The ten book challenge has been going around Facebook. I already gave my ten books answer there, but a quick little list didn’t seem to do those books justice. If you’ve missed it, the idea is to write down the titles of ten books that have stayed with you in some way. They don’t necessarily have to be the ten best books you’ve ever read, or your ten favorite books. You’re supposed to list ten that come to mind quickly.
I’ve really enjoyed reading the lists that have been generated as a result of this challenge, and I’m taking note of titles that keep popping up. My original list (done quickly, as the challenge requested) is as follows:
1. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
I wrote my first huge term paper on this book, and spent a lot of time thinking about Holden Caulfied and his life.
2. My Brother Sam is Dead, James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
I read this book in the sixth grade, and it was the first book that I literally couldn’t put down. I read until the middle of the night to finish it.
3. The Notebook (not the movie!!!) , Nicholas Sparks
I sat down on the couch one rainy Saturday afternoon and cried my eyes out.
4. Little Women, Lousia May Alcott
I read this at summer camp when I was about 12 during the daily enforced 30 minute silent “rest” time after lunch.
5. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, Jan-Phillipp Sendker
This is possibly the most beautifully written and haunting book I’ve read.
6. The Time Traveler’s Wife , Audrey Niffenegger
The time travel and the fully dimensional characters have intrigued and stayed with me.
7. The Hunger Games Trilogy, Suzanne Collins
I was right there with Katniss every step of the way. A glorious, exhilarating read.
8. The Little House on the Prairie series, Laura Ingalls Wilder
My second grade teacher read us the first book, and I was hooked. I saved my money and bought the whole series, which still has a place of honor on my bookshelf.
9. My Side of the Mountain, Jean Craighead George
I read this one in fifth grade and was completely taken into Sam’s world. The setting description is phenomenal.
10. The Deep End of the Ocean, Jacquelyn Mitchard
A mystery, a family story, and an all around wonderful book. A book that makes you question what you would do.
As I’ve read other lists, I keep thinking about more books that have stayed with me, and I’d like to add an additional ten. I hope you’ll indulge me.
11. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, John Boyne
A Holocaust story that is incredibly personal and different from so many others. Impossible not to be moved.
12. My Orange Duffel Bag, Sam Bracken
A memoir of struggle and triumph done is a graphic, almost scrapbook style.
13. The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein
So many lessons in this one, and a beautiful dog too.
14. People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks
This is a huge story, done so carefully and beautifully as it takes you though history to a modern mystery. Stunning writing.
15. Chains, Laurie Halse Anderson
Slavery in New York City at the dawn of the American Revolution. Laurie Halse Anderson is an incredible writer, and her historical fiction, in particular, is genius.
16. Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire, Rafe Esquith
An inspiring book about doing much with little for kids who have almost nothing.
17. The Accidental Tourist, Anne Tyler
A quirky love story with characters who you feel like you know.
Ok, I don’t know if cookbooks count, but this one has so many great recipes in it, I had to include it. It’s my go-to cookbook.
19. The Official Preppy Handbook, Lisa Birnbach
Sure, it’s silly. But what a terrific little book, full of humor and wit and prep lore and wisdom.
20. The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom
Lessons to learn in a beautifully written story. Stunning.
Please share your list with me in the comments. Writers are readers, after all, so let’s share the book love.