My chosen genre would be Fantasy, I guess. Um. Surprise!
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling: I mean, obviously.
- Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer: It never gets too old for me, and to the eternal embarrassment of those around me, I don’t get too old for it either.
- Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett: Maybe this doesn’t quite fit. It is a save-the-world-from-the-apocalypse kind of story, but it’s got plenty of fantasy, so I deem it worthy for my list … and for every fantasy reader’s bookshelf. Get on it.
- Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan: I am aware I am citing the second book in the series. I never love second books, but I’m fairly certain Brennan is a sorcerer and as a consequence this sequel is pure magic.
- “The Last Stand of the New York Institute” / Book 9 of The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Maureen Johnson: Since the book is not finished and compiled yet, I can’t list The Bane Chronicles as a whole, but I can list this instalment. I think it is officially my favourite audiobook too.
- BONUS! The Diviners by Libba Bray: I finished it last week and I just know that I will never get over this one.
Genre: parody and satire.
I would like to register a protest against “all time favourite” anythings, because that implies that people don’t change, or that I’m somehow locked into the opinions expressed below for all eternity. Bah! Humbug!
- Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones. These two are sequels to Jones’ Tough Guide to Fantasyland, which enact (in a form that actually works) all the ridiculous tropes of regurgitated, poorly-thought-out epic fantasy series that the Tough Guide skewers.
- “Instead of Three Wishes” by Megan Whalen Turner. This is an endearing short story which, while not exactly parody, does play with the fairy tale idea of three wishes and not getting the wishes right. It’s sweet and funny and practical.
- A Modest Proposal by Johnathan Swift. Shocking and so earnest in tone that people apparently took his suggestions seriously. (Urk!)
- Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.
- “Kind of an Ode to Duty” by Ogden Nash, a poem which plays on the serious “Ode to Duty” by William Wordsworth. Actually, just about anything by Ogden Nash. A particular favourite of mine is “Very Like a Whale.” And “The Parsnip” is good for wriggling out of eating any of that inedible vegetable.
Genre… dystopia? Is that a surprise for anyone? I could do fantasy! I could do middlegrade (arguably and age group and not a genre, but let’s not start the genre debate. I would also like to register a protest against the use of “genre” in this question as so many texts fall under multiple categories these days it just feels… exclusionary and narrow. Bah! Humbug!)!
- The Giver by Lois Lowry. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again, this is my favourite dystopia. It is truly dystopic in that we walk through life with Jonas only slightly registering that something is horribly wrong with the world… and then we discover it with him in close sensual detail, and we go through the torment of having to resist everything he knows and loves for the greater good – or is it? Just loves it.
- 1984 by George Orwell. This one makes it into everything that I write, this one makes it into everything that I talk about. This one has be doublethinking my doublespeak all day long…
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I can see I’m going the all time classics route because, most likely, they won’t change for a while. This one is terrifying – and just so awesome! I love it – it in so many ways is the perfect anti-utopia – the island is beautiful, but the monster is in our minds?
- Speaking of monsters, Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness, heavily influenced by William Golding’s text is another anti-utopia turned dystopia series which is just horribly riveting for the whole ride. But! A number of texts take up number 4’s spot. The Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman – which I have spoken about before, it’s terrifying. If you like dystopia, read this. The Hunger Games – I do like it! I can’t help it, it’s so rich, so full of symbolism and metaphor for our own world following in the wonderful traditions of my three favourites up there.
- This spot is reserved for the next dystopia that I read and love. ^-^ because there will be more!
Yes, I made this up but in my opinion, it should be a genre.
- Going Bovine – Libba Bray
This book is about a guy suffering from Mad Cow Disease who is on a journey with a God manifested as a garden gnome and who is frequently visited by an angel whose wings change colours and patterns frequently. Oh and everything may or may not be happening inside his head.
- The Ghosts of Ashbury High – Jaclyn Moriarty
This book is difficult to talk about but here’s this quote which explains things a lot:
“Emily said … Well, I read that it’s important to sleep. While you sleep, the hippopotamus in your brain replays things that happened during the day, e.g. what you studied. So therefore it remembers it for you.”
- If on a winter’s night a traveler – Italo Calvino
This book confused the heck out of me until I reached the end when it made a lot of sense. Either ways, it was brilliant.
- The Three Pigs – David Weisner
Some would call this a postmodernist work of fiction. I call this an experience, a quirky experience. It’s wonderful.
- Generation X – Douglas Coupland
The thing I loved most about this book was not that it pushed at the boundaries of what it meant to be a book but the absolutely gorgeous writing that remains relevant even now when the generations have changed.