My All-Time Greats

This is in no way a complete list of my all-time favourite books – I love lists, but my ears start to bleed when I try to compile exhaustive ones like that – instead it’s kind of a snapshot of what’s at the forefront of my mind right now, what I’m revisiting most and what has newly made the cut.


So, in absolutely no order at all:

  • The Girl Who… books by Catherynne M. Valente (everything I’ve read of Valente’s is amazing, but these are my hands-down favourites)
  • Perdido Street Station by China Miéville
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Sharps by K. J. Parker (everything by Parker I’ve read so far = awesome)
  • The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey (I grew up reading McCaffrey – lovelovelove her – a new McCaffrey was, for the longest time, absolutely as good as it got, every holiday rolled into one)
  • The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart (Merlin is the only character in the Arthurian legend I can stand to read about – Merlin is amazeballs – Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot need their heads banging together … hard)
  • The Shattered Sea trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
  • The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds (Alastair Reynolds is now the mark by which I measure all other scifi – no pressure Mr Reynolds)
  • Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  • We by John Dickinson
  • Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy by Tad Williams
  • An Alien Light by Nancy Kress (possibly the first scifi I ever read)
  • The Complete Lyonesse by Jack Vance (Contender number one for fictional world I most want to crawl into)
  • The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip
  • Redshirts by John Scalzi
  • The Cup of the World by John Dickinson (this is book one of a trilogy, the trilogy is ok, but book one is great, and reads fine as a standalone, which is how I treat it)
  • Random Acts of Senseless Violence by Jack Womack (I read this after reading Jo Walton’s review – it is every bit as awesome as she said it’d be)
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (everything by Rothfuss = awesome; also, contender number two)
  • Corrag by Susan Fletcher (just one word: beautiful)
  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (please consider this as representative of Jones’ entire body of work, which I’d have crammed on here if I could; Diana Wynne Jones was the author I wanted to meet – I don’t particularly want to meet authors in general, what would be the point? – she has it all, humour, wit, heart, a killer imagination … if you haven’t read her already, do it now; if you have read her, go back and start again)
  • The Death of Grass by John Christopher
  • The Hero & the Crown and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (again, these should be seen as representatives – they were the first McKinleys I read, but everything she has written is my favourite)
  • Dune by Frank Herbert (never could get on with all those sequels unfortunately)
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  • Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (and everything that follows until we get to Dolphins of Pern, I’m sorry to say I draw the line at dolphins)
  • Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds (the first of a good trilogy, but book one remains my favourite and it’s another I read as a standalone – I want to live on Reynold’s future Moon)
  • Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett (I had to pick one Pratchett or it would have been Pratchett all the way down – I love Sam Vines and his crew and Lord Vetinari, I love Death and Susan, I love the Librarian, but I revisit the witches books most often – if I could be anyone other than me I’d be Granny Weatherwax – she kicks ass)
  • Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson (most beautiful, surprising, awesome book of 2014 for me – so so good)
  • Blackout/ All Clear by Connie Willis (Unfortunately, I cannot tell you how awesome Connie Willis is. You’ll have to read her for yourself … )
  • Among Others by Jo Walton (Walton is the ultimate shape-shifting author, I don’t dare assume I know what I’m going to get when I open one of her books because she has amazed me every time)
  • Kraken by China Miéville (there should be more giant squid in fiction)
  • The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Forest of the Heart by Charles De Lint (another representative – De Lint has written loads and it’s all of it, every last little bit, awesome)
  • The Bitterbynde trilogy by Celia Dart-Thornton
  • The Ancillary trilogy by Ann Leckie (it won everything because It. Is. Mind. Blowing. Ann Leckie may just have changed everything)
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (everything by Bradbury = awesome)
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin (representative of the Matthew Swift quartet and the two associated Magicals Anonymous novels – all great fun)