Revisiting my 26 favourite fiction novels

According to Goodreads I’ve read over 200 books in the past 5 years. Without a doubt, that’s more books than I read in my previous 30 years even including books for school. Hell, it’s probably more than double.

As I’ve read more, I’ve been better at figuring out what I take pleasure in reading versus the books I’ve simply enjoyed (or not enjoyed at all). When I started reading, I’d pick up anything that Goodreads predicted I’d like based on my love of Douglas Adams. But that first year I couldn’t help notice how almost every novel suggested to me was written by a straight cis white dude. So I made an effort to find writers with different identities.

I’ve definitely found my tastes have strayed away from most straight cis white authors, but I wonder if my favourites–the books I loved so much in 2015 or 2016–would still hold up now that I’ve read so much more? So I thought this year instead of reading all new-to-me books, I’d put half my reading goal into revisiting the top 26 books I loved most.

To make it possible to have a single list, I’ve limited the list to stand-alone fiction novels. So no books from a series; I could do another list of 25+ if I included those (Wayward Children? Ring? THE BROKEN EARTH?!?). They’re listed roughly in order, starting with what I think was my most favourite.

My favourite stand-alone fiction novels:

  1. The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (1955, science fiction)
  2. Island of Doctor Moreau by HG Wells (1896, science fiction)
  3. The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost (2016, horror/mystery)
  4. Bow Grip by Ivan Coyote (2006, fiction)
  5. Version Control by Dexter Palmer (2016, science fiction)
  6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (2011, fantasy/romance)
  7. Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice (2018, thriller/dystopian fiction)
  8. The Tiger Flu by Larissa Lai (2018, science fiction/thriller/dystopian fiction)
  9. Edge by Kōji Suzuki (2011, science fiction/horror)
  10. Spanish Fly by William Ferguson (2007, historical fiction)
  11. The Drowning Girl by Caitlín Kiernan (2012, science fiction/horror)
  12. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi (2018, fiction)
  13. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire (2019, science fiction)
  14. Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D Jackson (2018, mystery/thriller)
  15. Viscera by Gabrielle Squailia (2016, fantasy)
  16. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (2005, fantasy)
  17. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (2014, science fiction/dystopian fiction)
  18. All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai (2017, science fiction)
  19. Small Beauty by jia qing wilson-yang (2016, fiction)
  20. After Dark by Haruki Murakami (2007, fiction)
  21. Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau (2016, science fiction/romance)
  22. Salt Fish Girl by Larissa Lai (2002, science fiction)
  23. The Summer We Got Free by Mia McKenzie (2012, fiction)
  24. American Gods by Neil Gaiman (2001, fantasy/horror)
  25. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970, fiction)
  26. Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson (2018, fiction)

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