Saturday, March 2, 2013

What Are Your Favorite Books/Series of All Time?

It doesn't matter what genre, just post away!  Feel free to list as many or as few as you would like (in the comments).  I'd be interested to see what everyone enjoys most in terms of literature.  Also, if you have read any of these books, or authors, and want to share your own thoughts on them, feel free!

Here are some of my favorites with short plot summaries.  I tried not to give too many spoilers, but rather I want to interest you in the book(s) if you haven't read them.  I had a hard time choosing what to put on this list, and there are many other favorites that I have.  Either way, this should give you an insight into some of my favorite literature.

Dune Series by Frank Herbert

A universe of noble families, mysterious organizations, and breathtaking planning and scope, the Dune books are science fiction classics at their best.  Interstellar travel is reliant on a drug called spice, which can only be found on the planet Arrakis.  It also allows users to see into the future, which provides for intriguing plot twists.  The series follows the character Muad'Dib, prophet of the Fremen, and his companions and descendents.  Jihads, crazy genetic manipulators, a secret society composed entirely of women, a sadistic and twisted villain, a loveable troubadour -- the characters and scenes in these novels are simply unforgettable.

The Lord of the Rings Series by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings is my favorite fantasy series of all time.  I'm pretty much a hopeless Tolkien nerd.  The books follow many characters, but the most important are probably Frodo Baggins and Aragorn son of Arathorn.  Frodo is a hobbit who must carry a terrible burden in the form of the ruling ring to the gates of Mordor in order to vanquish evil in Middle Earth by defeating Sauron.  Aragorn is the heir to the throne of Gondor, and through various tribulations and battles must find a way to come into his heritage.  The books are populated with incredible lore and creatures, including elves, orcs, trolls, dragons, and wizards.  I may choose to write my next fan fiction in this universe...I'm thinking of doing something with the Valar.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Perhaps my favorite classic of all time, The Count of Monte Cristo is a fascinating story that follows an honest man who is spurned by his so-called friends.  Denied of the chance to marry the woman he loves, Dantes is locked away in the Château d'If for many years.  He must find a way to escape and decide whether or not to exact a terrible vengeance on those who have betrayed him.  The unabridged version of this book is over 1000 pages long, but every line is worth it.  I've read this multiple times and it there is still joy to be found in every line.

Eon, Eternity, and Legacy by Greg Bear

These novels are a series in the universe of The Way, an artificial construct that spans an unimaginable distance through time and space.  An advanced human civilization lives in The Way.  But who constructed it?  What is at the end of The Way?  What will be the future of humanity?  These books are thrilling reads into a fascinating future, and represent epic science fiction at its best.

Last of the Breed by Louis L'Amour

I really don't think that there was a better storyteller in our time than Louis L'Amour.  His words were simple, but they struck at the heart.  Last of the Breed is my favorite work by him.  Although he mostly wrote Westerns, at the heart most of them were survival stories.  Last of the Breed is exactly that.  It follows the story of Joe Mack, a U.S. Air Force pilot whose plane was shot down.  Captured by the Soviets, he must find a way to escape his prison.  But can he survive in the wilderness that is Siberia?  If he is to do so, he must rely on his Native American roots...

Ringworld by Larry Niven

In terms of conceptual framework, it's hard to imagine a book more successful than Ringworld.  Imagine an artificial construct circling a star, unimaginably complex and massive.  But who built the Ringworld?  What interest do man, Kzin, and the Pupeteers have on this world?  The book follows these plot threads, and is one of the hallmarks of science fiction.  Where do you think Halo came from?  Unfortunately, the series itself does not live up to the first book.  Nevertheless, I would highly recommend that you read at least Ringworld

Wyrms by Orson Scott Card

This is a strange book, but one that for me has been profoundly challenging.  It requires the reader to view evil in a new light -- is it truly a disgusting thing if the Unwyrm wants a chance for his own offspring to flourish, when his world has been taken hostage for generations?  The book follows Patience, a young girl who is prophesied to either save or destroy the world.  What will be her fate?  As much as I love some of Card's other works, I think that this one is my favorite.

