By this point, I’ve gone over my favorite horror, fantasy and science fiction books. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that those lists were big. I’m a speculative fiction writer, so of course, I’ve read deeply in those genres.
But they’re not all the genres I’ve read. And their certainly not all the genres I love.
Today I’ve collected my top ten favorite books that I’ve ever read that don’t fit properly into any of the speculative fiction genres. Here you’ll find a hodgepodge of books from historical fiction to autobiographies. As always, these are just my favorites, not necessarily the best books of all time.
Yes, Please, by Amy Pohler
I did a whole review of this book, so I won’t go into too much detail. I love this book, and by extension, I’ve come to love Amy Pohler as a genuinely kind person to her core. She’s hilarious, and there’s not a cruel bone in her body. I want to be like her, and I want to live in a world where more women want to be like her.
On Writing, by Stephen King
Did King make it onto all of my lists? I think he’s on all of my lists. Guess there’s something to be said for being a filthy Pantser.
I’ve mentioned On Writing a lot, so I won’t go into it. Suffice to say that if you’re a writer, or if you want to be, you need to read this book.
Wild Mind, by Natalie Goldberg
I actually wrote a whole post about Natalie Goldberg and Stephen King, but let me say a few words about Wild Mind. More than Writing Down The Bones. More than Thunder and Lighting. Wild Mind made me feel inspired to write and know that I was creating art in the purest sense of the word. Wild Mind made me want to move to the desert and live in a studio apartment and live off ramen and toast cooked in eggs just so I can focus my whole life on writing. I could read this book over and over, and never grow tired of it.
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
This is such a great story. I didn’t find these books until I was an adult, but I still loved them. The story is so dark but so hopeful. It’s just simply fun to read. And the show on Netflix, by the way, is stellar. It does such a good job of staying true to the story while adding little details that make it so much better.
Rocket Boys by Homer ‘Sonny’ Hickham Jr
Again, here’s a link to the full review I did on this book. If you’ve ever seen the movie October Skies, this is the book it’s based on. And it is so worth the read.
Hickham has such a great voice, and he’s written a ton of books. But he’s written about his hometown of Coalwood best. I’m just sucked into the world. Maybe it’s because I’m also from a mountain town, though mine is steel, not coal. Maybe because I know what it is to grow up in a hard, cold town that doesn’t care about me and my paltry dreams. Whatever it is, I love this book.
The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
I’ve got a thing about historical fiction, told from the point of view of women. I love the details about food, clothes and interpersonal relationships. I especially love anything to do with midlevel England. The Constant Princess is about Queen Catherine, who was born Princess Catalina of Spain. That would be Queen Isabella of Spain’s daughter. You know, the queen who financed Christopher Columbus’s trip to discover America. And the bloody queen who led the Spanish Inquisition. So, kind of a mixed bag. She sent her youngest and possibly best-loved child to marry the prince of England. And she did, and she loved him dearly.
Then, he died young. So she fought for years and years to marry his younger brother so that she could still be the queen of England that her mother wanted her to be. Of course, that young man was Henry the VIII. If you know your history, I’m sure you know that her story wasn’t a great one. But it made for a great read.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
I know it’s a Christmas book, why can’t it be one of my favorites? Dickens is an artist in the highest degree. This story is a masterpiece, pure and simple. And while I love many of the movies based on it, there’s nothing that can compare.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
I think I’ve mentioned that I read this book every year on my birthday. I do this because I never, ever, want to forget how important freedom is. How important choice is. And how easily we can give those things up to feel safe. To feel like someone is looking out for us. This book asks, what are you willing to give up to sleep in a warm bed and have enough food to eat.
Every year I read it, and every year a different line just jumps from the page as exactly what I needed to hear that year. There’s no wonder why it won all of the awards.
The Phantom Tollbooth
I’m willing to say this book is a huge reason why I love books, and why I am generally who I am. It’s about a boy name Milo who doesn’t really care about anything. Nothing interests him. Until a phantom toolbooth shows up in his room, and he goes on an adventure with at watch dog named Tock who goes tick and a Humbug. Listen, I don’t care how old you are. If you haven’t read this book, go read it right now. If you have read it, read it again!
To Kill a Mockingbird
Finally, yes, To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite book. From it’s message to it’s writing, it is a masterpiece. It is an eye opening, heart wrenching book. It’s one that should be read by everyone, if only because you cannot see the world the same way after reading it.
So that’s it. Those are my top ten favorite books of all time.What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments below.
Station 86 is shocked when a Khloe assassin begins killing members of the all powerful council. Officer Sennett Montgomery and Councilman Godfrey Anders swear to find the assassin after Godfrey’s wife is falsely accused. But the killer, and the council itself, are not what they seem. Neither, as it turns out, is Sennett’s daughter.
You might want to add the name of the authors to To Kill A Mickingbird (Harper Lee) and The Phantom Tollbooth (?). Marry Christmas!
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Thank you! The Phantom Tollbooth is written by Norton Juster.