One of Mama Kat’s prompts for this week’s Writer’s Workshop was:
List 8 books you’ve read that you think everyone should read in their lifetime.
A tall order? Perhaps, but I thought I’d give it a go anyway. I also blogged about something I am thankful for (hint: it’s his birthday today) at my personal blog. So if you’d rather read me gush about how amazing my husband is, feel free to check that out instead. No? You’d rather talk about books? Well alright then…
The “Classic” Book I Always Say Is My Favorite Book
Everyone has that lofty literary novel that they like to keep in their back pocket when someone asks what their favorite book is because it sounds more impressive than that chick lit novel they may be obsessed with. As much as it’s a bit of a parlor trick, Gone With the Wind really is one of my favorite novels.
It is one of the few books that I can say is both my favorite book and my favorite movie – something that doesn’t happen often! This is a book that truly has it all: coming of age, epic love story, historical fiction, action and intrigue. A classic must read.
People really like to hate on Scarlett O’Hara but she is actually one of my favorite literary characters of all time. She is flawed but fierce and I cannot help but root for her to find her happy ending. This is a book I quote often and think of regularly.
The Love Story I Compare All Other Love Stories To
Pride and Prejudice is one of those stories that I think almost every living, breathing girl includes on their list of favorites – but for good reason.
This is a love story I never tire of hearing – whether it’s a tv adaptation, movie, web series or a story based off of it, however loosely. There is something deeply satisfying about seeing Elizabeth & Darcy finally come together at the end of this story.
Jane Austen has a lot of classic novels that have stood the test of time, but like millions of girls everywhere, this one is my favorite.
The Book About Food That Changed Everything.
There are a lot of books about food and eating – cookbooks that people swear by, research novels about why you should be vegetarian or carnivore or omnivore or fruitarian or only eat locally grown food or never eat at all. All of them have their place – but for me, this was one of those books about eating that really resonated.
Eating for Beginners reads like a good friend sharing her experiences and giving all the best information she can in the most accessible way. I love how expertly Rehak combines her parental anecdotes with tales of restaurant and farm life – with some fun recipes and silliness thrown in!
It had me laughing on a nightly basis, drooling over delicious descriptions of food, ear marking recipes and quoting passages out loud to my husband constantly! I am not exaggerating when I say I want to share this book with everyone I know!
The Coming of Age Story That Touched My Heart
Everyone has their childhood fictional hero – mine is Anne of Green Gables. Her coming of age story is one that I think everyone can enjoy at any age. I didn’t discover her books until I was a grown up, but the little girl inside of me instantly loved her and found her to be a “kindred spirit”.
These books have a timeless quality that I don’t think will ever go out of style. This story begins with a young orphan who has never really had a forever home but always dreamed of one.
Follow the series long enough and you can experience everything from the antics of a young girl and her best friends, to finding true love, becoming a mother and much more. This is a series that will stay with you forever.
The Young Adult Series Everyone Should Read
I struggled with which amazing young adult series I should mention here. The Uglies trilogy, The Hunger Games, Twilight, etc.? All have a place in my heart but I finally had to accept that if you can only read one of the amazing young adult series out there, it should be Harry Potter.
In much the same way that Anne of Green Gables is a coming of age story that any girl can relate to, Harry Potter delivers a similar kind of thing for boys – but this is not a boy’s story only.
This series combines coming of age with magic – it has multiple love stories, heroes and heroines to root for, complicated family stories, mentors that you will relate to the mentors of your own upbringing and school memories that we can all relate to – even if Harry’s are perhaps a little more action-packed.
And like most young adult series that come out these days – HP introduces the idea of sorting people into groups based off personality, interests and talents. The age old question of whether someone would be a Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin or Gryffindor is a favorite among HP fans and it’s a concept you will find in a lot of the YA series that have come out since and no doubt it’s a concept that has been around longer than I realize.
I think teens (and really all people) have a need to define themselves and to find a group of like minded people that make them feel like they belong. Eventually we also come to find that we can be friends with people who aren’t like us and that there isn’t one way to live and think. Harry Potter totally teaches us this lesson along the way of battling evil and saving the day.
That Recent Novel That I Can’t Stop Thinking About
You won’t be able to memorize the title of this story until you’ve read it to it’s entirety, but I don’t think reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is much of a hardship, really.
My book club read this a couple of years back and it was generally loved by all from what I remember. I’ve talked before about the concept of different types of readers. People who read for plot vs. people who read for prose. This is one of those books that I think will make both parties very happy.
