Happy National Book Lovers Day, geeks and nerds! One of the first conversations I like to have with a person starts with one simple question: “What is your favorite book?”
You can learn a lot about a person by what they love to read. Even better, you can learn something new about yourself. I love giving new books a try. What better way to discover something new than with the help of a friend?
Here are five favorite books from our resident geeks:
From Jess Garver:
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Summary: A beautifully written story of four siblings who find themselves in a fantastic magical world, right in the middle of a prophecy and a war.
Why I love it? It was my first real taste of fantasy. It’s one thing to watch a Disney movie as a child and have a child’s understanding of magic. It’s totally different to fall deep into the words of a novel, you let the world of the author envelop your being. I truly believe it’s what sparked my love of writing in the fantasy genre. That joy of the magical unknown was a powerful thing for younger me apparently.
From ChinLin Pan:
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Summary: Frankie wasn’t the popular kid at boarding school until—of course, insert rolling eyes here—she hits puberty and grows boobs. She dates a senior Matthew, who she discovers is part of an all-male secret society called The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds. This society is well-known for its pranks and mischief and has been for generations. Frankie, jealous by the bond between Matthew and his fellow Basset Hounds, decides to create a fake email address to impersonate Matthew’s good friend (also a Basset Hound) and carry out orders for pranks on campus.
Why I love it?
- E. Lockhart writes excellent comedy. The dialogue is on point and I enjoyed the picture she painted about the environment of the school, the relationships of the Basset Hounds, and the ego she portrays for Frankie.
- This book published in 2008 and I was a sophomore in high school at the time. Frankie is a sophomore for the bulk of the story so I wanted to be her, even though I was attending public school and I wasn’t popular at all…
- Frankie was a feminist portrayal of a girl who wanted to prove to a group of stupid boys that she could lead them. She represented the girls who wanted to push the envelope and wanted to be noticed not for her looks but for her wit and personality.
From Stephen Cleath:
Summary (Something from the Nightside): John Taylor, a British private eye with the ability to track and find anyone or anything, is lured back to the Nightside, a secret world with many quirks and dangers, in search of a teenage runaway.
Summary (Hounded): The last remaining Druid on Earth has to confront his past and make tenuous alliances with a vampire, a witch from India, and several Irish deities, in order to survive to see another sunrise (and feed his Irish wolfhound Oberon).
Why I love it? These two books are my favorites because of the deftly woven mix of hilarious dialogue, action scenes, mysteries within mysteries, and hairpin twists that keep me on the edge of my seat, no matter how many times I re-read them.
From Courtney Langdon:
Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles) by Ilona Andrews
Summary: From the outside, Dina’s Bed & Breakfast looks like your typical, sweet Victorian house turned into a cozy little inn. Nothing to see here! Move along! But nothing could be further from the truth. As the story opens, we discover that something is hunting and killing neighborhood dogs in the night. The attacks are escalating and Dina challenges Sean Evans, an ex-military neighbor, into doing something about the attacks before the prey becomes something that walks on two legs. You immediately get the feeling that there is more to Dina than a creaky inn, an innocent broom, and a yappy shih tzu ironically named Beast. With revelations and discoveries around every corner, this is an entertaining ride for those interested in sci-fi / fantasy books!
Why I love it?
- The author Ilona Andrews, who is best known for the Kate Daniels “Magic” series, started this book as a free serial on their site where they would post each chapter as they wrote it (I say “they” because it’s a husband-and-wife team).
- The reason why this book is one of my favorite books of all time is because of the lead character Dina. In so many books, we see female leads as hard, unemotional mercenaries; whiny, overly emotional damsels-in-distress; or confused discovering-my-powers newbies. There’s nothing wrong with those stereotypes when they’re done well, but they are SO overdone. Dina is calm, confident, and compassionate. She knows who she is and what she can do, and she cares about her inn and its surroundings. Instead of her discovering her powers, it is the readers who get to discover Dina and her depths as we ride the roller coaster.
- The author makes the perfect balance of someone who is humble but not self-righteous, compassionate without making stupid and rash decisions, and friendly in the way that you would enjoy sitting down and sharing a cup of coffee with her. In a nutshell, Dina is fantastical while being completely ordinary like you and me.
From Alisha Kelley:
Summary: “Luke” Hamilton has lived her whole life under the guise of a man. A veteran of war, Luke is given land out west to settle down on. In Independence, Missouri she meets Nora, a prostitute with a child and a fiery temper. In a mutually beneficial arrangement, Luke and Nora get married within days of meeting each other. Luke gets additional land to her name and Nora can get her child away from the life she was born into. On the trip through the U.S. along the Oregon Trail, the two indeed work backward through a fake relationship to something more with many secrets and surprises along the way.
Why I love it?
- Backwards to Oregon is so well-written and researched it still amazes me. The flow of the narrative is perfect. Jae writes such amazing characters too that you just can’t help but fall in love with them. (You can read our interview with Jae here!)
- This book was an adventure and I was genuinely on the edge of my seat at certain points in the story. The relationship feels so real and believable as well. Even if you wouldn’t normally read LGBT fiction, I can’t recommend this book enough. I still feel the pain of not getting to read more of these characters. (There is a sequel, though Luke and Nora are not the focus. Also an excellent book.)
Let us know in the comments below what your favorite books are! We’d love to discover some great new stories. Have a great National Book Lovers Day!
Featured image credit: Hitoshi Suzuki/Unsplash