Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))
I’ve decided to start this blog with a list of my favorite books.
Now, I believe you can learn a lot about someone from what he often rereads. Which is why this list makes me a bit nervous and uncomfortable, so be kind, please :-).
This is not a list of the best books in the world. I wouldn’t even say that these books are the best of all I’ve ever read. Not necessarily the smartest or wisest ones.
These are the books that have touched my heart the most. The ones that can completely consume me and pull me into their worlds. These copies on my shelf are the ones that barely hold their pages between the shabby covers.
They maybe didn’t change my life much, but they changed the way I see it.
Simply put, these are not the books that I objectively liked the most. These are the stories that I somehow always end up picking up when I need something old, familiar and comforting to reread…
1. Harry Potter 1 – 7 by J. K. Rowling
I’ve never worn round glasses, gone to the Wizarding World or drawn a little lightning bolt on my forehead. But I am a fan, and a huge one! Even now, 20 years after I first heard of the story about the boy wizard.
The Harry Potter story is still one of the best I’ve ever read. For its warmth. It’s weirdness. The friendships and kindness. And the childish innocence even when faced with horrific decisions. And, of course, for the message that love conquers all. Plus, these books are to this day the best mysteries I’ve ever read.
2. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Dostoevsky is probably my all-time favorite writer. He can be very difficult and heavy to read, but you won’t find such a quality writing anywhere else. The way I see him – if you have amazing writers that can read the deepest corners of their characters’ minds, Dostoevsky reads their very soul.
The Idiot is a story about pure, untamed human kindness and the way it is often perceived by the people around. Knyaz Myshkin enters people’s hearts through the back door, but by the time they realize what’s going on, he’s already too deep in. And I personally love him.
3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre features one of my least favorite romance tropes, but I still love what Charlotte Bronte did with it. Many people find this story hard to connect with, and I get it, but I never had a problem to dive deep into it.
There’s a lot I like about this book. How atmospheric it is. The characters. The fact that we have plain looking people as the main protagonists. Strong consequences. And beautiful, quality writing.
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Another classic. Beautifully written. Brilliant and easy to consume. I usually pick this one up after reading a few poorly written books in a row, to “cleanse” my reading me :-).
Pride and Prejudice has it all – great romance, character growth, family dramas, playful critique of the society… It is engaging and intelligent. Endlessly romantic. And one of the rare books that ever gave me butterflies.
5. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata
Mariana Zapata is my favorite contemporary romance author. Nothing insta in her books; her stories are always slow-burning, with enough time for the characters to develop a real connection. Some people find them too slow, but to me they are perfect.
The Wall of Winnipeg and Me is definitely one of the books I pick up most often. It can always make me feel better. Especially on those days when everything around me seems crazy and chaotic, there’s a good chance by the evening you’ll see me with this book in my hands.
6. Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella
The only chick-lit I’ve ever read that ended up on my favorites list. I love this book so much! It is well written, hilarious, with great plot, pacing, characters, dialogs – with great everything, really.
This is more than a cheesy romance book you put down and forget about instantly. It touches much deeper subjects, tells a story about learning to accept yourself for who you really are and allowing others to see your true colors, too.
7. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
After Twilight, I didn’t think I’ll ever pick up a book by Stephenie Meyer ever again. So that I’ll end up loving one enough to reread it several times – what can I tell you, it surprised me more than anyone.
But I do really, really like this book. It has an original plot, some pretty cool characters, easy-to-follow writing style and only a few cringy moments :-). Sure, technically it’s not perfect. But to me it is more engaging that many “better quality books”, and in the end that’s what really matters, right?
8. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Alice in Wonderland is one of those stories that follow me wherever I go. When I was a kid, I loved it for the imagination. As an adult, I love it because of how well written it is.
No matter how mad they all seem, you can find some pretty great advice all throughout the book. Whether you need to be brave or crazy to follow them is a completely different story.
9. Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens
I don’t know why. Guess I am a bigger masochist than I thought. I had several serious issues with this book, yet I keep picking it up.
Thoughtless is a romance book with memorable characters, well executed plot and emotion that can break you a bit. It is raw, and beautiful, and frustrating, and heartbreaking. It is a well written story about a love triangle, self-discovery and… hell, I’ll say it – finding your one true love.
But maybe skip it if you are not ready to get angry, vulnerable and a little bit hurt.