LIFESTYLE, Things I Love

The 44 Best Books I’ve Ever Read

I believe that the best books shape who we become. I turned 44 this month, and I have been doing a lot of reflecting on the past, and planning for the future. One of my favorite things to do is read, and I thought it would be fun to share with you the 44 best books I’ve ever read. These are the books that have helped to make me whoo I am. I hope you find a few you would like to read!What are your all time favorite books?

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1. The Urban Monk by Pedram Shojai

I know it sounds trite, and this sentiment is completely overused, but this book truly changed my life. In the years between when my brother died, and when I found this book, I was a mess. I like to say that I was “seeking”. Seeking something, anything that could bring me some peace. This book was it for me. Pedram addresses the maladies plaguing so many of us (stress, insomnia, feeling disconnected in this virtual world) in a straightforward manner. He makes no excuses, and he has little patience for those who do. This book was my wake up call. There are so many amazing strategies in this book, most of which I hadn’t heard before. I don’t know if there is a higher compliment I can give this book than the fact that I’ve given it as a gift more than a dozen times. I truly believe everyone’s should own this book!

2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by C.S. Lewis

This one is a classic, to be sure, and you likely read it as a child, or had it read to you. If you haven’t revisited it since then, please do! I read it once every couple of years. Every time I do, I discover something new, something delightful, profound, or both.

3. A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

Williamson’s book is based on A Course in Miracles, and it really made the course accessible to the masses. This is a book I pick up over and over. It’s beautifully written and has such wisdom to offer. I own this book in hardcover, on my kindle, and on Audible. I highly recommend reading the book, but I have to say the audiobook (read by Williamson) is my favorite. She has such an enthusiasm for the subject matter, and her voice is warm, comforting, and encouraging.

4. A Time to Kill by John Grisham

Grisham’s first book is, in my opinion, his best. I remember reading this in college. I read it in two days. I couldn’t put it down. When I finished, all I wanted to do was talk about it as if it was a current event. That’s how engrossing this story is!

5. Samurai Widow by Judith Jacklin Belushi

This book begins on the morning of John Belushi’s death. Written by his wife, it is a story of young love, the rise to fame, and descent into the drugs that ultimately took his life. It is also a bookmark about unimaginable grief and ultimately, survival. It is beautifully written and one of my all-time favorite books.

6. For Us, The Living by Myrlie Evers

Medgar Evers was a shining light in the Civil Rights movement. He was  killed in his own driveway in front of his wife and children by Klansman. Although it was an open secret who the killer was, it took decades for the killer to be brought to justice. This book, written by his widow tells  of her husband’s life, and her determination to seek justice on his behalf.

7, the Power by Ronda Byne

The power is the second book in The Secret series. It followed the runaway hit The Secret, in my opinion is even better. The focus is love, and a difference it can make in the world.  If you have an interest in the law of attraction, or have read The Secret, you’ll enjoy this book very much.  Although it’s part of the series, this book stands alone. You don’t need to have previously read The Secret to appreciate it.

 

8. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

It’s no secret that I love Dr. Seuss! In fact, the name for this blog comes from the Dr. Seuss quote. The Cat in the Hat is his opus, perhaps his finest work. It was my favorite book as a child, and remains a favorite to this day.

9. The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

Oh, Pooh Bear… I love you so!  These tales of Winnie the Pooh and his friends in the hundred acre wood are so enchanting. It’s one of my favorite books to read out loud to my children.

10. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

A tale of a marriage over 30 years, told by both the husband and the wife. This is an in-depth character study that is also an incredibly lyrical book and a page turner. I was so sad when  it was over!

11. All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doer

Set in turbulent Europe during  World War II, the sweeping narrative tells the story of what life was like for those caught up in the crisis in various ways. The characters are unforgettable.

12. The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

This book is absolutely fascinating! Ann Rule is one of the nations best known true crime writers. She’s also a former cop. And yet, she worked at the suicide hotline with notorious serial killer Ted Bundy,  even becoming his friend. She did not suspect that he was the man responsible for the killings of the young woman in the area.

13. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

As a lawyer, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that this book is one of my favorite. More than that, though, I find this to be one of the most beautifully written provocative books I’ve ever read. My daughter is now reading it in ahigh school English, and I’m reading it again with her. It’s like taking  A trip to see old friends. If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor and pick it up now.

14. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

The book credited as being the first true crime novel, this one is also a classic. The story of a brutal murder of an entire family in Kansas, as well as a manhunt and trial and execution of the persons responsible. Capote  completely immersed himself in this story, and the meticulous investigation as well as his own feelings show through.

15. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers

My go to baby gift! I adore this book. Written from the point of view of a box Of crayons, each crayon writes its own letter to the little boy who owns them. They’re funny, irreverent , and a pleasure to read. I just love reading this book to my kids!

16. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Another favorite baby gift, I’m such a fan of reading to kids. Shel Silverstein should be every child’s first introduction to poetry. His imagination is incredible, and each poem  is more fun than the last.

17.Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

This isn’t just one of my favorite books, the movie based on it is also one of my favorite movies. Tennessee Williams was probably one of the greatest playwrights ever. His characters are flawed, and yet lovable. They make mistake after mistake,  hurting themselves and one another. All the while, you root for them.

18. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

An epic story set in the roaring 20s. Jay and Daisy. Daisy And Jay. Fortune and obsession. Epic parties. What more could you ask for?

19. E Squared by Pam Grout

A straightforward introduction to the law of attraction, this book includes several exercises designed to help you put the law of attraction into practice in your every day life.  It’s a light, and fun, but packs a big impact.

20. The Pact by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult  is the master of the plot twist. This is my favorite book of hers. A story of a shocking death, and the families involved. It will leave you thinking long after you finished it.

21. A Simple Act of Gratitude by John Kralik

This is the true story of the man who, when his life was at its absolute worst decided to practice gratitude. I’m a huge believer in the power of gratitude, and this book really hit that home for me. For 365 days he wrote a letter each and every day to someone expressing how thankful he was for  things they did whether they be large or small. The letters themselves, and the story of how it changed his life  are truly inspiring.

22. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

France is where my soul is at home. This entertaining book about an English couple whose move to the south of France for a year  Is a perfect portrait of the region. It always makes me want to return!

23. These Few Precious Days:The Last Days of Jack with Jackie by Christopher Andersen

A  detailed, well researched portrait of the last year of America’s Camelot. It’s a story of a marriage, and a  legendary presidency. Although you obviously know how it’s going to end, this book will stay with you long after you finished it. Simply beautiful.

24. Anonymous Lawyer by Jeremy Blackman

A must read for any  lawyer! This hilarious book is based on the fact kisses anonymous blog of a hiring partner  in a big city law firm. It’s a fighting look at law firm politics, and the relationships between attorneys and staff,  associates and partners, lawyers and their families.

25. The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
I love everything by Wally Lamb. This book is a compelling exploration of the effect that tragedy has on even those who are not directly involved.

26. Columbine by Dave Cullen

I vividly remember when the Columbine massacre happened in Littleton Colorado. I, like everyone else asked myself how could this happen? What would make two boys so angry, so violent? This book tells the  story from every angle. It’s intricately researched, and beautifully written.

27 The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

Pat Conroy weaves an epic tale of a southern family in this wonderful book. It’s about family, secrets, legacy, and personal demons.

28. A Moveable Feast by Earnest Hemingway
This book was posthumously published, and it is a delight. I love Hemmingway’s works, but it’s the man himself that interests me the most. This book, a memoir of sorts, focuses on his time in Paris in the 20s. Only Hemmingway could bring the City of Lights during that time, with all of the legendary artists that inhabited it, fully alive.

29. No Exit and Three other Plays by Jean-Paul Sartre

Sartre is the father of existentialism. When I studied Religion and Philosophy in College, I found this book fascinating. It’s another one I find myself rereading from time to time. If you have any interest in existentialism or philosophy, this is a great read.

30. The End of Normal by Stephanie Madoff Mack

Bernie Madoff’s crimes are notorious. What I loved about this book was learning about the man behind the crimes, and the raw way in which his innocent family members were affected. In the end, the prices they paid are far greater than any prison sentence he will serve.

31. Letters of Note by Shaun Usher
Remember mail?? The kins that came in an envelope, to your house? I miss it!! The letters featured in this book are just wonderful. Some are between famous figures, some just tell a simple story in a beautiful way. Each and every one is a pleasure to read.

32. The Executioners Song by Norman Mailer

This book is a commitment at over 1100 pages. Mailer tells the story of a man convicted of murder and sentenced to death. He chronicles the crime, man’s background, and his relationships, all of which are richly detailed. The indictment of the legal system at the time, and the absurdity of a condemned man having to spend years demanding he be executed is absolutely riveting.

33.The Well Path: Lose 20 Pounds, Reverse the Aging Process, Change Your Life by Jame Heskett, MD
I know, I know…those are some pretty big claims in the subtitle. Here’s the thing, though. This book, written by an MD, is NOT a diet book. Even better, it is about making slow, gradual, doable changes in your life that will enhance it. I loved it, and reference it often.

34. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Without a doubt, this is the funniest book I’ve ever read. This is another book that I own in hardcover, on my Kindle, and on Audible. You will cry. Tears of laughter!

