So, it’s been making the rounds on Instagram and Twitter recently, where people have been posting their favourite books or their fav book stack.
I decided to have a go at this, and trust me – it was hard. I spent the last few weeks really curating my list and making some rules for my choices.
So, if you’re curious – first, here’s my rules.
- Only one book by each author. Of course, a behemoth like King has delivered A LOT of books I adore, and really Andrew Pyper would make up my top ten all on his own, so to really push the pedal – only one book from each.
- The book had to have a sentimental or specific reason as to why I was choosing it. Which helped whittle some of the books down.
That’s it. Lame yeah? 🙂
Ok, without further wait – my list. And this is in no particular order!
The Guardians – Andrew Pyper
Released in 2011, I just got around to reading it last month and it was a spectacularly moving piece. A coming-of-age, Canadian haunted house story, this left me stunned. I’ll be sharing more and more about this book in my upcoming PYPER-MAY-NIA celebration, but for now, just know that this has left an imprint on me for now and forever.
Those Who Came Before – J.H. Moncrieff
Released in 2019 through Flametree Press, ‘Those Who Came Before’ was an emotionally driven piece that focused on racism, bigotry and a mystery within a park. It was a phenomenal piece of writing from one of the best out there. Reading this left me emotionally drained and at times I had to really fight back the tears about the treatment of some of the people. J.H. held nothing back and I think the most insane aspect to this whole thing is that the book features a review quote from me on it!
Creature – Hunter Shea
Another release through Flametree, this one arrived in September of 2018 and introduced me to a side of Hunter Shea’s writing I’d not seen before. I’d read a number of his cryptozoology style books before, but this was heart-felt, character driven and even through ‘something’ was out there, it was a slow-burn horror. My Grandma Marshall had multiple sclerosis, so reading how this woman was affected and her struggle, while with a different affliction, really spoke to me. This was an amazing book.
Odd Man Out – James Newman
You want to read a psychological horror story filled with so many moments of dread and regret? ‘Odd Man Out’ was unflinching in its delivery and I made the horrible mistake of reading this on a flight back to Edmonton. I was at our remote Peace River clinic and had a 90 minute flight home. Figured, hey, I can knock this out in the airport and on the flight back. What a mistake. As we landed, I was just finishing it and started to read the afterword and wow, just wow. What a book. This came out in 2016, but still keeps finding new readers to ruin.
WOOM – Duncan Ralston
This may be an odd choice, but this one really delivers some devastating back story and psychological terrors. Ralston created a man that the readers can connect with, while at the same time feel repulsed by. Interestingly, as the story progresses and things unfold, it makes perfect sense but just leaves you crushed. This one also came out in 2016, but should be on every horror readers TBR.
Lisey’s Story – Stephen King
This one is a love it or hate it King read, but for me, this is the perfect Stephen King release. I remember hearing and reading about King being struck by a van while out for a walk and it shook me, it really did. When he survived, people were obviously elated, but at that time, I wasn’t fully following all of his latest releases. When I found out ‘Lisey’s Story’ was his imaginations take on if he’d died, I was stunned. I read this in two different airports and flights and I really should know better than to read while flying.
The Spirit – Thomas Page
I love a great Bigfoot book (see Creature above) and ‘The Spirit’ doesn’t fail to deliver in that regard. What I really loved about this book was the character that we get to see develop, both in the man tracking the creature, but also the creature itself. This one has been re-released by Valancourt in the Paperbacks From Hell series curated by Grady Hendrix, which is fantastic as it allows more people to access such a great book.
Remains – Andrew Cull
Perhaps the single, greatest look at grief and loss I’ve ever read, I’m still beyond humbled that I was able to Beta read this while Andrew was working on it. The book came out in late 2019 and I was so sad to see it not make it very far in the Stoker conversation. This book will make you want to rip out the pages and use them as tissue. Just brutal, bleak and corrosive to the soul.
The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
The book that saved me as a reader.
