Best books

Here are my top recommendations (in no particular order within the same star range — you know how it is with choosing favourites).

FICTION:

  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett (5.5/5) — Probably my all time favourite. It is beyond perfect, hence my rating.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (5.5/5) — faced-paced, complex, intriguing, devastating. This book has it all.
  • Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James (5.5/5) — compelling, fast-paced and a read that will stick with you for long afterwards.
  • Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton (5.5/5) — Her writing style is so compelling. I haven’t read an author who writes with such command that draws you in like she can.
  • Millennium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon TattooThe Girl who Played with FireThe Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest) by Stieg Larsson (5.5/5) — by far the best plotted novel I’ve ever read. Simple language, but you will not be able to put this down … even at two am.
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (5/5) — amazing story, characters that pop out at you, a moving story. A must read.
  • All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield (5/5) — wow. Her writing is magical. Every fiction writer can learn great techniques from her.
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (5/5) — the insight and discrimination of the Afghan people is heartbreaking. You will cry. Changes how you’ll view people.
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (5/5) — same as previous review.
  • Come Back To Me by Melissa Foster (5/5) – A touching, resonating story on struggle and love. (Also try Chasing Amanda)
  • The Green Mile by Stephen King (4.5/5) — one of my favourites of his. If you loved the movie, the book is just as sad.
  • Wolves of Mercy Falls series (LingerShiverForever) by Maggie Stiefvater (4.5/5) — You can almost feel that her writing is poetic, musical, as if there’s a rhythm to it. For the romantics.
  • The Twilight Saga (TwilightNew MoonEclipseBreaking Dawn) by Stephenie Meyer (4.5/5) — for the romantic ones also. This series is the new Romeo & Juliet.
  • The Host by Stephenie Meyer (4.5/5) — slow start the only reason for no 5/5 rating. The character and plot developments in this book are ace.

NON-FICTION:

  • Story Engineering by Larry Brooks (5.5/5) — teaches novelists and screenwriters how to create a successful plan without stressing, and how to execute all 6 Core Competencies required to publish a novel. You need to know his information if you want to publish your manuscript. Read the QUICK guide here.
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Dave King and Rennie Brown (5.5/5) — If you want to publish your fiction, then ensure you read this. More insightful into writing than you could imagine.
  • A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard (5.5/5) — The journey from eleven through thirty; eighteen years stolen from her family; a memoir of raw and honest experiences through rape and psychological manipulation that shows how love can carry you through the toughest experiences.
  • Stieg & Me by Eva Gabrielsson (4.5/5) — heartbreaking and a perfect weekend read.
  • On Writing by Stephen King (4.5/5) — this must be on your shelf.
  • Writer’s Guide to Psychology by Carolyn Kaufman, PsyD (4.5/5) — if you need to accurately describe your villan or mentally ill character, this book is for you. Don’t bother with others.
  • Howdunit: Book of Police Procedure and Investigation by Lee Lofland (4.5/5) — for anyone wanting to write fiction with any sort of crime/authorities involved. Simple and clear.
  • Tools of the Writer’s Craft by Sands Hall (4/5) — exercises section is the better half of this book. They are invaluable. Idea of Sense Of Place (SOP) is one of the best writerly advice I’ve heard.

Top of page

30 thoughts on “Best books

  1. I have read some of the books on your list I especially liked The Help too. I looked at hour WIP piece and I love the sound of it and look forward to reading it when it’s published I will tell my book friends to look out for you.

    • Thank you for going through my blog! I’m thrilled you love these books too and even more excited you like the idea of my novel. Let’s hope it gets published now. :D

    • Glad you liked the list! I love seeing a best books list. There’s something magical about someone putting together their all-time favs and you realising that you may have found your next “fav” somewhere in there.

  2. Great list love it all read most of them will the fiction part.If you loved the kite runner give the “one thousand splendid suns” a try . Also I’m reading ” the secret daughter “. It have same felling as kite runner with the forigen Indian background .

  3. This list is GREAT!!! As you so loved The Kite Runner, I’m sure you’ll love “The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy. Have you read it?? These two books are by far my favorites! Now i’ll be off to check the books in this list that i haven’t read as yet :P

  4. Let me add another suggestion: “Your Life As Story,” by Tristine Rainer. While the intended reader is the memoir writer, Rainer’s content is more than useful for all writers of both fiction and nonfiction. It’s a gem obscured by its title.

  5. I’m so glad I revisited this page. I’ve been looking for some good writing books and now with your reviews I feel like I can confidently purchase a few. Thank you so much!

  6. Hi Rebecca
    Happy New Year to you. Not commented for a while but I still check out your posts all the time. Really excellent advice although it won’t help me as I’m never going to be a writer, still great to read though and you’re so generous with your ideas!!! I liked your selection of books. I’ve read quite a lot there. I did really enjoy both Sister and Afterwards. Wondered if you read Room?? I loved Water for Elephants – it was just so interesting. Girl With the Dragon Tatoo series – absolutely brilliant (I really like all three but my favourite is No.2). Thousand Splendid Suns actually DID make me cry!
    Good list.
    Speak soon.
    Lynn :D

    • Thank you. We seem to be the same: silent visitors :p

      I haven’t read Room because I’ve heard many bad reviews, and you seem half-half on the result, too. One such is the unrealistic way a little boy can understand some aspects and seem totally naive with other aspects of the same maturity level. But I’m stubborn and so I want to find out what all the fuss is about. So: one day I will read it.

      P.S. I cried — unashamedly — in ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ and from memory, I don’t think book 3 was my fav. in the Millennium Trilogy, so it might have been no. 2 also.

  7. Nothing beats “On Writing.” Its combination of auto-biographical story/applicable writing help make it one of the warmest books on the craft of writing ever published. King gets a lot of flack, but when it comes to the support of people writing, especially young people, there are few people who are more well-spoken than him.

    • I know. He says debatable stuff in there but I’ve taken many tips that have made me a better writer (2,000 words a day is my aim when writing a novel).

      I loved hearing his story. Barely anyone can say they’ve had the same effect (and sales figures) that he’s achieved, so I appreciate him sharing his thoughts.

  8. Pingback: Inspiration this hectic Christmas — a kidnapped story from Jaycee Dugard | Novel Girl

  9. Under ‘Writer’s Guide to Psychology’, I believe ‘both’ should be ‘bother’ if I am not mistaken ;)

    Great read as far as the site is concerned! Good luck from one aussie to another :)

    • Yes! People need to stop knocking Stephenie Meyer. If writers complain about how hard it is to get published, how come she found an agent, a trad. publisher and sold, like, 100 million books?

      I can’t believe how ridiculously good ‘The Host’ got midway and then by the end. I’m glad I persisted.

  10. Pingback: Why braiding is like story structure | Novel Girl

  11. So glad that I stumbled upon this post. I started reading Stephanie Meyer’s The Host a week ago and put it down because I thought it was moving a bit slow too. Thanks to this post I will finish reading it. :)

    Also,you are right about Stephen King’s On Writing. I read it in one day! It was so insightful.

    • Oh yeah! Please give ‘The Host’ another go. I actually read quite a few pages then put it down. I continued a month or so later and thank God I did! That book develops slowly but once it gets started it’s mind-blowing. Better than Twilight, I think. And it’s complex but easy to understand.

  12. Pingback: The 10 editing commandments | Novel Girl

Please leave your comments (all welcome!):

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s