My Personal List of Best Books

I’ve always been an avid reader. I once estimated I’d read over 6000 novels growing up, and I’m still going. But there are some books that have stood out in my mind over others, and I always like recommending these to others. Unfortunately, I tend to spend too much time talking about them, so here’s the written list to save me the time. In some cases it’s a single book that’s incredible, while in others it’s an author who’s hardly written a bad book.

This is by no means a complete list of every great book. These are simply my favorites, and the ones I find myself recommending to others over and over. I will continue to update this list, both as I remember other books that I love, and as I read new ones I feel qualify. While I’ve read books in literally every genre, sci-fi and fantasy have always been my favorites, and thus this list is slanted to them. I will include some other notable mentions.

You can click on any book in the list to purchase it directly from Amazon. I will get a small commission if you do so.

Sci-Fi

E.E. Doc Smith

Lensman Series (1934-1948)Triplanetary

This is my favorite series, and what I think are the best books ever written. I read it every year or two. The books are short but not the easiest level. The story is essentially about the ascension of man into an ideal state where he can conquer the universe. The first book starts off with the formation of life in our galaxy. The next chapter is what really happened with the fall of Atlantis to nuclear warheads. Then the fall of Rome, World War I, World War II, what will happen in World War III, and proceeds from there.

Skylark Series (1928-1963)

Another series on the same level as Lensman, but I like the Lensman plot better. The story is about space exploration. It’s uncanny how accurate the data is compared to our current society, even though it was written nearly a century ago. These novels so short you can read the whole series in a couple days. Well worth the read.

Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 (1982) by L. Ron Hubbard

A substantially longer novel at over 1 million words, I’ve enjoyed rereading this book several times since I first read it nearly 20 years ago. If you like post-apocalyptic sagas, this one is for you.

Armor (1984) by John SteakleyArmor

As far as individual books go, this one might just be my favorite book of all time. There certainly isn’t anything else like it. Using the premise of the ant war from Starship Troopers, this book is about a man who is dropped onto the ant’s home world with 10,000 other troops. A minute later, he’s the last one still alive. The book starts off a little slow, but then you won’t be able to put it down until you’re finished.

Fantasy

David Farland (pen name of Dave Wolverton)

The Runelords Series (1998- )Runelords

This is my favorite fantasy series. The premise of these books is unlike any other I’ve found. It’s based in a world (or worlds) where human attributes can be taken from one person and given to another. There are five main attributes (brawn, stamina, grace, metabolism and wit) and many lesser attributes (glamour, scent, sight, etc). One who gives an attribute is called a dedicate and no longer has the attribute, and the person receiving it has the attribute of two people. If a dedicate gives wit, he is as feeble-minded as a toddler and the recipient is twice as “smart”. If he gives brawn, he can’t move a muscle and the recipient is twice as strong. And if he gives metabolism, he goes into a sleep in which he doesn’t age and the recipient lives and moves twice as fast. Some warriors will get a handful of attributes, while there are Runelords who collect hundreds. Imagine a battle sequence where two Runelords are fighting with several dozen attributes of metabolism, moving with lightning speed. The villains are equally powerful, if not more so. And just to make the books more exciting, most of them take place in a day or two. Now hopefully the last book will finally be released.

Terry Goodkind

The Sword of Truth Series (1994- )Wizard's First Rule

This series captivated me for all the years it took me to get through it. Each book is several hundred pages, and as you can see there are quite a few books. Technically The Law of Nines is a bridging book, and the second series starts with The Omen Machine. But in reality it’s just one really long series. I really like Terry’s writing style. If you’re familiar with Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time Series, I would say that this is an R-rated version of that series.

George R. R. Martin

A Story of Ice and Fire Series (1996- )Game of Thrones

I don’t think I need to say anything about these books. If you haven’t heard about them, all the more reason to read them. These are not your PG books, and they might take a little while to get through. Now Mr. Martin just needs to finish the series before he pulls a Robert Jordan. And no, watching the TV series doesn’t count.

Neil Gaiman

I would have to say my favorite book of his is Stardust, as it is also my favorite movie of all time. But that’s a hard choice, since so many of his books are good. His style is twisted and wild, and you’ll never expect what comes next in his books. If you like the occult or just something different, you love these.

Fiction

Cryptonomicon (1999) by Neal StephensonCryptonomicon

This is one of the best books I have ever read outside of Sci-Fi and fantasy for a number of reasons. The style of writing is thoroughly enjoyable, and there were nights when I was laughing uproariously in bed through a whole chapter. The story follows two lines: one about Alan Turing breaking the German Enigma code in World War II, the other a modern story line about a group of internet gurus setting up a data haven. The book is huge, giving you hours of enjoyment.

Ready Player One (2011) by Ernest ClineReady Player One

What an amazing book! And quite possibly my second favorite book after Armor. This book is about future world where everything is lived in a virtual reality world (like Bruce Willis’ Surrogates). The architect of the program finally dies and leaves his 12-digit wealth to anyone who can figure out several puzzles within the VR. All the quizzes are 80’s themed. If you happened to be alive in that decade, or experienced the movies, music and video games from that time, you’ll enjoy this book even more.

Cory Doctorow

Little Brother (2008)Little Brother

I don’t even know where to start with how good this book is. I’ve heard it described as a modern-day 1984, which sounds accurate enough for me. A story about a boy in San Francisco who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time during a terrorist attack, and what happens when America’s Department of Homeland Security moves in to investigate. This was the first book by Cory I read, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

For the Win (2010)

This book is about internet gaming, and so much more. I love how much information about the internet Cory adds into his books. It’s no wonder that Forbes Magazine once named him the fifth most influential person for the internet.

Pirate Cinema (2012)

Along with a great story line, this book goes over how countries are limiting their citizens rights on the Internet. Okay, maybe the illegal splicing of movies in the UK might be a debatable point, but it still makes it known how governments will suppress their citizens. And besides, it’s just a really fun story.

Non-Fiction

Jim Marrs

The subtitles of these books speak for themselves.

These books have more information than you can imagine. What I like most about Jim is the way he writes. I don’t like conspiracy theories because they are just opinions. Instead, Jim just gives facts, facts, facts and lets you come to your own conclusions. And he covers so many topics, as the book titles suggest. My personal favorite is Rule by Secrecy, which is about what’s really going on behind the scenes on this planet. But they are all just as good, and not just for Americans either.

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2004) by John Perkins

Right now as I write this, there’s an economic “crisis” in Greece. If you want the true story behind it, read this book.

1984 (1949) by George Orwell1984

Okay, technically this book is fiction. But not really. I think this book is more real than many would want you to believe. It’s a short read, and might make you a little sick to the stomach. But it’s one of the books I’ve recommended the most.

I've always been an avid reader. I once estimated I'd read over 6000 novels growing up, and I'm still going. But there are some books that have stood out in my mind over others, and I always like recommending these to others. Unfortunately, I tend to spend too much time talking about them, so here's the written list to save me the time. In some cases it's a single book that's incredible, while in others it's an author who's hardly written a bad book. This is by no means a complete list of every great book. These are simply my favorites,…

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