret; there is an ocean in Nebraska.”

I have lost count of the number of whiteboards I wrote this title on in the last 10 years. But it’s a lot. My full review is here, if you want more reasons to read it. It’s really unforgettable.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

38 thoughts on “TTT: Books you recommend the most

  1. These are good recommendations but I would never read #7 as I hate reading books with social media & texting usage but I also kind of hate reading romances. I actually read a review saying how bad the book is but reading is a preference so I can’t agree or disagree if people like this book.

    The beginning of #1 is wonderful but I don’t know if I would read it. It sounds extremely sentimental.

    Have a lovely day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My husband was out of the country on business when I read The Poet, and I kept calling him to be on the phone with me while I checked the closets. He was like “The Poet is NOT in the house” and I was all “YOU CAN’T KNOW THAT! YOU ARE IN CANADA!”

      But, yes. Pillars is AMAZING. 🙂


  2. This is a great topic! And I hadn’t really thought about it, but you’re right—there’s a big difference between the books I recommend to people who don’t love to read and those who do. Interesting. You have some great recs here. I adore the Chaos Walking series and I liked both WOOL (although I haven’t read the sequels yet) and the Wells series. ON LITTLE WINGS is one I hadn’t heard of before. It sounds like my kind of thing, though, so I’m adding it to the ole TBR. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Happy TTT!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. That is interesting that there’s no overlap! Just goes to show that us readers and non- readers are very different animals, huh? 🙂

    Anyway I’ve heard so much about Ness but haven’t taken the plunge yet. And same for Follett actually… your little blurb there has me intensely interested now!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read a ton, but rarely recommend books to folks. (Not wanting to suggest something they might not like?) Even when asked about whatever I’m currently reading I tend to go with “Well, I’m really enjoying it”, or “eh, it’s not grabbing me” — so hardly ever making a statement about objective quality or how they might like it.

    That said, so really good books I’ve read that I think people should enjoy (assuming the genre aligns with their interests)
    * The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour

    * The Pillars of the Earth — because Lori’s right and it’s a great book

    * Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

    * The Warded Man (Demon Cycle, #1)

    * The Grey Seas Under: The Perilous Rescue Mission of a N.A. Salvage Tug

    * The Martian

    * The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)

    * The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger

    * The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut Universe #1)

    * The Lord of Stariel (Stariel, #1) — because Lori recommended it to me it I really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t recommend a ton, but more than I used to. It’s easy with you! I read something and immediately I know that it’s a Jonathan book 🙂


  5. I don’t think I ever recommend a book. My aunt used to borrow books and I’d always try to give her books she might like, but really, I don’t have a list of “must recommend” books. Glad you do! Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland, Lori! Appreciate it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a small group of five or six reader friends whose taste in books I understand well enough to absolutely recommend something that I’m reading that I know they will love. The rest of the time, I get asked cause people know I’m the “book girl” so I hear a lot of “You know a lot about books…what’s a good…?” But it always makes me nervous! What if they hate that book I love? 😬


  6. I became a fan of Ken Follett after devouring his Century trilogy in a ridiculously short amount of time considering those books are really chonky! But I still haven’t finished Pillars of the Earth. Definitely want to give it another try. Also, The Knife of Never Letting Go is on my TBR and I have the whole trilogy sitting on my shelf waiting to be read 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I didn’t actually know what The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime was about although I remember seeing it everywhere at one point. It actually sounds like one I’d like! I Am Not A Serial Killer too. Two more for the TBR! 😅

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I hear you on Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, but all the other books on your list are new finds for me. I am jotting them all down, esp. The Monkey’s Raincoat — I like a complicated mystery now and then. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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