ten books (times seven).

A friend asked me for ten books that I think everyone should read. I came up with seventy. Instead of failing at this task, I prefer to think I am an overachiever. I have broken them down into categories to make it easier, but there are genres I didn’t fully address such as fantasy and mysteries. Please feel free to argue with me in the comments (but if you say Jane Eyre should be on this list, you are wrong). Each list is in no particular order. As always, the Bible is not included on this list because I consider religious scripture to be in a category by itself.

photo (97)

Ten Books Everyone Should Know:

Pride and Prejudice
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Hobbit
The Kite Runner
Bel Canto
The Great Gatsby
A Lesson Before Dying
Ender’s Game
Sherlock Holmes

Ten Books You Should Read to Understand Me:

Traveling Mercies
Father Melancholy’s Daughter and Evensong
Harry Potter
A Prayer for Owen Meany
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice
An Altar in the World
Anne of Green Gables
Girl Meets God
A Ring of Endless Light
Take This Bread

Ten Children’s Books Everyone Should Know:

The Phantom Tollbooth
The Wednesday Wars
A Wrinkle in Time
Bridge to Terabithia
Charlotte’s Web
Tuck Everlasting
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Sideways Stories from Wayside School
The Giver
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Another Ten Children’s Books Just For Fun:

When You Reach Me
Dicey’s Song
Bud, Not Buddy
The Little Prince
Jacob Have I Loved
Super Fudge
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Number the Stars
The Westing Game
The Graveyard Book

Ten YA Books I Recommend for Everybody:

The Book Thief
Story of a Girl
The Hunger Games
The Outsiders
Looking for Alaska
Marcelo in the Real World
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
The Princess Bride

Ten Awesome Novels:

I Capture the Castle
Gods in Alabama
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The House on Mango Street
The Road
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Life of Pi
Prodigal Summer
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Ten Nonfiction Books That Have Shaped Me:

Cloister Walk
A Circle of Quiet
The Ragamuffin Gospel
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Jesus Girls
Reading the Bible Again for the First Time
Miriam’s Kitchen

Many thanks to my friends who helped me brainstorm last night. Except for the suggestions of Jane Eyre.

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  1. [...] blog posts the moment that I see them linked.  She also has really good book taste and recently did a great post with lists of 10 (I love lists) books under various categories.  I highly recommend her blog and am so grateful to her for introducing me to this world of [...]


  1. JANE EYRE!!! (I still can’t believe you don’t like it.)

    Posted 8/11/2013 at | Permalink
  2. @Andrea: BLOCKED.

    Posted 8/11/2013 at | Permalink
  3. I’m heartbroken over Jane Eyre. And no Little Women?

    Posted 8/11/2013 at | Permalink
  4. But let me add that this is an excellent list. :)

    Posted 8/11/2013 at | Permalink
  5. @Brandy: I reread Little Women as an adult and found it tedious. I like to let it stay as a happy memory.

    Posted 8/11/2013 at | Permalink
  6. Jane Eyre is terrible. Wide Sargasso Sea is much better.

    Posted 8/11/2013 at | Permalink
  7. Lauren

    Can it count that I’ve read A Thousand Splendid Suns instead of the Kite Runner? I’m just not sure I’m up for the emotional pain again.

    Posted 8/11/2013 at | Permalink
  8. @Daniel: I like Wide Sargasso Sea but felt it was not a choice that made sense without having read Jane Eyre first.

    Posted 8/11/2013 at | Permalink
  9. @Lauren: Yes. I will allow it. What are ten books you recommend? You read a lot.

    Posted 8/11/2013 at | Permalink
  10. Wendy

    Love this list. I agree with almost all of it. And THANK YOU for not including Jane!

    Posted 8/11/2013 at | Permalink
  11. I stumbled across your blog by way of Goodreads. I keep seeing Madeline L’Engle everywhere, I’m going to have to break down and read her books. Thanks posting your lists, I’ve found some new reads.

    Posted 8/12/2013 at | Permalink
  12. Love this list! I work in Colombia, and am looking for books to bring back with me, so this is great! Right now, I’m reading The Gift by Lewis Hyde and it would go on my list.

    Posted 8/20/2013 at | Permalink
  13. Love this! … I’ve read a great many of these, but spotted several that I need to put on my list. I’m a Jane Eyre lover, but if I had to come up with “10″ books, I’m not sure it would make the list either.

    Posted 8/29/2013 at | Permalink

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