The List

It’s hard to create a list of favorite books of all time when I’ve read so many good books. Throughout the process of creating The List, I added a few books at a time, then second-guessed myself and took them away, ultimately to only put them back on the list again. All the books listed, more fiction than nonfiction, speak to my soul in some way and many are books I’ve connected with through personal experiences and memories and people I’ve known and loved. For each of these books, I can provide you with a snapshot image of a moment in time when the book was opened between my hands; I can describe what I was doing, where I was, and the thoughts tumbling around in my head … but I’ll save those stories for a different time.

Because creating a list of top favorite books of all time is difficult and subject to change with more books that are read and more time that passes, I’ve given myself permission to create a secondary list of honorable mentions that I’ve loved faithfully for varying reasons and that I’ve recommended to no end. On that list, you will find many more nonfiction pieces that are responsible for changing and molding my perspective and bringing my identity more into focus, as well as a few series and a handful of fiction books that I have thoroughly enjoyed in recent years. Both lists are of course subject to change; I’m sure more will be added as the years go by.

The List

The List is comprised of a rounded 25 books (completely unintentional) that span from 1813 to 2018 and cover a variety of genres (canon classics, historical fiction, Christianity, nonfiction, and fantasy, to name the most apparent).

So, without further ado, here is The List, my top favorites of all time, so far (in order of publication because any other subjective order would be asking the impossible):

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas (1844)
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens (1853)
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (1937)
  • The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe [The Chronicles of Narnia] by C.S. Lewis (1950)
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (1951)
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader [The Chronicles of Narnia] by C.S. Lewis (1952)
  • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (1952)
  • The Godfather by Mario Puzo (1969)
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman (1973)
  • The Tower of Geburah [The Archives of Anthropos] by John White (1978)
  • The Pillars of the Earth [Kingsbridge] by Ken Follett (1989)
  • Outlander [Outlander] by Diana Gabaldon (1991)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone [Harry Potter] by J.K. Rowling (1997)
  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (1998)
  • The Shadow of the Wind [The Cemetery of Forgotten Books] by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (2001)
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (2004)
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (2005)
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2005)
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (2008)
  • A Discovery of Witches [All Souls] by Deborah Harkness (2011)
  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King (2011)
  • The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe (2012)
  • Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak (2018)

The Secondary List (Honorable Mentions)

The Secondary List is comprised of 11 nonfiction books, 11 fiction books, and 5 series of books and 1 trilogy that I loved or have followed quite faithfully over the years. I wanted these books to be recognized because they either hold a special place in my heart or were books I feel helped to shape my identity as a reader and, in many ways, a human being who is always seeking to learn and grow and change. Only time will tell whether these books will eventually make it to The List. Because of its nature, these honorable mentions have been organized by category and publication date.

Nonfiction:

  • Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Read (1974)
  • Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (1997)
  • The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama (2006)
  • Columbine by Dave Cullen (2009)
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (2010)
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2014)
  • As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes (2014)
  • Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik (2015)
  • Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Tyson (2017)
  • Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit by Chris Matthews (2017)
  • Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston (2018)

Fiction:

  • My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (1951)
  • Misery by Stephen King (1987)
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (2000)
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (2005)
  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman (2009)
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (2015)
  • Smoke by Dan Vyleta (2016)
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (2018)
  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (2018)
  • The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton (2018)

Series/Trilogies:

  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien | First Book: The Fellowship of the Ring / 3 books | (1951-1955)
  • The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice | First Book: Interview with the Vampire / 13 books | (1976-present)
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon | First Book: Outlander / 8 books | (1991-present)
  • Agent Pendergast by Douglas Preston and Lee Child | First Book: Relic / 18 books | (1994-present)
  • The Southern Vampire Mysteries or Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris | First Book: Dead Until Dark / 13 books | (2001-2012)
  • The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels by Philippa Gregory | First Book: The Lady of the Rivers / 15 books | (2001-2017)


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