I have so many favorite novels that it's hard for me to narrow them down, even to a list of top 20!! For example, I love to read all the books in a series almost every time I re-read them, so I usually just include the entire series as one of my favorites. (Is that cheating?) :)
These are some of my top favorites in fiction--in no particular order. This list is a mixture of my favorite kinds of novels: Sci-Fi, Christian Romance, Classic Literature, and a few of my favorite Young Adult fiction books that I grew up on and loved. I completely agree with Meg Ryan's character in the movie, "You've Got Mail." She said, "When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of you in a way that no other reading in your whole life does." Most of these I read in grade school through high school, and therefore helped define who I am today.
- Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen Elizabeth Bennett is like an old friend to me.
- Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen I can see elements of myself in both Elinor and Marianne Dashwood.
- Emma by Jane Austen I love Emma's playfulness, though I don't know if I would actually be her friend! I just love Jane Austen's commentaries throughout.
- Persuasion by Jane Austen I don't know why I like this book so much, except that it's a fascinating study of the culture at that time, as well as about getting second chances.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte My husband cannot understand why I love this so much! ;) I love the character development, how Jane's childhood affected her and who she becomes by the end of the story.
- Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare I enjoy reading several of Shakespeare's lighter plays every once in a while, but no tragedy. Even Romeo and Juliet is just too sad for me. This is my favorite by Shakespeare, because it's romantic comedy at its best. And it has a happy ending--a must for me.
- Perelandra by C.S. Lewis This is actually the second in the Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis. I like the first one, Out of the Silent Planet also, as it is kind of a prelude to this one, my favorite by far. I love how much theology is woven into the story line. However, I have never been able to finish the third in the series, That Hideous Strength, no matter how many times I try. That's why I can't recommend the entire series.
- The Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis I read all of this series, but there are a couple that I just don't care as much for, namely, Prince Caspian and the Last Battle. Even though Prince Caspian is a prelude for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, it's not really necessary to the storyline, in addition to being pretty boring at times, especially detailing the rule of Prince Caspian's uncle Miraz. The Last Battle is the ending--of all Narnia--but I can't stand the syncretism that was put in at the last. Just because a worshipper of the false god Tash did it with all his heart, Aslan (allegorical for Jesus) tells him that he counts his sincerity as if he had been worshipping the true God. I don't agree.
- Love Comes Softly Series by Janette Oke I love all of these! I'm not exactly ecstatic that the later books focus more on Marty's daughters, but they are all great. I have found myself at the same point of my life as most of the main characters at one time or another.
- A Woman Named Damaris by Janette Oke This is just one of the Women of the West series, and I like most of them. But this is my favorite. There were several plot twists I was not expecting. And I love that the main character is searching for God because of what her mother named her.
- Anne of Green Gables Series by L.M. Montgomery I love the first three books and the fifth the most! Anne is so like me in many ways, and yet sounlike me in other ways. I'm sure we would have been best friends, though. I always had trouble pushing through the fourth book, Anne of Windy Poplars, because there was very little romance, and what little there was only was told about minor characters that the reader wasn't invested in. And books six through eight are almost all about her children. There are so many characters by then, that it's hard to care about any of them, until the last book, Rilla of Ingleside. But then, I'm never sure if I really like Rilla or not!
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien What can I say about this series? It's a classic! I would recommend reading the Hobbit first. But I don't recommend reading any bonus material, unless you're just a Tolkien geek.
- Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard This is a Christian classic that is not well-known. It's an allegory in the style of Pilgrim's Progress, with the characters' attributes as their names. Much-Afraid has to face not only her innate nature but also her kinsman's Pride, Bitterness, and Self-Pity, on her way to the High Places of Love with her good Shepherd. Much-Afraid could very well have been named Lila Diller, for we are so alike.
- Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan A classic detailing the spiritual journey of Christian, who is like many of us Jesus-followers. Many of the trials he undergoes are his own fault, but he eventually makes it to the Celestial City (Heaven). A must-read for any believer.
- Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder Though these are simply written for children, I still love to re-read these every couple of years. Laura Ingalls is another of my best friends, though we're very different in most respects. I love how this whole series encourages simplicity and ingenuity, not relying on "new-fangled gadgets" to do things and enjoying the simple pleasures of nature and family. And of course, my favorite is These Happy Golden Years, because it has the most romance. :)
- The Dragonriders of Pern Trilogy by Anne McCaffrey This is one of the few authors that I will recommend who is definitely not Christian. Although there are moral issues in these books that I don't agree with, I do love how Anne McCaffrey crafted not only a completely new setting (the planet of Pern), but also a completely new society and culture, one replete with sentient dragons. A romantic fantasy-lover's delight. There are at least 12 books about the history of the planet Pern, but I cannot in good conscience recommend them all. Towards the end, they got more sexually focused. These three in this first trilogy introduce the characters of Lessa, F'lar, and F'nor, and then Jaxom. These are the characters I love best. The other books focus on other characters, and while interesting, aren't the best.
- All the Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey This is one of the few other Pern books that I can recommend, because it is kind of the end of the beginning. If you go back and read Dragonsdawn, the beginning of when and how humans came to the planet Pern, then this book ties up all those loose ends and finishes that story. The other books that continue this series after the chronological events here in All the Weyrs of Pern are not worth wasting your time on, in my opinion.
- Divergent by Virginia Roth This is another book that is not Christian-based. I personally don't like the end of the trilogy, so I don't recommend the entire series. However, I did enjoy the character development as well as the crafting of the brand new society. Very interesting, though definitely not calm reading. I had the hardest time putting the book down at each chapter so that I could go to sleep.
- The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White This is another children's book that I grew up with. It's the story of a mute trumpeter swan who gets help from a boy and his trumpet to communicate to the female swan of his dreams. It's just feel-good story when I want something calm and relaxing.
- A Tale of Time City by Dianne Wynne Jones This is technically a children's book, and the main characters are children. But the plot is so intricate that an adult can be entertained, as well. Or at least I can. Maybe that's not saying much. ;) It's one that my imagination can really take off with, and that's fun, not to mention that it has to do with time travel. I'm so fascinated by anything to do with time travel.
If "you are what you read," then this list is who I am.
How many of these have you read? What are your top favorite books? Leave a Comment below!