A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge

In their search for knowledge, a group of human scientists at the High Lab accidentally release an Evil Power into the Transcend.  Marooned to a backwater planet in the Slow Zone, the heroes and heroines of this novel must join together with a race of medieval group minds in order to attempt to battle it.  But can they succeed?  How can one contest with forces of this magnitude?  One of the highlights of epic space opera, this novel was a landmark that you won't want to miss.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is the story of the lunar colony's revolt from Mother Earth. It explores complex issues, including artificial intelligence, colonialism, and transworld politics.  It's one of Heinlein's finest works, and has been influential in the genre as a slew of authors have drawn inspiration from this masterpiece.  If you've read any of his works, including Starship Troopers, then you won't want to miss this one either.

Sentience and The Master of Chaos by Terry A. Adams

My last choice is a personal favorite, even if it's completely unknown.  I picked up Sentience at a library booksale, and liked it so much that I immediately bought the sequel.  The story follows Lady Hanna, a telepath who, because of her special abilities, must serve as humanity's representative to an alien race.  I have rarely found such depth in alienness and vivid imagery.  There were scenes that I actually went back to re-read, because they were so chilling (which I almost never do).  Strangely enough, these two books have influenced my writing as much as any of the other "great" science fiction works on this list.  I believe that the sequel was as good or even better.  And unlike some authors, Adams didn't just churn out more books for profit -- when the series was done, it was done.  I admire that.

Okay, here are mine!  What are some of yours?


  1. I completely agree with The Count of Monte Christo and LOTR. The others I have not read. For a classic book, I love Les Miserables. Favorite book of mine would probably be The Oath by Frank Peretti. One of my favorite series is the John Rain thrillers by Barry Eisler. I have only read a few KJ Parker books, but (s)he is quickly threatening to overtake Peretti as my favorite author. I also have enjoyed a Attila the Hun historical fiction trilogy by William Napier and a Ghengis Khan series in the same vein by Conn Iggulden. Favorite non-fiction author is Philip Carlo who interviewed serial killers on death row. He does a fantastic job with those books.

    1. Awesome! I've read The Oath, and it was a pretty cool book, so I can understand why you like it. I haven't read KJ Parker or a few of the others, so I will have to look them up. I want to say I started reading a series a while back that was from the perspective of Ghengis Khan, but I can't remember if it was by that author. If you haven't read much science fiction, I would recommend that you check some of the books on this list out :) They are worth it!

      Also, as classy as "Unknown" user may be, I have no idea who you are! Haha. Would you do me the favor of subscribing in the top right corner? Just click "Join this site." You can use either a Google or a Yahoo account, I believe. There should be a number of options. Then again, if you want to remain anonymous, I totally understand!

  2. I haven't read most of these. Just ordered Ringworld from Amazon, though; it sounded rather good.

    Joe Abercrombie is my favorite author right now:
    He writes some pretty harsh and gritty fantasy, but he's been consistently excellent through all six of his books. The Heroes is my favorite of his.

    George R. R. Martin with A Song of Ice and Fire is also one of my favorites.

    Scott Lynch has written a fantastic fantasy about a conman called The Lies of Locke Lamora.

    I haven't read it in a while, but The Hero by John Ringo was really good the 7 or so times I've read it. None of his other books are anything special, but The Hero presents, in my opinion, a fantastic battle-of-wits story. Purely coincidental that two of my favorite books are The Hero and The Heroes.

  3. I'm sure you'll love Ringworld, Adam! Although I have a few problems with Niven's portrayal of women in his works, this is one of his best. Really, all of the "big, dumb object" novels have been in some way influenced by this. If you like the book, I would also recommend "Rendezvous with Rama" by Arthur C. Clarke. I will have to check out Joe Abercrombie. From his website, his books sound very interesting. I've also been wanting to read George R. R. Martin for a long time, but haven't got around to it. So what you're saying is that if I write a book called "The Heroines," it might become your favorite? :D

  4. Just finished Ringworld. Pretty interesting. Are the sequels any good?

    1. Unfortunately, the sequels aren't really worth the time. If you liked it, I would recommend that you check out "Rendezvous with Rama" by Arthur C. Clarke and "Eon" by Greg Bear.

  5. I was afraid you'd say that. I've read Eon, but I'll check out the one by Clarke.