If you love books, then you must immediately go to Goodreads and create an account for yourself.
Why do I love Goodreads? Because it made me a happier and more fulfilled reader. Gone are the days of wandering through bookstores and merely picking up books based on their covers. I mean, I still kind of do that. But now, I pull out my smartphone, scan the book (cover or barcode) and I can get a solid idea of whether or not that book is worth my time and/or money. For that alone, I will always and forever love Goodreads.
A few days ago, I saw that Goodreads was asking authors to rank their favorite 10 books in honor of their 10th birthday and I was inspired to do the same. So here they are in no particular order. And listen, I love Harry Potter and the Hunger Games. Who doesn’t? For that reason, you will not find it on this list because it’s so obvious. I wanted to go off the beaten path a bit with this list.
The Hobby Whore’s Top Ten Reads
Sphere by Michael Crichton
I get a thrill just thinking about this book. I haven’t read it in years, but the memory of reading it sticks with me. And in a world where I’ve stopped keeping a lot of physical books (because frankly, who has the space), this one is still on my shelf. I remember being thrilled and scared and stunned and like, “wait, what?!” at the ending. I was generally obsessed with Michael Crichton when I was growing up and Sphere was one of the first books that hooked me in. If you’ve never read Michael Crichton, give it a try. In my opinion, it’s one of his best.
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
I picked this book up randomly in an airport when I was on business travel years ago in my pre-Kindle life. Since then, I have read this book several times and it always makes me laugh. It’s light, fluffy and a little ridiculous, but I love it. I used to turn my nose up at romance books. But after reading this, i realized that I didn’t really know what romance good romance was. I have since educated myself and now I’m a romance addict. And this is another one that I make space on the bookshelf for.
Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
Bet Me eventually led me to my all-time favorite romance writer, Nalini Singh. I found this book randomly on Goodreads listopia and decided to give it a go. Within a month, I had read 10-12 of her books and I was hooked. After you’ve read a couple of her books, Singh becomes a bit formulaic, but I find that easy to overlook because overall, she’s just an extremely talented writer. I also love her angel series, but the Psy-Changeling series (this being the first book of that series) will always be my first love.
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
Have you ever laughed so hard that you cried? That’s what this book was for me. I remember reading this book on an airplane (on yet another business trip) and trying to muffle my laughter which, of course, only made it worse. My vision was blurred with tears and the guy next to me asked me if I was okay. I probably looked like I was having a seizure. If you have a sense of humor about religion, then this book will have your sides splitting.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
My sister-in-law recommended this book to me and I looked at that 1000 page monster and thought she’d lost her mind. This was years ago. Now it’s a super popular TV show and everyone has lost their mind over it. It’s really a great book. An amazing book, but it’s incredibly long. And anyone that I recommend this book to, I always warn them – the first 200-300 pages of this book are kind of boring. But once Claire stumbles through those stones and into the past, you’ll be turning those pages so fast you won’t even know what happened. I read the first four books in this series before it started to sour for me, but the first three books are pretty amazing.
The Funhouse by Dean Koontz
Maybe it’s just nostalgia. I haven’t read this book since I was younger. But it literally scared the bejesus out of me. And maybe I’m a sadist, but I love a good scare.
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Tear freakin’ jerker. Some people love this book. Some people don’t understand why people love this book. Clearly, I was in the love column. It was so different and uniquely told. At the time, it was one of the most surprisingly engrossing reads that I’d experienced and I just really enjoyed it. But it’s also a downer at times, so there’s that.
Lightning by Dean Koontz
Dean Koontz makes the list twice?!?!? Another nostalgia pick. I read a lot of Dean Koontz as a kid. Now this one I have re-read more recently. I decided to give it a go to see if I loved it as much as I remembered. And though it wasn’t as gloriously mind blowing as a I remembered (mostly because I knew the ending now), it was fun revisiting it. I can definitely see myself reading it again one day. For me, that’s saying something because I very rarely re-read books.
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
I am not a big fan of Jodi Picoult’s books. This was the first one that I read and the only one that I truly enjoyed. It was extremely touching and it made you empathize with everyone on every side of the debate. What would you do if you were in the shoes of the mother, the father, the sick child, the well child? How would you handle it? It’s one of those situations where, at least IMO, there is no right answer. A very complex issue and a compelling read.
Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
I surprised myself with this pick because I didn’t rate this book very high immediately after reading it. But a few years later, I find myself thinking of it often. Enough so that I sometimes think I should re-rate it, but I tend to stick with my gut instincts. Memory can be maudlin and overly-sentimental and clearly I had my reasons at the time. That being said, Mindy McGinnis writes women that I like. She writes them strong. She writes them dark. I actually liked The Female of the Species more, but Not a Drop to Drink got me first. Something about her characters resonates with me. I mean, I read this book 3+ years ago and I still think about the ending. What a bada$$ ending!
Desperation by Stephen King