“What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.” — Anne Lamott
If you know me at all, you know that I love to read. Honestly. Like I sincerely have a deep love for books. Obviously that’s true or I wouldn’t be an English major with a book blog. Books give me something that I cannot find anywhere else. They can take me to new places, whether it’s around the corner or to a new world entirely.
What amazes me is the power that comes with books, with words. If you think about it, books are literally only pages upon pages printed with some strange ink symbols on them. Our mind has the miraculous power, though, to interpret these otherwise nonsense inkmarks into images and thoughts and feelings. I think that’s so amazing. These symbols, these letters, these words together have the power to play images in our head, to make us feel real emotions, and something, they can even move us to physical action – like when I cried when I read the Book Thief or in Harry Potter when Dumbledore was killed…no judgments, please and thank you. The power that reading amazes me, astounds me. And I can’t get enough of it.
Lately, I feel like my life is a never-ending list of books I want to read. And if you know me at all, you’d know that I always, always am reading a book, and I most likely always, always have it with me somewhere on my person.
This week for The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday, the prompt is Ten Books I Would Classify as All-Time Favorites. Now, you see, this is a very hard question. As an English major, it’s also one of the most frequent questions I get asked. So, after some pondering, some chin-stroking while thoughtfully looking at the ceiling, I have narrowed it down to ten. But here’s my disclaimer: this is not a static list. It is fluid, moving, groovin’, and it could quite honestly be different tomorrow. Also these are in no particular order. Also, I cheated and didn’t do books just from the last three years. That being said, here we go:
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
You cannot beat this love story between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. To my Future Husband out there, you are going to watch Pride and Prejudice with me and you are going to love it. End of story.
- Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
I don’t think anything really needs to be said about this. Harry Potter is the best and always will be. I am super excited for when I can read these with my kids someday. Hopefully they love it as much as I do. My husband also needs to love it as much as I do…
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Oh! I read this one last year and I think it was my all-time favorite of 2014. It was so intricate and so beautiful. I want to read it again before the year is over so I can appreciate all the small things I probably didn’t notice the first time.
Here is my full review.
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is such a good book. And the movie just came out a few years ago (and that is also so good), so that’s a little incentive to read it right away. But, seriously, so good. It takes place in WWII, but doesn’t focus on the Holocaust like most WWII fiction books do. Instead, it follows a small, young girl Liesel who is trying to make her way through the war. Also, probably one of the reasons I love it so much, it has a unique perspective that I have never seen before; this book is narrated by none other than Death himself. And as I’m sure you can imagine, in that time period, he was a busy man. Anyways, read it. Love it. The end.
- Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. This book is a beast, I admit it, and I don’t really even like to recommend it to people because it’s such a beast. With over 1,400 pages, it can’t be anything but that. I did read it all for outside reading for my AP English class senior year. And, I’m not going to lie…it took me a long time. Like, over a month. Which is a long time for me. But it was so good. If you’ve seen and loved the movies, you’ll read and love this book. And…it gives such cool insights that you don’t get in the movies – perks of being a book nerd. Also, if the size intimidates you, go for an abridged edition. Normally I wouldn’t say that, but I think it’s okay in this scenario.
Also, for you future husband out there…you are going to watch this movie with me and you are going to love it…right after we watch Pride and Prejudice.
- Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
I read this series last year and it reminded me that I do indeed like fantasy books. I read them avidly as a kid (see number 10) and then they kind of phased out of my reading list during middle school and high school. Sanderson brought back the love, my people. He is fantastic and this series is beautiful. The ending of the third book was perfection. It brought all three books together so well. Oh man, I’m feeling the need to re-read them again.
- The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Not to sound like a hipster, but I read and loved these books years before they were cool. So, basically, I’m a hipster. Just kidding…but not really. Anyways, these books are really good, and they could get anyone addicted to their story. They’re also really good movies that have been adapted from the book superbly well. Yeah, I did just use the word “superbly” and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This is a good book. It makes you laugh and cry and want to punch a wall and hug someone all at the same time. Also it’s set about an hour from my hometown so waddup.
- The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld
This series doesn’t do too well on ratings (and by that I mean a high 3 out of 5), but I have always loved it. I think I read it for the first time in junior high and I’m going to be honest, I haven’t read it in a while since I am in Utah and the majority of my books are in Indiana (#collegeprobs). But anyways, I’ve read these many times and I really enjoy them despite what the haters say.
- The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
Okay, this is definitely not within the last three years. I read this probably when I was eight years old. But I had to include Levine because she’s one of the big reasons why I love to read. It was while reading her books that I first thought that I wanted to be a writer. And that dream has stayed in the back of my heart ever since. Her books brought me to different worlds and I embraced them and I loved them. And I wanted to be a princess. I know I mentioned earlier that I’m excited to read Harry Potter with my future kids. I think I may be even more excited to read Levine’s books with my future daughters someday.
I hope you enjoyed my list – it is far from a complete one. If you want to see more that I’ve read, check out my Goodreads account. I’ve had quite a range of books that I’ve been into, including the sadder stages of my life when I liked the Pretty Little Liars series and when I had basically a life goal to read anything and everything Nicholas Sparks. Don’t worry – I’ve moved on to bigger and better things.
My Favorite Quotes from Books Over the Years (Yes, I Write Them Down):
“He loved books, those undemanding but faithful friends.” (Les Mis – Victor Hugo)
“Her heart did whisper, that he had done it for her.” (Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen)
“You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thing – to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours – close than you keep it yourself. But what you cannot trust is to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo.” (Fellowship of the Ring – Tolkien)
“Belief isn’t simply a thing for fair times and bright days, I think. What is belief – what is faith – if you don’t continue in it after failure?” (Mistborn – Brandon Sanderson)
“Nothing’s ever the same. Be it a second or a hundred years. It’s always churning and roiling. And people change as much as oceans.” (The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman)