Books you need to read before it is too late


This has been a long time coming – a post that is dedicated to my favorite authors and books. I know I just lost about over half of my normal readers, but perhaps I’ll gain some more by branching out in this direction for at least one post. (Just let me have one post guys.)

I feel like my “English Major” mind has gotten a little dusty, I need to flex its muscles a bit, and what better way than to offer my opinion on what should be gracing the shelves of your bookcase? I can hear Sister Fierce saying, “Oh great, here comes the English snob.”

*Ahem*

To start with let me introduce you to the first book I ever fell in love with.

The Secret Garden

‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Published in 1911 it has stayed relevant and enchanting through the decades. I will not go into a book review on this one because most everyone should know the premise of the story – orphaned girl goes and lives with estranged uncle in England and straightens herself out through new relationships and surprising discoveries – instead I will just say that my copy of this story was given to me when I was around seven years old, and I loved everything about it. The cover on mine was different from the one above but I couldn’t find my copy to take a picture of, it must be boxed away somewhere with the rest of my childhood memorabilia. The illustrations I remember were amazing, and the words were magical, it showed me what really good writing was all about.

I had crossed the line of “liking to read” and fell soul first into the world of literature. I devoured stories, would analyze how they were written, look for the deeper meanings, try to find the author’s voice. I was a lot harsher in judgement then I am now, surprisingly, I would toss a book if I wasn’t captured within the first chapter or two.

The following are all from amazing authors from both our time and the past. People who shared their genius and enlightenment, and whose talent I could never exceed. They are the ones who have written the novels, short stories, and poetry I feel everyone should read before it is too late.

In no particular order and with my humble opinion:

John Steinbeck

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The Grapes of Wrath; The Acts of King Arthur And His Noble Knights; East of Eden     

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Alice Munro

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Lives of Girls and Women; Selected Stories of Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness

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Joyce Carol Oates

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The Gravedigger’s Daughter, Dear Husband, Zombie

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Dave Eggers 

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A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius; What Is The What; Zeitoun

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George Orwell

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1984

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Margaret Atwood 

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The Handmaid’s Tale; The Blind Assassin 

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Ann-Marie MacDonald

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Fall On Your Knees; The Way the Crow Flies 

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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One Hundred Years of Solitude; Love in the Time of Cholera 

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T.S. Eliot

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Collected Poems 1909-1962

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Abraham Verghese

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Cutting For Stone 

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Toni Morrison

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Song of Solomon; Beloved; Playing in the Dark

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T.C. Boyle

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The Women

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Agatha Christie 

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And Then There Were None

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John Bevere

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Bait of Satan

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Henry David Thoreau

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Walden

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Ernest Hemingway

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The Old Man and the Sea; The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway

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Wally Lamb

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I Know This Much Is True

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W. G. Sebald

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The Emigrants

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St. Augustine 

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Confessions

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C.S. Lewis

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Mere Christianity; The Screwtape Letters; The Chronicles of Narnia

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Don Potter

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Facing the Wall

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Staci Eldredge 

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Captivating – Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul

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Zora Neale Hurston

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Their Eyes Were Watching God

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F. Scott Fitzgerald

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The Great Gatsby

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Antony Doerr

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Memory Wall

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Arthur Conan Doyle

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The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes

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Emily Bronte

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Wuthering Heights

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Truman Capote

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In Cold Blood

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John Donne

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John Donne’s Poetry

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Virginia Woolfe

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A Room of One’s Own; Jacob’s Room

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Michael Cunningham

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The Hours

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Erich Maria Remarque

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All Quiet on the Western Front

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Cormac McCarthy

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The Road

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Corrie Ten Boom

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The Hiding Place 

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Jane Austen

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Sense and Sensibility; Pride and Prejudice; Emma

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Ian McEwanimages

Atonement

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Sue Monk Kidd

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The Secret Life of Bees 

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James Fenimore Cooper

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The Last of the Mohicans 

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Joseph Heller

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Catch-22

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There are plenty more that need put on this list, feel free to voice your opinion or offer up book suggestions. I am impressed for all of those who scrolled their way to the bottom, give yourself a pat on the back!

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5 thoughts on “Books you need to read before it is too late

  1. My, my, my, that’s a ton of books.
    I tried 1984, it was a convoluted mess. “Animal Farm” told the exact same story in a much simpler and more memorable fashion. And I tried Toni Morrison. Not my style at all. I also read The Road and found myself bored.
    C.S. Lewis, however, and the Eldredges, and Jane Austen? Definitely with you there. Big fan of all their stuff.

    1. I think the plot outweighed the writing for me in ‘1984’ and I have yet to read Animal Farm, which is insane since I should have had it checked off years ago. Oh well, I’ll get to it eventually!

      I love, love, love Toni Morrison, I think more for her ability to describe the African-American culture, wit sometimes extremely cold detail. ‘Beloved’ is for sure my favorite of hers.

      Have you read ‘Bait of Satan?’ I thought it had awesome insight!

  2. We have very different tastes in reading but you lead with one of my favorites, only topped by her novel “A Little Princess”. I used to read that book over and over again I loved it so much.

    1. A lot of those I had to read for classes! I loved the movie “A Little Princess,” I used to watch that all the time! Who are some of your favorite authors?

      1. Dickens, one of my favorite books is the House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, To Kill a Mockingbird, with you on Agatha Christie, there’s an Irish mystery writer whose name I can’t remember right now but I love her books, right now I’m reading Jane Smiley (Horse Heaven is a GREAT book) and when I feel like being really depressed, Jane Hamilton.

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