Quirk Books is linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for Top 10 Tuesday! This week we’re talking about books from the past three years that were so fantastic and over-the-top amazing that they somehow made their way onto our “all-time favorite books” lists.
I am extremely selective when it comes to choosing which books are allowed on my “favorites” shelf. There sits great books that I have re-read multiple times and that only get better with age: Wicked by Gregory Maguire; Looking for Alaska by John Green; The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern; The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon; Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson; Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan; The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler; The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter; etc. But there are a few books, published at some point in the past three years, that absolutely deserve a place on this shelf:
First up is NIGHT FILM by Marisha Pessl. I still find myself thinking about this book randomly. The story is the perfect blend of eery and poetic. It’s also the only book I’ve read that required an app to fully complete the reading experience. I read this ridiculously heavy hardcover (it’s 600 pages) in one sitting! I stayed up all night and couldn’t put it down.
I am so, so sad that FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell didn’t exist when I was a senior in high school. I relate so much to Cath, and I love that Rowell introduced unknowing readers to the world of fanfiction. Rowell’s writing is an absolute delight; I can’t think of anyone with a better contemporary voice (plus I’m a huge fan of her pop culture references).
I love books with images, whether that’s comic books, chapter books, picture books—it doesn’t matter. JANE, THE FOX AND ME by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault is sort of a blend of all three. This graphic novel is visually stunning and has a truly beautiful story about not quite fitting in with the crowd. It’s quite a large book, and it makes for a stunning gift.
Finally, this book took me by surprise and completely swept me away: THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI by Helene Wecker. This book has everything I look for in literary fiction: magical realism, twisted history, evocative prose, and endearing characters. Just thinking about this book (and the beautiful gold accents on the cover) makes me want to read it again!
And because it’s fun to learn about the books that other people have on their favorites shelf, the staff at Quirk Books chimed in about the recent(ish) reads that have stolen their hearts —
Suzanne Wallace (@iamasnarkypants): My favorite juuuust makes the three-year cut: CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein. I haven't hard-loved a book like this since childhood; I begged family members to read it so I could talk to them about THE FEELS. I own it in ebook and hardcover and no matter how many times I read it, it still makes me ugly cry. Kiss me, Hardy!
Jason Rekulak (@jasonrekulak): THE REVISED FUNDAMENTALS OF CAREGIVING by Jonathan Evison -- a heartbreaking novel about an awful, almost unspeakable tragedy...that is hopeful, hilarious, optimistic, and ridiculously entertaining. Whenever I'm in a rotten mood, I reach for this book and it puts everything in perspective. I can't wait for this guy to write another book!
Eric Smith (@ericsmithrocks): My favorite book of the past three years... that's a tough one. I may have to give that award to READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Kline. A geeky book that basically has everything I ever wanted in a book as a teenager. I also give that book away to friends more than any other book, and have probably purchased it at least a dozen times at this point.
Megan DiPasquale: One of my favorite book of the past three years was ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell. I am already a sucker for a sappy love story, but I love them even more when a societal underdog gets the happy ending.
Jane Morley: I can't stop recommending BRAIN ON FIRE: MY MONTH OF MADNESS by Susannah Cahalan to people. A dear friend raved about it to me in the fall and I plowed through it in just a couple of days in January. The book recounts Cahalan's experience with a rare disease that came on suddenly, causing a host of truly frightening symptoms that stumped doctors for weeks and almost landed Cahalan in a psychiatric hospital (when in fact the illness was a physiological one). Her writing is clear, engaging, and informative, and the book is impossible to put down.
Brett Cohen (@BaconTheBooks): My favorite book of the past 3 years is READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Kline for all the same reasons that Eric gave. As to not be redundant, I think THE LAST POLICEMAN by Ben H. Winters is a very close second. Sure, it’s a Quirk book. But, the premise and story are very much aligned with the type of media I consume but with an innovative spin on the genre. It’s a pre-apocalyptic mystery. I love every word in that sentence! I’ve recommended it to anyone who will listen—and every single person thanked me. Read it--I’ll say "you're welcome" in advance.
What are your favorite books from the last three years? Are any Quirk titles on your list? Let us know in the comments!