Young Adult Novels: Top 10 List
Top 10 List , Young Adult / October 16, 2016

Young adult literature is particularly interesting because it is often difficult to label.  Other than the age of the protagonist, some young adult literature could easily be mistaken for “adult” literature. There are so many excellent books in this genre that adults would really enjoy if they gave them a chance. Just as with graphic novels, young adult novels should not be viewed as something for “kids.” I am sure that you will be able to find your next favorite book, or several favorites that you have already read, on this list. Let us begin! 10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: The first Hunger Games novel is unique and does a decent job of world-building. It also manages to be a dystopian novel that does not involve zombies and instead uses government as the real threat to humanity. Hopefully, this series can act as a gateway to dystopian masterpieces like 1984 and Brave New World. Although, I must point out that I still question whether The Hunger Games actually needed to be a trilogy. The first novel is gripping, but Catching Fire reads like a sequel that ran out of new ideas fairly quickly and Mockingjay features a forced and unsatisfying conclusion. The original novel is the one that is really worth reading. 9. Looking for Alaska by…

Choose Your Own Adventure – Top 10 List

When I was growing up, I always loved a good choose your own adventure book.  What could be more fun than interacting with, and choosing your own story?  In a way, it was almost like you were the author of your own destiny. True, there were always those cheap deaths that would happen when you were forced to make blind choices like which path to go down, but at least you could always go back and start over again! I think that it is a sorry shame that a lot of readers leave the choose your own adventure type books behind in their childhood. There are actually some very entertaining books for adults as well, although there are not nearly enough of them!  It was difficult to come up with ten.  This list combines choose your own adventure for younger readers as well as the more adult oriented ones. Also, I am aware that “Choose Your Own Adventure” is technically used to refer to the series of the same title, but I use the term for any book where you are able to choose your own path. The generic term to use is “gamebook,” but I do not think many people would…

A Song of Ice and Fire: Ranking the Books
Fantasy , Top 10 List / October 12, 2016

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin is famous beyond measure these days, although many people would know the series by the title of the HBO series, Game of Thrones.  As a proud nerd, I find it amazing that a fantasy novel (although it also reads much like a pseudo-historical novel) found such a staggering audience in its television adaptation.  It is always confusing when mainstream America embraces a nerdy subject like fantasy fiction, but I suppose I should not complain. Regardless, I have thought about reviewing A Song of Ice and Fire for a while now but always felt that it was an unnecessary pursuit.  The books are so popular that there is no need for me to review them.  One problem is that George R. R. Martin takes so long to write his novels that the most recent entry in the series was published as long ago as 2011, so I will probably hold off on reviews until a new book is released. Unfortunately, The Winds of Winter will not be released in 2016, so I have contented myself with ranking the five books that are currently available. For the record, I think that even the weakest book in the series…

Novels of the Nineteenth Century: Top 10 List
Literature , Top 10 List / October 12, 2016

These are my Top 10 Novels of the Nineteenth Century!  When it comes to reading older books, it is important to remember that the conventions and style of the times will be quite different than modern tales.  I have noticed (especially during my time as a teacher) that many people tend to shy away from older material in favor of more easily accessible writing.  Whether you are already a fan of classic literature or simply are interested in experiencing some of the greatest literature of the past, I hope that this list points you to some of your new favorite books. Some of the most inspirational and thought-provoking books I have ever read were penned during this pivotal and revolutionary century.  To be clear, I am including only novels (and a couple of novellas) in this list, so many of the ground-breaking short stories that were written during this time will not be listed.  So many of the books on this list are credited with starting or igniting their particular genre that it was difficult to make my selections. Yes, I am aware that Charles Dickens is not on my list.  I am not a fan!  These are novels, so short stories…

Fantasy Novels: Top 10 List
Fantasy , Top 10 List / October 10, 2016

There is a show by the brilliant British comedian Ricky Gervais called Life’s Too Short.  In one mind-blowingly awesome scene, guest star Liam Neeson remarks, “I make lists all the time.”  If you do not know the context, I highly recommend that you seek out the show or at least watch a clip of the scene.  I will not post a link here because it is copyrighted content, but you really should see it for yourself anyway.  Regardless, Liam Neeson’s statement definitely is true for me!  You can expect to see many different Top lists on the site!In all seriousness, I am not saying that my opinion equals fact, so if you do not like my ranking feel free to post your own.  To kick things off, these are my Top 10 Fantasy Books:       Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien Conan stories by Robert E. Howard (especially the novella Red Nails) A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin Codex Alera by Jim Butcher Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling Soloman Kane stories by Robert E. Howard The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher Rat Queens comics by Kurtis J. Wiebe The Belgariad by David Eddings Elminster by Ed Greenwood