Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Best Novels I've Read

The Best Novels I Have Read


For the past three years I have been an aspiring author and avid reader. The following books are from varying genres, varying publish dates and varying popularity. I have made the list in descending order in terms of greatness; that's not to say that the books at the top of the list are bad. All the books that have made my list, I would highly recommend that you give them a chance, whether you think the book or author is overrated or too unknown for you. I have searched and I am still searching. It's my goal to kindle a desire in reading that I have never had until three years ago. Please enjoy my list.

(This list is a work in progress; eventually I'll add pictures and better descriptions of the books, as well as new books.)

69. Roadwork by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

68. The Running Man by Stephen King
67. Firestarter by Stephen King
Thus far, Firestarter—out of the seventeen Stephen King books that I’ve read—has been the most non-SK book; it reads more like a Michael Crichton book, not just in content, but in the way he writes. It’s a straight-forward on-the-run-from-badguys premise.

66. The Willows by Algernon Blackwood
It's H.P. Lovecraft meets with H.G. Wells. It's about two men on an island and one of the men thinks the trees are moving--as in the act of covering ground. Are they? And if they are moving, then what are they? It's a hard book to read because of the vocabulary is really old English, but it's a fairly quick read.

65. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

64. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
This book is Firestarter’s twin brother—assuming that Firestarter is a female; I make this allusion for a few reasons. Firstly, they’re back to back; secondly, in King’s early career, they were both (in a sense) anti-war books, and politically charged in general.
The Dead Zone is anti-climactic and the ending is odd . . . but I think it’s a good sort of odd.

63. The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
Frankenstein is to resurrecting the dead as The Island of Dr. Moreau is to genetically splicing, or chimeras. A guy is the only survivor of a shipwreck and ends up on an island in which a doctor is genetically modifying animals and turning them into humanoids; it's a very odd book but a classic in science fiction.

62. The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov
Asimov is the Godfather of science fiction, and this book is the first entry in his robot series. It’s a science fiction detective story. Some of his writing is very vague; but I think it’s because he was explaining things that he did not completely understand himself. However, the dialogue is where Asimov excels at, and the plot twists.

61. Cujo by Stephen King

60. The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower by Stephen King
The best way to describe The Dark Tower VII compared to the rest of the series is by saying it's a bitter cup to swallow. For the entire series, Roland and his ka-tet (Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy--along with Father Callahan from 'salem's Lot) have been traveling toward the Dark Tower. And now their destination is finally reached.

59. World War Z by Max Brooks
WWZ is a very a novel of loosely connected short stories about different scenarios; it’s overrated, too. But, as a zombie fan, beggars can’t be choosers . . . and until a good zombie book comes out, this’ll do, this’ll do.

58. Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin

57. Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindquist

56. At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft

55. Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix by J.K. Rowling
The reason for it to be so low on the list is the fact that Order of the Pheonix is about one-hundred pages over-bloated. But, it still has its moments.

54. Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King
Hearts in Atlantis is a compilation of short stories that are loosely connected. Low Men in Yellow Coats is the best of the short stories--and the first one; it's also the short story that the Anthony Hopkins adaptation is based off from. Low Men is also one of the best of the Dark Tower "connection" books.

53. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

52. Watchmen by Alan Moore

51. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

50. 11/22/63 by Stephen King

49. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

48. The Wind Through the Keyhole (a Dark Tower story) by Stephen King
47. 1984 by George Orwell

46. Baltimore, or the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire by Mike Mignola
If you love Guillermo del Toro, you'll love this book. It's one of the first books I've ever read and it got me into reading.

45. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

44. 'salem's Lot by Stephen King

43. On The Beach by Nevil Shute
It's the post-apocalyptic book that your girlfriend or wife or sister would like; and likely she'd like it more than you.

42. A Door into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein

41. Carrie by Stephen King

40. Child of God by Cormac McCarthy

39. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

38. The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King

37. Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin
This is the first book that I felt a feverish sweat upon my face when the intensity starts kicking in to
toward the middle of the book. It's one of the most terryfing books I've ever read (and as you can see, there's quite a few Stephen King books on my list).

36. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

35. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

34. The Long Walk by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

33. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

32. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

31. Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy

30. The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah by Stephen King
One of the most riskiest books of any franchise due to a certain character . . .

