Books have always been a LARGE part of my personality and who I am as a person.
I remember being in fourth grade and doing reading challenges with my friends to see who could finish a book series like “Harry Potter” first, and we would call each other the second we were shocked by something we read.
My closest friends and I throughout my years on this planet, have tried to read the same books at the same time, so that way it felt like we were basically reading it together and experiencing the newness and excitement of a book at the same time.
Reading became connection for me.
I think I was in third grade when “The Magic Treehouse” series found me, and I was transported to hundreds of worlds that were incredibly different from my own. Physically I was in a four-walled room, but mentally I was fighting dragons, discovering new worlds, meeting Van Gogh, and on pirate ships.
As I get older, I still fall in love with the type of books that make me feel like I am there. As if I am right next to the characters in the novel and my heart begins racing when something exciting is happening, or my stomach drops when a heartbreaking chapter waltzes onto the next page.
Reading became an escape for me.
I then started to read books that I related to or made me feel heard. I would feel, not like I was walking right beside the main character, but like I was them. That somewhere, somehow, whoever wrote this novel, has understood what it is like to see the world how I do, and they were able to beautifully write it without any idea of how much it would change my life.
I even started writing my own stories. Some were just short stories that went nowhere, most has been poetry that I feel like explains my entire soul in almost *too* vulnerable in a way, and others are stories that represent in my life that I don’t know if I would ever be able to share but saved me nonetheless. Then some stories were, and hopefully one day, will find its way to a little kid who will pick up the book I have written and connect with their friends or find a way to escape or find adventure outside of the four-walled room they are in.
Reading became a place of hope and truth for me.
With all of this being said,
I feel like to know me, to know my blog, to know who I am in my soul, is to know the books that I love.
So, as we dive into the summer months that are filled with rising heat, lazy days, and moments of peace, I hope you decide to pick up one of these novels, and find yourself learning more about who you are, or going on an adventure, or able to just simply appreciate the beauty of words in this world, and how they can change us.
In absolutely no particular order (since I cannot choose a number one favorite), here are my top 4 books that have made me the human being I am today, writing to you.
The first that I will mention is…
The Book Thief
This novel is one of the first that I read that actually moved me.
Markus Zusak heartbreakingly illustrates Nazi Germany during World War 2, as we follow the main character Liesel, as her family hides a Jewish man in their basement. The story is historical fiction and the most fascinating part is that the narrator of the entire story is death itself.
Not only did this novel help me learn about World War 2 and the fear that was instilled into so many human beings' hearts, but I also learned about the simplicity of death. Mainly through this idea that death is always watching us, and can be seen as rooting for us, almost hopeful. It watches us grow friendships, love, and loyalty even during the darkest times in our lives, and find peace through finality.
The final sentence of the story is what has stuck with me the longest and has been tattooed on my mind for almost a decade.
Death shares his final thoughts with the reader and quietly says to us:
“I am haunted by humans”.
I would highly recommend this read for countless reasons, but if I only had one sentence to convince you, I would say: If you want to read a novel that makes you rethink everything you once thought about humans and death, but also to help you remember the strength that will always persevere in love, then go to Barnes & Nobles or Amazon immediately.
The next novel I will suggest to you is…
Rupi Kaur Poetry
This is not exactly a singular novel, however Milk & Honey, the sun and her flowers, and Home body have all quite literally woken me up to the power of words through poetry.
Poetry is a whole other blog post that I will dive into one day, but poetry is incredibly important to me. I write it constantly, I would say I probably have accumulated over 600 pages in my notes app on my phone that are all solely poetry that I have written.
I also am a big notebook girl, so I would say that I have about 10 different notebooks that all only have poetry in it.
I am not kidding when I say poetry has healed me in more ways than I ever thought it would.
Rupi Kaur is a LARGE reason that I started getting into poetry when I was in high school. I remember I went to Barnes & Nobles when Milk & Honey came out, and sat in the aisle of the book store, reading the entire poetry book cover to cover amazed by how someone could explain what it means to be a woman in this world so clearly and achingly beautifully. All I remember that day is the feeling and hope that one day I would have a poetry book that did the same thing.
I usually try to always have one of her books with me when I leave the house (just in case), or I usually read Home body every time I go on a flight.
