Top Ten-Eleventy-Four!

by Neeks

The last top ten list was such a success, thanks to all of you fantastic Limebird readers. Let’s have another one! Since there were so many wonderful responses to the last list, we went well over ten.  In future lists I have no way of knowing what the final tally will be. So from now on the lists will be Top Ten-Eleventy-Four lists, and we can have as many answers as we want! Whenever you see that title, check to see what the list is about and fire away! If there is a list you’d like to see, send me an email and we’ll work it in.

I have almost finished the last book in the Stieg Larsson series, (1)The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, (2) The Girl Who Played With Fire, and (3) The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest. While I’ve found them absolutely riveting, had-to-have-the-paperback-copy books, they are not my all time favorites. Hmmm (tapping pencil on cheek)…

Would my favorite be something I have kept and read over and over again? Or should the designation go to a book that really influenced the choices I’ve made in my life? Books that make me want to write or those that make my soul sing? Quite often I’m sure those questions will coincide with one answer but not always. Anyway, here are a few of my top tens, and why.

10) The Stand, by Stephen King, and just about anything he writes will be at the top of my list. I love a good scare and he is of course, the king. J.R.R. Tolkien next, for obvious reasons. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, by Stephen R. Donaldson (a lot like Tolkien but more sci-fi).

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What are a few of your Top Ten All Time Favorite Books and a sentence or two why?

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34 Comments to “Top Ten-Eleventy-Four!”

  1. Different books for different moments. The books I really lose myself in are thrillers. Wasn’t it Kingsley Amis who said of one of his more depressed friends (can’t remember who) something like ‘Why can’t he fuck off and read a Dick Francis when he can’t sleep like the rest of us?’. This is exactly how I use Dick Francis, also Donna Leon, Robert B Parker, Harlen Coben and a host of inferior pulps. Books I really admire? Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad and OMG Ron Rash’s Burning Bright – never been so grateful for short stories being short. Some of them are so exquisitely painful and accurate that I almost couldn’t look at the words. Ouch. Cathy

  2. 9) Sopranos by Alan Warner – funny, touching and perfect – he just does everything right with this book!

  3. I agree with Cathy. Different books for different moments! I really admire Daphne Du Maurier. I think Rebecca was a work of genius. I don’t usually read crime/horror/thriller/supernatural but I am hooked on Phil Rickman’s books.which contain all those elements. When I start one of his books I can’t put it down. For a very different, but equally entertaining read I love Jilly Cooper and Fiona Walker who are fabulous at the bonkbuster! And when I just need a comfort read or nostalgia boost I have been known to pick up a childhood favourite – maybe a pony book by the Pullein-Thompsons or Ruby Ferguson, or an Enid Blyton. Bliss.

  4. Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman. It is too complicated to explain how this book came into my life because it is like someone from the dead pointed it out to me on three separate occasions when I was feeling very at odds with writing. I finally got the hint that this book is supposed to mean something to me on some mystical, surreal level. Still don’t know what exactly, but whenever I read it I get this sense that I’m supposed to be a writer. Weird, yes, but riveting nonetheless.

    • It’s not weird, I’ve felt that too and I’ll bet others have as well! I know exactly what you mean. I have several books that make me feel that way.

  5. CJ Cheryh’s Chanur series, hands down. I love her writing style, and the way she develops her characters. If I don’t know what to read, I just grab one of those. Occasionally I’ll devour the whole book, but at times I’ll just flip to a favorite section and enjoy.

    • I haven’t read her books, is she on kindle? Picking up that favorite book is like greeting an old friend you haven’t seen in a while, isn’t it? Some of them just “fit us” perfectly.

  6. The Stand — fantastic! Try the Talisman by Steven King and Peter Straub. J.R.R. Tolkein — what can anyone say? Stephen Donaldson — on a different note, try Mordant’s Need — A very different story which highlights quite a different set of Donaldson’s skills. Three excellent authors!

    • I’ve read the Talisman, you’ve actually read Stephen Donaldson? Wow! I’ll have to find “Mordant’s Need” and read it. Thank you for your comments, what about your favorites Judith?

