I have an affinity for books. I’ve been reading more books a week than the average person for many years now. It’s what I do with most of my spare time.
Everyone seems to know this about me. And so, at least once a week, someone in my circle is in the mood for a good book, and asking me what I think.
That means we browse my bookshelves or the stacks of books that seem to appear everywhere. It’s crazy; I’m the type of person who craves order, and yet I have tables and corners packed with books. I keep thinking it may be time to take a cue from Marie Kondo, author of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”
Anyway, of the many books I’ve read, I have a short list of those that continually come to mind. These are the books that when finished, linger for a while because they resonate emotionally with me. Sometimes, months later I find myself thinking about the characters or the book’s message. Below are a few such books.
“The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.”
– J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye
First, this novel deals with many complex issues, but at its core, this is a story about mothers and daughters – class and conformity. Celeste Ng shows us three very different mothers and a perfectly designed community. While reading this book, I couldn’t help but compare Mrs. Richardson and Mia and the choices they made. I was quite surprised when my perspective started to change on some of the issues. Especially since the characters remained constant and true to form. (More on this Book here)
On one level, this is a beautiful coming of age story. But on a deeper level it’s about the unconventional relationship between a father and daughter. He’s imperfect but entirely devoted to her, she’s vulnerable and easily influenced, which begs the question – if someone is flawed are they still deserving of our love and support? (More on this book here)
This is an amazing mystery, not only one with incredible pacing making it impossible to put down but also one that kept me guessing – the unexpected, stunning twist at the end will keep you thinking about this books for a long time, wondering what clue you missed. (More on this book here)
“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.” – Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Every so often you pick up a book without knowing anything about it, just start reading and fall in love with it. This emotional book will take you back to your childhood days, especially the hot carefree, summer days. It’s a book about looking for life’s answers and moving on after a tragedy. Beautifully written and poignant with characters that get into your head. (More on this book here)
A haunting story and one of the most atmospheric that I’ve read. It’s inspired by actual events that took place in Iceland in 1828. A young woman, convicted of murder is sent to live with a Christian family forced to take her in because of a lack of prisons. It’s hard to put into words the beauty of this book, the emotions that surface while reading it, and the level of despair you feel along with Agnes as she awaits her fate. (More on this book here)
Storytelling at it’s finest. A poetic, brilliant puzzle of a book that transports you to another world and takes your breath away. And, like any circus it’s a dazzling extravaganza of wonderful imagery and delightful characters. I doubt you have read anything like it. (More on this book here)
“Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.”
― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet
I started reading this book because I was curious about mail order brides. However, once I started reading, I was amazed at the intensity of the writing style and the plotting. This dark, memorizing tale is impossible to put down and impossible to forget. (More on this book here)
Sometimes you just need pure escape – a book that is fun to read, a delightful story with no strings attached. This is the tale of Evelyn Hugo, a glamorous aging actress, married seven times, and with many scandalous stories to tell. You will keep forgetting it’s fiction because it reads like the tell-all memoir of a famous Hollywood star scratching her way to the top; think Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor. You won’t want to put this one down. (More on this book here)
When Johanna is six, the Kiowa Indians capture her. She lives with them for four years, forgetting her past, learning their ways. This is the story of her journey home. Captain Kidd, needing the money, agrees to transport her the 400 miles back home to Texas after the army rescues her. Guard your heart, because the relationship that develops between this young girl and the 70-year-old captain is nothing short of magnificent. (More on this book here)
First, I love that the inspiration for this book is a documentary film Wright’s son was filming in Cambodia – River of Victory. You may think this is a dark story if you read the summary, but it’s not. Sang Li’s journey is profoundly moving, and the resounding message throughout the book is one of hope, perseverance, and happiness. The author shows us many inspiring life lessons throughout this beautifully written tale. (More on this book here)
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