Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Top 10 Favorite Books of All Time Ever

I’ve started to work on my CPC homework (found in the PACKET)…It is not easy! These assignments are certainly meant to challenge my abilities to the fullest. People call the program a “publishing boot camp,” and today, I read an article calling it the “West Point of publishing.” Then, of course, there’s this tweet. (Should I be worried that all of these metaphors revolve around war?)

Still, there is one assignment I found unbearably pleasant, even if it wasn’t any kind of easy. I had to list my top ten favorite books and give <25 word description of each book’s significance. Though I do have acute list anxiety, the task was so much fun. I reminisced and ranked and agonized over what books would make the cut, but I’m supremely satisfied with my choices. (The 25 books I couldn’t fit on this list will appear later in the week. Also, I used the first book in a series to stand in for the whole thing, even if I might have loved later books more.)

My Top 10 Favorite Books of All Time Ever (in alphabetical order by author’s last name):

---Alcott, Louisa May. Rose in Bloom. (For letting me watch the Eight Cousins grow up and for making morality go down easy. Mac Campbell, the bookworm, was my first literary love.)

---Cooper, Susan. The Dark Is Rising. (A series that fed my obsession with mythology and taught me about growing up. Children always have more power than they know.)

---Juster, Norton. The Phantom Tollbooth. (For teaching me to love whimsy mixed with wisdom and to understand “reread value.” This book never condescends, no matter the age of the reader.)

---Leaf, Munro. The Story of Ferdinand. (There are so many lessons inside such a slim book. The illustrations and Ferdinand’s sweetness have a permanent place in my heart.)

---L’Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. (A colorful cast, fantastic elements, and a heroine I could embrace shaped my taste for years to come. I voraciously consumed L’Engle’s body of work.)

---Levine, Gail Carson. Ella Enchanted. (Retellings aren’t easy to do right, but Ella is pitch-perfect. The details fit and transcend Cinderella, injecting the fairy tale’s heroine with new life.)

---McKinley, Robin. The Blue Sword. (Harimad is the predecessor to Katniss and Katsa. McKinley swept me away with this book, and it was the gateway to her other works.)

---Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. (I grew up with Harry and will never forget the experience. Books are the most magical things of all.)

---Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de. The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince). (On each reread, I love new things. In English or French, it reminds me to see an elephant inside a boa constrictor, not a hat.)

---Wrede, Patricia C. Dealing with Dragons. (Skewering the fairy tale genre was never more fun. Cimorene, Morwen, and Kazul are remarkable female characters—active, smart, and powerful.)

Let me know what you think of my list in the comments…I’d also love to read your Top 10 if you leave a link!


  1. I've now added 8 books to my TBR pile! I'm sure I'll eventually do my top ten, but it will have to wait until school is done!

  2. Yay! You won't be disappointed with any of them. :)

  3. I'm surprised-but pleasantly so because it means I can add some new books to my TBR list too-how different our lists are. Mine would include HP and maybe Ella Enchanted (I need to reread!) but other than that, completely different choices.

  4. Post them! I am intrigued.

    (My sister made fun of me for not including more "adult books," but these were my formative choices! Also, maybe our tastes will overlap more when I post the additional 25?)

  5. That tweet terrified me. I'm more of a lover, not a fighter, so the idea of a summer of war metaphors is scary! But you listed pretty much ALL my favorite YA books on your list. I am pretty sure I read "The Dark Is Rising" 15 times when I was in middle school. LOVED IT!

  6. I am also a lover, but I guess I'm going to have to get scrappy?

    Oh, gosh, yes! I tweeted once about my TDIR love and the niece of Susan Cooper herself stopped by to say hello. She said she'd pass on my compliments to her aunt, and I almost died. It was a magical Twitter moment.

    (PS. More books to come!)

  7. Not a definitive list, but JUST novels, no non-fiction or comics or short stories (a list sadly dominated by dudes):

    Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
    Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
    Vurt by Jeff Noon
    Dune by Frank Herbert
    Anathem by Neal Stephenson
    The Blue Place by Nicola Griffith
    A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
    The Worm Oroborus by E.R. Eddison
    His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman

    Novellas representing a body of work:

    Hour of the Dragon by Robert E. Howard
    Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft
    Labyrinths by J.L. Borges

  8. My list is mostly ladies, so I can't complain. :)

    ...Forgetting DUNE was SUCH an oversight! Added to my overflow on the 25+ post. (I read the first three books over every three years or so.) Can't wait to check out some of these picks.