Like many players of the early access phenomenon, Valheim, one of my favourite things to do in-game is build stuff. My first house was little more than a barn, but I’d placed it on top of a hill to take advantage of a sweeping view across the meadows to the ocean. Inside, it had a loft-style arrangement for the bed and a mostly empty downstairs. We’d only been playing for about four hours and had no idea what would happen next, so I left it open to interpretation.
A troll knocked it down the next day—which was just as well. One of our co-players had carved a scar in the meadow to build his own place and totally ruined my view. I moved to the other side of the hill, putting a little more distance between me, the scar, and the troll-infested forest.
I’ve never been much of a re-reader. I’ll watch a movie fifty times (no joke) but tend to read a book only once. Over the past two years, however, I’ve started re-reading some of my favourites, but have refreshed the experience by opting for a different format. Audio instead of print, or vice versa. I’ve re-read my favourite Le Guin’s just because the stories are so great. I re-read Dune to prepare for the new movie. I’m re-reading the Vorkosigan Saga because Mr. Jensen has been listening to them on audio, and I’m jealous of the fun he’s having.
In between all of this re-reading, I’m still managing to hit the TBR. Not as aggressively as planned, but I *think* I bought fewer books than I read over the past two months. Maybe.
When perusing my backlist, I’m always a little surprised by the number of books. I’ve written a lot over the past seven years, and with seeming variety. But when I looked at the tropes, my discoveries weren’t at all shocking. I tend to write certain kinds of stories and I write them a lot.
Because I like sorting things and charting things, I decided to break it down. Check out which tropes I like writing and how often. Because Notion is my new favourite thing, I started there, listing tropes I thought might fit at least one of my books.
When I decided to list my top thirty in alphabetical order by author, I thought that might eliminate the need to organize the books from bestest best favourite to one of my favourites (or however you’d label the books below number one). But the truth is, for as much as I have LOVED all of the books listed thus far, I’ve been looking forward to talking about these ten. Many of them really are my bestest best favourites.
I’m tempted to start with the word thing because it’s just so darn versatile. Things are awesome and the word itself can be tacked onto the end of dozens of others to form some of my most beloved crutch words. The word thing obviously makes me happy—except when I’m digging my way out of a snowstorm of edits.
What else makes me happy? A lot. I’m a happy person. I can get stuck in negative grooves, and there are thoughts and situations I have to actively shift my focus away from before I dig that groove any deeper. But in general? I’m happy. And the things that make me happiest all feel relatively simple—which is nice, because we’re living in a time where finding gratitude can be difficult.
So, here’s my list. Hopefully, it will lift your spirits as well.