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.
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.
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.