LIFER’s Favorite Books

LIFER’s Favorite Books
By: Contributor Last Updated: January 5, 2018

With the temperature outside getting colder and colder, staying inside, crowded around a warm fire, sipping tea or coffee, and reading your favorite book is the perfect way to stay warm and cozy all winter long. Whether you’re into mystery, romance, science fiction, biographies, or history novels, the familiarity of your favorite book can offer refuge from whatever is happening in life and in the world and allows you to go on an adventure from the comfort of your own home.

And here at Ideas in Motion Media, our team of Lifers have their own favorite books or book series. Let’s take a look at some of the novels or series that have made a lasting impact in each member of our team’s lives.

Allison Tunstall:
"My favorite series, dating back to my childhood, is Harry Potter. I read the first book when I was ten years old and ever since, I’ve read all of them every single year. The characters are real, inspiring, and easy to connect with, which is something I always look for in books. The series has so many great lessons and themes that have stayed with me for so long, the most important being that light will always triumph over darkness. It’s a series that will always stay close to my heart and, in my opinion, will continue to be one of the most important pieces of literature in history."

Anna Ortiz:
"Growing up, Lord of the Rings not only transported me into a world much more exciting than my own, but seriously ingrained in me deep, life lessons from Tolkein himself via the inhabitants of Middle Earth. It began with The Hobbit in 3rd grade. Sitting in the lunchroom or on my bed, I only had to crack open its pages to navigate orc-infested caves, or battle giant spiders alongside a band of dwarfs."

"Since then, I've read the series multiple times and never grow bored of the extensive world Tolkien created since he was a boy. Whether you need an uplifting friend like Samwise Gamgee to tell you to keep on trucking, or sage wisdom from a truth-spitting wizard like Gandalf, Tolkien found ways to speak about real life through fiction to encourage you as you walk toward your own Mordor. It's truly chicken noodle soup for the soul... plus epic battles, hobbits and elves."

Angela Abina:
"My favorite book series, going off of my childhood, since I barely read for fun anymore, is Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. For one, those books were easy points for Accelerated Reader, but there was also so much imagination in those books that I could finish one of them in a day or two. I remember staying up way late when I was younger to keep reading and even reading at recess sometimes. I'm stoked for the next season to come out on Netflix - I think they did a fantastic job with the series vs. the movie."

Candace Arvin:
"I love a good page turner! Anything with suspense, mystery and maybe a little love, makes for a great book. Nora Roberts writes under the pseudonym, J.D. Robb, for her “… in Death” series which has been a favorite of mine lately. The books tell the story of various cases headed by New York police Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her very wealthy and handsome husband Roarke. Set in the 21st century, the author does a great job of incorporating fantasy and futuristic police technologies without crossing the line into cheesy. The series includes 47 books to date so if this is up your alley, you’ll be reading for quite some time!"

Gina Cullen:
"I only recently discovered the series The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss last year, but it quickly climbed to the top of my all time favorite series, and I've honestly had a really hard time picking up anything else since I finished it. Each book (there are two currently, with a third on the way) is framed as the transcription of three-day long oral autobiography of Kvothe, a renowed musician, scholar, and adventurer, now living anonymously as a rural innkeeper. At a young age he is orphaned and forced to survive alone. Through skills and talents he picked up from his family, he attends the University where he learns to become an arcanist, as well as hone his talents as a musician."

"Rothfuss' writing style is just very witty, easy to get through, and his characters are relatable and realistic. Ultimately, the story is the classical tale of someone rising up from hardship and tragedy into a place of great influence, power, and respect. In terms of adventure stories, it has literally everything you could ask for -- epic battles with beasts, magic, betrayal -- you name it, it's got it."

Jennifer Bissonnette:
"I change favorite books all the time! I think Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane is my favorite for now, though. I haven’t reread it in quite some time, but I remember feeling intrigued and really drawn in by the world Gaiman created. He finds interesting ways to ground fantasy elements into real world settings, which is something I really admire."

Jenny Craig-Brown:
"I am not sure if my favorite series is considered a series or not but, the Tim Ferris' books rank top on my list. The newest of this “series” is Tribe of Mentors, a book which contains many different “bests” in the world giving their advice at life. He also has Tools of Titans which is a similar premise; interviews with world class performers and their tactics and advice. Ferris also has the 4-Hour books: 4-Hour Workweek, 4-Hour Chef, 4-Hour Body and 4-Hour Workweek."

"All of these books are based around being the most productive person you can be, and how the best of the best get to be that way. I am not one to read a lot of fiction or sci-fi because I am just a very black or white, real or not, to the point type of person and I get bored easily. Anything I read needs to have a purpose or I feel like I am wasting my time. When I was young I enjoyed reading the Twilight series but that was the closest I came to “fun” reading. Motivation and learning are the way for me!"

Jonathon Eddy:
“So one of my favorite movies as a kid was Willow. It was about Willow Ufgood, a dwarf, who becomes an unlikely hero that saves Elora Danon, the baby of prophecy. That entire movie was about Willow protecting the baby and defeating the Evil Queen Bavmorda. But it never really went into the baby, and why she was the one foretold of. That’s what these three books cover as a sequel to the movie."

"First, Claremont, for those who don’t know, was a prolific writer for the X-Men comic books from 1975-1991. He’s pretty much responsible for every great X-Men storyline out there. Then of course, there’s George Lucas. Willow was his movie (directed by Ron Howard, however), so he and Claremont wrote these three books, Chronicles of the Shadow War, years after the movie."

"I loved that the series’ picked up shortly after the movie left off and filled out a few of the characters from the movie more fully. But the primary reason for the trilogy is Elora Danon, and why she exists. It doesn’t start or end the way you think it will (other than the good guys winning over the bad guys), and as a fan of the fantasy genre, this was an excellent read and I highly recommend it to anyone who has even a passing interest in fantasy novels.”

Justin Luna:
"The most recent, and one of my favorite books I have read is, The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity. This book is about a family where Mackenzie “Mack” Phillips is on a family camping trip when his daughter Missy is kidnapped by a serial killer. In an abandoned shack deep in the forest, he finds her torn, bloodstained dress…evidence she has become the killer’s next victim. Four years pass, during which Mack is ravaged by “The Great Sadness” and loses touch with God."

"One winter afternoon, however, he receives a letter – seemingly from God – inviting him to return to the shack where The Great Sadness began. Mack does so, and what he finds is something he couldn’t have envisioned in his wildest dreams. The shack transformed into a beautiful cottage inhabited by three “people” – a motherly African-American woman affectionately known as “Papa,” Jesus, and an enigmatic Asian woman known as Sarayu."

"As it turned out, these are the three Persons of the Trinity. Papa meaning “God the Father,” Jesus meaning “God the Son,” and Sarayu meaning “God the Holy Spirit.” What they say to him, changed his life forever. As the story progressed, Mack's relationship to each of these representative characters grew and developed, just as his spiritual relationship also matured. He gained a gradual acceptance of Missy's fate through his stay at The Shack, and the book became a religious metaphor. The morale of the book will show most readers that having faith and hope can make dreams become reality."

Stephanie Swearington:
"There are so many amazing books to choose from, but one of my all-time favorite writers is Christopher Moore and would have to be his book, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. It took Moore several years to write because he researched all the religions he references very in depth."

"The book chronicles the life of Christ during the missing years from the Bible, and what Moore has interpreted as what could have happened. It is interesting, has some humor and follows a story we all have heard the ending to, but hope that it ends differently. It is written smartly and very clearly states that it is a fictional book, but you can’t help but feel that part of it could possibly be true."

Peter Krivas:
"It's hard to choose just one book or series, but A Song of Ice and Fire is probably near the top and what I've reread the most. So, that is probably the best indicator. The books were just so different from what I had ever read before in the fantasy genre, and were done with a more complex and adult-oriented style, that I really enjoyed compared to some books in that realm which can be a little hokey, for lack of a better word."

"I got the added bonus of learning that they would be turned into a TV series a couple years after reading them, which doesn't happen often to a book series so expansive that you really love. I have thrown one of the books, A Storm of Swords, at the wall once though after reading a particular scene that show watchers and readers will be familiar with, but the heartbreak also keeps you guessing about what might be coming next. The characters are complex and the world is so dynamic it is hard not to get hooked."

With the weather continuing to be a little unpredictable and downright cold, now is the perfect time to snuggle up and read your favorite book for some much needed “me-time.” If you’re looking for a new series, a new book, or a new genre to switch some things up, look no further than our team of Lifers recommendations!