March 26, 2013

Top Ten Books I Recommend The MOST (16)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
There are a lot of ways I can take this week's Top Ten list. Is it Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most to Readers? To Non-Readers? To Contemporary Lovers? To Fantasy Nerds? To Paranormal Junkies? I always find that when I recommend a book, I have to be careful who I'm recommending what to because it could be MY FAVORITE but my reading taste isn't everyone's reading taste. Which just means I ask a lot of annoying questions and think VERY CAREFULLY before recommending books.

But instead of inserting a qualifier, I'm just going to make this a Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most BECAUSE I LOVE THEM list. I'll be sure to note genre, because even though I know Tamora Pierce if the greatest ever and I'd probably push all of her books on you even if you don't love fantasy books, there should be some kind of level playing field, right?

So here they are. My Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most based solely on my book feels and nothing else.


1. Anything set in the Tortall Universe by Tamora Pierce
Genre: YA Fantasy
I could list each quartet and cheat a couple of times but instead I'll just cheat once and put a whole universe up here. I think there are 17 books set in Torall? I haven't read all of them - just the first 13 - but I don't even need to read the last ones to tell you they're probably genius. Tamora Pierce just knows what's up. Her books are just MAGICAL. And if that's not enough, they're set in medieval times with knights and kings and castles. And if THAT'S not enough, all of her books are pro-feminism in a not-in-your-face kind of way (aka the best way). There's just so much amazingness in her series and I can't imagine why you wouldn't want to read them.

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Genre: YA Contemporary
I KNOW. I KNOW. Everyone else in the world ALSO has this book on their list but I can't help myself. This book was just SO FREAKING GOOD and I just want to stare at it slack-jawed all day. But I can't. Because I have things to do (stupid life). So instead I just go around trying to articulate the feels you WILL feel when you read this book. Inevitably I'll fail, show you a vlog brothers video instead, get you hooked on John Green as a human being and then guide you to his books (this is actually a thing I do. It works fairly often).


3. If I Stay + Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Genre: YA Contemporary
*More cheating lalala* but y'know what? You can't list one without the other. They are so very much a duology of feels and everyone should read these books. So good. So many feels. And honestly? Where She Went was so much better for me than If I Stay and you can't read the former without reading the latter first, so it's really, actually one book in my head. Does that make sense? No? Go read the books and get back to me, okay?


4. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Genre: YA Dystopian
I think this is my favorite dystopian out of the bunch. That's not to say I didn't love Divergent, Wither, Uglies and a whole bunch of other books full of awesome, but there's just something here I love so much. I would tell you what it is that makes me love this series so much, but it's really not just one thing. It's like everything. Together. Which I guess is the sign of a pretty decent series. ALSO, Unravel Me was possibly BETTER than Shatter Me, which doesn't happen often in second books of series. So yeah. Also. One thing I can tell you for real that made me love this book: SUPER. HEROS. *nerds out like whoa over this fact for the a millionth time*


5. All of the Sarah Dessen
Genre: YA Contemporary
The reason I say ALL is because I do obviously have my favorites, but I always recommend reading Dessen books in pub date order. This is because sometimes characters from earlier books will pop up in later books and it's just SO FUN when you can spot them. Seriously. But in general, I just love Sarah Dessen. Her books are so wonderful. And squee-worthy. I love a good squee, y'know?


6. Night by Elie Wiesel
Genre: Memoir
Elie Wiesel taught at my University until just recently. I was never able to take a class with him but he gives a series of lectures in the fall (seriously, if you're in Boston in November and he's still giving these talks, GO). He's such an adorable little old man (as pictured, because I couldn't help myself) who's been through SO MUCH. And he has this AMAZING voice and, well, yeah. I feel like so many people think The Diary of Anne Frank is the quintessential Holocaust book but then I read Night and, y'know, it's not a competition, but I think Night is the one I would push just a bit harder. It's also a bit easier to get through and it's about the actual camps. Which is terrifying, of course. AND it's the story of a teen told from the memory of an adult, so there's that element as well.


7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Genre: YA Historical Fiction (?)
Okay. This is another Holocaust book (Sorry guys, it's a combo of very much growing up with the topic because I'm Jewish and a bizarre fascination with the event), but this one takes a very different approach. This one's fiction from the perspective of Death. So it's kind of historical fiction but kind of not? I don't know. The writing is absolutely stunning either way. It took me a little bit to get into because of the different perspective, but it was totally worth it. But take this one slow. Don't get frustrated if you don't tear through it in a day. I know it took me a little while and that's okay. Because it's worth it.


8. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
As previously noted in this post, I'm Jewish. But if I'm being honest? I'm fairly religious. I went to a dual curriculum school nursery-12 and I guess I retained some stuff. This "stuff" includes the story of Dina. Or really, the lack of the story of Dina. So when I heard about this book I was like YEAH OKAY I WANT. I excepted it to be good, but I didn't expect to have my insides fall apart. It was brilliant because I wanted a fictional tale of Dina's life, but it was also brilliant because for a while I forgot that's why I picked up the book. As I tore through the pages I was like: THIS IS AMAZING on a secular level, not a religious one. Of course, whenever I paused for snackage or to explain to someone why I couldn't talk to them, my brain would catch up with me and I'd be like, okay, this story has religious significance, but really, it's for everyone, not just people who like bible stories.


9. His Dark Materials Series by Philip Pullman
Genre: YA Fantasy
I've already told you guys about that time I read these books in Middle School. Fantasy was my number one genre back then. It was pretty much all I read. So Pullman and Pierce were like my holy books. Fantasy worlds are so lush and complex and wonderful and when done RIGHT they're so amazing. They take you somewhere else. Pullman takes you somewhere else. He grabs you and drags you behind him and you don't WANT him to let you go because it's all so magical. Granted, I picked up this series because of my favorite English teacher of all time (it was required reading, but I read ahead and finished the whole series before the class finished the first), but really, it was just reaffirmation that reading was my THING.


10. Watchmen or V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
Genre: Graphic Novel
"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" "Remember, remember the 5th of November the gunpowder treason and plot..." Yeah, that's right darlings, I read graphic novels (comics too!). Look, would I recommend this to first time comic readers? NO. PLEASE. NO. If you're not used to the format, it's tough and these are TOUGH novels to get through. However, I will say that these particular graphic novels are a bit more mainstream. You can find a lot of reviews and commentaries and MOVIES (shiny! - although, Watchmen was eh and the V for Vendetta movie kind of conveys a slightly different message than the graphic novels, but whatever). Alan Moore's a bit of a loon, so if you're interested in complex social commentaries, these novels are the bomb dot com. If you're looking for a superhero who saves the day, please turn your attention to Ultimate Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis (aka my favorite) or any superhero originally created by Stan Lee, the coolest man to ever walk the Earth.

**BONUS**


11. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Genre: YA Paranormal
OKAY GUYS DON'T HATE ME FOR SAYING THIS but I my number one pet peeve is people knocking something they haven't tried. Oh, you think this book/movie is garbage and you want to trash it? BE MY GUEST, just make sure to read/watch it first, otherwise you're just a jerk who parrots other people's opinions. If you want to get on the bandwagon, at least do some research first and have real opinions instead of being all: "It sounds stupid" or "Well, everyone else hates it." Even if the product you're bashing is so awful you only make it through the first 20 pages or watch the first 20 minutes, at least you've earned the right to complain. Don't borrow opinions. Form your own.


This list is full of cheating, but I still think you should read all of these books anyways. Based on my feels, not on your personal preferences, of course. But since I do care about your feels and all that, let me know whats on YOUR list in the comments below - and how you feel about mine!

24 comments:

  1. YES, all the books by Tamora Pierce. There is no argument to how good they are~ Good list!!!

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    1. SERIOUSLY. Tamora Pierce will be on every list ever.

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  2. Ooh the book thief! I must read all of Tamora Pierce's stuff!

    My Top Ten Tuesday!

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    1. YES to the Book Thief. Even more yes to Tamora Pierce ^_^

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  3. Alright, apparently I am going to have to read something by Tamora Pierce. EVERYONE talks about how great her books are. And I DO love a good fantasy, especially if it's feminist at all.

    ALSO, SHATTER ME YO. That is a great, great series thus far. I have high hopes for the third book.

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

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    1. YES OH MY GOD DO READ SOMETHING BY TAMORA PIERCE! You will loooove if you love fantasy + feminism. For real.

      And, btw, the day Shatter Me 3 comes out is the day no one will hear from me because I will be DEVOURING.

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  4. The Book Thief is on my list! LOVED it! The Fault in Our Stars is also a really good book. Both made me cry, but it's usually those kinds of books that have an emotional punch that win me over.

