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From [personal profile] littlebutfierce:

You write about books not infrequently, but I don't know if I've ever seen you mention your top favorite book ever??? Ha ha, I know that's kind of a cruel question--if someone asked me that I'd be sunk. Maybe even top 5 ever, if that's easier.
Okay, good question, but as you guessed not an easy one! Ask me on a different day and you'd get a different answer. So I've picked 5 books or series that have a particular place in my heart for one reason or another.

  1. The Riddle-Master Trilogy by Patricia McKillip. Even though The Lord of the Rings was (as is traditional, it seems) the book that introduced me to modern fantasy, it is the Riddle-Master books that I most often re-read. I love the evocative writing style, I like the way that the world is slowly opened up, I like the idea that if you rule the land you have an enforced responsibility to look after it. And the end revelations still bring a lump to my throat. It's not without flaws: the final volume particularly goes on a bit and when I re-read it last year I particularly noticed how Raederle gets relegated to a supporting character once her own quest is finished. Still much beloved though.
  2. Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett. My favourite Pratchett novel. As well as having some of the best jokes, and poking some much needed holes in the some popular fairy tales it is also squarely about Story and I'm always a bit of a sucker for stories about Story.
  3. An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears. An historical novel set around Oxford during the 17th Century. While being a mystery story told by various unreliable narrators, it is also about a turning point in the history of science when research starts to become empirical. It makes an interesting companion read to Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver, which is, in part, set in Cambridge at the same time. Another great recommendation from [personal profile] tamaranth, back in the days of the Acnestis APA. She's really good at pointing people in the direction of interesting books they may not have spotted otherwise.
  4. The Hooded Swan/Star Pilot Grainger books by Brian Stableford. Some SF, hoorah! I borrowed a couple of these from the library when I was in my early teens and, some years later, finally managed to read all of them. They may not be the best written books of Brian's long career but they are among his most enjoyable. A cynical and deeply reluctant pacifist hero, a great spaceship and my first introduction to sf that relies on biological mysteries to drive the story. The first and last (Halcyon Drift and Swan Song) are probably the best, Rhapsody in Black the weakest.
  5. Archer's Goon by Diana Wynne Jones. This one has a special place for as the first DWJ book I read (I was already an adult when I read it) but still one of the most fun. A fast-paced and bizarre comedy with a very carefully worked out rationale and resolution (which I missed the first time through).
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