When I was a kid I made myself a promise that everyday I would watch the news, choose one story, and write an informal piece explaining my thoughts and opinions on that topic. Well it should come to no surprise to anyone who knows me that this ritual lasted precisely two days before I moved onto my next attempt at appearing more cultured and thoughtful than my classmates.One of the stories was about a homeless man who looked after hundreds of stray cats, a surprising choice considering my open distain for the creatures, and the other covered the introduction of “ebooks” and how it would projectively change literature.
The piece I wrote about the later topic is comprised of too many explanation points and words written in all capital letters. It would seem the younger me was furious at the thought of actual books being replaced by screens. Today I own a kobo ereader, which is hidden away somewhere along with the mass amounts of other impulse purchases I couldn’t really afford but convinced myself I needed at the time. I never use it, but I do still read. I love to read. The pile of books by the foot of my bed waiting to be read being the best indication of my love for words and stories. So while I have openly embraced the introduction of technology in many other areas of my life, when it comes to books I still tend to side with that article and the eleven year old me.
Here are the closing remarks from that essay:
“I love my books. I consider them to be my best friends and I will never stop reading them. After all, how many girls can say they have hundreds of friends they love and who have loved them back.”
I know. I was eleven.
These are my most favourite books. My “best friends” to quote my younger self. Some of them are harder to explain than others, and most I think I still see as so significant given the particular moment they came into my life. But I hope you will enjoy them and maybe give them a read. Their thoughts continue to ring true for me and to challenge me in remarkable ways to this day.
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Such a meaningful book that made we weep too many times to count. Krauss captures the emotions of love, longing, loneliness and desperation beautifully.
The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
This is a collection of short stories and essays, both fiction and nonfiction. If you are in your twenties you must read this book. Marina is able to perfectly convey how it feels to be twenty something through her writing, which is some of the best I’ve ever read I may add. An extremely easy read, I read this book in less than a day; you will not be able to put it down.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
I read this book so many times and so long ago I cannot remember exactly why it was my favourite. All that I know is that it was my answer to the question “what is your favourite book” for many years. It is incredibly detailed and I remember enjoying the way Wroblewski never comes right out and says what is happening in the scenes, leaving much of the story to be glued to together by the reader. Also, if you are a dog lover you will love this book.
The Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges
One of the first nonfiction books I ever read, The Empire of illusion changed the way I saw the world, society and reality, and inspired me to go on to read much more nonfiction. Hedges explores how much of what we perceive as reality today is really illusion. Very interesting read, as are all of Hedges books, which I would recommend to anyone who is looking for something a little heavier and thought-provoking.
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Although it is technically a dreaded self-help novel, I promise you this book is so much more. Brene Brown speaks about vulnerability, relationships, and self love and acceptance in such an open way, that the book comes off as incredibly truthful and genuine and not as complete bullshit. This book helped me through a very tough time in my life and sparked my journey to loving myself again. (Cheesy but true.)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A classic. Not much I can say about this one. This quote alone sums up my love for this story: “[Gatsby had] an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again.”
What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey
While I recognize this book may not be for everyone, I do think it is a beautiful collection of short articles for when you’re feeling uninspired or directionless. Oprah talks about gratitude, joy, spirituality, and life in a way that makes you want to be a better person, leading a more meaningful life. Although at times, she can come off a little “preachy”, the wide variety of topics she covers are enough to inspire even the most lost of us all. Another easy read that changed my perspective on life too.