I'm writing this post very last minute (as in 45 minutes before I would normally have it scheduled to publish!!) as this weekend was a nightmare; I took a migraine every day from Friday-Sunday and yesterday was just hectic with taking my gran to a hospital appointment, taking my mum to physio and then a trip to the cat cafe before dinner with a friend. I was on the go from 7am until about 11 at night. Needless to say, I'm exhausted! (Let's not mention I woke up at 7:30 this morning and then took a two hour nap at 10am..)
However, not even migraines and non-stop days - ooh Hamilton reference ;) - can get in my way of providing you with some content so here's a look at my Top 5 Must Read books!
Before I start, I have numbered these books from 5-1 but in all honesty that only reflects my feelings right now. Ask me tomorrow and I might tell you number 1 isn't even on the list anymore. I've tried to make this a list of books that are special to me. Every single one of these books has a hold on my heart in some way and although this is not an exhaustive list of my favourites, it's a list of books I think for one reason or another, everyone should read.
Now that is over, let's go!
5: On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher
Ok, this one is a bit more of a favourite than a must read but I just have to have this book on my list because it completely exceeded my expectations and whilst it's perhaps not in the same caliber as other books on this list, it doesn't get enough love. I am a huge fan of Carrie as both a youtuber and an actress (don't get me started on my excitement for The Addams Family!) so when she announced she was writing a book I was excited and nervous. I know she can write songs but I had no idea how good a novel would be from her. I was lucky enough to receive a proof copy of OTOS and ughhh. I'd been a bit slumpy at the time but was coming out of it so decided to pick this up and oh my giddy aunt! It was the first book in a very very long time that had me saying 'I'll just read this chapter then I'll go to sleep.' and suddenly it was 1am, I was sobbing and hugging my copy. Carrie writes a magical realism type genre that I will admit isn't the most developed. There were only about 2 or 3 moments where it occurred and as I didn't realise the book was magical realism I was a tad confused. She has said her next book is 'weirder' so I assume that means there will be more MR elements! OTOS follows Evie Snow who has passed on from our world and is now in 'heaven'. Except the door is locked and she has to let go of things from her past weighing her down to get in. We go with Evie as she relives moments from her life and find out if she can make it to heaven. It is one of the most beautiful books I have read and I now own a finished hardback and Waterstones exclusive purple edged paperback because I love it so much. Carrie really holds her own as an author. She is such a creative, talented woman and I am so so proud of my virtual big sister. Her second book 'All That She Can See' is out July 13th and I'm ridiculously excited!!
4: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I'm pretty certain this book is on everyone's list and if you haven't read it yet - why not?! It's been about three years since I read this book but I still hold it so close to me. I'll admit I was intimidated by this book at first as it is classed as Adult Fiction (although Waterstones now dual merchandise in adult and teen) but it is so accessible. Adults and young teens alike can fall in love with Liesel's story. I'm sure you all know this is a historical fiction novel following a german girl during WWII so I'll spare you a synopsis, but it is such an important book. As a British girl, I never really saw the war from the opposing side but reading this book opened my eyes to what it was like for those on Hitler's side (wether or not they wanted to) and it reminded me that not everyone was evil. Not everyone shared his horrible views. This book is so so so important and I can't stress enough how beautiful it is.
3: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Again, another book that will be on a lot of must read or favourites lists but it's on them for good reason. Ari and Dante is stunning. It's a beautiful story with elegant, lyrical writing. This book read like a dream. Ari and Dante is a character driven book which I know many people don't enjoy but something about the way Saenz told their story was just magnificent. He has just released another book that I am yet to get my hands on but I am dying to read. He is such a special author - a treasure. This book felt like one you could study in school, a modern classic if you will. This is probably the only book I can't really tell you why it's on this list because I don't know. I just know that reading this book felt special and whenever I see it, in a bookstore, on my own shelves, in a blog post or a tweet my heart just fills. There is something magic about this book and that is why it made this list, because the only way I can share that magic with you is if you experience it yourself.
2: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
I have Kayla from BooksandLala to thank for this as she always talks about it as it is one of her favourite books. I finally picked this up and read it in summer last year and I devoured it! I had no idea what to expect because let's be honest, it doesn't give anything away! Whilst going into this book blind was amazing I will tell you this - Stargirl is about being yourself. Being who you are, doing what makes you happy without the judgement of others. Stargirl makes you think about the way you act because of other's judgement and also about why you have judged others. Since reading this book I have became so passionate about letting people do them. You do you. Yeah sure, I wouldn't be caught dead doing what that person is doing but hey, are they hurting me or someone else? nope. So let them be. Stargirl is so important and it is a book absolutely everyone should experience, but in particular I think we need to give this to our daughters. We need to teach girls that it's ok to be different. It's ok to be who they want to be. And I just love this book. There is nothing out there that can compare to it.
1: Wicked Gregory Maguire
Stargirl could very easily have been number 1 on my list but when you own seven copies of a book (plus two of the sequel and two complete sets of the series) you kind of need to put it in the number 1 spot on every good book list you make! Anyone who knows me knows my love of Wicked. Originally my love was just of the musical. Then I read the book and my life changed. Mostly to involve me having series rants and questions about the musical being based on this book because let me tell you NOTHING. N O T H I N G. is the same. Well, names are, and maybe 1 or 2 tiny things but jeez this book is intense. It's explicit, it's long (not length wise but the musical barely takes place over a year but the book follows Elphaba in her mother's womb all the way to her death so..) and just.. so different. But that's why I love it. It was nothing like I expected and as it is adult fantasy (two genres I never really read, let alone mixed together!) it was a struggle. But I was compelled to read the story. I'm not one to put an age limit on books 90% of the time but seriously I'd be anxious about anyone under 16 reading this. It's confusing for a start but the philosophy club is a whole other level. This is probably going to come across as weird, and I agree with you, but I can't help how crazy my brain is.. This was by far the least enjoyable book on this list. Yet I will always say this is my favourite book of all time and I want everyone to read it. I think I didn't enjoy it as such because I was too young perhaps, or rather I just hadn't read anything of that caliber and it was too difficult for me at that point. Yet I loved it? I loved being in Elphaba's world. Living her life with her. Getting right deep into Oz and discovering the world in a way I never have before. It's a very political book which I really didn't care for but damn it I want more. I mean I still have the last two books in the series to read but I just love Gregory Maguire and I'm so excited to add to my collection of Wicked editions and other books by him. I'm aware I'm not doing this book any justice but it's like it has a spell on me. The messages in the story are just so powerful and I love love love the book and Gregory Maguire's writing with all my heart. This will definitely not be the last time you read a post with this book mentioned!
And there we have it! My (current) top 5 must read books. I'm curious to know if you've read any of these and agree with me, or what books make your list!