(Another apt title for this post would be something along the lines of, 10 Book That Changed My Life, although that just seemed a bit dramatic)
I read a quote once about how the books we read become a part of who we are, or something like that, and it’s kind of stuck with me. I have always been a reader, always. As a kid there was very little that could compete with reading time for me, and I have to say that it’s still true. The only thing that’s changed is that as I’ve gotten older there has been less and less opportunity to immerse myself in a good book (usually because I’m too busy trying to force myself to read crappy books for school). There’s just something about the way that reading is like escapism and acts like an outlet for your imagination that I can’t seem to part with. In todays’ post I want to share with you a list of books that I feel have impacted me in a big way, and that I would recommend to any of you. So here we go.
- The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares
Now, I’m sort of cheating right out of the gate because technically this is a 5 book series, but I’m including it because it’s that important. This story is very relatable, despite the fact that it appears to be a nonsensical story about a magic pair of jeans. If you ask anyone that knows me they will tell you that I am a Carmen (and I have to agree – hothead to the max). But that’s what makes this series special; anyone you know could be one of these characters, or perhaps more than one of them. We’re all a little Carmen, or Lena, or Tibby, or Bridget. These books will make you laugh and they will make you cry. They will teach you the very hard lesson of growing up, which is that change is inevitable, and it does so in a way that resonates.
- Nick + Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
“I mean, I don’t know how the world broke. And I don’t know if there’s a God who can help us fix it. But the fact that the world is broken – I absolutely believe that. Just look around us. Every minute – every single second – there are a million things you could be thinking about. A million things you could be worrying about. Our world – don’t you just feel we’re becoming more fragmented? I used to think that when I got older, the world would make so much more sense. But you know what? The older I get, the more confusing it is to me. The more complicated it is. Harder. You’d think we’d be getting better at it. But there’s just more and more chaos. The pieces – they’re everywhere. And nobody knows what to do about it. I find myself grasping, Nick. You know that feeling? That feeling when you just want the right thing to fall into the right place, not only because it’s right, but because it would mean that such a thing is still possible? I want to believe that.”
- Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory. Who doesn’t love Harry Potter? (If you don’t than just don’t answer the question, in fact, please leave). These books taught me about magic, both the fantastical kind and the real kind. I know people, young and old, who have all fallen in love with these stories.
- The Isabel Factor by Gayle Friesen
This book is sort of my hidden gem, if you will. I read this for the first time in seventh or eight grade, and I think it was the perfect time because it has a lot of important lessons about friendships and learning to define yourself by yourself that are really important for young teens. It’s also Canadian, which is cool. If you know a young teenager, or if you are one, definitely check this book out. And if you’re older with no youngins in your life, than maybe check it out anyways because I’ll admit to enjoying it even now as an adult.
- The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan
“Here’s what I know about the realm of possibility— it is always expanding, it is never what you think it is. Everything around us was once deemed impossible. From the airplane overhead to the phones in our pockets to the choir girl putting her arm around the metalhead. As hard as it is for us to see sometimes, we all exist within the realm of possibility. Most of the limits are of our own world’s devising. And yet, every day we each do so many things that were once impossible to us.”
- Paper Towns by John Green
I’ve told you guys before that I love a good coming-of-age story and this is the ultimate. John Green is a master at perfectly conveying the nostalgia that comes with saying goodbye to high school. I read this for the first time while I was in high school, but when the movie came out last summer I revisited it and found that it made me feel the same way now as it did all those years ago. I think that’s the thing I like so much about these types of stories; even when you’re grown they still tug at your heart strings.
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
This book is important because it taught me a lot about the kind of person I want to be and the kind of life I want to live.It’s about a man who takes a spiritual journey and the life lessons that he learns along the way. I know it’s a good book because it’s one that I think about often as I go about my own daily life, even though it’s been a few years since I read it. My sister nailed it on the head when she said that reading this book feels like a warm bath, in that’s it’s very comforting and soothing and it leaves you with the feeling that everything will be okay.
“We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.”
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
I love Mindy. I love her. And I love this book because there is so little representation for Indian girls in literature (like, even less than there is on TV). I love that I can relate to so many of her anecdotes about her childhood. She is such an inspiring person who has become successful in an industry that has not made it easy for her and that’s something that I really admire and aspire to.
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I’ll be honest, I thought this story was kind of crappy. Daisy sort of annoyed me and Gatsby freaked me out (you have got to move on, man!). But this made it on to the list because the writing leaves me longing; it taught me what good writing looks like.. I have never encountered a story-teller quite like Fitzgerald. As much as I may not care for the plot, the way that he tells it – the combinations of words – are so inspiring. I would read the entire book again just for the last page and the part about the green lights, and about the boats against the current. Ugh. So beautiful it makes me want to puke. If you don’t get assigned this book in high school, read it anyways.
- The Last Summer (Of You and I) by Ann Brashares
Ann Brashares is an author that helped shape me in my formative years, and that I came back to later in life as I moved towards adulthood. I love that her writing sort of transcends age and resonates no matter what. This story is about love in all its forms; selfless love between sisters, impossible-to-get-over first love, and the trickiest of all which is learning to love yourself.