TOP 20 BOOKS OF ALL TIME (1-10)

Updated: Jun 14, 2020

Welcome back, guys. The Top 11-20 was a real wild list. Now we’re getting serious. It’s the Top 10, the list everyone cares about. I’ve had this list stewing for a while and I can’t wait to share it with you guys. The anticipation’s killing me so let’s just jump right in with our number 10 pick.


10. ARTEMIS - Andy Weir


Credit: Amazon


This intelligent and thoughtful sci-fi novel is set in the late 2080s on the moon’s lone city, Artemis. The story follows the life of smuggler Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara as she is unwillingly forced to stop a conspiracy to overthrow the government by one of Earth’s most powerful crime families.

Why it’s on the list


This book should easily be a slam dunk for anyone that loves space exploration. The city of Artemis mirrors some of the biggest cities of Earth and yet it feels fresh and engaging. Weir doesn’t bog down readers with explaining science that isn’t relevant to the story and allows the story to breathe. The character of Jazz is one of my favourite sci-fi heroines. She’s relatable and Weir writes her exceptionally well so that even though she engages in unlawful activity, we still root for her.

Why it’s not higher


Even though I love this book and the science behind it, some of the characters experience shifts in their goals or morals that don’t quite land for me and the ending wasn’t my favourite part of the story.


9. STARDUST - Neil Gaiman


Credit: Amazon


This exceptional 1997 fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman is a pre-Tolkien English fantasy that follows the journey of Tristran Thorn from his 1800’s English village of Wall as he sets off into the magical world of Faerie. He encounters many eccentric characters, such as lightning pirates and witches, all in the search for true love.

Why it’s on the list


After watching the 2007 film adaptation and loving it, I was blown away just by how much more I enjoyed the book. This is one of the cases where I found the side characters much more likeable and interesting than the main character. Every moment when Tristran encounters someone new, I was always looking forward to seeing what would happen next.

Why it’s not higher on the list


Both of Tristran’s love interests in the story are paper-thin, with no real agency of their own and this makes the main plot of Tristran’s search for love harder to enjoy with these characters, especially Yvaine, feeling a bit flat.


8. MORIARTY - Anthony Horowitz


Credit: Amazon


Horowitz’s second go-around with the Sherlock Holmes property after his successful House of Silk, Moriarty follows Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase and Scotland Yard detective Athelney Jones as they investigate the supposed death of Professor James Moriarty and work to prevent a renowned American mobster from taking over the streets of London. From the Swiss Alps to the dark alleyways of London, the game is once again afoot… but not everything is as it seems.

Why it’s on the list


The twist at the end of this book is the most surprising and effective plot twist I have ever read in a book. The first time I read this story I immediately started flicking back through the book, trying to pick up on any clues and foreshadowing to see if I had just missed anything. I have never experienced that before or since with a book and makes this easily my favourite Anthony Horowitz and Sherlock Holmes work.

Why it’s not higher


Unfortunately, while the twist is easily my favourite part of the book, the twist also dampens future readings of the book. This is the fact for most mysteries that when the final twist is revealed and when all your questions are answered, the mystery that entices you to keep reading the first time is mostly lost.


7. AMERICAN GODS - Neil Gaiman


Credit: Amazon


Gaiman’s 2001 fantasy novel follows ex-convict Shadow after the death of his wife in a car accident. With nothing left of his old life, he accepts the job of bodyguard for mysterious con man, Mr Wednesday. The job takes him across America as the duo visit Wednesday’s old acquaintances. Shadow eventually realises that the person he is protecting is actually the modern-day incarnation of Odin and he is recruiting the Old Gods to battle the New Gods.

Why it’s on the list


I love the way Gaiman has incorporated so many different mythologies, from Norse to Egyptian, and melds them together in such an entertaining fashion. Every Old and New god serves a purpose and I was always surprised when a different god popped up in the story.

Why it’s not higher


While I loved the book, it is one of those books that you have to decide to sit down and read and dedicate time to otherwise it can be easy to start reading, put the books down for a couple of days, picking it back up and having to skim back over the previous chapters to remind yourself of what happened before you put the book down.


6. TEMPLE - Matthew Reilly


Credit: Goodreads


Matthew Reilly’s third novel and second stand-alone work, Temple follows two characters in parallel, linguistics professor William Race and Spanish monk Alberto Santiago. Race is hired by DARPA to recover the Incan idol mentioned in Santiago’s story for America. It’s revealed that the idol is made up of meteorite that can power a new superweapon codenamed the Supernova. Race is given Santiago’s memoirs and readers are given intermittent sections of the book from Santiago’s perspective.

Why it’s on the list


The fast pace and thrilling action that Reilly is known for are here aplenty. The action scenes at the end of the novel are some of my favourites from Reilly and the characters of William and Santiago are interesting. However, my favourite part is the parallel plotlines throughout the story with Santiago and Race both having similar character arcs over the course of the book.

Why it’s not higher


Apart from the main group of characters, none of the side characters are particularly memorable. The inclusion of Nazis as easy targets for villains feels redundant when there are already more interesting villains in the story that they feel like they’re in there just for the sake of being there.