29. The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King

28. No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

27. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

26. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

25. The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

24. The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

23. The Shining by Stephen King

22. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

21. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

20. The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands by Stephen King
This third entry in the series is when things start getting bizarre in terms of genre and pacing. If you read the entire franchise back to back, the beginning of this book will likely feel odd and out of place. And then when things start to make sense, the pacing shifts again and now you're back in 1999 in the perspective of Jake--who died in the first novel. The first half of this novel is about Jake trying to come back to Mid-World from New York. Essentially, due to an event from Drawing of the Three, Jake is reborn in another world. And both Roland and Jake know it.

The best way to describe this novel is "genre bending."

19. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

18. Danse Macabre by Stephen King
A companion piece to "On Writing." Do you want to write/film horror, science fiction, or fantasy? Don't think about it until you read Danse Macabre. It'll expand your mind a great deal.

17. On Writing by Stephen King
If you want to be a writer, then this is the must-read book; and it should be your "guideline" to your mentality in daily writing and long-term writing.

16. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
This was the turnaround point in the HP series; this was when the series really got dark. And for that, this deserves to be as high on the list for its pivotal role in the series as a dark catalyst.

15. Swan Song by Robert McCammon
This is the novel that rivals Stephen King's The Stand as the greatest post-apocalyptic horror epic. A lot of people verteran horror readers will say Swan Song has more "heart" than The Stand, and I would agree to a point. In truth, there are more gut-wrenching moments in Swan Song than there are in The Stand. This book is for those who want to read a post-apocalyptic with a supernatural twist and it's a little bit shorter than The Stand. It's highly recommending for those who enjoy the horror genre or the post-apocalyptic genre.

14. Night Shift by Stephen King

13. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by J.K. Rowling

12. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

11. It by Stephen King
It is a very strange metaphor for sex; like the saying “doing it”; it’s also about a shape shifting clown that kills children. Everyone knows the story because Pennywise the clown (from the bad movie) is really the mascot for spooky clowns, right? But, Stephen King’s It is really a deep, spooky, epic of oddity.

10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

9. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding

7. The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker

6. The Stand by Stephen King

5. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Road is the greatest, simplest Post-Apocalypse story ever written. There's no plot, other than following the road. But it's the story that makes it emotional and powerful. If drinking a stale can of Coke (or was it Pepsi?) is one of the best moments in the boy's life, you know that this world is bleak. I dare you not to cry by the end of this book.

4. Boy's Life by Robert McCammon
One of the most bizarre books ever. It's Wonder Years meets a murder mystery meets adult versions of disney cartoons meets J.J. Abrams' Super 8. It's hard to put a label on this book in terms of genre. It's about a boy and father who witness a truck being pushed into deep lake; the father--who's a milk man--rushes into the lake and he sees that a man is inside, but the man is already dead. The boy sees a cloaked figure off the side of the lake in a shaded area. And from there on, it's about the father's nightmares of the man in the truck, it's about the boy's friends, the boy's bullies, a monster in the river in a community of African Americans feed an animal to every so often (but does it really exist?), it's about music, movies, death, rabid monkeys and dinosaurs and love-triangles and a dead dog that's really alive but should be dead (think Frankenweenie), it's about criminal legends and tales of heroes; it's about a boy's life. Simple enough.

3. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
In my opinion, this is the best book in the franchise because it is the darkest and it's the shortest (that's not to say I don't like long novels--but this novel cuts out all the fat and hits the nail on the head). It's a shame that the film strayed so far from what made this book so endearing.

2. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
Let me begin by saying that this is a landmark in dark fantasy. A Game of Thrones and Clash of Kings--no matter how intense you think they are--is nothing compared to A Storm of Swords. You could say that the entire series is one long novel and that this part of that really long novel is when the rope really starts to get tight with tension. It takes about two hundred pages or so until the pacing picks up . . . and then you won't want to stop. I guarentee you that.

1. The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass by Stephen King
Wizard and Glass is not a conventional entry in a series. We completely take a rest from our journey to the dark tower, and we listen to Roland of Gilead tell a story of his youth. Are we getting closer to the dark tower when he tells his tale which takes up about seventy percent of the novel? No, but perhaps we're getting closer to his redemption.

It's hard to put a finger on why this book is so good; perhaps it's because at the beginning they killed a villainous train AI by telling it dead baby jokes; or perhaps it's the pause in the quest that we've been earning for. Also, aside from the first book in the series, Wizard and Glass is the best written--there's a Cormac McCarthy poetic feel to it.