I’ve been seeing some of my all time favorite books wandering around the web in the hands of others lately so I wanted to share them with you all here. I was blessed to grow up in a household that encouraged reading. My dad used to take my sister and I to Barnes and Noble and let us pick out books, while he browsed through the science fiction section. My mom used to let me read whatever books she had on her shelf, including the juicy E. Lynn Harris novels. All of this led to a girl who quickly realized the wonderment waiting for us inside the pages of a good book. Here are my favorites:
If you have not read Tumbling, then why are you even reading? Kidding, but serious. Perhaps I am a bias source as a fellow Philadelphia native, but McKinney’s gift for storytelling is one for the ages. As you read the story of Noon and Herbie set in 1940s and 50s Philadelphia, you can smell every scent and feel every touch. The unfolding of characters and plots will keep you turning the pages until you’re starting over to read it again.
Angela’s Ashes taught me about true hardship, struggle, and resilience. Frank McCourt miraculously tells his story of growing up in desperate poverty in Ireland. Laced with compassion, forgiveness, and humor, this Pulitzer Prize is not one you want to skip.
You may be more familiar with PUSH as the book that Lee Daniel’s film Precious was based on, but I would highly recommend reading the novel. Sapphire creatively and compellingly unfolds the character of Claireece Precious Jones in a way that only can be done through writing. Her transformative and raw journey is both heartbreaking and filled with hope. PUSH is a beautiful piece of work, worth reading and sharing.
Stones from the River tells the story of Trudi Montag, a dwarf in Germany during the early 1900s struggling to fit in. As she grows, she learns about the complexities of everyone’s stories through her mother’s madness, her friend whose parents pretends he’s a girl, and the Jews she harbors in her cellar.
Yeah I said it, Harry Potter. I recently saw Crissle from The Read catching flack for being a late bloomer to the Harry Potter clan, but which one of us has read every classic book the year it came out? It’s never too late to hop on the Harry Potter bandwagon. I made it up to the first 4 Harry Potter books and I’m thinking about making 5-7 my new travel books.
Hosseini takes you deep into the customs, conflicts, families, and friendships of 1970s Afghanistan. The story follows the friendship formed between a young boy and the son of his father’s servant. The Kite Runner is a touching and painfully unforgettable novel.
Another great book that was turned into a film. Set in the deep south during 1964, The Secret Life of Bees covers sisterhood, divinity, and the yearning for a mother’s love. After losing her mother at a young age to circumstances unclear to Lily, a series of events lead to she and her stand-in mother, Rosaleen, running away to Tiburon, South Carolina. They are taken in by three sisters who introduce them to a world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna.
Just briefly revisiting these books to create this list, brought me so much joy. I have to say thank you again to my parents for inspiring this love of literature in me at such a young age. As I look over these books, I see so many cultures, nationalities, and perspectives represented and I’m amazed that these were all books I read on my own before stepping foot on any college campus. So, thank you mom and dad for being awesome and letting me be awesome too.