There is absolutely no way to narrow my favorite books to ten. So, I'll simply address books that are interesting in this part of my life:
1. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
Simply the best read in my library. Like buttercream icing.
“Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case.”
“Learning became her. She loved the smell of the book from the shelves, the type on the pages, the sense that the world was an infinite but knowable place. Every fact she learned seemed to open another question, and for every question there was another book.”
2. Blood and Chocolate, Annette Klauss
The definitive work on werewolves. (The movie was crap.) Followed closely by The Silver Kiss, a really nice vampire love story.
"I am strong," she whispered. "I can run with the night and catch the dawn. I can kick a hole in the sky." And she struck out with a foot to prove her words. Then curled into a ball.
"I want to lay my kill at your feet," he said, more growl than words, and held her tight by her hair as he marked her neck with his teeth.
3. The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
Fantastic adventure story. Takes fifty pages to ramp up. Don't give up. It's worth it. The narrator is unreliable and totally honest in the same breath.
“I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me.”
“Call a jack a jack. Call a spade a spade. But always call a whore a lady. Their lives are hard enough, and it never hurts to be polite.”
4. The Thief (Entire series), Megan Turner
Best twisty ending in a while. Whole series is delicious. Motives are never black or white in any human being--we are all made up of shades of grey. This is especially true of our teenage anti-hero Gen.
“Sometimes, if you want to change a man's mind, you have to change the mind of the man next to him first.”
“He didn't marry you to become king. He became king because he wanted to marry you.”
5. Grimspace, Ann Aguirre
Not sure that this is the best book ever, but it's the best concept ever. And Sirantha Jax is my hero. Series is clever and interesting with a powerful, damaged female lead.
“Once exposed, a secret loses all its power.”
“They say an interesting life leaves its mark on your face, and if that’s true, she’s got one hell of a story.”
6. Elenor and Park, Rainbow Rowell
Wonderfully awkward first romance story. Full of angst, abuse, doubt, first kisses, and hot mix tapes.
“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”
“He made her feel like more than the sum of her parts.”
7. The Stand, Stephen King
Still the best book I ever read in my life. I re-read it every few years. You could make a career analyzing this story.
“Show me a man or a woman alone and I'll show you a saint. Give me two and they'll fall in love. Give me three and they'll invent the charming thing we call 'society'. Give me four and they'll build a pyramid. Give me five and they'll make one an outcast. Give me six and they'll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they'll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.”
“No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become. No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell. There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side. Or you don't.”
8. 11/22/63, Stephen King
This was a fantastic time travel book. Seriously. Don't underestimate the genre. Not horror, but horrifying nonetheless.
“When all else fails, give up and go to the library.”
“...stupidity is one of the two things we see most clearly in retrospect. The other is missed chances.”
“But I believe in love, you know; love is a uniquely portable magic. I don’t think it’s in the stars, but I do believe that blood calls to blood and mind calls to mind and heart to heart.”
"Sometimes a cigar is just a smoke and a story's just a story”
9. Serena, Ron Rash
Powerful female lead who is flawed from top to bottom. She wants it all and gets it.
“She’d never known fear had a taste, but it did.”
“A kind of annihilation, was what Serena called their coupling, and though Pemberton would never have thought to describe it that way, he knew her words had named the thing exactly.”
Disturbing, thought provoking. What makes us love someone? What makes us change course and decide between right and wrong when we have no moral compass?
“Catherine Land liked the beginnings of things. The pure white possibility of the empty room, the first kiss, the first swipe at larceny. And endings, she liked endings, too. The drama of the smashing glass, the dead bird, the tearful goodbye, the last awful word which could never be unsaid or unremembered. It was the middles that gave her pause. This, for all its forward momentum, this was a middle. The beginnings were sweet, the endings usually bitter, but the middles were only the tightrope you walked between the one and the other. No more than that.”
“She believed in the miraculous. Or she had, until she reached an age when, all of a sudden, she realized that the life she was living, was in fact, her life. The clay of her being, so long infinitely malleable, had been formed, hardened into what now seemed a palpable, unchanging object. A shell she inhabited. It shocked her then. It shocked her now, like a slap in the face.”