One of the questions I hate most in life is “what’s your favorite book?”
I mean, how can I pick just one book to represent me?
Even thinking about it now I’m getting hives.
I always end up giving an answer that verges on three, but really closer to five, and if I could give you a hundred then that would be awesome.
So that’s what I’m going to do here (minus the hundred part).
As with any reader, this list is constantly changing. For the most part, things will remain the same, but occasionally I pick up something that jumps its way onto the list.
These aren’t in any particular order beyond how the popped into my head. And I can’t exactly give a very specific reasoning behind why they are my favorites, they simply resonated with me and taught me something important about life.
I hope one or two do the same for you.
My Favorite Fiction Books
I’ve long been a non-fiction reader but getting more into fiction the last five years has revived my love and interest in it. More often than not now my interests swing the other way and I reach for fiction first.
The list below represents my favorite fiction books.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towels
You’d think a story about a man sentenced to live out his days in a Moscow hotel for being an aristocrat would be boring, but this is anything but that. It manages to blend a cast of characters into a story that will make you laugh and feel heartbreak from one chapter to the next. I loved how Count Alexander Rostov manages to be a bon vivant regardless of the situation and the people around him love him for it.
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
Whew, this book really blew me away. It’s incredible that Marra debuted with this book. It tells the story of a number of different people who live in war-torn Chechnya and how they all converge because of the actions of one man. It’s a story of everything, love, loss, war, death, family, medicine, and finding the complexity behind trying to do good deeds while living on the brink of war constantly.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carols Ruiz Zafon
This was the first book Goodreads ever recommended to me and they hit it out of the park. It tells the story of a boy and his father living in Barcelona after the Spanish Civil War and World War II. The boy’s father takes him to the Cemetary of Forgotten books where he is allowed to pick one book, but whatever he chooses will be his to protect. It reminds you that books are a precious resource.
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
I first read this book way back in high school and I still love it today. It’s short and sweet, just over 200 pages but totally action-packed. It’s set during the French Revolution. ‘The Reign of Terror’ is in full force and people are out in the streets. You don’t normally find yourself rooting for the guy who is coming to save the aristocrats, but this book taught me not to always accept things at face value.
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
This is another book I first read as a kid but stuck with me. It tells the story of Charlotte a 13 year old Victorian era girl who is on a ship from England to New England to meet her family. Along the way, disaster strikes and she has to deal with it all. For the representation matters crowd (of which I am a part) this book stands out in my mind as being one where the girl was independent, smart, and brave, and I loved that.
Harry Potter by JK Rowling
First, this is not just a kids book series! For some reason, Harry Potter falls into two camps, people either love it (raises hand) or despise any mention of it. Sure there are flaws, but it’s world building at some of it’s finest. At the end of the day, it’s about true friendship, bravery, accepting people for who they are, facing your fears, and rejecting things bigotry and ethnic purity (sound familiar?) all wrapped into one magical story.
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
Before I ever knew what a Kindle was, I carted around a 1200 page paperback copy of the trilogy to read. You likely know the story, Frodo is given a magical ring by his cousin and that sets him and his fellowship off on an adventure across Middle-Earth to destroy it. The lessons are just as important, friendship, again, is special, but so perseverance, sacrifice, and always believing in hope.
So, there you have it.
A little bit of an insight into what I’ve loved to read and the lessons I’ve taken from them along the way. As I’m exploring the idea of re-reading books (more on that in a future post) these are all on my list. I’m sure I’ll find even more to explore going through them again with fresh eyes and a little distance.
Now, it’s your turn.
What is your favorite fiction book? Let me know in the comments, I’m always looking for more books to add to my list.