Books - Top Five Lists
We've all grown up as avid readers. Wanting to encourage this nasty
habit however we can, we've made this top five list. This is a list of
five books (or series of books) that we really loved and we think other
people will too. There are no spoilers here, other than brief summaries of
the plot and characters. Clicking on an image or title will bring you to
and Noble's online store. Out of print books don't have a link.
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
- This is the story of a young boy of the future going off to a military
academy in space. But it's so much more than that. This novel portrays a
truly intelligent child in surroundings he struggles to control.
Intelligent kids, teens, and adults should love this book. It lacks some
of the power it had when I first read it as a kid, but that hasn't stopped
me from reading it three or four times over.
Seafort Saga (Series) - David Feintuch
- You'll start to think I have a military fetish, but I swear I don't!
This series is about a young man in the navy (space navy of course!) and
the extraordinary circumstances he encounters and has to survive through.
I have a hunch it's Feintuch trying to do Hornblower justice after the
mockery Star Trek made of it. The navy is very military and much closer to
the navy Hornblower served in. To sum this series up, I would call it
Hornblower meets Ender's Game. The story is very
so don't let the word 'military' or the phrase 'science fiction' turn you
off to it. Give the first book a shot.
Star Trek: New Frontier (Series) - Peter David
- Star Trek as you wish it were written. Peter David has built his own
ship and peopled it with minor Trek characters and characters of his own
invention. Dr. Selar, Cmdr. Shelby, and Robin Lefler all serve aboard this
ship. This series gets mucho points from me for having a realistically
portrayed true hermaphrodite. Peter David is always a trip and this series
really allows him to shine. You'll love every single one of his
characters, each in their own way.
Farseer Series - Robin Hobb
- I had mistakenly put this up as one book, but it's a trilogy. It's
about the bastard child of the heir to the throne. Having no real place
among the royalty, he becomes the apprentice to an assassin and becomes
pivotal to everything. This series is set in the same world as her
- 5. Native Tongue - Suzette Haden Elgin
- This is a future, and some might term it a dystopia in which women
have lost their equal rights. It's very much a feminist book, sometimes
too much so, but why I chose it for my list here is its very accurate
linguistic science. Elgin is a linguist, a PhD I believe, so does what no
other science fiction writer has seemed able to do. She writes
believably about language and the lives of a very interesting
society of linguists. Anyone interested in languages and linguistics
should read this, and ignore the feminist claptrap if it bothers you.
To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
- My only entry that has no fantastical element, and probably the one
that touches me the most. A coming of age story in the Depression-era
south...but more importantly, a story of the decency inherent in some
Matilda - Roald Dahl
- A little girl living with a pair of monsters discovers that she has
incredible powers. And it's not just Harry Potter with a female
protagonist...it's something more. (This, after all, is the source
of The Pokey.)
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine l'Engle
- Meg Murry, my first hero, and the template for my mental image of
Hermione Granger. Calvin O'Keefe, one of the only males in literature
I've ever had a crush on, and the template for my mental image of
Ron Weasley. No wonder I ship for those two in the Harry Potter series.
I love this book. That's all I need to say.
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
- What war is so terrible that we would have to recruit small children
to be our tactical geniuses? I view this book as I do 1984, a very
dark image of a possible future.
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
- This story SCARES me. I can see the seeds of this scenario planting
themselves in today's culture, and I fear what would happen to me
if it should happen. My age and sexual identity would surely
get me...okay, it's a good book, it's a scary book, and you should
read it, because I'm NOT following that line of thought.
- Honorable Mention:
Polgara the Sorceress - David and Leigh
- Polgara is my hero. Eddings makes me laugh. The end. :)
NOTE: These are my top 5 individual books; it's too hard to include series
in a list that's just supposed to be books, since I judge series on
In no particular order:
Matilda - Roald Dahl
- Excitingly, this book actually has a female main character.
And not only is she brilliant and talented, she's not afraid to use those
factors to her advantage. There are so many books (movies, etc) about
little boy geniuses, I was just so thrilled to find one with a girl in the
middle of it. And, of course, Dahl is always excellent.
Watership Down - Richard Adams
- I can't really pin down what it is about this book that captivates me.
When I was younger, I was devoted to books about animals, both realistic
ones and those with a touch more fantasy. This tale of a group of rabbits
escaping disaster and attempting to make a place in the world would fall
somewhere between the two, I think.
Pawn of Prophecy - David (and Leigh) Eddings
- I'm a big fan of Eddings in general, and have read and reread all of
books in their series countless times. This, the first book in the
Belgariad, is my favorite. Garion's reactions upon having his world
turned upside down and inside out, along with the introductions of most of
the main characters, put it near the top of my list.
A Swiftly Tilting Planet - Madeleine L'Engle
- Again, another one of a series, chronologically fourth of those that
feature the Murry family. Charles Wallace is 15 and old enough to be more
of an active protagonist in this adventure, which is what makes it stand
out for me.
The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley
- I've read a lot of fantasy surrounding the court of Arthur; various
retellings of the tale from different perspectives and with different
motivations for the characters. Of them all, I find this one the most
well drawn and interesting.