Recently, I did the Mid-Year Freakout tag, which was a lot of fun! The very first question had me look at what my favorite book that I had read for that year was, and it was so hard to pick, even just among the 17 that I had read up to that point.
So, I figured I’d make this even harder for myself, and try and choose my top 5 favorite books of all time. This should be painful!
Firstly, I want to start out with a book that I read in high school. In 2011, I walked into an indie bookstore above a coffee shop two towns over from where I live. The cover art intrigued me. I didn’t bother reading the back of it, I just decided to pick it up on a whim. I couldn’t have read this book at any better time in my life. It felt familiar, interesting, and fun. That book is:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Full disclosure, I haven’t read this book since I read it in high school. Sometimes a book comes to you at exactly the right time. I was young, I hated high school, and I wanted nothing more than to leave it and escape into the world of books, movies, and video games. That’s exactly what this book did for me then, and I loved it so much. I haven’t seen the movie yet, mostly because I’m afraid it’ll change my opinion of the book. Eventually I’ll go back and re-read it. I’m sure it won’t live up to the hype that I’ve created for it in my mind, but I’m willing to try and see how my opinions of it have changed.
This book wasn’t the only one that I picked up on a whim and ended up loving. This exact same thing actually happened with a second book, and that book I have re-read, and I still love. That book is:
John Dies at the End by David Wong
I love this book. David Wong’s writing is funny, witty and sometimes downright cruel. This book had me laughing and grossed out at the same time. It’s the type of horror/comedy I wish that I could write. I’m planning on re-reading this (again) and finally continuing on with the series this October for some fun spookiness.
Next, we have a new addition to this list. I read this book earlier this year, and it really resonated with me. I found the main character extremely relatable, and it earned a very rare 5/5 stars from me. That book is:
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
I did a full review on this book. I read the whole thing in about a day. I cried for most of that day. The portrayal of Eliza’s struggle with perfection, her desire to create, and her anxiety about pretty much everything resonated with me so much. I loved the relationships between Eliza and her family, and I think about this book all the time. I’ve read Zappia’s other book (Made You Up) and while I really enjoyed that one, this one is definitely the better of the two.
I didn’t want to put any series on this list, but I read series all the time so that seemed pretty impossible. I did try and pick my favorite from each of the series though. The first one that I wanted to talk about is:
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
The writing in this book is amazing. This is the last book in a trilogy, and everything comes down to this. I read this book in only a few days, because it had me gripped to the pages. I found myself unwilling to put it down (and do the dishes) because of how good this book was. Of all of Laini Taylor’s books, this one is definitely my favorite. We’ll see if that changes in September when her new book comes out though!
Finally, I would be lying to myself if I didn’t include at least one book from this next series. It’s not going to come as any kind of surprise for anyone who knows me. The real challenge came from choosing which book was my favorite. After much deliberation, that book is:
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Come on, you knew it had to be coming. The question you’re probably asking yourself though, is “Siobhan, why the second book?” Well, I’m glad you asked. The second book and the fifth book are probably tied for my favorites in the series. I love this whole world, but the second book is where we start to get interesting. The introductions are out of the way. We know the characters, we know the backstory, and it’s time to get into some interesting stuff. Spoilers for Harry Potter, if you haven’t read it, but this is where we get the first Horcrux. This is where we have foreshadowing with the vanishing cabinet, and this is where we really start to unpack the potential that this world has. In the third book, things start to get darker. This book still has more of a middle-school, fun feel. It’s light, it’s quick, and it still packs all of the knowledge that the rest of the series does. This one is my favorite.
Maybe at some point I’ll choose another five books, or I’ll come through and list my top 5 favorite series, but for now, I should get back to reading!