A beautifully written book that tells an amazing story in an interesting way. I think the very best books have both things going for it and when I think of the books that have succeeded, this is often the first one that comes to mind.
The Parenting Book I Would Buy Any New Mother
Bringing Up Bebe is the book I wish I’d read before I became a mother for the first time, or even before I had my second child. Instead I read it when my youngest child was three years old, seven years after becoming a mother.
I’m so glad I read it. This is not a preachy book about the right way to parent. It is simply one American mother’s findings after raising her children in France and the differences she has noticed between your basic French parenting practices and American parenting in general.
There were aspects of French parenting that I thought made a lot of sense, some were surprising but great ideas and of course there were some that are just not for me – but I loved reading about how differently other cultures raise their kids and the potential pros and cons to different methods.
I think there is a lot of positive things to be said for French parenting and I’ve already implemented some of these ideas in my own life and I’ve shared the book with some new moms who found the practices for infants to be SUPER helpful. I loved the recipe for yogurt cake included in the book that a lot of french parents use when teaching their children to bake – my son and I made it for his birthday last year and it was delicious.
The Children’s Book I Love Most
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of Goodnight Moon and Curious George but there is something about Winnie the Pooh that I just adore.
Reading A.A. Milne is like listening to my grandmother tell a story. There is something very comforting and timeless in his story telling and the stories themselves are being told over and over again by those brilliant folks at Disney.
I read this book aloud to my son when he was five years old, a chapter at a time before nap times & bedtimes. While I’m not sure he understood the whole book as there were a lot of big words, he still really enjoyed it, especially since he knew all the characters from the tv show and movies. It was nice to share this with him and fun to watch the movies and see the adaptations of all the stories within the book. Even as a grownup though, I really enjoyed reading this and I have to say, Winnie the Pooh stories are something that never get old – that silly old bear continues to make me laugh and think even in my thirties, just like he did when I was five.
So those are the eight books that I settled on. The decision was NOT easy and there are a lot of other favorite books that I was tempted to call out. I found myself looking through dozens of titles and saying to myself, “I loved this, but would I recommend it to EVERYONE?” And that was my basic thought process that I used when deciding which books to mention.
What eight books would you recommend? Are any of your favorites on my list? Any books I didn’t mention that you think I would love?
10 responses to “The 8 Books Everyone Should Read.”
I’ve never read any of the Harry books, but I LOVE my Anne with an E! And I watched Gone With The Wind for the first time last Christmas and it made me so happy. Will definitely be catching that again this Christmas. 🙂
“That Recent Novel That I Can’t Stop Thinking About” – great category!! This could be a whole blog post in itself. I recently finished a great book called “Sex, Rain and Cold Fusion” (the title alone should hook you!) by author A.R. Taylor (http://www.lonecamel.com). This is a laugh out loud story of a physicist named David Oster who is living a life full of women (and bad decisions!) until he decides to chase a dream job out in Washington. He is researching the physics of deep ocean waves while secretly pursuing the elusive “fifth force”. He has to overcome the pressures of colleagues, a demanding romance with an older woman and his controlling boss in his quest to uncover the truth….not to mention the attempted murder! The book truly takes some wacky twists and turns but will keep you hooked and laughing throughout.
aww…lovely list. I loved (still love) Winnie the Pooh. I have actually nicknamed my younger son after Piglet – one of my fave characters.
I have never read Eating for Beginners but it sounds like something I should definitely read. Gone With The Wind made my short list, but got bumped at the last minute for Lonesome Dove 🙂
Ooooh…a couple of books I haven’t read. I appreciate you supporting my book addiction. Wink! Thank you for the list.
I LOVE Harry Potter. What does it for me is the complexity of the characters. Your observation about the sorting of characters into categories is interesting, but I also think that this series defies categories by making those who are evil conflicted (i.e. Draco Malfoy, who does do evil, but has a conscience about it) and those who are good marred by imperfections (i.e. Dumbledore’s shady young adult past, and the fact that the heroes of the story often have to lie and break rules to ultimately save the day.)
The humanity of the characters blows me away.
You are absolutely right – the characters are very complex and good / evil is not a clear distinction with most of them.
Love, love, love the HP series, and I’ll have to check out the Potato Peel Society! It’s been on my list for ages.
Thanks for stopping by my blog!
great post and recommendations 🙂
I loved Anne growing up and can’t wait to share it with my kids. Wonderful list!