The topic of this post has changed so much in the last three days that you wouldn’t believe me if I told you my original intentions for it. I know it’s been a while, but I DID actually have something planned between these posts, but it fell through. I was going to post a review of Finders Keepers to follow up on my Mr. Mercedes one, but I was in the midst of writing it and got called into work. I lost all my mojo and didn’t get it done until it was too late to be relevant. (If you guys do want to know my thoughts, leave a comment and I’ll post the review anyway, but otherwise I plan on letting it rot in the draft pile.
The other day, I was screwing around on the Internet when I realized just how long it’d been since my last post. That’s a no-no. So, last night I decided I wanted to do another The Top 5 list. (Way back in the day I posted this, said I’d be doing them quite frequently, and never did.) At first I thought it was going to be my top 5 favorite classic novels. I got halfway through the draft before I realized that I was narrowing the parameters too soon. In the end, (and after much more deliberation that I’m not even going to begin to get into) I decided to go to something very basic. Today, I’ll be taking you through my top 5 favorite books of all time. It’ll set a good foundation for future lists, and it’ll help you learn a little about me and the way I work at the same time.
*Be warned. I’m not what most people would consider “well-read.” I’ve pretty much been reading the same five or so authors since 7th grade. With that said, this list does happen to contain enough variety to keep you interested (I hope). In descending order, here are my Top 5 favorite books of all time.
5. A Game of Thrones
I’ve briefly discussed my feelings about the A Song of Ice and Fire series as a whole, but I haven’t taken it book-by-book before. It was incredibly hard to pick just one of the novels to land on this list, because all 5 of them could easily be in my top 15 books of all time, but I decided to go with the one that got me hooked.
When I made the decision to read A Game of Thrones, I had never read a single high fantasy book in my life. I didn’t have a clue what to expect going in, but I was really interested in this so I decided to give it a whirl. It took me a while to get used to the weird names and superfluously long descriptions of food, but I’m glad I did. To this day, I haven’t read a story so complex and intricate. No one but Geroge R.R. Martin has literally made my jaw drop due to a plot twist. And no other author has been able to get me to read 5 novels of at least 800 pages (although Stephen King is probably getting close).
This book launched me into Game of Thrones fandom. It made me respect fantasy as a genre. It helped me have several stunning revelations about myself as a writer. But most of all, it was one fucking wild ride.
4. Heart-Shaped Box
If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you’ll know that I’m a big horror junkie. I love being scared shitless by words on a page, even though watching something with the same intended effect on a screen sickens me. I’m not really gonna mince words here; this book does just that. It might sound corny, or maybe I’m just a pussy (this is probably closer to the truth), but this book had me so scared I was literally looking over my shoulder when I was alone.
I read this entire novel in one day. It’s over 350 pages long. I began it in the morning, and I stayed home from school that day to finish it all. I’d never done that before, and I haven’t done it since. I just couldn’t stop turning the pages.
3. The Pendragon Series
Ok, just like people give themselves cheats days on diets, I’m giving myself a cheat number on this list. While most people were obsessing over Harry Potter in their middle school years (don’t worry, I did that as well) I was obsessing over a kid named Bobby Pendragon. I’m not sure how widespread the fandom has gone, but I’m willing to bet the series as a whole is still criminally underrated.
In the books, Bobby is a normal teenage boy; he plays basketball, gets girls, and does all the shit we all did during adolescence. However, he has a weird uncle named Press Tilton who arrives at his house one day and convinces Bobby to go on a ride with him. Some antics ensue, and Bobby finds out that he is somethinng called a Traveller; in fact, he’s one of 10 for the 10 different territories that make up the world called Halla. There’s an evil dude named Saint Dane who is screwing around in all 10 of the territories in an attempt to become ruler of them all. It’s up to Bobby (and the other travelers he meets along the way) to stop Saint Dane and save the world.
I just couldn’t complete this list without adding these books. These novels are the only YA books I’ll re-read as an adult. Bobby is basically a more badass Harry Potter, and there are no wands and shit to muddle up the world. It’s pretty realistic for a fantasy series, and Bobby Pendragon is still my favorite first-person narrator to date. The Pendragon Adventure is one crazy good that I still haven’t gotten over.
2. The Catcher in the Rye
You had to expect at least one classic on this list, right? Well, here it is. I read The Catcher in the Rye for an independent study project in my 11th grade English class, and I loved absolutely every word of it. I knew nothing about it going in, but I came out of it knowing that Holden Caulfield is one of my favorite protagonists in all of literature.
This is going to sound like every other angsty teenager, (although I’m convinced I have more angst in myself now than I did at 17) but I identified with Holden, man! He spoke the way I speak, he wrote the way I write, and he was just as clueless about what life means as I am. This short book about his adventures in the Big Apple is one I’ll read over and over again, and I know it’ll never lose the magic that made me fall in love with it.
Remember how much I said Heart-Shaped Box scared me? It pales in comparison to how frightened I was by It. I read this the summer of my 7th-grade year, and I got so scared that I literally had to sleep with the light on for a while. I had reoccurring nightmares about that fucking clown the entire time I was reading it, and watching the movie right after wasn’t a smart idea either. A couple years ago I tried re-reading it to see if it still scared me, and the answer is yes. Yes, it did. There may be parts of this book that are long or unnecessary, but as far as horror goes, it is hands down the scariest book I’ve ever read. It tops the list because nothing has come close to scaring me as much since.
So there ya have it. I know I’m not the most well-read person in the world, but I have read some damn good books and these are the cream of the crop. As I read a wider variety of authors, maybe I’ll revisit this list every couple of years or so.
UPDATE: I’m getting ready to leave for vacation, and I’ll have plenty of time to read and write while I’m there. Expect a post sometime next week. It could be another Top 5, or it could be something completely unexpected. Stay tuned.
BIGGER UPDATE: I’m going to try to get my first story up on Amazon by the end of the month. I’ll make it free for a week, and after that it’ll cost a dollar. I hope you guys are as excited as I am!
Also, I’ve been toying around with the idea of doing a podcast for a while… I kinda like to hear myself talk, so if you guys like the same thing (I kid, I kid) let me know whatcha think!
Until next time, keep it real, home dawgs.