Rupi Kaur has a way of connecting human beings and normalizing so many things about the human experience that we as a society never talk about in any other way, yet we should.
One of my favorite poems would be:
What is the greatest lesson a woman should learn
That since day one,
She’s already had everything she needs within herself
It’s the world that convinced her she did not.
AGAIN, I HIGHLY recommend you look up her poetry or read one of her books solely for the reason that it is achingly real, and there is so much power and peace found in truth.
The third novel I am going to bring up is a FUN one called
I actually just read this book MAYBE a week or two ago, and I finished it in a day or two, I was hooked from the beginning to the end, and would not put down this book for the life of me.
It follows a woman named Nora whose whole life has revolved around New York, her sister, and books. Those three things define her to a T and she has never wanted anything more or less in her life. Her sister ends up convincing her to go to a small town for a month to reset and spend time together before her sister, Libby, has another baby. During this time Nora learns that there is so much more to life than a big city and books, and that it is okay to let love in, even though it is incredibly scary to no longer be in full control of how you feel or act.
This novel was a big one for me mainly because I feel like Nora is me and I am Nora.
A beautifully written quote from the novel is:
“Those were the endings I found solace in. The ones that said, "Yes, you have lost something, but maybe, someday, you’ll find something too”.
I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves a quick read, but also something that you can’t put down because of how relatable the characters are, and how there will be someone or thing in the book when you are reading, that you look at, and say that is literally who I am, how did Emily Henry know???
The last book on my little summer list that I will be suggesting to you is…
Everything I Know About Love
This is another one that I recently just finished and I truly believe everyone should read. (Honestly I am going to say that about all of these novels because I think they’re all amazing).
Dolly Alderton is one of my new favorite authors simply for how relatable and real she is about what it is like to grow up a girl in the society that we’re living in. Not only does she make you laugh, but she also makes you sob with a pint of ice cream in your hand, as you realize that life truly comes in so many various waves, but none of us are truly alone on our journey’s of learning who we are.
She explains her relationship and fears with boys as she aged through her teens and twenties, and also how important friendship is to her life, and how it has shaped her into the woman she is now.
It is a memoir of her own life, yet it feels like she is the big sister who wrote a letter to all of us, explaining the aches and joys of the years that pass us by, and how everything we are feeling in this life is so incredibly normal and real.
Dolly has a million great quotes throughout her memoir, but my favorite is one that was a little longer in length, but it's truth is cemented into my existence.
“Because I am enough. My heart is enough. The stories and the sentences twisting around my mind are enough. I am fizzing and frothing and buzzing and exploding. I'm bubbling over and burning up. My early-morning walks and my late-night baths are enough. My loud laugh at the pub is enough. My piercing whistle, my singing in the shower, my double-jointed toes are enough. I am a just-pulled pint with a good, frothy head on it. I am my own universe; a galaxy; a solar system. I am the warm-up act, the main event, and the backing singers. And if this is it, if this is all there is- just me and the trees and the sky and the seas- I know now that that's enough”.
I would HIGHLY, GREATLY, and FULLY suggest this book to anyone who wants to feel a warm hug through words on a piece of paper. It is a beautiful story that guides you through the feelings of love, boys, relationships, friendships, and most epicly, learning what it means to love yourself and the skin that we were given, and learning that we were always beautiful on our own, society just wanted to convince us otherwise. We all have always been enough. You will always be enough.
I hope, if anything this summer, that you happen to find yourself in a bookstore, and decide to read one of these novels or something that catches your eye, and begin to fall in love with reading again.
I hope you find ways to travel to new places through poetic sentences, and are able to find peace and love for yourself through a character’s adventure; and I hope that same love for travel and experiences starts to bleed into your reality.
This life was meant to be lived, but there has always been more than one way to experience this world around us.
Yes, we can physically travel to beautiful places and people that change our soul. However, we can also travel through words and art, whether it is being a part of something centuries ago, or learning about a world of people that we would have no idea existed any other way.
Reading is learning that life can be experienced in countless ways, and you are capable of all of them.
Reading is learning that you are not alone in your dreams and thoughts, that you never were.
Reading is connection and adventure and healing and hopes and truths wrapped into sentences that make you dream.
I hope you learn to dream through the words you read this summer.
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