MK’s Top 25 Books

So, someone over on my fandom blog decided to take me up on my offer of personalized book recommendations for the summer. Except they are an omnivorous reader, so they just wanted my top five favorite books.

First of all, you should probably never ask that question of a librarian unless you have lots of time on your hands.


But here’s the problem with asking me specifically for my Top X Books of All Time: I either adore what I read, or I put it down. There’s rarely an in-between. There are SOME books that I forced myself through for the sake of school, and some that I enjoyed in the way you enjoy cotton candy dissolving into nothing. But the books that stick with me are the ones that really engage me intellectually or emotionally, or inspire the writer part of me stylistically. I do have some favorites that I enjoyed purely for a fun story, interesting world, and great characters, but that’s a separate list. This is the list of favorite books that affected me in some way. Most links will take you to Amazon, except in the cases where the book or story is available for free online somewhere. In no order whatsoever:

  1. Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (YA, realistic, Native American)
  2. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (adult, sci-fi, literary)
  3. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (YA, realistic, rape culture)
  4. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut (adult, sci-fi classic, stylistic influence)
  5. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (YA, LGBTQ+, romance, realistic)
  6. The Raven Cycle by maggie-stiefvater(YA, fantasy, realistic, stylistic influence, audio version is HIGHLY recommended)
  7. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith (YA, sci-fi, LGBTQ+, screwed up/filthy/awesome)
  8. Little Brother by mostlysignssomeportents​/Cory Doctorow (read it for free on the author’s website! YA, tech, hacking, cyberpunk)
  9. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples (adult, sci-fi, weird, graphic novel, parenthood, nsfw)
  10. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (YA, feminist, realistic, humor)
  11. Channel Zero by Brian Wood & Becky Cloonan (gritty, dystopian, tech, awesome art)
  12. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi (adult, military sci-fi, hilarious)
  13. Graceling by Kristin Cashore (YA, fantasy, feminist)
  14. His Majestey’s Dragon by Naomi Novik (one of the founders of the OTW!, adult, fantasy, alternate history, LGBTQ+ subtext)
  15. Local by Brian Wood & Ryan Kelly (adulting, travel, setting as character, 20-somethings)
  16. Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman (adult, literary, quick read)
  17. The Scorpio Races by maggie-stiefvater(YA, celtic mythology, audio version is HIGHLY recommended)
  18. Sold by Patricia McCormick (YA, human trafficking, novel in verse, audio version is HIGHLY recommended)
  19. Young Avengers (2013-2014) by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie (YA, Marvel universe, LGBTQ+, just…so good)
  20. Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan & various artists (YA, Marvel universe, LGBTQ+)
  21. X-Wing: Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole (adult, sci-fi, Star Wars, fighter pilots)
  22. Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona (YA, Marvel universe, Muslim hero)
  23. The Knife of Never Letting Go by patricknessbooks(YA, dystopia, hard to explain, just read it, audio version is HIGHLY recommended)
  24. The P.L.A.I.N. Janes by Cecil Castellucci & Jim Rugg (YA, art, social change, nonviolent protest)
  25. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (J/YA, wizards, y’all know this one)

BONUS short stories:

Yet More Bonus Selections under the cut. Seriously, just stop me. What books have affected or inspired you? Tell me in the comments!

  1. Bone series by Jeff Smith (Kids, graphic novel, fantasy)
  2. Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi (Kids, graphic novel, fantasy)
  3. Blankets by Craig Thompson (YA/adult, graphic novel, realistic, religion)
  4. Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (YA/adult, fantasy, dragons)
  5. Harper Hall Trilogy (Dragonriders of Pern) by Anne McCaffrey (YA, fantasy, dragons, music)
  6. Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music ed. by Christoph Cox (nonfiction, music, academic)
  7. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (adult, LGBTQ+, graphic novel, memoir)
  8. Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher (adult, urban fantasy, mystery, audio version is HIGHLY recommended)
  9. Laika by Nick Azbadis (YA/adult, historical fiction, graphic novel, dogs)
  10. On Writing by Stephen King (nonfiction, writing, memoir, audio version is HIGHLY recommended)
  11. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (picture book, humor)
  12. The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson (YA, sci-fi, futuristic, LGBTQ+, poly, audio version is HIGHLY recommended)
  13. Dairy Queen by Katherine Gilbert Murdock (YA, American football, LGBTQ+)
  14. Hero by Perry Moore (YA, superheroes, LGBTQ+)
  15. Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley (YA, graphic novel, video games)
  16. Alanna series by Tamora Pierce (YA, classic, fantasy, knights)
  17. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (nonfiction, politics, religion, education, feminism, audio version is HIGHLY recommended)
  18. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass (YA, fantasy, assassins)
  19. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (YA, fantasy, Russian mythology)
  20. Cinder by Marissa Meyer (YA, sci-fi, fairy tale retelling)

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