Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week.
This week’s topic is Top Ten Favorite Books I Read Before I Was A Blogger. As usual, I’ll put my own spin on it. For my list, I decided to take the “before” part of the topic to mean “immediately before”, and so I went back through my Goodreads books read prior to the birth of Bookshelf Fantasies last summer. Because I’m a number-crunching geek at heart, I took a quantitative approach to putting together this list. Moving backward from July 2012, I looked for any books that I rated 5-stars, and picked the first ten I encountered. I excluded graphic novels this time around, because otherwise my entire list would consist of Buffy, Fables, and Bone. (Check ’em all out, by the way! They rock.)
For your reading pleasure (?), I’m including snippets of my Goodreads review for each book. Without further ado, my top ten favorite books, read mostly in 2011 and 2012, from my pre-blogging days:
1) Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin:
Written in the early 80s, Fevre Dream is as much historical fiction as it is horror. I loved the atmosphere of this book. Martin lovingly details the world of riverboatmen and their steamboats. With the main action occurring in 1857, Fevre Dream paints a gorgeous picture of an historical time full of adventure, competition, beauty, and corruption.
P.S. — It’s also a vampire book!
2) The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King:
This book, the 2nd in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, is a stand-out. Apparently, I didn’t write a review of it at the time, but I’ll say now that this book moves the series forward into seriously complicated territory and introduces the key characters who will remain central in the ensuing books. A gunslinger, an abandoned child, a junkie, a woman with no legs — to say that these four make odd traveling companions is an understatement. This book is powerful, and the concept of the doors is magnificent. I really, really, really need to get back to this series.
3) Timeless by Gail Carriger:
A fittingly fabulous end to a wonderful series, “Timeless” wraps up all the major plotlines of the Parasol Protectorate series with panache. Replete with all the delights of London society, hive and pack politics, dirigible and steamer travel, and adding in a journey to mysterious Egypt, “Timeless” delivers all the whimsy, humor, adventure, and romance of Gail Carriger’s earlier entries in the series.
4) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green:
Here’s what I wrote in the immediate aftermath of reading this book:
This book killed me. Just killed me. I haven’t cried this much or this hard over a book since… well, I have no idea since when. The Fault In Our Stars is beautiful and brutal and honest and funny. Perhaps when I am less emotional and more coherent, I’ll come back and write a proper review. For now, I’ll just say that this story of love and death truly deserves all the attention it’s been getting. I found it impossible to put down, except for those moments when I had to get up to take some deep breaths and fetch some more tissues. Wow.
So, yeah. I guess you could say it had an impact on me.
5) All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen:
I kept my comments brief on this one:
LOVED this book. A delightful mix of steampunk and Shakespeare, with action, adventure and romance thrown in as well.
That totally does not do justice to how fantastic this book is — what was I thinking? Strong female characters, gender-bending shenanigans, quippy dialogue, and evil automata… what more could you want?
6) The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown:
Oddly, I didn’t write a review of this one, despite the fact that I loved it so very much. A terrific book about sisters, family expectations and disappointments, plus: Shakespeare! Book love! Academia! Lots of good stuff.
7) The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon:
Off I go again on an Outlander-related rant:
Jamie Fraser. If those two words send thrills up and down your spine, then you will undoubtedly want to read The Scottish Prisoner. If, however, that name means nothing to you… well, it’s not that I wouldn’t recommend The Scottish Prisoner anyway; I just don’t think you’d enjoy it as much as we rabid fans do.
8) The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse:
Another one that I loved but didn’t review. Part ghost story, part love story, this haunting tale — set in the Pyrenees shortly after World War I — is beautifully written, and the superb woodcut illustrations are an added bonus.
9) 11/22/63 by Stephen King:
Well, I had quite a bit to say about this one:
Stephen King’s mastery of suspense, plotting, and character development is once again on display in 11/22/63. I thought I knew what to expect before I started; I found that I was wrong. King does remarkable things with a story I expected to be rather dry. After all, the bulk of the story takes place in the late 50’s and early 60’s, winding its way through well- and lesser-known historical events. How exciting could that be? Very exciting, it turns out. Once the story picked up steam, it was hard to put down. I want to avoid spoilers, but I will say that I was shocked to discover what a romantic story this was at its core.
10) Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick:
Beautiful, beautiful book. “Wonderstruck” by Brian Selznick is described on the title page as “a novel in words and pictures”, but that doesn’t really do it justice… I’ll just say that I was moved, much more so than I expected to be, and really relished the experience of reading this lovely book with my 9-year-old son. I’d recommend it for parents and children to read together, but also wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to adults to read on their own.
Writing this blog post was actually a nice reminder of all the terrific books I’ve read in the last couple of years. What fun — it’s a bit like catching up with old friends.
Have you read any of my top 10? And what books are on your list this week?