I'd Rather Be Reading: Lists & Questions

I'd Rather Be Reading: A Library of Art for Book Lovers is exactly what it says it is and the perfect coffee table book. But aside from the art and popular quotes, there are a few essays in there and one of them is "Cheating" by Ann Patchett (best known for Bel Canto). She's often asked to fill out questionnaires for an Australian newspaper and shared one that really made her think. They asked her to name her top twenty-five favorite books (unranked), which surprised her. She's often asked for her top 5 or top 10, but never as many as 25. Plus there were still a series of questions after the list, like "what's your favorite children's book" or "what's your favorite classic." She spent so much more time than she expected to on her answers and that's why I wanted to challenge myself to do the same.

I've been blogging for a while and I've reviewed a ton of books. So anyone who's been following me probably knows a handful of my favorites but twenty-five of them? That's a whole other story! My answers may surprise you. Some certainly surprised me. One rule I set for my top 25 was that I couldn't choose a book I had read in the past two years. But before I tell you my answers, I want to share one last thing from Ann Patchett's essay.

Before she reveals her answers she says: "In short, this list is neither definitive nor true. Many days I like Sense and Sensibility better than Persuasion, and maybe I like The Portrait of a Lady as much as I do The Ambassadors. I started overthinking everything. I told myself to stop. At the end of everything, I thought Hey, this could be a good entry for the blog I write for my bookstore, Parnassus Books. It's cheating, sure, but I did read all these books and I loved them." Ditto!

Now, onto my answers! 

Name your twenty-five favorite books
(Alphabetical by author, not ranked)
  1. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
  2. Origin (Lux, #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  3. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  4. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Anne Brashares
  5. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  6. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  7. How to Love by Katie Cotugno
  8. Say Goodnight, Gracie by Julie Reece Deaver
  9. Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
  10. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
  11. A Time for Dancing by Davida Wills Hurwin
  12. The Iron Queen (Iron Fey, #3) by Julie Kagawa
  13. Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
  14. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  15. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
  16. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas (I can't pick one!)
  17. Dragonsinger (Harper Hall, #2) by Anne McCaffrey
  18. Shadowfever (Fever, #5) by Karen Marie Moning
  19. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  20. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  21. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yōko Ogawa
  22. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  23. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) by J.K. Rowling
  24. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
  25. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron

What are you reading right now?
As of July 15 (when I'm writing this post), I'm going to re-read The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken.

What was your favorite children’s book? Why?
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I identified so strongly with Anne. A girl who often daydreamed, fiercely believed in friendship and loved to read? That was (and still is) me in a nutshell and the first time I truly saw myself in a character.

What book do you most often reread? Why?
How to Love by Katie Cotugno. I like messy, complicated romantic relationships with honest conversations. There’s just so much beauty and truth in Cotugno’s words. I’ve reread it in pieces and in its entirety a number of times.

What book would you want with you on a desert island? Why?
I'm torn! A part of me thinks I'd want a romance if I was stuck on a desert island and if that's the case, I think I'd go with Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren. Even though I read it just this past year, I love the relationship, the friendships and the Paris setting. Then the other part of me thinks I need a fantasy or paranormal romance I've already read over and over again which would be Lux by Jennifer L. Armentrout or anything by Sarah J. Maas.

What book would you recommend to a friend? Why?
It really depends on the friend and what they’re in the mood for. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas is my go-to for fellow fantasy lovers. For contemporary, it’s usually Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. And for fiction with a dash of romance, anything Taylor Jenkins Reid (minus Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo).

What is your favorite biography? Why?
The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I am a long-time (read: forever) fan of Grey’s Anatomy so I had a feeling I’d enjoy her book and I was right. It’s motivational, funny and honest. I just love her voice and if you’re a fan of Grey’s, this book is perfect.

What is your favorite holiday book? Why?
I’m not into holiday books for some reason but the first book that comes to mind is Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. It’s been a while since I’ve read it but the concept is so fun and it’s a quick Christmas tale that I remember enjoying a lot.

What is your favorite summer read? Why?
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. (This is the third time I’ve mentioned it in this post!) I reread it a few weeks ago and I love it just as much as I did the first time I read it. It’s still one of the best YA BFF stories I’ve seen plus the on-the-road setting mixed in with romance makes this a perfect summer book.

What is your favorite mystery? Why?
I’m really not into mystery books either. (Luckily there aren’t questions about horror books because again, not into it.) But if I had to choose one, I’d pick Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. I read it for the first time in 8th grade and loved it. Then I read it again last year (before watching the movie) and still really enjoyed it.

What book did you think made a better movie than it did a book? Why?
This question always stumps me because 99.9% of the time, I prefer the books (although I LOVE the HP movies). My go-to response is Breakfast at Tiffany’s so I’m sticking with that. I barely remember the Truman Capote book but who can forget Audrey Hepburn’s performance.

What book most influenced your life? Why?
Picking one is impossible. But I can tell you the four books that influenced the reader I am today: Anne of Green Gables (see answer to #2), A Time for Dancing (first book to ever make me cry), Harper Hall Trilogy (reason I fell in love with fantasy) and A Wrinkle in Time (reason I fell in love with sci-fi).

What is your favorite classic?
This is going to be the most random choice but I’m going to say it anyway, The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott. It was her first novel that she wrote at 17 and one of my high school English teachers recommended it to me. I loved it! I’ve read a decent amount of classics throughout my life but that’s the only one to ever get 5 stars from me. Granted, I haven’t reread it since so maybe I should do that! (PS. I could’ve easily said Anne of Green Gables again but I wanted to mix it up!)

What is your favorite coffee-table book?
I keep my poetry books on my coffee table (and my actual coffee-table books on my media console like a weirdo) so I’d have to say Bloom by Beau Taplin.

What would your answers be?


  1. I love this post! I'll definitely have to work up a version for my blog too.

  2. I'm so glad I stumbled across this post again while I was catching up on commenting! It's something that I think I'm going to do on my blog too, because it looks like a lot of fun.

    I'm pretty proud of the fact that I've read most of your top 25! The only ones I haven't read are Say Goodnight Gracie, A Time for Dancing, the Fever series, The Housekeeper and the Professor, and The Shadow of the Wind. I'm definitely going to have to remedy that :)


with love,