Icy Roses has a post detailing some of her favorite books, so I thought I'd follow her example and put up some of my own. You may (or may not) be surprised that my favorite books jump across the genres like a wayward rabbit.
1. Lord Of The Rings series/The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien) - The stories told here describe intoxicating worlds and vibrant characters. If you're someone who enjoys swords and sorcery, this is the book series you have to read through at least once. I am lumping these together because I enjoy them all equally. These are also one of the few books that transferred to the silver screen in an incredible way. Sure they missed a great amount of detail. Yes, they changed the characters and storyline somewhat. It's Hollywood, so your expectations should never be too high. Overall though, the movies are just as enjoyable as the books in their own way. I recently bought an exquisite hard bound set of LOTR and The Hobbit, since I had read through my paperback copies way too many times.
2. The Stand (Stephen King) - It's hard to choose which Stephen King book I like the best, but this one is probably it. The storyline is apocalyptic with religious undertones, but it's told well and an enjoyable journey. I love the characters, particularly the diabolical Walking Dude. The intensity of the story keeps me enthralled from beginning to end, and if I start reading this one, I can't put it down even when my eyes are burning from staying awake too long. Don't bother with the movie though - it is a waste of time.
3. Without Remorse (Tom Clancy) - While you may be familiar (thanks to movies) with Tom Clancy's character Jack Ryan, this book doesn't feature him at all. This book deals with a former Navy Seal by the name of John Clark (who Hollywood ineptly portrayed using Willem Defoe in a Jack Ryan movie) and how he deals with a teenage abduction/prostitution ring. The quiet intensity of the MC is incredible, and I could not put this one down once I plunged in. Thankfully this one has not been destroyed via Hollywood, probably since there are few people who could play the MC accurately.
4. Battlefield: Earth (L. Ron Hubbard) - Before you accuse me of being a scientologist, understand that (as far as I'm concerned) L. Ron Hubbard wrote one good book and one decent dekology. This is the one good book. It's very much sci-fi, set a few millenia in the future. The storyline captures you right away and just when you think the story is over, the MC has a whole new hurdle to get past. I had to buy this one in hardback as well; I accidentally destroyed the covers of two paperback copies due to reading it over and over. Oh, and this is another tragedy in Hollywood. Avoid watching it on the screen or you'll get a really bad impression of a good book.
5. Otherland (Tad Williams) - Being a computer geek, this series appealed to me right way. The premise involves virtual reality in the future and its use in society. It's sci-fi fun with an apocalyptic twist. Those who play MMOs will also find some interesting parallels here, and looking back at the story, I find myself amused at just how close the author's vision of the world is to today's reality. This is a great read, and as I'm typing this I realize I haven't gone back through it for a long time. Note to self - find this paperback when you go home today.
6. Russka (Edward Rutherfurd) - A historical tale, this book begins in a small town in Russia when Genghis Khan was making his war on the known world. It then journeys through time, describing events from a compelling viewpoint. My parents lent me this book because I had studied Russian in the military, and I was instantly captured by the first page. While I have not yet read other books by this author, Russka is one I thoroughly enjoyed.
7. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Jamie Ford) - I did a review of this not too long ago, as well as an interview of the author. While this is a new book, its subject matter and storytelling are singularly individual. I initially bought the book so that I could learn from the author, since his first full-fledged novel ended up on the NYTBSL almost immediately. I did learn alot from the book of course, but not all of it had to do with improving my writing. The story of Japanese internment camps (here in America) from a Chinese perspective was something I had barely a glimmer of, and I'm thankful to Jamie for bringing this story alive for the rest of us.
8. On A Pale Horse (Piers Anthony) - This series of books presents the offices of Death, Time, War, Fate, Mother Nature, God, and Satan in a very unique sci-fi/fantasy setting. I say offices, because that is the premise of the books. Each office is occupied by someone, performing the essential duties required by that office. While it's probably YA (correct me if I'm wrong on the genre), I'd wager most adults would find it enjoyable to read through anyway. The characters are realistic, and the concepts are singularly interesting. I still have a paperback copy of each of these, but I probably need to buy them in hardback (if I can) at this point.
This is by far a less-than-exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of how varied my tastes in reading are. While I think I excel more at Thriller or Horror writing, I enjoy reading just about anything. The writing has to be good of course, but if you capture me from the get-go, I'm usually willing to keep reading until the last word. The only book I can remember ever putting down multiple times before I finally struggled through it was The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. If you've ever attempted this read, you may remember just how difficult it was to grasp the concepts and visions he was trying to display. Or perhaps it was just me. I don't buy books though, unless I am sure I want to read them. I'm sure my wife would love for me to get rid of half (or more) of my library, but I treasure each of them equally.
Tell me what you think of my choices. If you want to do a list of your own, let me know and I'll add links here at the bottom of this post. This is a fun exercise, remembering which books I am most fond of. Maybe in a few years I'll have to revisit this idea and see what has changed.