Ever since I was a kid, I've loved reading. I was the kid that brought books with her everywhere; they were crammed in my backpack, stuffed in my locker, or lodged under my arm. I was, I guess you can say, a Muggle Hermione.
However, as I grew older, I began to read books that changed my way of thinking... forever. Here are ten books that took me on some of my favorite journeys and have had the biggest impact on my perspective of life.
This. This is the book. I recommend this book to everyone because no one has lived until they read this book. Aside from the moderately slow-paced initial one hundred pages in the novel, I like to call this "one thousand pages of pure bliss." It has it all: action, romance, betrayal, revenge... you name it. To date, no book I have read has topped The Count of Monte Cristo - I will forever be a fan of Edmond Dantes.
I read this book the summer before my junior year of high school and my god... it was quite a difficult book to annotate without any discussion. However, this book was my initial gateway into appreciation for author's style. From yellow butterflies to girls flying up to the clouds, One Hundred Years of Solitude really does take you on a whirlwind of a journey... just to take you back to right where you should be.
Surprisingly, Frankenstein is one of the deepest novels I have read up to date. It has definitely changed the way I view life by bringing themes of duality, love, and good and evil to the surface. Mary Shelley creates situations from your deepest nightmares while exposing a lot of themes that we as humans tend to avoid talking about simply because we know they are complicated and that our stances on these topics are sometimes cruel. Frankenstein is definitely a must-read for everyone.
I loved this book so much that I wrote a four thousand-word paper on it during my junior and senior years of high school. It really frustrated and appealed to my inner feminist, but I found that people either love this book with a passion or hate it more than anything. However, I still think it is a really important book for everyone to read because it provides invaluable insight on life as a woman in society. I have to admit that Pearl kind of freaked me out when she was dancing on graves and all, but overall, The Scarlet Letter did make it to my favorite books list.
This book messed me up. Seriously, as it progresses, I had less and less of an idea of what was happening. I put the book down more confused than I was while reading it, but that's 100% fine with me - it still stands as one of my most favorite "detective" novels. If you're into film noir or Sherlock Holmes, City of Glass is the read for you.
I have to admit, I read The Sun Also Rises for the first time because Derek Shepherd said it was his favorite book in Grey's Anatomy (I couldn't resist McDreamy's charm). However, I was very disappointed by Hemingway's style. This was way before mature Niki learned how to appreciate the author's style, however, and when I reread the book, I loved it. No one else could have written the story and conveyed the hopelessness of the post-WWI generation better than Hemingway, and The Sun Also Rises stands as the most bittersweet novel I have read.
This book was one of my favorite bedside reads for a summer. Scarlett O'Hara has been my role model for about two years now, and Gone With The Wind has been one of the most empowering books I have read. The post-Civil War romance truly captured a place in my heart right next to strong female leads (because who doesn't love a self-driven female?) and honestly, I have plans on reading this book again because I love it so much. I 10/10 recommend this one.
Nine Coaches Waiting, Coronet pb 1972. Illustr NK
Ahh. I read this book four years ago and I still haven't forgotten about it. Mary Stewart whisks you back into the time of counts and governesses and weaves a tale of young heirs, secret plots, romance, and tall, dark, and mysterious men. She does a great job of alternating the pace of the novel and building up tension to create the perfect romance and mystery novel. Warning: guaranteed to tug at all of your heartstrings.
These eight books have brought me endless joy and life-changing perceptions that I know I couldn't find anywhere else. I strongly recommend each and every one of these books and hope they bring just as much happiness to you as they have to me. Happy reading!