Monday, May 23, 2011

An Additional 25 Favorite Books

I promised a follow-up list to my Top 10 Favorite Books, and here it is! (Again, the first books in a series stand for the whole.) Without further ado, the 25 Favorite Books that didn't make it on the first list:

---Alcott, Louisa May: Little Women. (Duh. Seriously, duh. I identified with Jo, but also a little with Amy. I was named for her after all.)

---Alexander, Lloyd: Time Cat. (Such a sneaky, perfect way to teach history. That the writing of this novel led Alexander to The Chronicles of Prydain is just a bonus.)

---Barron, T.A.: The Lost Years of Merlin. (This series fed my need for Arthurian legend. A fresh exploration of some well-worn territory.)

---Brashares, Ann: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. (I grew up with Bridget, Lena, Tibby and Carmen, and they were the sum of my experiences. Brashares wasn’t afraid to tackle the complicated issues of being a “normal” suburban teenager.)

---Bray, Libba: A Great and Terrible Beauty. (Seeing a lot of boarding schools, magic, and bodices around YA, but this is one of the first. I love when genres I love get muddled up in each other for the better.)

---Cashore, Kristin: Graceling. (Cashore populates her fantasy world with complicated characters, using the setting to enrich the people and vice versa. Her prose is phenomenal, and even better, she’s evolving as a writer. Fire shows her growth, and I can’t wait for Bitterblue.)

---Coville, Bruce: Into the Land of the Unicorns. (Scary villains, likeable protagonists, clever supporting cast, an alternate realm where unicorns exist, portals they use to cross over into our world…Yes, please.)

---Dokey, Cameron: The Storyteller’s Daughter. (It opens with one of my favorite prologues ever, which you can check it out on Amazon with the “Search inside this book” feature. Pair it with Susan Fletcher’s Shadow Spinner for another perspective on Scheherazade.)

---George, Jean Craighead: Julie of the Wolves. (I think these books are why I like werewolves better. Wonderfully researched and presented.)

---Henry, Marguerite: King of the Wind. (Though I read and loved many of her horse books, I think this is my favorite. Also have fond memories of Black Gold, Born to Trot, and San Domingo.)

---Jacques, Brian: Redwall. (I can’t say enough about this series. His death was a sad day for me.)

---Lowry, Lois: The Giver. (The grandfather of dystopian YA and still one of the best. I’m seeing shades of it everywhere now, which says a lot about the staying power of its ideas.)

---Konigsburg, E.L.: A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver. (I loved the Eleanor of Aquitane of I read here, and I kept searching out powerful women in history/historical fiction.)

---McCaffrey, Anne: Dragonflight. (The Dragonriders of Pern series was fundamental in forming my love of science fiction/fantasy. It also taught me how to keep a dynastic cast of characters with similar names straight. So useful.)

---McKinley, Robin: Beauty/Rose Daughter. (Two different retellings of “Beauty and the Beast” by the same author, though Beauty may have the edge.)

---Nix, Garth: Sabriel. (The Disreputable Dog and Moggat are some of my favorite “animal” characters ever. The system of necromancy and bell magic is an impressive feat of imagination.)

---Pierce, Meredith Ann: The Darkangel. (One of the best vampire trilogies out there. Not “sexy,” but scary, mythological, and so, so lush. She has a knack for character arcs, surprises, and resonance, especially for making certain characters feel ancient and powerful.)

---Pullman, Philip: The Golden Compass. (What can I say that hasn’t already been said? He has a magnificent mind. Lee Scoresby is one of my favorites.)

---Rawls, Wilson: Where the Red Fern Grows. (A boy and his dogs. Tears. Big, big tears. Heartbreak, sorrow. Did I mention crying?)

---Rinaldi, Ann: Wolf by the Ears. (As a native Virginian, I was caught by this story of Thomas Jefferson, his mistress, and their child. I remember this book contained one of the first “racy” scenes I’d ever read, a tense attempted rape. It was shocking, but so was the idea of slavery. A formative book for me about race, history, and humanity.)

---Staples, Suzanna Fisher: Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind. (I’ve had an affection for camels ever since. Something about this glimpse into the desert was spellbinding.)

---Taylor, Sydney: All-of-a-Kind Family. (I couldn’t tell you how much it meant to see a Jewish family represented in longer-form fiction. Of course, I read fantastic Jewish picture books like Hershel and the Hanukah Goblins, but this book was so important in making me feel secure in my identity. I have a huge affection for this immigrant story. It’s my Little House!)

---White, E.B.: Charlotte’s Web. (I think it can be best described in its own words: “Some Pig. Terrific. Radiant. Humble.”)

---Williams, Margery: The Velveteen Rabbit. (Can’t read it without tearing up. Who hasn’t had a stuffed animal they’ve made real?)

---Yep, Laurence: The Dragon of the Lost Sea. (This series was my crash course in Chinese mythological symbols, and it opened me up to books flavored with Eastern cultural influences. Shimmer and Thorn were an incredible team, flawed with pride but still loveable.)

(Ed. Oversight: I realized I forgot Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and Dune by Frank Herbert. I have a feeling I’ll be adding more to this list later.)

So, there you have it…35 of my favorites, available to peruse. I haven't even touched “adult” books yet, but that is for another time. (If you can't get enough of my lists, you can check out my 10 favorites of 2010, plus another 5. Still looking forward to seeing your lists.) Thanks for reading!


  1. Great list! I too loved The Giver, but my favourite Lowry novel is still Number the Stars. It seems that even as a child I was obsessed with world war history.

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  3. Thanks! NUMBER THE STARS is a good one. Did you ever read BRIAR ROSE by Jane Yolen?

  4. Oh my goodness! I LOVE the sabriel series! It was such an amazing concept, so simple and easy to get sucked in. there is supposed to be a new book out next year about chlorr of the mask (here is the goodreads link: Great list!

  5. Yes! Thanks for letting me know. I'm due for a reread of the whole series. Maybe in time for the next book?