  7. Labyrinth ~ Kate Mosse, The Red Tent ~ Anita Diamant, People of the Book ~ Geraldine Brooks, The Heretics Daughter ~ Kathleen Kent. Mosse for her storytelling and sympathetic characters back in time, The Red Tent for its incredible portrayal of someone rising out of imagined biblical history to find her voice and strength, PotB for its imaginative look through the journey of one book, and the latter because it involves my ancestral family.

  8. The “funny” books from the Dresden Files series is up there because the protagonist’s personality is both funny, atypical, strong, cheeky, and GOOD (in the good vs. evil sense)… and flaming monkey-demon poo is funny. I don’t think I could pull off a character like Dresden, and as much as I think he’s nuts, he makes me laugh, which doesn’t happen that often.

    I have to say that Harry Potter (all of ’em, but probably mostly #3) because whenever I try to read them with an eye for HOW it’s put together & writerly details, I get lost in the story (oops!).

    I have to also list Atlas Shrugged. 80 page monologue aside, it’s a part of the long story on how I met my husband, so it simply has to be included.

    The Night of the Seventh Mood by Victoria Holt – the first historic fiction I ever read. I read it at about age 11 or so and have read it several times since.

    When I’m in the mood for something fun, but not funny, I’ll go for one of Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation books. They are romance (in the romantic comedy movie definition, although a couple of them are a bit more bodice-ripping in parts). They are historical fiction, but with a modern story on top of them, acting as a ribbon lacing the stories together (the modern people discovering stuff about the historic people). She clearly has fun writing them, and gosh darn it, I want to know what happens to Eloise (the modern person)! Also, Willig manages to run a blog & FB while successfully writing a series with a solid following, so I’m impressed even if it’s not my usual genre.

    • Willig does sound like a peach! Your description of her reminds me of a series here that I love, by Janet Evanovich. The Stephanie Plum Novels. She is hilarious, hysterical, I should have listed these near the top of my list, thanks for reminding me!

  9. Hi, Neeks,

    Yes, I love Mordant’s Need — it’s actually 2 books, “The Mirror of Her Dreams,” and “A Man Rides Through.” I am an all-out fan of Raymond Feist. I started with his book, Magician, 15 years ago, and he has since written three or four trilogies and a video game, all of with take place in the same world. My favorite by far is in the first series — it’s called “A Darkness at Sethanon.” But I have not read a single book of his that I haven’t loved. They are best read in order relative to each other, as each builds on the last. I am also a Robert Heinlein freaky fan — I own every book he ever wrote. Many would recommend “Stranger in a Strange Land,” which is a good novel, but his best, as far as I am concerned, is a novel called “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.” If you haven’t read that one, it will be well worth your time.

  10. Nice to see a fellow Heinlein fan here Judith!

    Like Cathy I would say that I love different Heinlein for different reasons. For a quick, fun, uplifting read then I go for one of his juveniles (I have many dog-eared copies of different ones) people should try “Have Space Suit—Will Travel”, for mid-length reads that raise some issues I would agree with “Stranger in a Strange Land” but also I’m totally behind your pick of “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”. Then, for the long-read, I keep on coming back to “Time Enough for Love” basically a collection of novellas with a connecting thread, it would definitely be my desert island book. Come to think of it… I haven’t read TEFL in nearly two years, time to grab it off the shelf again…

    • What a cool idea! I’ve never thought about what I would bring for entertainment if I was stuck on an island – I always thought of survival stuff. You know, knife, rope, matches, beer, tent, water purification tablets…the basics.

  11. Hey (I know, it’s for horses)! I just had an idea. What about a Limebird reading list? You know, a list of books (excel spreadsheet time!) that Limebirds like in various genres. Wouldn’t that be fun??? (you can laugh at the excel part, if you’d like, but I’m serious)

  12. Ooooh The Stand. That is probably my favorite Stephen King’s and definitely one of my favorite books of all time. I remember lugging that thing with me everywhere I went in high school and people would say things like “why are you reading that, it’s so huge?” “You’re reading FOR FUN?!!?!?!?!?!?” Sigh, they will never know the joy of a good Stephen King novel! I’d say some of my other top favorites are
    Harry Potter (any of them, I really can’t pick just one!)
    The Chronicles of Narnia (I’m partial to The Magician’s Nephew, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)
    The Hunger Games
    Fight Club
    Invisible Monsters (also by Chuck Palahniuk, who wrote Fight Club)

    ahhh I just love books!

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