Top Ten Tuesday REWIND: The Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most

My apologies–I have been absent from the last few Top Ten Tuesdays, for absolutely no good reason! But this week was a great time to get back in the game.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created to share lists with other bookish folks! For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday list, we’ve got a rewind–we can choose any past Top Ten Tuesday subject that we missed! I chose March 26’s prompt: the top ten  books I recommend the most! (Fittingly, many of these are going to look familiar to you TTTers…)

1. Hyperion, by Dan Simmons
I will never stop talking about this book. It represents everything sci-fi should be: believable characters, fantastic technology, and timeless themes. I try to press this novel on everyone!

2. West with the Night, by Beryl Markham
Whenever the subject of memoirs comes up, I immediately recommend West with the Night. It’s one of the only memoirs I’ve read that is well-written, engaging, and impressive, while still being relatable and truthful. Seriously, read it!

3. A Song of Ice and Fire, by G.R.R. Martin
I successfully got my boyfriend and father to read these, and am now trying to force them on my brother. These are great for seasoned fantasy readers who can spot the tropes Martin gleefully butchers, as well as people who watch the HBO show but haven’t yet read the source material.

4. The Golden Notebook, by Doris Lessing
I recently wrote about The Golden Notebook being one of my heart books, and I meant every word! I passed on my recommendation to good friend J, who also very much enjoyed it, and I tend to want to pass it on to just about every female friend I have.

5. Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
UGH this book is so painfully good. I mention it in almost every TTT post I’ve done! But I can’t help myself. It’s just so well-written and interesting and chock-full of intrigue and pathos.

6. Passage, by Connie Willis
This is one of those books that I recommend and then get upset if the recommendee doesn’t like it, because it resonated so deeply with me. (Thanks, Dad.)

7. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
I could NOT stop recommending this book to friends once I finished it. Willis is great at getting you to care about characters who are marked for death. My boyfriend ripped the cover of my copy and it infuriated me, because now I can’t lend it out anymore.

8. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
This is a classic graphic novel that even non-comic book fans should read. It plays with many well-known superhero tropes and can inspire tons of passionate discussion between friends. A great example of the form.

9. The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russel
Not for everyone, this beautiful tale of a Jesuit mission to a newly-discovered planet is both harrowing and redemptive. And guaranteed to make you cry at least once.

10. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
This  is just a straight-up classic that everyone should read. I am continually surprised by how many people, even people who are fans of Steinbeck, haven’t read it. Don’t be intimidated by the length; it’s worth it.

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10 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday REWIND: The Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most”


  1. 1 Rory April 16, 2013 at 10:27 am

    East of Eden is a favorite, I enjoyed the movie version of it too. Hyperion is constantly on my TBR list after reading The Terror and loving it.

    And The Watchmen is a classic. I love the Locke and Key series too.

    • 2 tarynwanderer April 17, 2013 at 9:34 am

      I would love to read more of Dan Simmons’ work–can’t believe I haven’t gotten to The Terror yet!

      I’ve heard good things about Locke and Key. I should ramp up my graphic novel reading!

  2. 3 Hanna @ Booking In Heels April 16, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t read a single one of these, although some of them have been on my TBR for a while.

    I’ve been meaning to read the George R Martin books for aaaaages now, but I’m too scared. Firstly, they look really heavy and inaccessible and secondly I didn’t get on with the TV show. I know the books are meant to be better but it still puts me off a little.

    I saw Wolf Hall in a charity shop a few months ago and REALLY wish I’d bought it because I’m dying to read it now! The next time I see it, I’m going to snatch it up and run to the till with it 🙂

    Watchmen, too! I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet as I’ve read most of Alan Moore’s other stuff.

    Great list! 🙂

    • 4 tarynwanderer April 17, 2013 at 9:35 am

      Thanks for your comment, Hanna! And yes, next time you see Wolf Hall for sale I highly recommend grabbing it!

      I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the Game of Thrones show on HBO…there are certainly things that I don’t like about it, either, but I still think you should give the books a shot! 🙂

  3. 5 Jade April 17, 2013 at 4:18 am

    I shall hang my head in shame because I haven’t read a single book on your list… But! I do own the first book in The Song of Ice and Fire series. I’ve written on my blog before how I hope to get round to reading it, and perhaps the whole series. My impressions are I need serious reading time for it, because all the times I have attempted it I’m lacking in concentration. I think I’ll add it my winter TBR list, I do my more ‘serious’ reading in the colder months.
    I’ve been wanting to read Watchmen for some time now.

  4. 6 Jay April 17, 2013 at 5:39 am

    Hi Taryn,

    Great list! We have a few in common including East of Eden, which is memorable to me as the first book my first book club read. What a great choice it turned out to be! We do disagree on one, however. I enjoyed The Sparrow, but found it stretched the limits of “believe-ability” for me. The whole trip to another world seemed to be handled too cavalierly, and I remember one part where suddenly a concern about the possibility of disturbing the native biology pops up. I remember thinking, “Hell of a time to ask!” (It’s the same feeling I got when the one guy in the movie “Prometheus” last year takes off his helmet.) Come on! 🙂 It was a page-turner, though, and I’m not sorry I read it. I just haven’t been recommending it.

    Wolf Hall has been on my list for a long time, but your endorsement will certainly move it up inthe batting order.

    -Jay

    • 7 tarynwanderer April 17, 2013 at 9:43 am

      Hi Jay! Thanks for reading.

      The fact that East of Eden was your first book club’s first pick is impressive–tackling that must have been quite a challenge, as I can imagine people having greatly differing viewpoints on it!

      I will definitely check out your review of The Sparrow! I’ve actually found it to be a pretty divisive book, and not everyone that has read it on my recommendation has enjoyed it. But I don’t let that stop me! 🙂

      (Totally second your thoughts on Prometheus, though. My day job is in environmental education, and my boyfriend’s is in marine biology; you should have SEEN the looks we were giving each other with each scientific misstep!)

  5. 8 Jay April 17, 2013 at 5:44 am

    P.S. would you believe I’d forgotten I’d written a review of The Sparrow a couple years ago? It’s here http://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/just-finished-the-sparrow-by-mary-doria-russell/ if you’d care to take a look. I’d welcome your comments.
    -Jay

  6. 9 readerbuzz April 17, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    I agree with you about so many on this list—Watchmen, Doomsday Book, Wolf Hall, Passage—so much so that I’m now determined to read East of Eden. You have talked me into it!


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