Here is the list-with little explanations, about why each book made this list. At least one of us has read most of these books, but we haven’t read all of them. And I hope your kind of freaking out over the list you now have to take to the library.
1.These Is My Words by Nancy Turner– Eye-opening, heart-warming and completely heart-wrenching! Sarah, the main character, is hilarious. The story is written in the form of a journal, and you see Sarah’s growth and development through her writing.
2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – This book focuses on the power of words and the power that even a young girl can have. The way the author wrote it (it’s narrated by Death) is absolutely amazing.
3. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton– This book is set in the present but takes you back to London in WWII. The story is interwoven so well that you feel like you’re there, experiencing it right alongside the author. It is beautiful, stirring, and captivating.
4.The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho– A parable that’s a quick, easy read. Its simplicity renders the power of a parable that can add depth of content and personal applications.
5.Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand– A human story of redemption and change. Deeply spiritual in the strength of the human spirit and how much you really can handle when you have no other choice.
6. The Giver by Lois Lowry – A novel about the dystopian society, showing that painful experiences are not only an inevitable part of life, but we shouldn’t look at them as something to avoid. True joy and color in life comes from ALL the experiences we have.
8. Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan – Try an Audio Book with this one! Jim Gaffigan narrates his own stories on parenting and family life and it is HILARIOUS! A must read for any parent who is stressed out, which is pretty much all parents at some time or another.
9. Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan – This is a best seller about a little genius girl who is a bit different. And you follow her, she finds simple beauties and happiness. She’s also witty and funny.
10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – One of my all-time favorite books! It is beautifully written with wonderful characters that stay with you long after you read the book. Atticus is my hero; the legal profession needs more men like him. The book deals with themes of prejudice, kindness, courage, dignity, innocence and experience. Definitely a must read.
11. Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton – This book is a compilation of thoughts that mostly come from the authors popular blog. She is as funny as she is real as she is kind as she is relate-able. A great read for women.
13. Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross – This work of historical fiction takes place in the dark ages, and is based on the legend that in the 9th century a woman disguised herself as a man and rose to become the only female pope. The Catholic Church denies that this ever happened. This thoughtful, compelling, and entertaining book makes a great case that maybe a women really did sit on the papal throne for two years.
16. Swiss Family Robinson by Johann D. Wyss – If you grew up loving the Disney film and didn’t discover the book until adulthood, it is wonderful to read aloud and will makes you want to be that kind of parent.
17. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley provides more to the story beyond the film of a monster of a madman's creation.
18. They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie – Agatha Christie first visited Baghdad as a tourist in 1927; many years later she would become a resident of the exotic and then open city, and it was here, and while on archaeological digs throughout Iraq with her husband, Sir Max Mallowan, that Agatha Christie wrote some of her most important works.
19. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Jane Eyre, the story of a young girl and her passage into adulthood, was an immediate commercial success at the time of its original publication in 1847. Its representation of the underside of domestic life and the hypocrisy behind religious enthusiasm drew both praise and bitter criticism, while Charlotte Brontë’s striking expose of poor living conditions for children in charity schools as well as her poignant portrayal of the limitations faced by women who worked as governesses sparked great controversy and social debate.
20. Enchanted, Inc. series by Shanna Swendson – These are pure fluff, but they are fun and they are a rare example of mainstream fiction that includes romance without inappropriate content and they make me and my girls smile.
21. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – Neil Gaiman took “The Jungle Book” and replaced Baloo and Bagheera with ghosts and Shere Khan with a man named Jack. “The Graveyard Book” is the magical result. The family of little “Nobody Owens” is murdered one night. He manages to escape unharmed and toddles his way to a nearby cemetery where he is adopted by its ghostly inhabitants. The events of the first chapter are upsetting, but not at all graphic. The rest of the book is intriguing and delightful.
22. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand – If you love horse racing you will love this story of loyalty, redemption, and determination in this book. Hillenbrand’s writing is magnificent. (She is also the author of Unbroken)
23. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford– This one is a historical fiction that offers little glimpses into the lives of both Japanese and Chinese Americans during WWII and the age of the Japanese internment camps in the United States. The author weaves a story of the past that gradually helps you understand the current relationship between a man and his son.
25. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley – History has all but forgotten...In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown. Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write. But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth-the ultimate betrayal-that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her...
26. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr– OThe novel follows two characters: Marie-Laure, a blind French girl who flees her home with her father when the Nazi’s occupy Paris; and Werner, a German orphan who grows up with his sister, and whose gift for building and repairing radios gets him into a brutal academy for HItler’s Youth. The book is beautifully written with gorgeous imagery and profound symbolism.
27. Goose Girl by Shannon Hale – Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt's guidance learning tocommunicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills ofanimal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so whenher silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani's journeyto be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuadeanyone to assist her. Becoming a goose girl for the king, Anieventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her wayto her true destiny. Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original andmagical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can become queen of the people she has made her own.
28. The Rent Collector by Camron Wright – This novel follows a fictional Cambodian family who lives at and makes their living from the largest municipal waste dump in all of Cambodia. It explores the power of literacy, the drive of a mother to give her child a better life, and the sweetness of redemption for a woman who seems a bit nonredeemable.
29.Wonder by R. J. Palacio– August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.