Happy Tuesday, book lovers!
Today I’m posting another Top Ten Tuesday, which is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, Each week there is a new theme and bloggers can create a post inspired by that theme and apparently today is their 10 year anniversary, which is really impressive. So in honor of their 10 year anniversary, Option one was to go pick a previous TTT you’ve done and re-do or update it, and Option two was to pick a past TTT you didnt get to do and do it now. For me, since I’m new to taking part in these, option two was the better choice. But picking one was a challenge. I finally narrowed it down though and settled on the top ten books I recommend to people the most.
These are the books I”m constantly trying to make people read either because they moved me in unexpected ways, or simply because I just love the way the story unfolds. So here is my list:
(Disclosure: the list below does contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You are in NO WAY obligated to use these if you don’t want to, but your support is very much appreciated. Also please note the pictures used in this blog post are the version of the book cover that I have on my shelf, the cover you see when you click the link to purchase might be different even though the story is the same.)
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
“An extraordinary debut novel of love that survives the fires of hell and transcends the boundaries of time.
On a burn ward, a man lies between living and dying, so disfigured that no one from his past life would even recognize him. His only comfort comes from imagining various inventive ways to end his misery. Then a woman named Marianne Engel walks into his hospital room, a wild-haired, schizophrenic sculptress on the lam from the psych ward upstairs, who insists that she knows him – that she has known him, in fact, for seven hundred years. She remembers vividly when they met, in another hospital ward at a convent in medieval Germany, when she was a nun and he was a wounded mercenary left to die. If he has forgotten this, he is not to worry: she will prove it to him.
And so Marianne Engel begins to tell him their story, carving away his disbelief and slowly drawing him into the orbit and power of a word he’d never uttered: love.”
This book is honestly, truly, one of my favorite books of all time. It’s one of those books I believe everyone needs to read in their lifetime. I don’t want to say anything about it, I just want everyone to read it.
The Ruins by Scott Smith
“Trapped in the Mexican jungle, a group of friends stumble upon a creeping horror unlike anything they could ever imagine.Two young couples are on a lazy Mexican vacation–sun-drenched days, drunken nights, making friends with fellow tourists. When the brother of one of those friends disappears, they decide to venture into the jungle to look for him. What started out as a fun day-trip slowly spirals into a nightmare when they find an ancient ruins site . . . and the terrifying presence that lurks there.”
This book is such an uncomfortable experience, but it’s really well done. Certain parts of the story you can’t help but feel what the characters are feeling and it’s horrifying and awful but such a good read.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
“In this mesmerizing debut, a competition between two magicians becomes a star-crossed love story.
The circus arrives at night, without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within nocturnal black and white striped tents awaits a unique experience, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stand awestruck as a tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and gaze in wonderment at an illusionist performing impossible feats of magic.
Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves. Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is underway – a contest between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in “a game,” in which each must use their powers of illusion to best the other. Unbeknownst to them, this game is a duel to the death, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.“
Give me a book about a circus and I will probably fall in love with it. But this book in particular is something special. It’s so packed full of magic and beautiful imagery that I’m still wishing they had gotten around to making this a movie so I could actually see it all. I keep hearing there will be one but until there’s a trailer I’m skeptical.
Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
“Palahniuk’s fashion-model protagonist has it all—boyfriend, career, loyal best friend—until an accident destroys her face, her ability to speak, and her self-esteem. Enter Brandy Alexander, Queen Supreme, one operation away from becoming a bona-fide woman. Laced in are new chapters of memoir and further scenes with the book’s characters. Readers will jump between chapters, reread the book to understand the dissolve between fiction and fact, and decipher the playful book design, embarking on a ride they’ll never forget.”
This is just one of the weirdest stories I’ve ever read. Well, I’ve read a lot of Chuck Palahniuk stories now and many are even weirder than this one so I guess I can’t really say that. But it’s just so unique and creative. This story isn’t like anything else I’ve ever read and while I know it’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, I think it’s worth a read just because of how the story is crafted.
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
“By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 years—leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.
When Rhine is sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement; her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next; and Rhine has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive.
Together with one of Linden’s servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?”
So, slight confession. I actually bought this book just because the cover was beautiful but then I went and fell i love with the story. It has been years since I actually read it so I can’t even think of anything to say about it other than what the description above already covers, it’s just a really good read.
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
“After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.”
I just love how the 5th Wave (and all the books in the series) are written. I don’t even know what else to say about them, I just find the story to be really interesting but even more than that I just love how Rick Yancey writes.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
“In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family.”
This book is so moving and really makes you think about life and death and family and whether it’s better to give in to what seems easiest or fight for something that you know will be a thousand times harder. I’ve never read the second book, but this one made me cry so much.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
“Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues—a bee, a key, and a sword—that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library hidden far below the surface of the earth. What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians—it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also of those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose—in both the mysterious book and in his own life.”
Obviously a newer addition since it only came out recently, but I’m more than making up for it by demanding that everyone read this book. I just love it so much. I love how the stories twist and intertwine and how it feels like putting a puzzle together as you go. I just love it so much.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
“When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone. Outside the towering stone walls that surround them is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying: Remember. Survive. Run.”
There were so many things I loved about this book. The premise is really cool, the characters are interesting and well crafted, the action is actually tense and well described so you feel like you’re experiencing it with them, and at the time when I read it I wasn’t reading a ton of books with a male protagonist and I distinctly remember feeling like that was a refreshing change. It’s too bad they decided to make the movies NOTHING LIKE THE BOOKS.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
“Life of Pi is a masterful and utterly original novel that is at once the story of a young castaway who faces immeasurable hardships on the high seas, and a meditation on religion, faith, art and life that is as witty as it is profound. Using the threads of all of our best stories, Yann Martel has woven a glorious spiritual adventure that makes us question what it means to be alive, and to believe.”
Life of Pi is one of those books where it made me feel like I was getting smarter as I read it. I know that sounds kind of stupid, but it did. It’s also the kind of book that is amazing throughout, then something happens and it takes it to a whole new place. So…there’s that.
So that is my list. Let me know what books you recommend the most often, or if you’ve read any from my list let me know what you thought!