Released in 2008, ‘The Name of the Wind’ quickly pushed Rothfuss into the ‘best author on the planet’ category and while he delivered big time with book two and two point five in the Kingkiller Chronicles, we all patiently wait for book three.
But for me, I was at a point in my reading life where nothing caught my attention and I wasn’t reading for months on end. Then one day, at the gym I was training at in 2013, my friend John Wesley suggested this book and Kvothe didn’t fail. Loved it and here I am, a reading machine.
The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein
Perhaps one of the most emotionally devastating books I’ve ever read, my former boss, Graham suggested I give this a go. The timing was, of course, horrible. Our dog, OJ, had recently suffered a traumatic spinal injury which left him paralyzed for several months and even to this day, he has hind end issues. A story told through the eyes of a dog can only end one way, and boy when I got there, wow. Allergy city for hours.
Released in 2008, this has recently been turned into a major motion picture, but one I personally don’t believe I’ll watch, instead letting how this book affected me to stay that way.
Last Days – Adam Nevill
I’m admittedly late to the Nevill game. I’ve watched ‘The Ritual’ which I loved, but haven’t read it yet, and have read his two short story compilations that have three stories each and they were stunning. But ‘Last Days.’ This book was amazing. Nevill created creatures that may very well be the most evil things to ever dance across the paper and it’ll be a long time before I get the images out of my head that he described.
Tamer Animals – Justin M. Woodward
Released on day one of 2019, Woodward’s ‘Tamer Animals’ was a new voice in the coming-of-age, urban legend world and one that he completely crushed. The story is captivating and by the time we get to the ending, we’re left exhausted, repulsed and clamoring for more. Luckily, ‘Rotten Little Things’ delivered with a new story in the same world and I’m excited to see what else is in the works from this universe.
The Forgotten Island – David Sodergren
What Sodergren created here on this island was a stunning achievement and when you realize this was his first release – you’ll shake your head about how talented he is. Released in 2018, Sodergren gave us characters to root for, hate and most importantly – a reason to avoid islands in the middle of nowhere. Strikingly, the creatures he conjured were amazing and will make you second guess any strange movements in the shadows.
The Neverending Story – Michael Ende
Originally published in 1979, Ende’s classic book has an interesting history. Ende’s father was Edgar Ende, a German surrealist painter whose work is said to have inspired Michael Ende and his imagination and when you look at some of his father’s works and then think of some of the scenes – it really does make sense.
Michael Ende, himself, hated the movie that was released based on his book. The main crux was that the movie was only based on the first half of the book. For fans of the movie though, the book can be an odd beast, as the second half is very different in tone and story to the first half.
I personally, love the entire book and it has moments of extreme light and extreme darkness.
If you’ve followed along with any of my posts etc, you’ll know that this book blessed us with the name of our son, Auryn, named after the amulet.
I highly recommend you give it a read and for me, the movie still holds up to this day.
The Ocean At the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman
Gaiman has such a sublime writing style and when he comes up with an idea, it’s as though he is writing it directly in your head. ‘The Ocean…’ was such a fantastic tale, a story that grabbed me and pulled me along and just filled that spot you need filled from time to time.
A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness
One of the most devastating books I’ve ever read, this story kicks you down both in it’s arrival into the world, but also in the story within the pages. I loved the book, loved the movie and it’s hard to say anything that hasn’t been already said about this piece.
The Road – Cormac McCarthy
Maybe the bleakest book ever written, McCarthy crafted a gem here that sucks you in and leaves you bleeding to death. This book was awful in the best way possible. I’ve not read it in a number of years and see my paperback copy staring at me all the time. It may be time to dive back in and see how traumatized I’ll be once again.
There we go! Those are my top reads, and while I may have forgotten one or two, these are the ones that have truly wormed their way into my brain.
Have you taken the time to have a think as to what your favorite books of all-time are?
If not, have at it and please let me know what your’s are!