Disclaimer: There are some Amazon Affiliate links throughout this post. If you click the link and buy a book, I would get a small commission. Just enough for me to indulge in my favorite guilty pleasure, Taco Bell. This post was not influenced by my craving for Taco Bell at all. All opinions are my own, as always.
I’ve never written a post about books on my blog before, which is a bit of a surprise. I’m a full-blown bookworm. I can’t get enough. My husband, Chris, never fully understood bookworms until he lived with me. And, even then, he still doesn’t “get” it.
Now, when my husband told me he liked to read, I imagined he liked it like I did. I couldn’t have been more wrong. While Chris does read, he doesn’t read many books. Instead, he peruses magazines, newspaper articles, and, on rare occasions, nonfiction books.
While I do read newspaper and magazine articles and a nonfiction book every once in a while, I devour fiction. Lots and lots of fiction! Stuffed in my nightstand drawers, on several shelves in our walk-in closet, and down in the basement are my books. And, I’ll be honest, I refuse to get rid of books unless I hated it.
My books are my friends that I revisit over and over again. For some, rereading a book is torture. For me, it is a place of comfort. I get to spend time with characters I love, and some I loathe, for hours on end.
Recently a list has circulated on Facebook asking people to list 10 books that stayed with them in some way. When I was tagged to do the challenge, it perplexed me. How could I narrow the list to just 10 books? I’ve read thousands in my lifetime. However, I did just that and thought I’d share my list with you.
10 Unforgettable Books in My Life
1. The Alienist by Caleb Carr
When I went to graduate school, I ate, drank, and breathed psychology for two years. Reading for pleasure was only possible during the summer between year one and year two. The only thing I did read, for the most part, were psychology journals and books. During my second year, I kept hearing about the book, The Alienist, and found myself drawn to it. On a whim, I decided I would just read the book for a few minutes before bed every night. Two nights later, after staying up to 4 a.m., I finished the book. So much for a good plan. I never did read another novel like that until I completed grad school.
That said, the book was worth it. The Alienist transports the reader to the turn of the century (well, the one over 100 years ago) in New York City where there has been a murder. A psychologist, called an alienist, a reporter, and Theodore Roosevelt try to find the killer before he kills again. Amazing book!
2. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
This book was required reading for a college class (not LIterature or English, FYI). It is a dystopian novel that really makes you think. While I enjoy some young adult fiction like Divergent and The Hunger Games, this book was the original and is hard to forget.
3. Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Since I was only allowed to include 10 books, I chose the first of the Harry Potter novels for my list. I wish I could have included the entire series.
I started reading the Harry Potter books when a person I worked with told me I shouldn’t because they promoted witchcraft (please note that she had never read the books herself). Rebel that I am, it only spurred me to read them to figure out what the fuss was. Immediately, I found myself feeling for Harry. I realized the book, particularly the first, was about a little boy lost and alone in the world who finally found a place where he fit. I got hooked and told my family to read the books, too.
4. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Amy Tan’s writing is amazing. It invites you into a world you might not be familiar with and makes you feel like you belong there. In this book, four daughters learn about the struggles their mothers faced when they lived in China, before emigrating to America. And, you also learn the stories of their daughters and what they have faced being a first-generation Chinese American.
5. Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner
This book is one of the less “serious” ones on my list! One of my favorite TV shows was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. While the story is not about Buffy or her cohorts, it does help you imagine what Buffy’s world would be like after she retired. In the book, Kate, a former demon hunter for the Catholic Church and now a stay-at-home mom of two girls, is pulled back into kicking demon butt after one tries to kill her in her kitchen right before a dinner party. This book is one of my favorites! I can’t wait to read the latest in the series, Pax Demonica! (Oh, and the author is really nice…I wrote her a fan email once, and she responded right away!)
6. The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
As a teenager, I discovered these fabulous books by Mary Stewart following the life of Merlin as he grew from a boy to a man watching over King Arthur. I wanted to live in the world she described. I fell in love with Arthur and all the mythology around Camelot. In college, I took a history class on medieval times to learn even more.
7. Archangel by Sharon Shinn
Sharon Shinn is a brilliant science-fiction writer. While I’ve never been a big sci-fi reader (although I love sci-fi movies), I found myself attracted to this book and the other books in the series. This book follows the Archangel Gabriel who is told by Jehovah that he must marry a slave and Edori-raised (Edori are like American Indians or Aborigines), Rachel.
This book and the series make you think about faith and destiny. Why does Jehovah tell the archangels who they must marry? What will happen if you disobey the god? Why do angels have the power to control the weather through singing?
8. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
This book is powerful and not an easy read. The main character is a murdered teenage girl as she watches her family deal with the grief of her loss. I tried to read this book a second time while I was pregnant with Grace. After several pages, I had to put it away. Emotionally I couldn’t handle the book as I sobbed. My recommendation is to not read the book when pregnant.
9. Fool’s Puzzle by Earlene Fowler
I love mysteries! I enjoy trying to figure out whodunit. What I love most about this series (Fool’s Puzzle is the first book in the series) is the main character Benni Harper, a widowed ranch woman in her mid-30s. I’m actually rereading all the books now for like the fifth time. I love Benni and her grandma Dove cracks me up!
10. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
One of my favorite poets of all time is Sylvia Plath. Her personal story is filled with heartbreak as she tried to win the battle against depression, ultimately losing. The Bell Jar is a fictionalized account of her own personal struggle with mental illness. It takes you into her mind and helps a person understand the pain of depression.
These books didn’t make the list, for obvious reasons, but they still influenced me in my life: Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil by John Berendt, The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume, Forever by Judy Blume, and The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule.