This is an exciting list for me – because when I started my blogging journey I was reading two genres of books: romance and mystery/thrillers. While there is nothing wrong with those genres, I found myself getting bored of the same sort of plot lines, over and over again. I had shelves filled with paperback books I picked up from the grocery store thinking that each one might just be the book to break me out of a reading slump. It wasn’t until I started checking out books on my friend Kari’s list, that I finally started to expand my reading and embraced all types of authors and styles.
1. Fantasy: Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
I read this book when it was published under the name of “The Crown Conspiracy” and it was published by Ridan Publishing. I found myself fascinated with the idea that fantasy didn’t have to be completely confusing and take (in some cases) years to figure out. While I grew up reading some of the greats in the fantasy world (Tolkien the foremost among them), I had always considered the fantasy genre to be a genre that required an enormous time commitment on my part. Sullivan’s writing is not only accessible and understandable to the fantasy newcomer, it’s also really quite good and this series is worth looking up.
2. Steampunk: Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
I was lucky enough to meet Ms. Priest at DragonCon one year and got my copy of Boneshaker signed. This was the book that hooked me – I mean, I’d always been a Jules Verne fan – but those long, long passages filled with scientific jargon can get to anybody. Priest’s writing merges science fiction with a perfect steampunk feel and the added bonus is the gorgeous typeface on the pages. It’s sepia! I’m still tickled pink over that.
3. Quirky Literature: The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise by Julia Stuart
I’m not quite sure what genre this is technically under, but The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise is filed under quirky, deliciously British humor for me. I adored this book to pieces and regularly recommend it.
4. Southern Literature: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
I adore CeeCee and I adore Beth Hoffman. This was my first foray into contemporary Southern fiction and I loved every moment of it. There’s something so perfect about every character in this book and it is on my books to be treasured shelf
5. Short Stories: Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro
There is something special about this collection of short stories. It’s hard to describe, but I felt definite magic when I read through them. Ishiguro is a powerhouse of a writer and if you are wanting to explore the short story section of your bookstore or library, it definitely does not hurt to start with him.
6. Magical Realism: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Speaking of powerhouse writers – I’m so so glad to see so much Neil Gaiman everywhere. The man is brilliant. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a short, perfect story that is a great introduction not only to magical realism, but also to Gaiman in general.
7. Urban Fantasy: Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin
Ignore the pretty cheesey cover – Shearin’s books are my go-to for fun, entertaining, light-hearted fantasy with some heartthrobs scattered throughout.
8. Horror: The Child Thief by Brom
I prefer my horror with a side of fairy tale. Brom’s story twists the Peter Pan story into something nearly unrecognizable but wildly thrilling all the same.
9. Science Fiction: I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
Science Fiction is hard to get into if you aren’t scientific. Do me a favor, don’t start with Dune. Pick up I, Robot and let your mind be swept away by the story.
0. Graphic Books: The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Not what you’d expect to see under Graphic Books, eh? Still, I read this book nearly six years ago and it still sticks with me. Such a powerful story, told all in pictures. It’s beautiful and well worth the read.
Which books in these genres lured you in?