All-time book recommendations

Are you looking for a recommendation for yourself, or for a gift? Do you like my taste in books? (I hope so, or why are you here?) In December 2019, in honor of five years of keeping track of the books I read, I’ve picked my top recommendations of all time! These picks will be updated annually.

Books are listed alphabetically by author within each section. If there is no link to a review, it means I read it before I started reviewing here, and yes, I will be taking the excuse to reread an old favorite.

Fiction – series

Dresden Files, Jim Butcher (15 books, plus novellas, short stories, graphic novels, and a board game) – series of the year 2015 *

The Broken Earth, NK Jemisin (trilogy) – series of the year 2017 *

The Old Kingdom, Garth Nix (trilogy, plus 2 more books, plus novellas)

Checquy Files, Daniel O’Malley (2 books) – series of the year 2016 *

Tortall extended universe, Tamora Pierce (18 books, including the Beka Cooper trilogy, the in-progress Numair trilogy, and short stories) **

His Dark Materials, Phillip Pullman (2 trilogies plus 2 novellas)

Lock-In series, John Scalzi (2 books plus a novella) – book of the year 2017/series 2018 *

Shades of Magic, VE Schwab (trilogy) *

Sorcery and Cecilia, Caroline Stevermer and Patricia Wrede (trilogy) – runner-up series of the year 2017

Murderbot Diaries, Martha Wells (4 novellas and a novel forthcoming) – novellas of the year 2018 *

Fiction – standalone novels

American Gods, Neil Gaiman *

Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Stardust, Neil Gaiman **

The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster **

Circe, Madeline Miller

Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik

Uprooted, Naomi Novik

Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel – book of the year 2015 ^

Vinegar Girl, Anne Tyler – book of the year 2016

The Martian, Andy Weir – book of the year 2015 ^


The Poisoner’s Handbook, Deborah Blum – nonfiction of the year 2018

Stiff, Mary Roach (see other Mary Roach reviews)


March, John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

Nimona, Noelle Stevenson – graphica of the year 2016 **

Habibi, Craig Thompson – graphica of the year 2016 *

* best for readers teen and up

** great for both kids and adults

^ I chose best-of awards in 2015, but did not review most of the books here