"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)



I fell in love with reading before I fell in love with writing.  By about two years, I think.  I have read and continue to read some excellent literature.  Here are some of my all-time favorites.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  I recommended this book to my husband, and it took him over a year before he finally gave in.  When he began reading it, he came in to me and said, "Listen to this."  He reread the opening scene to me with awe.  He continued to share morsels throughout the book, he loved it so much.  I said, "I told you so."  Now, go and do likewise.  Don't take a year.  You won't regret it.

The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck.  Sure, Of Mice and Men, The Red Pony, and The Grapes of Wrath get all the attention and accolades.  But this book is my favorite by Steinbeck.  The machinations of a good man using questionable means to rise to the expectations of others are brilliantly conceived and executed.  And I love a good redemption story.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mann Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  Great characters, wonderful humor, and a sweet romance.  Written as a series of letters, it can be challenging to get into at first (or so I'm told), but well worth sticking it out.

Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey by Alison Weir.  I'm not big into historicals, but this novel was gripping and engaging. 

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  Ms. Collins is a master of pacing and characterization.  She combines compelling story-telling with good writing.  If you haven't read these books, do it now before the movie comes out!

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  I've heard J.K. Rowling disparaged before because she hasn't written anything since, but I would say she's not just a one-trick pony.  Her world-building is spectacular.  You can see her growth from book to book as she becomes more experienced and takes creative license as she gains her audience's trust.

I'm going to stop there, but if you want to see more of my recommendations, please visit my Bookshelf at the top of the page under the title of my blog. Or simply click this handy link here.  I update it regularly, so feel free to check back often.

What about you?  What is your favorite book of all time?


Sheila Siler said...

Of the list you gave I have only read The Harry Potter series. I've been meaning to read The Hunger Games since there is such buzz about it. Thanks for the recommendations.

K.C. Woolf said...

Quite a few I haven't read yet, so thanks for the recommendations. :-)

I loved the Hunger Games, loved Harry Potter, love Steinbeck, so I can only believe you about the other novels!

Shelli said...

Sheila, I think you'll enjoy The Hunger Games. It was a hard book to put down.

K.C. -- My pleasure! Let me know what you think of them if you get to read some of the others.

Donna Weaver said...

LOVED "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society"! In fact, when I was so upset with "Mockingjay" I came home and read Guernsey to feel better.

Love Harry and really liked the first two books in the HG trilogy.

Shelli said...

Donna, I agree, The Potato Peel Pie Society was just so much fun and made you feel good. And I liked the first book in the HG series the best. I still liked Mockingjay; there were some things I would change, but hey, that's the author's prerogative.

Charmaine Clancy said...

I could never pick one, but I do agree with The Book Thief. I also loved Unwind by Neil Shusterman and When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro and The Great Gatsby (oh I loved him so much, why were they all so cruel!)
many many more :)

Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

Sharon - Grandma is a Writer said...

Enjoyed seeing your list of recommendations. I was an English lit major in college and have read so many wonderful books - most of them forgotten. One I have never forgotten is Rees Howells, Intercessor. Don't ask me who the author is.

Sounds like I will definitely have to check out The Book Thief.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I don't know how I haven't read The Book Thief yet when it comes so widely recommended. I definitely need to get it. Loved The Hunger Games trilogy and the Harry Potter series.

Favorite books are hard. The Hunger Games is on the list. The Shining. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I'll probably hit post and think of 20 more!

Angela Felsted said...

We read a lot of the same things. I really liked "Guernsey" despite the obnoxious title.

But I admit I've never read "The Winter of Our Discontent." I suppose it's a title I ought to check out.

Jan Morrison said...

Think I've read most of yours but Innocent Traitor and The Hunger Games. I loved the Book Thief so much. My favorites include 'The Quiet American' by Graham Greene; The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, Realms of Gold by Margaret Drabble and Bliss by Peter Carey but even as I write these hundreds more are popping up in my brain 'pick me! pick me!' they shout.
Jan Morrison

Jayne said...

Excellent recommendations. I think I need to revisit Steinbeck. ;)

Langley said...

I've read some on your list but not The Book Thief. I'll get right on it, thanks.

I’m A-Z Blogging on Langley Writes about Writing and Langley’s Rich and Random Life

Shelli said...

Charmaine -- I, sadly, have not read The Great Gatsby. I will remedy that immediately. Thanks for the recommendations!

Sharon, thank you, I'll check it out!

Shannon, I see you like things dark. Cuckoo's Nest haunted me for weeks.

Angela -- Yes, they tried a little too hard to be cute with the title, didn't they? I hope you'll like Winter.

Jan, that was the problem I had with my post! It could have gone on for three pages. I'm excited to try your recommendations!

Jayne, thanks!

Langley, welcome to the blog and thanks for visiting!

KatheeJantzi said...

Oh - now I'm excited to download all of those that I haven't read on my Kindle - if you liked Hunger Games and Potter, I'm sure I'll like your other recommendations - Thanks!!
Kathee from

Shelli said...

Kathee -- I love my Kindle! I hope you enjoy my recommendations.