    Everything else I haven't read >< Definitely need to work on that. And I'm with you on the Twilight thing. It's okay if you don't like it, as long as you've actually read it and can explain why. Great list!

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    1. Emotional books are the best books. Seriously. And I wish more people would read before ranting, y'know. It's stressful sometimes to deal with all the bandwagon hate. >.<

      Also. Definitely read the others!!! ^_^

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  5. I LOVE YOUR LIST ALMOST AS MUCH AS I LOVE YOU. My list was mainly contemporary books because we all know that's my favorite, but Tamora Pierce and the His Dark Materials series are both must reads in my book.

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    1. Oh stop. You're making me blush! [No, but keep the compliments and love coming ;-)]

      And I'm glad there's some fantasy in your mostly contemporary life ^_^

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  6. Ah, you have such good taste. I LOVE how Dessen has teeny little cameos from past characters and places popping up in her later books - when I was on my Dessen-kick I trawled through Wikipedia, because I am slightly lame - to inspect them all, in case I missed any :-)
    Shatter Me and Unravel Me! All the feels!
    And If I Stay - one of the very, very few books that actually made me cry. Or rather, bawl my eyes out. That scene where Mia's grandfather tells her it's OK if she needs to leave them? Augh, gets me every time. *wipes eyes*
    I also really like your Twilight entry. "Don't borrow opinions. Form your own." YES. THIS.

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    1. RIGHT WITH THE DESSEN?! I love it. I squeal every time I spot someone I KNOW. I think I'm gonna have to re-read all the all ones to be ready for the new one!
      And I'm glad you like the rest of my list. And the Twilight entry. I wasn't sure about adding that but then I was like, WHATEVER HATERZ GON HATE ANYWAY. Which is true.

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  7. I am in absolute and complete agreement about Tamora Pierce. Everyone in the world needs to read her books - and I seriousyl mean that. She's FANTASTIC. As is Sarah Dessen, of course. Both are excellent in their own fields!

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    1. SERIOUSLY. But it's great that we can love so many different genres, y'know?

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  8. This is an awesome list—both Tamora Pierce and Philip Pullman rank on the Top 5 Authors Who've Had the Most Influence on My Life list. Have you read any of Pullman's other books? I saw that you're a Veronica Mars fan (ALL HAIL THE MOVIE-TO-BE!), so you'd probably love the Sally Lockhart books. She's the original #1 lady detective of my heart. :)

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    1. Pullman wrote Court Karlstein, which I think is technically MG? I read that as a kid and LOVED. The Sally Lockhart books are totally on my list. I don't know when I'll get to them tho >.<

      ALSO: YAY VMARS!! ^_^

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  9. Confession: I have only read one Sarah Dessen book (Just Listen), and I wasn't too impressed by it. Maybe because I read it in Dutch, which tends to make me like books less, but I don't know. I do have The Truth About Forever on my shelf, so that needs to be read soon!! And I seriously want to read some of Tamora Pierce's books. And the His Dark Materials series! Also, (now that I'm hear) thank you for including Twilight. That is EXACTLY how I feel about hypes. I went through a big Twilight phase a couple of years ago, absolutely loved it, and now I'm very much over it, but hey. I read the books. I don't like people who say they hate something just because other people think so.

    Oh, and YAY TFiOS, If I Stay/Where She Went, Shatter Me and The Book Thief <3

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    1. I think you should give Dessen a try in English. I don't know. Obviously not every book is for everyone but Dessen really is AMAZING in my opinion. And I loved Just Listen. But a lot of people like The Truth About Forever and This Lullaby the best.

      Also, GET ON THE TAMORA PIERCE/PHILIP PULLMAN BANDWAGON PLEASE!!! Seriously. So good.

      And YOU'RE WELCOME for the Twilight inclusion. I just don't like unnecessary hate, y'know?

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  10. Oooh! If I Stay/Where She Went make me feel all the things.

    But what I really wanted to write was I'm so glad to see a book like Night on your most recommended list :) I read it in high school and that book will stay with me until forever. I'd love to be in Boston and to be able to hear Elie Wiesel speak. That would make my life! I used to carry Night around with me everywhere in case I had a few minutes spare to read a couple of pages while I was waiting for class or the lunch line to move forward.

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    1. I'm so glad YOU'RE glad Night is on my list. It's such an important book and I really do love Elie Wiesel. If you ever end up in the States again make sure to hit up Boston in November. That's when his talks happen!!

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