The list author says: "Now, I will be the first to admit that this list is eclectic. It's got the whole spectrum, from fun, easy-to-read authors like Orson Scott Card or Jean Auel, to the heavy, serious literature of Cormac McCarthy or Peter Matthiessen. Nevertheless, they all mean a great deal to me, so I'm going to just list them randomly. I love them all."
"Desert Island Book #1. McCarthy's Border Trilogy is quite simply a modern literary tour de force. His prose is a harsh, melancholy poetry. 'The Road', 'No Country for Old Men', and 'Suttree' are also outstanding. He should have won the Nobel Prize for Literature years ago."
"Possibly the most violent, nihilistic novel ever written. It's also a work of genius that will be studied in university English Literature courses for centuries hence. I will admit, though, that this is McCarthy's most difficult book and not ideal for the McCarthy virgin."
"Desert Island Book #6. The life of narrator Mixtli-Dark Cloud, and the entire Aztec civilization, is irrevocably changed with the coming of Cortez. This author's 'The Journeyer' is every bit as brutal and brilliant as 'Aztec', too. 'Raptor' is not quite as good, but still strange and memorable."
"Desert Island Book #2. Several different viewpoints intertwine over time (and then double back) in this brilliant novel. I adore David Mitchell's writing style! His 'Black Swan Green' is one of the best coming-of-age stories I've ever read, and 'Number9Dream' is quite excellent, as well."
"The first of the Culture novels, and a brilliant piece of space opera. 'The Player of Games' and 'Use of Weapons' are fantastic, too. Is this what civilization will look like in two to three thousand years? Banks' vision of the future is as prescient as any, I think."
"Desert Island Book #10. One of the best science fiction novels of all time - a 28th century Canterbury Tales. Followed by 'The Fall of Hyperion', 'Endymion', and 'The Rise of Endymion'; a truly indelible quartet. Also read 'The Terror', a vast, brilliant re-telling of the Franklin Expedition and its ill-fated attempts to discover the northwest passage."
"The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series of fantasy novels are considered the pinnacle of fantasy to some, and it's hard to argue. A massive cast of well-drawn characters, brilliant world-building, brutal and unexpected plot developments. The first three are close to perfection. I didn't care for part 4, so I'm praying that part 5 is worth the wait (this summer!!)."
"The (deservedly) classic and very influential world-building science-fiction/fantasy novel. The characterizations, plot, and political acuity are top-notch. Parts 2 through 6 are not as compelling, and ignore the pulp novels turned out by his son."
"Absolutely wonderful fantasy novel that is a step above most others in the genre. 'Royal Assassin' and 'Assassin's Quest' are terrific reads, as well, and nicely finish the trilogy. The second trilogy, which takes place fifteen years after the end of the third novel, is also stellar, and goes deeper into the Fool's past."
"Thomas Hardy's heartbreaking classic about a country maid sent to visit her supposed upper-class relatives with ruinous consequences. 'Jude the Obscure' is beautiful and sad, as well; eloquent polemics against the class system."
"Stunning literary debut novel about the training of a courtesan/spy. 'Kushiel's Chosen' and 'Kushiel's Avatar' are the outstanding sequels. Not for the faint of heart, however, as this series contains explicit sex and S&M."
"Haunting, unflinching tale of missionaries in South America attempting to teach Christian values to the "heathens". There are no easy answers to be found here, but many profound ideas and images that will lodge themselves in your mind."
"Desert Island Book #5. It's been weeks since I finished this novel and I still can't stop thinking about it. Did Florida sugar plantation owner Edgar J. Watson deserve to be shot to death by the residents of that little town? I still can't decide, even though he must take the blame for the awful decisions that put him in that position."
"This novel of the Civil War and decline of the Old South is justly famous, as is its heroine - the indomitable beauty Scarlett O'Hara. Absolutely spellbinding storytelling, political incorrectness notwithstanding."
"Now this is writing is of the highest order. A deeply memorable Victorian love story, containing existential ponderings, profound observations of Victorian society, beautiful 19th poetry, and the wittiest narrator of recent memory. And, the piece de resistance of this gem - Sarah Woodruff, one of the most complex and haunting heroines in literature."
"Mieville's imagination is truly astounding. Some moments of this "steampunk" novel are like nothing I've ever read before. The sequel 'The Scar', which takes place on a makeshift floating city, is almost as good as this one."
"An exceptionally good fantasy novel chronicling the early years of hero Kvothe, from orphaned gypsy boy to fearsome warrior. I just finished 'The Wise Man's Fear', and while it started off a little slowly, I couldn't put it down! Now the wait begins for part 3..."
"One of the greatest historical-fiction novels of all time, in my opinion, in which a 16th century English merchant ship runs aground in Japan. The scope of this novel, and the cast of characters, is massive."
"The second part of Ellroy's outstanding L.A. Quartet may be my favourite, but it's a tough call. The others are 'The Black Dahlia', 'L.A. Confidential', and 'White Jazz'. Ellroy's novels are all bleak and violent, but they're worth reading if you've got a strong stomach."
"Possibly my favourite old-fashioned style thriller, with a French detective attempting to track down "The Jackal", a ruthless and chameleon-like assassin, who's been hired to kill Charles de Gaulle. Many assassins in the real world have been obsessed with this book. Don't watch the Bruce Willis film adaptation of this book; it is an absolute disgrace!"