listed by genre. all of these books are four or five stars because they’re my favorites!
books marked with a ♥ are some of my very favorites.
books marked with a ➼ were recommended to me by a friend or website.
books marked with a ✟ are by a Christian AND include directly or allegorically Christian content.
the tales of goldstone wood by anne elisabeth stengl ✟ ♥ || i love this series so much. it’s a Christian allegorical fantasy saga set in a darkly, deeply beautiful world. || favorites: moonblood, starflower, dragonwitch, shadow hand || ages 12+ (violence), ★★★★★
➼ the silmaril awards + hawkeyerules
a branch of silver, a branch of gold by anne elisabeth stengl || not directly part of the series so i’m including it separately. this is a loose retelling of 12 dancing princesses, and you don’t need to read the main series to understand it (though it’s set in the same world). || ages 12+ (violence), ★★★★★
the lightest, heaviest things by weez phillips || my pen pal wrote this! i’m so proud of her! (also it’s really good.) read my review || ages 10+ (frightening situations, anxiety), ★★★★☆
dealing with dragons + sequels by patricia wrede || a lighthearted, whimsical fantasy romp. (those words all sound so lovely, don’t they? xP) also quite well written. || ages 8+ (mild fantasy violence, witches), ★★★★☆
moonscript by h.s.j. williams ✟ ♥ || i cannot
scream talk about this book enough. hannah’s writing is incredible, i love all the characters, and the genre is the same as my WIP! || ages 13+ (fantasy violence, depression, torture), ★★★★☆
mistborn original trilogy by brandon sanderson || these are amazing! i love vin and elend a great deal. not super happy with the ending, but the rest of it makes up for it. || ages 15+ (intense violence, sexual content, torture), ★★★★☆
➼ zachary + olivia (+ probably other people i don’t remember)
the queen’s thief series by megan whalen turner ♥ || i cannot WAIT to read book six. i also don’t have many words except READ THESE BOOKS (and don’t read any reviews or look at any fanart before you do, because there are two big spoilers that you don’t wanna know). || ages 14+ (violence, torture, war, mild sexual content), ★★★★★
➼ lydia w. + hannah williams (+ like everyone on the internet, ha)
the stormlight archive by brandon sanderson ♥ || i’m a little bit into book two and i love these. wish i could write as well as he does. also AGHH what is going on? it’s very hard to understand (and i’m trying so hard! but i still don’t know who all the knights radiant are!). hopefully all will be revealed in time… and then i shall wait years and years for book five… || ages 16+ (war violence, mild sexual content), ★★★★★
➼ zachary + olivia + sarah
rereads || harry potter (esp. the prisoner of azkaban + the deathly hallows ♥) by j.k. rowling || beauty ♥ + chalice by robin mckinley || outlaws of time trilogy by n.d. wilson || the wingfeather saga ✟ (esp. the warden and the wolf king ♥) by andrew peterson || 100 cupboards series by n.d. wilson || the gateway chronicles (esp. the bone whistle) by k.b. hoyle ✟ || the forgotten beasts of eld by patricia mckillip
the fowl twins + the fowl twins deny all charges by eoin colfer || despite the fact that these are not particularly well-written and will certainly not be classics, i thoroughly enjoyed them. they’re hilarious and engaging — just the escape i need sometimes. || ages 10+ (mild violence, rude language), ★★★★☆
red rising + sequels by pierce brown || i haven’t finished this series yet (i really want to come back to it someday), mainly due to the profanity, but i really appreciate the writing style and the plot. one of the best science fictions ever (particularly morning star). || ages 16+ (profanity, intense violence, sexual content), ★★★★☆
rereads || enderverse (esp. ender’s game ♥, children of the mind, shadow of the giant) by orson scott card || the lunar chronicles by marissa meyer || when you reach me by rebecca stead
jeeves books by p.g. wodehouse || wodehouse has the best metaphors and similes, and jeeves makes me laugh a lot. tinkerty-tonk! || ages 13+ (occasional profanity), ★★★★☆
lyddie by katherine paterson || this book is a deceptively simple story about a factory worker, lyddie, and her family. i liked it a lot. || ages 12+ (mild sexual references, difficult working conditions), ★★★★☆
➼ lydia w.
jackaroo by cynthia voigt || i would like to read more voigt. this one’s a historical (?? — might be historical fantasy, but there’s no magic), and the others i’ve liked by her (homecoming and dicey’s song) are contemporary. || ages 12+ (violence), ★★★★☆
➼ lydia w.