5. THE FOOTROT FLATS SERIES - Murray Ball


Credit: Amazon


This popular New Zealand comic strip by the late Murray Ball depicts the trials and tribulations of the farmer Wal and his faithful companion Dog in the fictional rural town of Raupo. The main character of the Dog conveys most of Ball’s opinions and views on various issues and themes, always having a semi-serious and humorous twist.

Why it’s on the list


The humour employed by Ball is subtle and poignant in every comic strip he pens. The characters of Dog and Wal are relatable as an everyman with the lessons delivered in each strip still relevant today. I just really enjoy how subtle the humour can be at times and just how funny the comic is.

Why it’s not higher


Although the humour in the strips is funny, there’s no real deeper themes or message other than the surface level messages shown directly from Dog. There’s nothing wrong with that for me but other entries higher up have mixed humour and deeper themes and that’s why Footrot Flats only makes number 5.


4. WATCHMEN - Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons


Credit: Amazon


This 1986 comic book penned by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons deconstructs and satirises the then-current landscape of superhero comics and the superhero comics genre. Set in 1985, the comic depicts an alternate history of the 1940s onwards where vigilante heroes appeared, leading to America winning the Vietnam War and Richard Nixon never being ousted over Watergate. The plot follows a group of outlawed vigilantes following the death of a former ally as the Cold War slides inextricably towards World War III.

Why it’s on the list


I love the way Watchmen structures its plot throughout the comic. Moore structures the plot in a non-linear fashion, with multiple events throughout history happening concurrently. This intentional decision by Moore elevates Watchmen above its contemporaries and allows readers to perceive time as the superhero Dr. Manhattan perceives time. This new perception leads readers to question whether anything ever really ends as the comic shows the same imagery, symbols, and events continually repeat throughout the comic.

Why it’s not higher


The ending and fate of all the “heroes” in Watchmen is bleak, to say the least. This makes the comic hard to just pick up and re-read for the fun of it. I absolutely love the themes and philosophical musings that are layered throughout the comic, but it’s a heavy book that takes a real effort to get through.


Okay, guys, this is it. The top three! This high up on the list there isn’t anything that I don’t like about these works enough to include on the list. The placings on the list from here on out just comes down to my personal enjoyment I had while reading these books.


3. THE MARTIAN - Andy Weir


Credit: Goodreads


Andy Weirs self-published 2011 debut novel, The Martian follows stranded astronaut Mark Watney as a dust storm injures him and forces his crew to leave him behind on Mars. Alone, clinging to life and left with only the remnants of a once-promising Mars mission, Watney must improvise and science the shit out of his current situation.

Why it’s on the list


Just like Artemis, The Martian is extensively well researched from a scientific standpoint and makes sure to explain the relevant scientific theories so readers don’t get lost and disengage from the story. I enjoyed Mark’s humorous and sarcastic nature and I could easily read this again at the drop of a hat.


2. GOOD OMENS - Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman


Credit: Goodreads


A comedic look at the birth of the Antichrist and the coming of The End Times, Good Omens is top-shelf work by Gaiman and Pratchett. The plot follows Aziraphale and Crowley, an angel and demon respectively as they try to sabotage the coming of the End Times to prevent an all-out divine war that would obliterate the planet. The angel and demon duo follow the development of the Antichrist, finally culminating in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse arriving on Earth and the armies of heaven and hell gearing up for a final conflict.

Why it’s on the list


The writing duo of Pratchett and Gaiman is exceptional. The humour in the dialogue, the imaginativeness behind the modern-day depiction of religious figures, it all comes together perfectly in such a way that it actively drew me in the more I read of this incredible book. This is my favourite fantasy novel just due to the imagination and wit on display from two legends of the writing game.

It’s all come down to this. The big one. My favourite book of all time. What could possibly top all the amazing work that’s been listed above? Well, the answer’s easy… 42.


1. THE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY - Douglas Adams.


Credit: Goodreads


Hitchhiker's follows the misadventures of Arthur Dent exploring the far reaches of the galaxy following Earth’s demolition by a Vogon constructor fleet for a new hyperspace bypass. Dent is rescued from Earth's destruction by Ford Prefect—a humanoid alien writer for the eccentric, electronic travel guide The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Following his rescue, Dent discovers the galaxy has a lot more to offer than he could have ever imagined and uncovers one of life’s greatest mysteries.


Why it’s on the list


Bursting with charm and wit, Hitchhikers is the only time I have laughed out loud almost every single page in my entire life. The humour and wit are dry and hilariously out there in a way that I have never seen outside of Douglas Adams work. Adams has created some of the most endearing and memorable lines of dialogue and explanations of scientific concepts in sci-fi history and is, without a doubt, the one book I would choose to read for the rest of my life. It’s got a depressed paranoid android, what else can you ask for?


Well, guys, we’ve made it through this wild rollercoaster of a list. Thanks to all of you that have read this far and now all I can ask you is to please share with people who you think will enjoy this content.


You can check out my other blog posts and short stories, make sure to comment down below your favourite book of all time and if you want to stay up to date make sure to join the mailing list (just click the subscribe button at the top of the page).

Anyway, thanks guys and till next time… so long, and thanks for all the fish.


59 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
 
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

Copyright ©2021 Rohan Elliott, All rights reserved.