Why did I love this book?
No other book could come first on this list, because this was the book that changed my entire perspective on what speculative fiction could be. When I first picked up this book as a high school student, I had never seen anything like it: six loosely connected stories, a clever nesting-doll structure, a unique blend of sci-fi, mystery, and historical fiction. Most importantly, Cloud Atlas is, like all David Mitchell books, full of empathy and hope. Even the bleakest and most brutal storylines offer moments of grace, suggesting that, even if we can’t always save ourselves, we have the ability to save each other.