9 Favorite Books

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Since I didn't read anything in the month of April, I decided that this month I would share my 9 favorite books of all time.   This was a hard list to make but for now, this is it.

1. Harry Potter - The Whole Series
If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be either Prisoner of Azkaban or Deathly Hallows.  However, I loved the entire series.  To think of all of the thought and imagination that went into this story, it is incredible.   J.K. Rowling created an entire world in her books and for me, Hogwarts will always have a special place in my heart.  I literally grew up on these books (Sorcerers Stone came out when I was in 5th grade) and was seriously depressed after the series ended, then again when the movies were finished.  I was so happy when the few add-on books came out, I could hardly contain myself.  Nothing will ever come close to Harry Potter, for me.  They are my all time favorite books.

2. Room by Emma Donoghue
Room is a book that drew me in from the very beginning.  This book is told from the perspective of a 5 year old boy who has lived his whole life in a room the size of a garden shed.   The emotional and psychological aspects of this book are what really drew me in.  The author captured the emotion and confusion that a child would be feeling after getting out of a situation like that and the hardships of getting back on your feet (for the mother) after a traumatizing experience.  This would have been a totally different book had it been told in a third person perspective or from the mothers perspective.  The author did an amazing job at writing from the child's point of view and that is what made this book truly powerful.   This is a book I could not put down and that I highly recommend to everyone.

3. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
This book is another which is told from a unique perspective, the perspective of a dog.  The book is the story of Enzo's life as told by him the night before he dies (this is on the back cover, it is no secret).    I love books that are told from a unique perspective and the author did a great job.  I loved that you could feel the emotions of Enzo's owners through him. This book is definitely an emotional roller coaster as Enzo experiences the happy and sad events of his owners life.   It is just such a great and unique book, it will always be at the top of my list.

4. Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards
I read this book multiple times as a child and it will always be one of my all time favorites. This adorable book has everything that a young girl loves; gardens, secret cottages, castles and princes.  It is a very imaginative and sweet book and is sort of a Annie/Secret Garden mix.  This was a book I would pick up for a quick read when I wanted to escape for a while.  I haven't read it in a while but I still have my copy and it will always have a place in my heart. 

5.  Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
This is the book that made me fall in love with books and reading.  It is such a great coming of age story for anyone, but especially for dog lovers, such as myself.   I loved this book because the characters are so relate-able, I felt like it could have been me in the story.  This book is definitely an emotional roller coaster; you are happy in one chapter then bawling the next.  I love this book so much and it is easily one of the best books I have ever read.   If I have children of my own, I will require that they read this book in 4th (ish) grade.

6. Night by Elie Wiesel 
This was one of the few books that I was required to read in school that I actually ended up loving.  It is such an inspiring story about a Holocaust survivor and what he went through.  This is an extremely emotional book but it shed light on what really happened and how calm and methodical the Nazi Soldiers were.  This is a book which speaks about mankind and the atrocities that we are capable of committing, and also of human resilience.   This is such a life changing book, I still remember finishing it in my 8th grade literature class and I still remember how I felt when I finished it; when it really hit me that this was not a fictional story and this man, and others, are out there living with these scars.  Truly a life changing book. 

7. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
 This is such a wonderful story.  Another coming of age story, and a great story about the south during the civil rights movement.  This is a great story about self discovery, the meaning of family, the importance of a mothers love, and the strong bonds of sisterhood.  It is a sad, touching and heartwarming book.  It was so easy to love Lily and the women she meets on her journey.  This is another book that I recommend to everyone as it is such an inspiring and touching story.

8.  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This classic is one which I have read several times and can not get enough of.  When I was younger I would finish reading this book and go in search of my own secret place.  I also believe that though this book was set in a different time period, it has many lesson in it that are especially important today in our society.  Such lessons include the importance of nurturing, friendship, discipline and activity.  This book also teaches us that sometimes our problems are as big as we make them.  I absolutely love the magic of this book mixed with real life lessons about health and wellness, and the need to basically make sure our children are not spoiled brats. 

9. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was one of my favorites as a kid.  I went back a few years ago and read the whole series and I loved it.  Each of these stories has both an element of fantasy and an element of religion.  And while I have struggled with religion (as much as I try, I just can't bring myself to believe in it), I still like to be educated about the beliefs of all religions.  These books are a great way for anyone to try to understand the stories of the bible.  Apart from religion, these stories teach some great life lessons.  Despite the controversy surrounding these books (there are a lot of racial and cultural implication in some of the stories), I think they are books that everyone should read at least once.

Honorable Mentions: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, And the Mountains Echoed, The Book Thief, Magic Hour, Tuck Everlasting, The BFG, Sarah's Key, Orphan Train, Winter Garden, The Nightingale, Storied Life of AJ Fickry, and many other incredible books.

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