35. Bossypants by Tina Fey

Its written by Tina Fey. Enough said!

36. This is Where I leave You by Jonathan Tropper

This book made me laugh out loud more times than I can count. Even if you’ve seen the movie based on it, read the book! I have three words for you:birthday cake scene. You’re gonna love it!

37. Straight Man by Richard Russo
The main character in this book is having the worst week of his life, and it is absolutely HILARIOUS! a true gem!!

38. The Alchemist by Paulo Cohelo
Cohelo’s book is a journey of discovery. It had a profound effect on me. I have yet to meet someone who read this book and didn’t love it.

39. Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden

Mark Bowden is probably the best investigative journalist living today. He’s the author of “Black Hawk Down”, and many other books.  You can’t go wrong with any of them, but killing Pablo is my favorite. It’s the story of the life of and hunt for the worlds greatest drug kingp, Pablo Escobar, is fascinating from beginning to end.

40. The Late, Lamented Molly Marx by Sally Koslow

Molly Marx is dead. Now she is observing the aftermath of her death for her loved ones, and those who claimed to love her. Her dry wit as she looks back at her life is honest and refreshing.

41. The One Thing by Gary Keller

this is the single best book on productivity I’ve ever read. I read several productivity and businessbooks every year, and this one stands above the rest. In fact, I purchased copies for all of the associates in my office. It’s that good.  This is the single best book on productivity I’ve ever read. I read several productivity or self-help books every year, and this one stands above the rest. In fact, I purchased copies for all of the associates in my office. It’s that good.

42.The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Joan Didion is a literary legend. Unfortunately, that didn’t insulate her from unspeakable tragedy. This book capture what those who grieve go through with an authenticity that’s hard to find. I also highly recommend her follow up, “Blue Nights”.

43. My Song For Him Who Never Sang to Me by Merritt Malloy

I LOVE Merritt Malloy. I have everything she’s very written, and a great number of her oersted committed to memory. This book is my favorite, but if you read anything she has written, you will be touched.  I first started reading her books in college, and every year they make a little more sense to me. There’s so much depth to her pens, they’re a pleasure to read.

44. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
It pains me to think that anyone in this world would have to live through all that Maya Angelou has. To live through it and become the luminary she was, the force for peace and love, is astounding! Read this memoir, and then read some of her later works, or watch a “Super Soul Sunday” in which she is featured. Amazing!!!

So, there they are, the 44 best books I have ever read. Have you read any of them? Did you find any you want to read? What are your favorite books? Let me know in the comments, I am always looking for suggestions!

The links (click the book cover photo) in this post are primarily to the Kindle versions. Some are not available on Kindle, so the link is to the best version available. I absolutely LOVE my Kindle, but you don’t have to have one to read Kindle books, the FREE Kindle app is fantastic, and allows you to read anywhere!! As I mentioned in the post, I am also a huge fan of Audible. If you click the link below, you can get two audiobooks on Audible FREE (new customers only, sorry!)

17 thoughts on “The 44 Best Books I’ve Ever Read

  1. Oooh such a great mix! I wish I had more time to read these days. Cat in the Hat holds a special place in my heart. And Fates and Furies sounds right up my alley. Gonna put that on my list. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love to read other people’s most favorite book lists. I have read a few such as Shell Silverstein, Cat and the Hat and the Alchemist. I have added a bunch more to my neverending “to read” list. Thanks for the reminder to read Maya Angelou’s memior.

    1. Thanks so much, Sam! I haven’t read Chuck Palahniuk, but it’s definitely going on my
      ‘To read” list! Thanks for the suggestion. 💕

  3. This is a great list of books to read. Thanks for sharing. I have my eyes on the straight man. I will love to see shan’t that really means. What’s the best way to start reading more?

    1. Straight Man is Fantastic! I love that one, can’t think of it without smiling. I have the kindle app on everything…my phone, iPad, desktop…that way I can read whenever I have a few spare moments. Thanks for checking the post out! 💕

  4. Great List, I have read a few of them, A time to Kill is one of the first books that I read as a teenager that got me interested in reading. That and Stephen King. He is my ALL TIME FAVORITE. I would say my Favorite of his is The Green Mile. But I also enjoy Dean Koontz`s Odd Thomas Series. I have just Finished Greg Isle`s Natchez Burning trilogy. These were based on true events. I am a busy mom so I never looked up how much was based on true events. I could go on for days, but I need to get my supper started. May I link this post in my own Blog? I am going to do a favorite reading list myself and want to give you credit for helping me come up with the idea.

    Thanks so much
    Julia

    1. Julia,
      Thanks so much!! I’d be thrilled if you shared it on your blog, and thank you for the great book suggestions! I’m always looking for new book to read!! 🌷

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