The best binge reads

Scott Wilbanks Author Of The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster
By Scott Wilbanks

The Books I Picked & Why

The Night Circus

By Erin Morgenstern

Book cover of The Night Circus

Why this book?

Let’s begin with the sheer virtuosity of Ms. Morgenstern’s imagination then follow it up with her extraordinary ability to realize it with words. This is one of my favorite stand-alone works in one of my favorite genres—fantasy—and tells the story of a circus that arrives without warning, is open only at night, and is like no other circus you’ve ever experienced. It’s a story about fierce competition, life, death, but above all else… love.

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Everything I Never Told You

By Celeste Ng

Book cover of Everything I Never Told You

Why this book?

Nobody understands better than Ms. Ng that the driver of story is not in the plot’s arc, but within the protagonist’s head as she or he struggles to make sense of it. Everything I Never Told You reveals how the toxic expectations of a mother who accepts nothing but excellence from her children dismantles everything she loves. Ms. Ng’s ability to map a character’s tragic flaws and the internal struggles that result is unparalleled. I think I hate her. (Just kidding.)

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The Lord of the Rings

By J.R.R. Tolkien

Book cover of The Lord of the Rings

Why this book?

The LOTR trilogy induced my first out-of-body experience. I became the tenth member of the fellowship as we traveled across Middle Earth to the Cracks Of Doom. Whenever I need a little escape from my current circumstances (and I have many times), I revisit the series. My journey as a writer began with it.

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The Vampire Lestat

By Anne Rice

Book cover of The Vampire Lestat

Why this book?

How is it possible to empathize with, even love, something that is inherently evil?  Enter Lestat, the vampire. Once an aristocrat in pre-revolutionary France, now a centuries-hopping demon, Lestat is utterly alive, possessing an unquenchable appetite for adventure, all despite being a member of the undead. This book reads like foreplay feels, leaves me giddy, as if my blood is slowly being drained away… (See what I did there?)

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By Patricia A. McKillip

Book cover of Riddle-Master

Why this book?

You know that smell, the one that reminds you of the happiest moments in your childhood? Mine is freshly mown grass. Whenever I smell it, I’m a little boy jumping over the water sprinkler in our front yard with my sister. This trilogy triggers something as poignant every time I read about the young farmer who has an uncanny talent for unraveling all riddles except one: why are there three stars on his forehead? Set in the age after the great wizards have disappeared from the world, Morgon must find the answer before the nameless ones find him.

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