I’m so glad that I can host C.V. Wyk’s book recommendations. There’s no greater compliment than when someone comes back and says that they loved the book I recommended! I love a lot of these, some I haven’t read and a few, well, we will have to agree to disagree. What do you think about C.V Wyk’s favorite books?
With most things, I think variety is the key when it comes to reading. Everyone has a favorite genre, but reading outside of your comfort zone or preferences is always a good idea, too. Books are the cheapest form of travel, so why not go somewhere you’ve never been? To that end, I’ve broken down my list of books that I think everyone should read by category and genre.
This is my personal favorite, so I thought I’d start here. If you prefer the fantasy side of things, I think the Avalon series by Marion Zimmer Bradley and the Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier offer rare female-centric narratives as well as magic and folklore. Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials is the adventure story you need after finishing The Hobbit, and it’s one of those rare series that crosses sci-fi, fantasy, and MG fiction. More recent favorites of mine are V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series and Neil Gaiman’s Stardust.
One incredible element of great sci-fi is allegory. Even stories that are set 10,000 years into the future can be relevant and accessible. A caveat here is that some books can be socially or ethically problematic, especially as they age, but they can still be worth reading. One of my favorite science fiction series is Dune by Frank Herbert (that world-building, I mean, wow). John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War is an incredible book that tackles colonization, militarization, and identity with a clever twist and lots of humor. Others are classics for a reason: Brave New World (Aldous Huxley), Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card), Starship Troopers (Robert Heinlein), Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Philip K. Dick), I Am Legend (Richard Matheson). These stories aren’t perfect, and some may even challenge or offend you. But I think they’re worth reading if only to learn more about yourself and how you view the world.
Hands down, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, which I’ve been raving about ever since I read it last year. Such an incredible book about one of the oldest historical stories we know. Alice Walker’s The Color Purple is one of those books that you’ll put down and just think about for days and days afterward. Equally important and representational books include Beloved by Toni Morrison, Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende, and Night by Elie Wiesel. One of the most interesting historical fictions is Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, a massive, genre-mixing tome that is only somewhat about the infamous Count Dracula.
MG & YA:
The usual suspects are here—the Harry Potter series (I read the first book when I was exactly 11 years old), the Chronicles of Narnia, The Giver (Lois Lowry), and The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton). Additionally, Matilda by Roald Dahl became my hero, Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson) was one of the first books I read that spoke about sexual assault amongst teens, and Jacob Have I Loved (Katherine Paterson) is a heartbreaking and uplifting coming-of- age story about two sisters.
These are books that I’ve loved and hated, that have made me cry and laugh, and that I’ve always remembered even after reading hundreds more. They are all different (the “fiction” genre is a wide one), but I think they all evoke something in the reader, and for that alone, I think they’re worth reading—One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez), The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini), Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen), Lord of the Flies (William Golding), The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood), A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess), and Fight Club (Chuck Palahniuk).
I’m sure there are so many more that I’ve left off, but these books are a start. Some of them will probably make you uncomfortable or even angry (they did for me), but I don’t think that’s so bad. The best books are the ones that not only entertain you but also force you to think and feel, and I think these accomplish that.
About the Author
C.V. Wyk is the author of BLOOD AND SAND, debuting from Tor Teen January 16, 2018. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Wyk has lived in five states in the continental US (and hopes to add a few international locales to that list). Prone to wanderlust and getting lost, Wyk likes to explore local hiking trails, mountain ranges, dark caves where nefarious mythical creatures undoubtedly reside, and libraries. She currently lives in Maryland with a precocious mini poodle and a demanding guinea pig. In her not-so-spare time, she enjoys playing MMORPGs, kayaking, coding, staring listlessly at blank walls, and nursing a totally healthy coffee addiction.
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