redeeming love by francine rivers ✟ || finally read this after years of asking my mom if i was old enough! i enjoyed it, but it was definitely intense, and i didn’t appreciate the meta (?) element (where the characters knew about the book of hosea and pointed out the similarities between it and their own lives). || ages 17+ (intense sexual content), ★★★★☆
➼ my mom
wives and daughters by elizabeth gaskell ♥ || this one is very good. gaskell understands human nature, and the characters are real and interesting. there’s no real “villain,” because we see the humanity of even the antagonists. the bbc miniseries is just as good (if not better, since it has an end, while the author died before writing the end of the book). wives and daughters is the reason elizabeth gaskell surpassed jane austen in my opinion (*gasp! what heresy*) || ages 13+ (mild language), ★★★★★
➼ miriam g.
gilead by marilynne robinson ✟ ♥ || i… don’t even know how to talk about this book. it’s just good. *flails wildly* robinson’s style is encompassing and gentle. the scenes of this narrative feel like golden pictures hung on on a white wall in an old cabin. please, please read it. || ages 13+ (mild violence, adult themes), ★★★★★
➼ douglas wilson’s 9 writers to read + wheatstone ministries
rereads || anne series (esp. anne of green gables ♥ + anne’s house of dreams) by l.m. montgomery || north and south ♥ by elizabeth gaskell || little women + sequels ✟ by louisa may alcott
don’t burn this book (nonfiction) by dave rubin || i don’t agree with him on everything, but i appreciate dave’s openness toward others and his staunch defense of free speech. his podcast is pretty good too. || ages 16+ (some language), ★★★★☆
the ballad of songbirds and snakes by suzanne collins || i liked this even more than the original trilogy (which i also read for the first time this year). sejanus! and lucy gray! and even coriolanus! they’ve stolen my heart. || ages 15+ (mild language, violence), ★★★★☆
spark by allison beery || i finally got a copy of this (thank you to my sister for the birthday gift)! absolutely lovely. allison has a beautiful way with words, and her poetry expresses things i wish i could say. || ages 10+ (raw, difficult content), ★★★★★
if you know me at all, you know i love recommending books to people. here are some good places to start if you’d like to try out some of the literature i love.
- fantasy: the lightest, heaviest things, dealing with dragons
- poetry: spark
- historical: jackaroo
- scifi: the fowl twins
- fantasy: heartless, the way of kings, the thief, moonscript
- historical: wives and daughters, gilead
- scifi: red rising
- nonfic: don’t burn this book
what books did you discover this year, friends? how’s christmas break going for you?
~ the stories are true, maya ~
4 thoughts on “2020 favorites || books”
Ya know, I was just saying to myself, ‘she did music, she did movies, I wonder if she’ll do books’ and here we are. 😀 I actually read more this year than I have for several years pasts, I think–and that is mainly due to the wonderful gift to the world that is Project Gutenberg. (Website where public domain books–so a *ton* of classics–are put up in full and for free.) Probably my favorite reads this year were:
1. Moonscript. Heh. You know about that one. 😉
2. The Gulag Archipelago, by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn. I’ve mentioned that ‘un to you before, and it’s beautiful and important and tragically dark and humorous. (Yes, all those words suit it. ‘Specially the first.) But very disturbing and very mature content…so it’s not for the faint of heart.
3. The Blue Castle. I just finished this one–courtesy of Project Gutenberg, and your mentioning it and let me just say wow. Methinks I have a new favorite fiction couple (and I mean *favorite*.)
4. The Ingram Flyers, by Megan Chappie over at the Pen and the Cross (beta read. Soo good! Also her space opera, parts one and two. Even better!).
5. Jesus Christ Before He Became a Superstar (James K. Fitzpatrick, I believe). I thoroughly recommend this one…refutation of the modernist take on Jesus/Christianity from an orthodox Christian point of view. (The writer’s technically Catholic, but he writes to all traditional Christians, and it’s just a great book). 🙂
Up next, Mansfield Park, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and maybe I’ll try some Elizabeth Gaskell if Project Gutenberg has it. 😀 So that’s my reading year, and I thanky for all the great recommends, ‘cuz half my favs this year *were* recommends from you. 😉 God bless you and yours!
P.S. And sorry once again for the atrociously long comment…I keep coming up with stuff I want to tell you and since the letter writing has lapsed a little I’ve just been sending it via the comments, lol. XD
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All I got to say is… Wives and Daughters, yes. ❤
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I am ABSOLUTELY going to have to read a bunch of these. My library requests list is sooo long (mostly thanks to you). Kind of a good feeling. 🙂 tales of goldstone wood is high priority right now.
I was so shocked (pleasantly) to see my book on your list. That means a lot because I’m confident that you’re a person with excellent taste in books.
It also led to me saying, “wait, does my book have a lot of anxiety?” And my mom saying, “oh my goodness, yes, so much. So much inner turmoil.”
And I was like
Well, I didn’t know that was there. 😂
Happy Christmas and Merry Holidays
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A lot of these books sound great!
I’m currently reading Stars Above by Marissa Meyer and hope to read The Wingfeather Saga really soon, if my library ever gets them to me, lol. XD
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