Lists,  Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Magical Realism Favorites

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Do you have a favorite genre? This is one of the most common questions I am asked – right behind my favorite books.

I have a very black & white personality so it surprised me when I landed on an answer:

Magical realism 

1: painting in a meticulously realistic style of imaginary or fantastic scenes or images
2: a literary genre or style associated especially with Latin America that incorporates fantastic or mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction
It all started with Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. And these days I read one or two from this genre each month. It was tough to narrow it down to my top ten but here they are, in no particular order.
  1. Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield – The perfect mix of mystery, lore and master storytelling combine to make this fantastic dark fairytale.
  2. Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi – A family recipe, a dark tale, and a teenaged daughter searching for the truth combine to tell an unexpected story.
  3. The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – If you enjoy a good time traveling story, this one is for you.
  4. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz – Heavy on the realism with plenty of Latin lore mixed in throughout.
  5. Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges – If you enjoy this genre, this is a must read.
  6. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – I read this book when it was released. After discovering how much I enjoy this genre, I’m rereading it this month.
  7. The Nix by Nathan Hill – Another one that is heavy on the realism while the tale of the Nix is woven masterfully throughout the story.
  8. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab – This is the first book in a series of three. Heavy on the magic and highly imaginative.
  9. Beloved by Toni Morrison – Another must read for many reasons.
  10. Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman – Three siblings with different gifts navigate New York, love, and life. One of my very favorites.

What is your favorite genre?

If it’s magical realism, do you have any books that I need to add to my TBR list?


  • Stephen Russell

    Most of Salman Rushdie’s work has elements from the Genre. My favs are Midnight’s Children, The Satanic Verses, Shame, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, and Shalimar the Clown. I’m not sure if Yang Martel’s Life of Pi meets the requirements but it’s another book I’d include.

    • jj3nkinson

      Those are all great! I need to add a few to them to my TBR list. I almost included Life of Pi! I totally think it counts; I just ran out of room on the list.

  • Mandy R

    I love that you chose this genre. I have to admit, I am not 100% sure I understand what magical realism is and thank you for including a definition. Now I have some recommendations to read to familiarize myself with the genre.

  • Ekaterina Tretiakova

    Great list 🙂 I love the genre too! I’d definitely recommend The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (this is an absolute feast for the senses and just a joy to read), Kafka by the Shore by Haruki Murakami (very strange and surreal – it felt like a dream), and Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (especially wonderful for the book obsessed!).

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