Top Ten All Time Favourite Books

Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm.

My favourite books are changing all the time! This is simply my top ten favourite books at this very moment. Ask me tomorrow and I might give you a completely different list. Also, these are my favourite fiction books… I would have to do an entire different list for nonfiction.

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck


Before I started blogging I always said that Cannery Row was my favourite book and it probably still is- though I have read some pretty incredible books in the last two years. Whenever I talk about this book I always share my favourite quote because it perfectly sums up why I love it so much:

It has always seemed strange to me…The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill


The Lonely Hearts Hotel has so many elements that make me love a book- it is atmospheric, set in the 20s in Montreal, there is magical realism, and it is very bittersweet. This is one of those books that I continue to think about and I believe will always remain an all time favourite- it is so dark and beautiful!

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro


No other book has made me think quite as much as Never Let Me Go. It raises many moral and ethical questions that will make your head spin. It is beautifully written and incredibly haunting and is a book that I find myself thinking about all of the time.

A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

There were so many science fiction novels that I could have put on this list, but A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is the perfect SciFi novel in my mind. It is the book that I compare every other SciFi books against. It is charming, diverse, has unbelievable world-building and memorable characters. A must read for everyone, in my opinion!

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews


It’s funny because when I set down to write this list All My Puny Sorrows was not on my mind but when I was looking through my Goodreads I just knew that I had to include it. It is a book that I have grown to appreciate more and more as time has gone by. It is another novel that raises interesting ethical and moral questions about what you are willing to do for your family. Toews has a way of creating flawed and realistic characters who you root for.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo


I am so surprised that this is the only YA novel that ended up making my top ten, so I guess I am now saying that With the Fire on High is my favourite YA novel of all time! I think that is probably true. There are so many YA novels that I love (I’ll Give You the Sun, Far From the Tree, The Beauty That Remains) but this one stands out among the rest. It is such a simply story about a teenage single mom pursuing her dreams but it has so much freaking heart!

Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller


Claire Fuller has become an auto-buy author for me, and Bitter Orange is my favourite book by her so far. It is very character-driven and mysterious and you never quite know who to trust or what lies beneath the surface- I love that in a novel!

Normal People by Sally Rooney


The plot of Normal People is so simple that it should be boring, but it is so not! Sally Rooney is a genius and it is incredible how she is able to get you so completely invested in this relationship. I think she has a lot of interesting things to say about love and life, and many people will find something in which they can relate to in this story. It is an interesting look at how someone can be the right person and the wrong person for you all at the same time.

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa


This book! The Travelling Cat Chronicles might be the most bittersweet novel that I have ever read. It is told from the perspective of a cat and it is just so freaking charming. If you are as much of a cat lover as I am than this is a must read. It truly is a love letter to cats. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it!

Tin Man by Sarah Winman


There is something so quiet and beautiful about Tin Man. It is about an almost love story and I thought that there was something so special about that. I am starting to realize that I enjoy books about complicated relationships. While Tin Man is about a romantic relationship, it is also about the power of friendship.


41 thoughts on “Top Ten All Time Favourite Books

  1. I’ve heard so many people say that Cannery Row is their favorite book!! I need to just read it! I’ve read a handful of books by Steinbeck and enjoyed them all.

  2. I have not read a single one of these books! I feel so bad now, knowing how amazing they are <3 I feel like I wouldn't be able to pick up some of them just because they would make me too emotional but still, all this praise makes me want to do it.
    Wonderful list, Kristin! 🙂

  3. The only Steinbeck novel I’ve read is The Pearl, which I really liked and if you haven’t read it I recommend it! I’ll have to put Cannery Row on my to-read list. I’ve been wanting to read another Steinbeck novel but I wasn’t sure which one to start with.
    The Traveling Cat Chronicles was one of the most beautiful books I’ve read recently too. Once I realized what was happening I thought I would hate the ending, but, but I ended up liking it! It was bittersweet and also life affirming.

  4. Never Let Me Go is probably my number one favorite book, it’s just so special. Normal People and Tin Man are also such great choices!! And I really need to read Cannery Row!

  5. Great post!! Never Let Me Go was recommended to me by my English teacher and I’m really looking forward to diving into it… she said it has a really powerful structural feature which I’m excited about!

  6. Never Let Me Go and The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet are fantastic! I also need to read more Steinbeck. I’ve only read Of Mice and Men.

  7. Favorites lists are sooo difficult! Well done! I have With the Fire On High on my TBR and have heard only great things!

  8. I loved the Travelling Cat Chronicles but I’m not sure it’d make my faves list as I don’t think I would ever read it again. It’s wonderful but just sooo heartbreaking.

    Am also a big fan of Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and I don’t really like sci fi. I did maybe prefer book 2 (fewer characters) but it’s a brilliant book.

      1. I did love the first book but I felt the second had more of a story and a focus to it. I have however been nervous about reading book 3. It’s hard because you get attached to the characters and then they’re barely in the following books.

  9. Great collection of books, Kristin! This post reminded me that I need to read Bitter Orange and The Lonely Heart’s Hotel!

  10. Great list! 🙂 Cannery Row is an unusual choice but a good one nevertheless. I am just fascinated with how Steinbeck can pack a lot in very few words.

  11. Ah, Never Let Me Go… i totes agree on how it made me think about all sorts of stuff. I don’t think it will ever become my fave tho, i just found it way too depressing 🙁

    Still haven’t read the Long Way to a Small… but i have quite high hopes 🙂

  12. Great post!

    I haven’t read any of these books yet, but am definitely interesting in reading a few of them. Definitely want to read Never Let Me Go. Have you seen the movie adaptation? I haven’t read the book or watch the movie yet, but hope to this year. I’ve heard really good things about Normal People. Can’t wait to read that as well.

  13. I love Cannery Row too! Tin Man is the only one of Sarah Winman’s books that I haven’t read. I must put that right. There are two others, one of which I love, and all her books are very different. The Travelling Cat Chronicles sounds charming – I HAVE to get that one! 🙂

      1. The third book – A Year of Marvellous Ways – is very different again (although set in Cornwall as is Rabbit). It’s my favourite 🙂

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