Monday, June 14, 2010

My favorite books

A notice: This list is seriously outdated as of 2013 and may or may not be refreshed at some future point.


My top 10 (in no particular order after the Bible)
The Bible
The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins (especially Mockingjay)
Harry Potter and the ___ by J.K. Rowling (especially The Deathly Hallows)
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
LOTR by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Three Theban Plays by Sophocles (Especially Oedipus Rex)
Coraline by Neil Gaiman (Also a good movie)
Holes by Louis Sachar (The movie, scripted by the author himself, is even better than the book!)
The Giver by Lois Lowry

Classics
* The Three Theban Plays by Sophocles - Sophocles is the Shakespeare of ancient Greece.  The characters of his plays are full of sarcasm and wit.  It's no wonder Oedipus Rex inspired me to write the sci-fi drama Oedipus.
* The Odyssey of Homer
* The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
* The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis- "Readable" Christian literature.  Written in a curious format.
(In order of favoritism) Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare


Fantasy

* The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
* Coraline by Neil Gaiman
* The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster- In the same weird, playfully illogical genre of Alice in Wonderland, this is actually better than Lewis Carroll's classic.
* The Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan (particularly the 1st five books)- The Rangers are like the Batmen of medieval times.  Strong, stealthy, agile, intelligent.  15 year old orphan Will wishes to be a warrior like his father, but he's too small for the job.  Instead, he's taken in as an apprentice to the gloomy Ranger Halt.  Halt trains Will all the arts of the Rangers: archery, stealth, horseriding.  I particularly like the way that the author develops the characters in the story.  Books 1 and 2 were definitely the best, book 3 was just depressing, book 4 was an utterly pointless action novel (but enjoyable if you're into medieval fantasy warfare), book 5 was good, and book 6 was just okay.  I stopped reading after book 6 because I got the impression that this series, unlike Harry Potter or LOTR, was never going to end.  Will is always going to have another adventure, another bad guy to fight...
* Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
* The Prydain Chronicles
 * Animal Farm by George Orwell

Sci-fi

* The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins- Won't be everbody's cup of tea.  Every year, 12 districts of Panem, a country built over the ruins of America, are forced to send into an arena 2 teenagers each who will fight for fame, fortune, but mostly for the entertainment of the the capitol of Panem (think of Theseus and the Minotaur, or the Romans' cruel exploitation of Christians and slaves in the Coliseum).  There can only be one victor/survivor, and the gladiators must use every bit of their resourcefulness, courage, and strength to become that person.  In the year of the 74th Hunger Games, a 16 year old girl Katniss Everdeen from district 12 substitutes herself for her younger sister when she is chosen as a tribute.  The violence in the arena is brutal, much of the action is nightmarishly realistic, and there's some mild romancey stuff here and there.  Definitely expect a PG-13 rating when the movie comes out.  So I don't recommend the book for young readers, although 12+ year olds shouldn't have a problem with it.  The most distinguishing thing about the series is probably the strong themes of heroism and selflessness that the author creates.  When the characters are supposed to be admirable, they come across as heroes to the readers.  The 2nd book in the trilogy, Catching Fire, is even better than the 1st.  The 3rd and final installment, Mockingjay, has a far different tone than the others and is much more philosophical.  Obviously it's my favorite, but all the books are good.
* Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card- This is a brilliant story about child geniuses who are forced to go through military training in space because humanity needs to find the next Mazer Rackham, a man who in his youth saved Earth from an alien conquest by "The Buggers".  A very thought-provoking book.  Begs the reader to think about serious questions like "should we use the abilities of individual humans to help humanity as a whole, or are the lives of the individuals more important than the masses'?".  Or "should we make war against a civilization with which we cannot communicate".
* 1984 by George Orwell
* Jurassic Park, Sphere, and State of Fear by Michael Crichton

Romance
* None.  I don't think I've even read a true romance book, unless you count the 2nd and 3rd Eragon books (which by the way are not on my favorites list). : /

Contemporary
* Holes by Louis Sachar- One of the greatest kid books ever written, and, as I said earlier, the movie is one of the very few which has matched or surpassed its source novel.
* Schooled by Gordon Korman

Other
* The Halo Enyclopedia (reviewed here)
* The Book Thief (also reviewed here)

2 comments:

  1. well, i agree with most of these. have you read any of the other markus zusak books?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much! Have printed off and will be requesting at library this week to add to my kids summer reading (some they already have). I love the commentary style and the *say with British accent* part---classic!

    It's nice to "meet" you via your Mother's link (we met at SHCC college group).

    ReplyDelete

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