Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and this week we are asked to pick ten books that we would read in one day. I interpret this as books that are so engaging that I can’t stop reading! If only I still had time to read a book in a day…I think those days are well behind me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t think of ten books that would fit the bill if I had absolutely nothing else to do for a whole day! So here we go…
1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. OK, all you Twi-haters, this may come as a shock to you, but before it became fashionable to hate the Twilight series, this book was actually given good reviews by the publishing industry. I am happy to say that I read Twilight long before it became popular, and I was so taken with it, that I emailed everyone I knew and told them to drop everything and go get it! Stephenie Meyer may be the brunt of sparkly vampire jokes now, but she was able to pull off something rare: she created an amazing chemistry between two characters that compelled you to keep reading. In fact, this is the only time I’ve ever finished a book, then immediately turned back to page one and read it a second time. No, she’s not the best prose writer out there, but let’s give credit where it’s due: this book created a sensation. I dare anyone out there to prove me wrong.
2. Harry Potter (any or all of them) by J. K. Rowling. This selection should be on everyone’s list this week, I think. Rowling is a master story-teller, and she deserves every bit of fame she’s struggled for. The Harry Potter books are extremely readable and hard to put down once you’ve started. I love the way they evolved over the years, as Rowling herself matured as a writer. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone may have been written for kids, but The Deathly Hallows that ended the series had a different audience in mind.
3. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. This unique story kept me turning pages as fast as I could. The main characters are separated throughout most of the story, which made the tension palpable. Finn is a prisoner in Incarceron, and Claudia is the daughter of the prison warden, who doesn’t even know Incarceron exists, until she discovers a secret. Her follow-up to Incarceron, Sapphique, was not as engaging for me, but the writing and world-building in both are top rate. Fisher really knows her stuff, and if you haven’t read the books, I suggest you add them to your list.
4. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman. Another unique concept, The Golden Compass and the two books that follow it, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, ought to be as widely read as the Harry Potter books, but their controversial anti-church theme has kept them from reaching a wider audience. The characters are amazing, and Pullman’s idea of each person having their soul embodied by an animal struck me as genius. Forget the movie, read the books. You won’t regret it.
5. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. Lots of hype about this book pre-publication did not detract from its greatness. The story of a girl who uses wishes to do things like make her hair blue was so original and readable that it was over before I knew it. Although some of the elements feel familiar, like the fact that Karou is a girl trying to find out who she really is, mostly the book is loaded with originality. Laini’s other books are just as good, and her buoyant writing style just makes you happy! Plus, this cover is gorgeous, I love its simplicity. I can’t wait for her next book…
6. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt. My book club just read this, and yes, it was my pick, I’m happy to say. This western set in Oregon and California during the 1850’s gold rush was compelling for many reasons, but mostly for the first person narrative of Eli, one of the brothers in the title. Charlie and Eli Sisters are hired guns, and they have been recruited to kill a man in California. The tale of how they attempt to do this is strange, violent, and at times, tender-hearted. This funny and irreverent tale should not be missed.
7. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I’ve mentioned this book before, but it definitely falls in the category of books that are hard to put down. I’ve noticed a pattern to all my picks, and that is that they all have unique worlds and compelling characters. With so many over-used plots out there, it’s nice to find writers that work hard to go against the grain. Ready Player One is set in a horrible future where people escape into a virtual computer world rather than face real life. It’s a mind-bending concept and I found myself literally forgetting which world I was in. Plus, a futuristic novel that glorifies the 80’s? How can you not want to read that!
8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Cinder is still fresh in my mind, so I immediately thought of it when compiling this list. Again, it’s got a special and clever idea that borrows from something recognizable (the fairy tale of Cinderella) and drops it into an unfamiliar framework (science fiction). This combination, especially in the hands of a talented writer, is unbeatable. Knowing there are three future books in the Lunar Chronicles is gratifying, but having to wait a year for the second installment is going to be torture. Read it and you’ll see what I mean.
9. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. It’s hard to keep track of all the different series Cassandra Clare has going on, but it all started with this book, by far my favorite. Great characters, romance, special powers, and a story that will keep you reading long past your bedtime, City of Bones has it all for me. The narrative moves fast, and it has that element we’re all looking for in a story: it makes us want to know what happens next. Not only would I read this in a day, but I would go back and re-read it if I had time.
10. Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Simmons is a rock star, no matter what genre he writes in, but I have to say his Hyperion books are still my favorite. This one and The Fall of Hyperion are classics, and I don’t mean because they were written twenty years ago. Simmons’ imagination is unsurpassed in my book, and even though Hyperion is a bit lengthy, you will not want to stop reading once you have started.