I don’t usually do Top 10 Tuesday posts. I have on occasion, but it is by no means a regular thing. It is run by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic caught my attention. If you like this book then you’ll like that book. I’ve done something similar on my booktube channel in which I relate TV shows to books. In that video if you liked this TV show then you’d like this book. This post is going to be a little bit more straight forward. If you like this popular book then you will like this book. The criteria that I’m using for this is a popular book must have at least 500,000 ratings on Goodreads.
In no particular order here are the recommendations.
If you liked the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling…
Let’s just say if I need to explain Harry Potter to you then maybe you should read on. I get that not everyone has read the books, but they are some of the highest grossing movies worldwide of all time. Shortly before his 11th birthday, weird things begin happening to Harry, only to find out that he’s a wizard. However, Harry just isn’t an ordinary wizard, he’s the boy who lived. The only person to survive an attack from the Dark Lord leaving him with a lightning shaped scar on his forehead. The series follows Harry as he grows up, learns more of the world that he is now a part of, and does his best to survive and stop the Dark Lord.
The Girl at Midnight may not be the best book out there. It’s certainly not going to reach the same level of cultural penetration that Harry Potter did, but the two books do have similar tone in a way. What I mean by that is The Girl at Midnight is about an orphan girl named Echo who was raised by the Avicen a bird-like humanoid species that we know nothing about even though they live right under our noses. Then there are the Drakharn who are another underground humanois species that are similar to dragons who obviously hate Avicen. However both groups are looking for the firebird, something that can sway the war to one side. If you really enjoyed the element of a character that is struggling to find a balance in their new world and like the idea of a separate world living under our noses, then this is the book for you.
If you liked The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins…
The Hunger Games is one of those series that is extremely widespread. I’ll admit, I was resistant to picking up The Hunger Games because of my love for Battle Royale. However, I decided to watch the movie. It then took another six months before I could finally read the book. That said, I did it. I was surprised I loved it. The Hunger Games is about a girl named Katniss who volunteers to be in the game to spare her sister death. However, Katniss doesn’t like rules and ends up completely bucking the system. I won’t say more, but Katniss has a will to live and will not just roll over.
I’ll be honest, I have not read Battle Royale, neither the manga or the novel. I have heard great things about them though. Considering that the movie, which I love is based off the material I feel confident enough recommending this. While The Hunger Games briefly touches on the topic of voyuerism within a society which can afford to not worry, Battle Royale heavily focuses on it. Not only that but it’s main focus is a bit different than The Hunger Games. In the world of Battle Royale every year a class of students is entered into the battle by surprise. This is done so essentially so that children remember to be good, among other interesting things. Once there, the kids are meant to kill their friends whether they want to or not. Only one can win..
If you liked The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien…
Lord of the Rings is classic. Even more beloved is the journey of a single Hobbit on a journey that is equally as grand isn’t if it isn’t quite as epic. One day when Gandalf arrives at Bilbo Baggins doorstep, the hobbit’s life changes forever as he goes on an adventure, something hobbits never do. It’s an epic tale and a lot of good fun. It’s truly one of those stories that you are left feeling like the world is full of wonder that you just need to step out and go see it.
Falling Kingdoms is quite a bit older and a bit darker than The Hobbit, but both stories have a grand scale. Spread over three kingdoms and yet another that’s on a different plane, you get a large story. Falling Kingdoms wants to be big and sprawling and gritty. It is full with fantastical elements even if the story does try to ground it a bit more realistically. That said if you want a big adventure with characters going different places and traveling, this book has it.
If you liked The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger…
Holden Caulfield is a character who’s name may be more well known than his story. To be honest, it’s not like his story is going to change your life. However it’s one of those stories that is so easy to relate to. With a stream of consciousness style you travel through a short bit of Holden’s life as things are going awry and he needs some time to center himself. It’s a great story in which you get to delv into his mind and his emotions. I absolutely loved this book which totally surprised me. There was something real and raw to it. No there wasn’t much character progression, there wasn’t an epic life journey, it’s just spending time with Holden and he’s enigmatic and self-depricating enough that it’s plenty enjoyable.
Back in college I was tasked to read On the Road. It was for a class on culture in which we greatly talked about zeitgesit and what things were to be kitsch. It was a great class, but the one thing that I took away from that class other than my first ever badly written short story was the memory of On the Road. It follows Kerouac’s journey during the beatnik era. I won’t say much because it’s one of those stories that you want to sit back and enjoy. There is just something about the things that happen to Kerouac that draw you in. You always want to see what sort of misadventures he will get into next as he struggles to find himself as a person.
