Top 10 – Books/Series
Jumping around in our Top 10 topics, we’re going to go to books and or series. I was thinking about doing more movies, and I’ll come back to them, but felt like time to do books for some reason. I’m lumping series together, because I would probably have 8 or 9 of the spots filled up with books from one series that you’ll have to see what it is later on the list.
10 – Good Omens
I like some humor in by books and this one has a good amount of it. Good Omens is the story of an Angel and a Demon who are working together because they don’t really want to see the apocalypse come around. Unfortunately, nothing is really working like they think it will and can you actually avoid the apocalypse? Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman do a great job with this story and it’s a fast and really enjoyable read.
9 – Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
More humor, this time even more absurd as Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy asks you the big questions in life as you fly around on a crazy space ship that just doesn’t quite do what you think it will. And you’d think that the universe would have some normal parts, but that’s very questionable. Douglas Adams is an author who’s writings I generally enjoy. The other Hitchhikers books are fun, though not as good. And Dirk Gentley’s Holistic Detective Agency is a new side of crazy. If you’re up for something completely absurd, anything by Adams is worth checking out.
8 – Daughter of Smoke and Bones
You’ll also see a fair amount of fantasy on the list, and Daughter of Smoke and Bones is the first one to kick it off. And it’s very different in terms of fantasy. It’s not your normal knights on horses riding off with the wizard to slay the dragon. No, this takes place partially in a modern world. The story is interestingly woven together, and while there are some stumbles in writing where it dumps backstory for too long, it’s very enjoyable. It also feels so different from standard fantasy. Laini Taylor does a good job on the story and a good job creating a world that feels unique.
7 – Swallows and Amazons
This is a series that I grew up on. We read through it multiple times growing up and it’s just a ton of fun. It’s a kids style adventure story, almost kids on bikes, but because that was really the common term for the genre. It follows three families of kids as they go exploring the lake country of England, camping under the stars, and having crazy adventures. Good wholesome fun for the whole family. Arthur Ransome really can tell a tale of adventure. Now, I will say that there is some from the times that shows up in the writing, considering they were published in the 1930’s and 1940’s, mainly in Missee Lee, and while that one is a fun romp, it is skippable in terms of the story as a whole.
6 – Stardust
Back to another story by Neil Gaiman, this one again leans into the comedy, but also a lot of fun world building. What happens when the normal world and a world of magic collide. Stardust is an absurd story of that. It has high stakes adventure, romance, and so much going on in the story. If you’re looking for something that is just a fun romp, Stardust is that, and you can blow through it quickly. Again, one that leans into that British absurdity in it’s humor like Good Omens and like Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
5 – Harry Potter
I wish JK Rowling would just go away at this point in terms of her world. She’s ruining the world that she created by continually trying to fill in holes in her world and just in general, but I won’t get into that further, because the series itself is still enjoyable. Yes, there are massive plot holes, but for a series, it builds over time and they are almost always enjoyable. I like how the stories grow up with the characters, the first one is a pretty light and simple romp and story, but in the last one, they are dealing with much weightier things. I still recommend the series for kids who need something to read, and since I’ve read them a few times now, it’s something that I can breeze through quickly.
4 – The Reckoners
Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors. The man is a machine when it comes to turning about books, and while I like some of his epic fantasy stuff better, you’ll have to find out what it is, I love the Reckoners series. It’s a good young adult superhero book where it isn’t just your normal superheroes out there saving the world, the powers affect the heroes negatively so that if you have powers, you are a villain, and the Reckoners are a group of people who are taking down the worst of the worst, but you have to find out the weakness of those with super powers. Really well written, some heavier things to think about, and a ton of fun.
3 – It
Only Stephen King book on the list, though, I do enjoy a lot of his stuff, and I really need to read some of them again like Dreamcatcher. But It is a book that I can just read over and over again. He does a great job of creating the horror and the tension in the book while also having a kids on bikes adventure feel to it, almost like you get in Stranger Things. Pennywise is a great villain, and there’s a lot of depth to the story. It’s a big book, but it tells such a good tale that if you’re thinking about reading some horror or want to see what Stephen King is all about, I think that this one is a great starting point.
2 – Stormlight Archive
Second Brandon Sanderson series on the list, this is a massively epic fantasy series, I mean massive. The third book in the series, the audiobook for that is over fifty hours, it’s insane. But the story in it is amazing. Sanderson weaves together several different characters into a story about the end of the world, but also about how it could be saved. There are spren, creatures that embody everything, there are wind spren that you can see when it’s windy outside, light spren, dark spren, death spren(?), and more that people research, and it’s just a unique twist to the world. I feel like there are a lot of fantasy tropes, but also so many amazingly different things that make the series worth spending the time on.
1 – The Dresden Files
I really enjoy urban fantasy which Daughter of Smoke and Bones is in some ways, and Neverwhere, which just misses the list by Neil Gaiman, is as well. But the best urban fantasy that I’ve found has been The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. He weaves a masterfully grand tale and always world ending events that keep the stakes high, but without feeling silly like so many massive series can. Harry Dresden is just a well created character, you know he’s going to win, but it’s going to be hard along the way. Nothing ever comes to him easily, and that’s fine, and he’s never going to be a perfect character, he’s written well with flaws and that makes him seem such more real, as do all of the characters in the series. Definitely a big series, definitely an easier series to read, one to checkout if you’re having trouble finding good urban fantasy.
Now, I’ve mentioned a few other books that I like as well that almost made the list, Dirk Gentley’s Holistic Detective Agency is just out there and weird but really enjoyable. I have liked Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan is massive and enjoyable. Classics like Dune, Lord of the Rings, and Chronicles of Narnia all just miss the list as well. How about what, what are some of your favorite books? Have I sold you on checking out any of my favorites?
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