My Top 10 Favorite Books of All Time

by Ginger on May 17, 2013

in Entertain Me

Today’s prompt comes from Shalini:

How about a list of your top ten books?

Hahahaha, Shalini thought this was going to be an EASY one. Yeah. That’s funnnnny. But I’ll give it a shot anyway. I will give the following caveats though:

1)I can barely remember what I read last month, much less last year, much less 15 years ago (I probably did some of the most reading of my life between the ages of 8-15 and 19-27). So…

2)This list is my all-time top ten, which means that it’s going to *mostly* end up being books I read over and over and over and over again during my childhood/teen years and/or continue to reread as an adult.

3)This list is mostly going to be books that make me smile and feel cozy like a warm sweater and cup of tea on a cold day. They are the books that are my friends and family. They may NOT be the best books I’ve ever read however.

So here are my (current, off the top of my head in the moment) top 10 books, in no particular order.

  1. Jane Eyre. This one actually does occupy the top spot. I’ve loved Jane since the first time I read her, in large part because I felt a kinship with her. Yes Mr. Rochester is an ass and there are some really problematic bits to the romances in the book. But for me, it was never about the romances, it was about Jane, finding herself, becoming the important one, and oh, I just love her.
  2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. What’s not to love? Harry, Lupin, Sirius, time travel, teenage angst? There’s just enough darkness, but without the overwhelming heaviness the later books had.
  3. All the other Harry Potter books. But if I’m really honest, the entire series as a whole should be together, because they all have elements that I love, and I could make a case for any of them to be my favorite.
  4. Little Women. One of the first books to make me sob like a baby. These characters all felt SO real to me, I wanted to be a part of their family.
  5. Time Traveler’s Wife. A rare somewhat current book! But I did love it. It wasn’t an easy ready, and I had to really work to keep up with the timeline/structure, but the story was one of the most compelling I’ve ever read.
  6. The Hobbit. My dad used to read me chapters of The Hobbit when I was a kid–probably 6 or 7 or 8?–and it just stuck with me. I’ve read it many times since then, though probably not in the last 10 years, randomly enough, and it will always be a book that feels comforting, and reminds me of my dad. 
  7. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Hysterical, in a somewhat odd, English kind of way. This is one of those books that I think people either love or hate, there seems to be little in-between, and I am firmly in the love camp. It is just quirky and fun and smart and weird and a good time.
  8. Anne of Green Gables. Oh Anne. I wanted to BE Anne. I wanted Anne to be my friend. I frankly can’t imagine a world where Anne isn’t a major part of my life.
  9. The Joy Luck Club. Fun fact: this was one of the books that lead me to focus my literature major on minority literature. I know I read it before going to college, and the characters and the relationships between the characters just felt so strong and powerful. I loved it.
  10. The Blue Castle. This book is nothing earth shattering, but it’s a sweet love story with quirky characters and a somewhat bizarre setup, and Ive now read the book so many times that it is literally in 5 pieces. But it’s one of those books that just makes me smile and grin like a fool when I’ve finished reading it.

Some runners up: All the other Anne books, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, The Secret Garden, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Bean Trees, The Diary of a Young Girl, As the Crow Flies, Jo’s Boys, the other three books in the Hitchiker’s Guide series, Heidi, A Wrinkle in Time, Half Magic, Winnie the Pooh. I’m sure I’ll think of more as soon as I press publish.

I’d love to hear what YOUR top 10 books are too–if I haven’t read them, it’s a good way to fill in my “to-read” list on Goodreads!

Elizabeth May 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Time Traveler’s Wife was one of my favorites too, although I had the misfortune of reading it during a miscarriage–BAD choice! It’s definitely one that stays with you a long, long time.

I just packed my books up yesterday, so I’m trying to remember some of my more contemporary favorites.

The Mercy of Thin Air, The Little Book (AND The Lost Prince), The Leftovers, The Unit, Where’d You Go Bernadette, No One is Here Except All of Us, My Name is Memory, The Maeve Chronicles (a series), every single thing by Margaret George.

And for the easy reads–the Unwind Series, the Everlost series, the Outlander series.

This isn’t really ten, but they’re the ones that pop out the fastest in my memory. I just noticed that several of them have something to do with time travel or warped time.

Tragic Sandwich May 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Oh, we have a LOT of overlap! I could not get into The Time Traveler’s Wife, and I haven’t read The Hobbit since fourth grade, but I truly love a great many of the books on your list.

I also read Jane Eyre in fourth grade, and have re-read it many times since. On my most recent re-read, about a year ago, I was surprised to find that my favorite parts of the book are the ones in which Rochester does not appear.

As a redhead who writes, I have always loved Anne Shirley. Last year, I re-read all of the books available for the Kindle, and in Anne of Green Gables was struck by how much more sympathy and appreciation I have for Marilla now than I did when I was Anne’s age.

There are several of Georgette Heyer’s books I’d consider adding, as well as Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising series, The Mists of Avalon (but none of its prequels), Parke Godwin’s Beloved Exile, and Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking.

Ann Soutter May 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Love your list! Need to look into “The Blue Castle”, otherwise, I have read the rest. I got a Kindle and have really made it a point to read more regularly (helps that my son is now a teenager — for many years, it was a challenge to read just one book a month for the library book club!)

Thanks!

Melinda May 21, 2013 at 6:16 am

Great list of books! Besides the Harry Potter books my favorites have been: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night both by Deborah Harkness, and I also love The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

Actually, I accidentally started a book club because of The Hitchhikers Guide! I mentioned it on Twitter and several people said they had never read it before. So we planed to read it together and then discuss it afterwards. Two years later our little reading group has grown and we have become really close friends! Several of my favorite books are ones that I read via our book club.

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