If you liked Divergent by Veronica Roth…
If there is one thing that Divergent did for me was established just how messed up the world is. I will be the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of Divergent. The characters never captured me and as a result I never cared about their plight. However for a dystopian world it had plenty of dystopian feels. The world has delved into an era in which everyone is divied up into factions. It’s a world were faction is more important than family. People are expected to stay in their lane, but Tris is apparently incapable of that as divergent. She’s one of the different ones. This book featured heavily on training and team dynamics.
I’m not going to sit around and pretend that I’m not a massive fan of Brandon Sanderson. He is a fantastic writer, particularly with creating complex worlds complete with complex powers. In this case he delves into superheroes. Rather than stick to the standard heroes are good he creates a world of Epics and most of these epics are not good. The city this takes place in is Newcago, similar to Divergent’s dystopian chico, where an epic named Steelheart runs the show. The entire city is encased in steel. His epics keep people in check. Essentially image if a gang rose to total power in a city controlling every aspect and not doing it from the shadows, but standing right in front of everyone. David isn’t going to stand for it much longer after encountering a group called the reckoners who attack these powerful epics. David sees his chance to seek vengeance for his father who died at the hands of Steelheart.
If you liked The Giver by Lois Lowry…
This story is pretty darn classic at this point. I remember reading it in middle school, then going to see the play version. The story has been with me for a long time. Rather than playing with the concept of a dystopian, Lowry delves into a utopian. I loved the idea that a utopian society can be just as tragic and oppressing as a dystopian. I loved watching the perfect soceity crumble more and more. Also this was the first book I ever read that had a trippy way of not laying things out clear, but leaving it to my own interpretation.
Anthem is just a novella. If you like books about utopian societies, this is definitely one that you should check. I read this not long after The Giver. The mood was very different yet also similar. Seeing the characters move through this world was entertaining. Especially as you see how much of their personalities and desires must be stripped away in order for the society to work. Yet, what is most chilling is that so few people have any problem with this.
If you liked Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury..
Most people read Fahrenheit 451 when they were in school. I unfortunately did not. I only read it last year and it stirred so many feelings inside of me. This is a society where books are illegal. The firemen don’t put out fires, but start them. However when, Guy Montag sneaks a book away from a fire things begin to change for him. His perspective on the world shifts. It’s one of those books that just thinking about it stirs up the intense feelings that I had while reading it. The depiction of a world so different was chilling.
Wool is most certainly nothing like the world which we live. The entire omnibus imagines a world that in the future has driven us to a rather depressing state. However it’s the actual first story Wool that captured me. The future presented here is in no way pleasant, but restrictive. The governing body is secretive and ominous. The result is a story that hits you with a gut punch and makes you hope our world never gets to such a point where hope is moot.
If you liked The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams…
There are few books as irreverent and smartly funny as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The entire book is poking fun. It’s filled with bizarre characters and even more bizarre situations.
Redshirts is a rather hilarious book. If you like Star Trek this may be the book for you. As the title suggests it takes the concept of the expendable redshirt characters and brings them into focus. When Ensign Andrew Dahl is assigned to the one ship that seems to have more catastrophres than any other ship, he starts digging. What he finds leads him on a bizarre trip that will force you to think in between making you laugh.
If you liked The Book Theif by Markus Zusak…
A book about Germans in World War II told from Death’s perspective as he follows a young girl named Leisel. I won’t say much more about the story, though it wouldn’t be on this list if there weren’t a whole slew of people who had read the book much less watched the movie. It’s a sad story. It makes you hurt and brings humanity to some of the every day people in the society. You get to see the whole array of people and supporters, but it’s Leisel’s family that pulls you in.
I read this book back in high school for senior reading. While the majority of the senior AP class read The Kite Runner, I chose this. Then I reread it a couple of years ago. It is a sad story about a japanese woman who was a pearl diver. As a teen she gets leprosy and at the time all that could be done was ship her off to a colony. There we see how her life progresses. Even with her disease kept at bay from advancing thanks to newer medicine many of her new islandmates are not so lucky. We journey with her as she ages and goes through a number of life events. What was most interesting about this story was the way the story was told through objects and items and how they related to her story.
If you liked Dracula by Bram Stoker…
Vampires have been around in human consciousness for pretty much as long as time remembers. However the current vampire that we are familiar with is heavily based of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Told in epistolary format we get to see how this horror is unveiled and unleashed upon the unsuspecting people. It is one of those story that plays up the eerires and captures your attention. It isn’t all blood and gore like modern incarnations, but intrigue and mystery as well.
I’m not really sure if I can truly call the creatures of I Am Legend vampires, but they are pretty darn close. The story focuses on what it means to be alone and to have lost something. It touches on how difficult life can be when you face what you fear most every day. It’s one of those stories that you keep focusing on. When I first read it I was creeped out by these creatures and how monstrous they were yet also how much humanity they held.
Are there any books you’d like to recommend?