A few years ago, I decided to make a yearly collection of lists detailing what I was into that year. I thought it would be fun to see how my tastes and interests changed from year to year. Two of those lists were my favorite 5 books and favorite 5 series at the time. Today, I decided to take the lists from three years ago and discuss why I liked those books then and how I feel about them now. I didn’t feel like writing a summary for each, so I’ve provided a link to a page/website that explains them, if you want to explore them further. I tried to pick fun websites, so enjoy!
1) The Bible
I have since decided that my lists won’t include this one—it’ll be assumed, freeing up a spot that would have otherwise always belong to this book.
Why I liked it then: Because the Bible is the center of who I am and how I live, and it’s so much more than a book. It is life and salvation and ultimate truth.
My thoughts on it now: The same as they were three years ago, although hopefully I’ve grown in my appreciation and understanding of it.
2) The Hobbit ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
Why I liked it then: This was one of the first books that truly captured my heart and imagination (read more about that experience here). What can I say about this that hasn’t already been said? I loved the adventure, the imagination, the charm, the unforgettable Thorin and Bombur and, of course, the unlikely hero, Bilbo.
My thoughts on it now: I love it just as much, and I know this book will always make this list.
3) Princess of Glass ~ Jessica Day George
Why I liked it then: I love fairy tales, and this fun, imaginative re-telling was a real treat. I especially liked Poppy as a character—she was outgoing and spunky but had a kind heart. Also, I didn’t realize it was a Cinderella re-telling until halfway through, when it hit me. I love figuring things out like that in books. And I’m a sucker for happily-ever-after endings.
My thoughts on it now: I still enjoy this book, but it wouldn’t make my top five. It feels just a tad young now, and I’ve just discovered much deeper books, especially classics, that would definitely rank higher.
4) Princess of the Midnight Ball ~ Jessica Day George
Why I liked it then: I love, love, love the fairy tale of the twelve dancing princesses—it’s my favorite ever, and to have it re-told made my year. I loved Galen’s protective heart, and I could really relate to Rose, as the oldest sister.
My thoughts on it now: Much the same as for the previous book. I still love it, but it doesn’t quite merit the top five.
5) Soul Surfer ~ Bethany Hamilton
Why I loved it then: I was really inspired by witness for and trust in Christ during such a scary situation. Plus, it’s such a unique and fascinating story. I couldn’t stop rereading how the attack happened and what it was like afterwards.
My thoughts on it now: Yes, it’s a cool story, but the book itself is not worth any kind of high ranking. It’s written by a teenager, so the language is simple and immature, with plenty of slang thrown in—and no, I don’t expect her to be Christopher Paolini, but it’s just not an amazing piece of literature that deserves being in the top five books I’ve read.
1. Lord of the Rings ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
Why I liked it then: I almost want to write a huge DUH. However, I will attempt to describe why this is so amazing: the epic-ness, the beautiful style, the characters, the way the light overcame the horrible darkness, the threads of truth woven throughout, the rich world-building …
My thoughts on it now: This is a series that will never leave the top five. I still love it.
Why I liked it then: I was just getting into fantasy when I first read it, and I was blown away by the detail of world (the ancient language, the various races, etc.). It was so exciting and adventurous, and it set my imagination on fire. Plus, I loved the idea of Dragon Riders.
My thoughts on it now: I still really enjoy this series, and it’s definitely in my top ten. However, having since discovered Sanderson, AP, and Stengl, I can’t give it a top 5 spot.
3. The Chronicles of Narnia ~ C. S. Lewis
Why I liked it then: I can still remember my dad reading me these when I was little. We worked our way through the whole series, though it took us many years. The analogies are great, his dry humor is great, the characters are unforgettable, but what I love most is its charm. There’s just no other word to describe them.
My thoughts on it now: Still love it, and I think I’ve even grown to appreciate them more, noticing more parallels and truths during my rereads. This too will never leave the top 5.
4. Books of Pellinor ~ Allison Croggon
Why I liked it then: A clean fantasy book with the fascinating concept of Bards, and a great enemy that only a young, formerly forlorn girl could defeat? What could be better?
My thoughts on it now: I wouldn’t say I dislike it, but I realize now that there are far better fantasies out there. I also realize that there are many cliches in it—though, the same is true for Inheritance, so I’m not entirely sure why I still really enjoy this series, as opposed to my apathy about this one. I really didn’t enjoy the third book, since it wasn’t from the original protagonist’s point of view, and the ending of the fourth book seemed a little boring and anticlimatic.
5. Between Two Flags ~ Lee Roddy
I couldn’t find a good website for this one, so here’s my brief summary: It tells the story of three preteens—Gideon, Emily, and Nat—during the Civil War. Nat is a slave, Gideon is the “white trash” on the land near Nat’s plantation, and Emily is a Northerner staying with her South cousins, the plantation owners.
Why I liked it then: I loved historical fiction (and still do), and the Civil War has always fascinated me because of the deep controversies and emotional reactions it caused (and still causes). To see it handled in a Christian way, objectively and sympathetically portraying each side, was a treat, as were the main characters. Each is so different, but I rooted for all of them.
My thoughts on it now: I still consider it a great series—for preteens. The writing style is just too simple for me now, and it’s just not as exciting as it was then. I’d still recommend it heartily to preteens, but I can’t give it a high-ranking placement.
What about you—have your favorite books changed over the last few years? What are some books you think you’ll never stop liking?