As a Bibliophile, you might be thinking that I am a bit of a book snob who only reads the most highly rated and highly respected books of all time. That is not the case. I read for fun, and I reread the books that leave the best taste in my mouth. Before this post, I shared my favourite books of a previous year and I also shared books that I think I’ll read to my future children, but this is my master list of books that I just keep going back to. You know, the kind of stories that just cling to your insides and make you want to dive right in from the beginning again? Those are the kind of stories that I am talking about.
You guys, I went deep into the trenches of my book collection (from my duffel bag filled with books that don’t fit on my bookshelves to books that I have stacked behind other books) to find them and share them with you.
So, let’s get straight into it, shall we? Here are my favourite books of all time (fiction and non-fiction)…
#1. The Bible
This is a controversial one because obviously, not everyone is a Christian and clearly some people believe it’s fiction while others take it as a word that can really give you life. I won’t go into my favourite passages (not yet anyway – except to say that they involve believing for what you want to receive and the promises of God) but I will say that it is an incredible thing to read.
I read it in university for educational purposes, with an annotated bible that I still own, and I have read it in my personal time. To this day, there are still passages in this book, no matter whether I hit up Bible Gateway for a newer translation or not, that I just don’t understand and there are still passages in this book that I struggle with (as an inclusive and open kind of person). I think that ultimately, it is something that everyone (whether atheist, agnostic or Christian) should read.
#2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Yes, this is now a T.V. show starring a very well-known actress, and yes it is perhaps a really well-known book that I no longer have a copy of but will be purchasing soon (because someone that I previously knew ‘borrowed’ it, destroyed it at her home, and never reimbursed me or replaced it for me), but I love it. I find it to be one of the best books of all time and I think that everyone should read it.
This book was never required reading in my uni courses but I go back and forth about whether I think it should be (because I like to take my time to really soak in a story, rather than just jump into it and go through it quickly).
#3. Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen
This book was so enjoyable to read, and that’s why I love it so much. It is about a soon-to-be legal (on paper – once he passes his final exams) veterinarian. It’s set in the early 1930s, and the story is that, while he’s sitting for his final exams, he finds out that his parents have died and that his father (who is actually a veterinarian) has been accepting food and gifts in exchange for any veterinarian services.
Ultimately, that means that anything he would have inherited now belongs to creditors. So what does he do? He jumps on a moving train, trying to get away from it all, and finds himself on the train of a huge travelling circus. Long story short, he falls for the wife of the circus owner, encounters a lot of trouble because of it, and finally gets his happily ever after with the aforementioned wife of the circus owner, the animals and children (an ending which I am more than happy with…not that I’m down for messing around with someone who is already taken).
#4. Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea
This is a story where four women enter the next chapter of their lives with hope and expectation, and it’s about the mistakes they make in life and in love along the way. The story is so rich and so beautiful (yet so simple) that it sticks with you for a long time afterwards. I wish they would have at least tried to make this a movie and I wish that the author would have done a sequel – although I know this is hardly possible because I don’t think she’s done anything after this. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
#5. Maus I: My Father Bleeds History & #6. Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman
I have to admit that I am not much of a graphic novel or even a comic consumer. I go to Fan Expo as often as I can, and when I do I pick up graphics (such as Liquid City or Dorthy) and I don’t really make time to read them. Hopefully, in making this post, I will change that. Anyways, I had to read these books in school – that’s right, they were required reading.
A lot of people know the story: Art is talking to his father (in New York) and he’s asking questions about his experiences in the Nazi-era and his father then starts to tell his story. It’s an incredible story to tell: there is horror in what he has to say but it’s important to read and get an authentic understanding of what he actually lived through. It takes a lot of strength to tell a story like that.
#7. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
I love this story! In being a picture book it is obviously a very short read, but it really hits you right in the feels. Basically, The Paper Bag Princess is about a princess who plans on marrying a prince named Ronald, and, when a dragon destroys her castle and kidnaps Ronald (her husband-to-be), she has to find something to wear so she puts on a paper bag and goes off to save Ronald.
Obviously, the dragon is stronger than her so she uses her brains and convinces the dragon to perform a series of challenges which ultimately wears him and his fire-breathing capabilities completely out.
When he finally gets to Ronald he tells her to return when she looks more like a princess. She calls him out on it, rejects Ronald, and goes off into the sunset to forge her own path. I think this is a very important book, for little girls everywhere, because it teaches the reader to associate with people who value you (rather than just how good you look) and to use your brain because it’s there for a reason.
#8. The Prophet by Kalil Gibran
I love this book because it just speaks to my soul. It is one of the most beautiful things ever written – where a man talks to people about his thoughts on children (re how to rear them and who they are as individuals), love, relationships, and all the facets of life in a poetic and profound way that really meets you in the middle. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
#9. Secrets of the Heart, Meditations by Kalil Gibran
This one is equally as beautiful as Gibran’s The Prophet. Secrets of the Heart is a collection of Gibran’s thoughts on the soul and his understanding of the world. I think his language and his message is magical and I think that you would be really lucky to read it. Can’t really say much more beyond that (aside from saying that I think that I am actually due for another read of this one).
So, we end with an odd number of favourites (and it has to be this way because this is my list)!
What are your favourite books? Are you a reader? Do you think that reading really feeds the soul (as I do)?