Top Ten Tuesday (May 29): Recent Books I Hope Are Still Read in 30 Years

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme brought to us by the fine folks over at The Broke and the Bookish, so we can all make bookish lists to our hearts’ content.

The topic for this week is:

Top Ten Books Written In The Past 10 Years That I Hope People Are Still Reading In 30 Years

Ooh, this one is hard. Most of the books on my shelf are either really old or really new. And most of the really new stuff, even books I really enjoyed, I don’t see standing the test of time. Many contemporary titles make a lot of references to the technology and culture of today, and may seem too dated to the teens and adults of 2042. So most of what I’ve come up with either deals with the past or the future, or fantasy worlds. Those seem a lot more likely to age well than books that are firmly grounded in the present.

I’m going to stick to fiction, since that’s what I review on this blog, although of course there have been some wonderful non-fiction titles that have come out in the last 10 years.

Also, I know this may be cheating, but I’m going to include a few series where the first book may have come out more than 10 years ago, but the series continued into the past 10 years. My apologies for playing fast and loose with the rules.

What kills me is I have a few books on my shelf right now that I suspect would make this list if I had read them yet. But alas, I haven’t had time. C’est la vie.

That said, here’s what I’ve come up with.

10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I hesitated to put this one on the list, because I kind of hope that our obsession with “reality” entertainment will have faded in 30 years, thus making the book less relevant. But it is still a moving look at the effects of war on society, and while I’d like to think that war will also be irrelevant in 30 years, something tells me that’s just a dream.

9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Such an interesting and unique way to tell a story. And I assume the vintage photography will only be cooler 30 years from now.

8. Ender’s Shadow series by Orson Scott Card. 

This follow-up series to the Ender’s Game series (which has already proven it can withstand the test of time) is exciting and thought-provoking science fiction. The first book was released in 2000, but the series is still continuing, and the most recent book, Shadows in Flight, was just released this year.

7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. 

A beautiful story set during one of the darkest times in our history. I hope it moves future readers as much as it moved me.

6 The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen.

An enchanting and marvelous medieval tale that will appeal to young readers of all ages. I wouldn’t be surprised if this starts showing up as required reading in schools.

5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This book is in turns amusing, heartwarming, disturbing, and inspiring. It’s a simultaneously entertaining and thought-provoking look at racism and discrimination in our not-too-distant past. In 30-years, hopefully readers will be much more removed from racism, but it will be good for them to appreciate where we came from.

 4. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I’d imagine that even 30 years from now, there will be a market for pulse-pounding, adrenaline-pumping speculative fiction. 

3. The Tawny Man trilogy by Robin Hobb

This one’s a big cheat. I’m assuming that if you’re going to read Tawny Man, you’ve already read the Farseer trilogy (first book published 1996) and the Liveship Traders trilogy (first book published 1999). But even if all anyone in the future read was this series, they’d still be treated to an amazing fantasy adventure.

2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

The first book in this series, Outlander, came out more than 20 years ago, but this series is actually still going on, so I think it counts. The most recent book, An Echo in the Bone, was released in 2009, and the next in the series, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, will be released in early 2013. This is a beautiful historical romance with a touch of time travel thrown in. It’s already lasted 20 years – why not 30 more?

1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Again, the first Harry Potter may have been released in 1999, but the series continued through 2009 and introduced so many people — young and old alike — to the wonders of reading through magic and fantasy. I have no doubt that The Boy Who Lived will age well.

Review: The False Price by Jennifer A. Nielsen (@nielsenwriter @Scholastic)

Received from Scholastic for review.

The False Prince is the first book in a new mid-grade medieval fantasy trilogy from Jennifer A. Nielsen. I received it in my big box of awesome from Scholastic, and am so glad it was in there. This book is seriously fantastic.

The Plot

The False Prince is the story of Sage, a 14-year-old orphan struggling to survive in the fictional kingdom of Carthya. At the opening of the book, Sage is purchased by Conner, a wealthy nobleman. Conner also purchases three other boys similar in age and appearance to Sage. The boys aren’t sure of the reason for Conner rounding up orphans, but they know it’s probably not good.

Soon, Conner reveals his plot: he intends to groom them to impersonate Prince Jaron, lost prince of Carthya, so that one of them can take over the throne and save the kingdom. They will have two weeks to transform into Jaron. One of the will be selected for a future of luxury and power. The other three, Conner implies, will not have much of a future at all.

Through the two weeks leading up to Conner’s selection, Sage and the other boys struggle to learn all the skills and knowledge befitting a prince, from swordplay and horseback riding to reading, table manners, and the history of Carthya. Their competition is fueled by the knowledge that not being chosen by Conner will result in a fate worse than any they faced in their previous lives as orphans.

My Thoughts

This book was so much fun to read. It was a refreshing change of pace from many of the other books I’ve been reading lately. The False Prince is a witty and engrossing story that doesn’t have a ton of action or adventure, but has plenty of intrigue fueled by engaging characters.

Sage narrates the book in the first person, but he only ever lets us know as much as he wants us to know. So there were several surprises throughout the course of the narrative, when Sage finally decided to clue us into a past action or motivation.

I loved the characters in this book. Nearly all of them were nuanced, with no clear-cut bad guys or good guys (at least until the end). Even Conner, with his devious and treacherous plot, keeps you guessing as to his true motivations. And while Sage starts out disliking his fellow princes-in-training, he eventually forms a tenuous friendship with them as we understand that they, too, are just 14-year-old boys that are in over their heads.

As for Sage himself, he was clever, witty, and reckless. He was frustrating at times, but what 14-year-old boy isn’t? It was exciting to see the story unfold through his eyes. And although Sage is indisputably the hero of this story, he has definite weaknesses and flaws, which is kind of refreshing. Too often I think male protagonists are just good at everything, and it gets annoying. Sage can indeed be annoying, but it’s not because he’s The Awesomest Ever. It’s because he’s a kid, and kids can be kind of annoying. But he was also likable and charismatic, and I was completely rooting for him.

And the story…I just loved it. It’s a fairly simple story that takes place almost entirely in the same setting (Conner’s estate). But the challenges the boys face, the constant threat of what Conner will do with the boys who are not chosen, and the slow revealing of the nature of the royal court of Carthya, made this book hard to put down.

Actually, it was impossible to put down. I thought I was going to put it down and go bed, and then a huge twist completely woke me up. So I wound up reading the entire thing in one day.

Although this is the first book in a trilogy, the ending wraps up the events in this book neatly. So you won’t find yourself frustrated with a cliffhanger ending. I kind of hate when a book ends on a cliffhanger, then I have to wait months (or more) to find out what happens. This one is open to sequels, but doesn’t need a sequel for you to feel satisfied.

I’d recommend this book to anyone, be they young teens or adults, male or female. It’s easy to read, totally engrossing, and left me feeling utterly content and happy at the end. Needless to say, I am eagerly awaiting the sequel!

Content Guide: Contains violence