Do You Need a Good Book to Read?

woman reading book

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Do you need a good book to read? Because I’ve got some recommendations!

I love to read and always have. There is nothing like a great novel to pull you out of the plane of your own existence. They can open a new world for you.

Since we’ve been home a whole lot more than we used to be, I’ve been taking that opportunity to read a bunch! Some books I am reading for the first time. I am also pulling some of my old favorites off the shelf to read again.

There are some books I read once and pass along to others, and some I keep, to savor again every few years.

Yes, like old friends, I find I want to revisit the characters and stories of some novels. If I wait a few years before readings, there’s always some part of the story I find fresh and new, that I don’t remember from previous readings.

From the time I read “Charlotte’s Web” – which I received for my sixth birthday – I have been absorbed by the lives of the wonderful characters I find within the pages of a good book. Much as I love a good plot, if the main characters of a story aren’t compelling, I tend to lose interest.

lots of books open to centers, showing pages, do you need a good book to read

Choosing Good Books to Read

I have been thinking about some of my favorite books. The ones I re-read every few years, and glean new knowledge and insights from each time. Each time I pick one of these books up, I feel like I am greeting some old friends. The characters in these books are so descriptive and detailed, they seem to me like real people.

Here, in no particular order (except for the order I pulled them off the shelf) are eight of my favorite novels. These are the books that will stay on my shelves forever. Other books come and go (I choose to hand them down frequently), but these, they stick around.

I have a definite preference for books that I can hold in my hand and turn the pages.

Although I will occasionally use a device, I really like the touch and feel and smell of an actual book. I often purchase my books from used bookstores and others I get at the library. Not these titles – these I need on my shelves at home, ready to reopen at any moment I choose.

I have included the links to Amazon for each book so that you can read more details about each.

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Trinity by Leon Uris

First published in 1976 (my copy is from 1977!), this is the sweeping adventure of Ireland in its long struggle for freedom, focusing on the young rebel Conor Larkin. In my mind, he is the ultimate literary hero!

Endlessly readable. I’ve read it at least ten times over the years.

Edited to note: I have just started reading the sequel, Redemption and I have high hope that I will love it, too.

“Look at me, man, look at me and tell me I don’t know what I’m about. I’m Conor Larkin. I’m an Irishman and I’ve had enough.”

Leon Uris, Trinity

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Considered a landmark work of early feminism, this 1899 novel brings to life the struggles of Edna Pontellier, who finds she doesn’t quite agree with the social structures of the turn-of-the-century American South.

I just reread this last week, and found more little details to love than the last time I read it.

“but whatever came, she had resolved never again to belong to another than herself.”

Kate Chopin

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esqivel

“A mystical Mexican love story that will charm the palate and the heart.” -USA Today.

Full of love, joy, and recipes, this is the one that will make you both laugh out loud and shed tears of sadness.

And want to cook something.

“Tita knew through her own flesh how fire transforms the elements, how a lump of corn flour is changed into a tortilla, how a soul that hasn’t been warmed by the fire of love is lifeless, like a useless ball of corn flour.”

Laura Esquivel

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

What is it about old men that makes them so grumpy?

The greatest curmudgeon of them all, Ove has his orderly life disrupted by a lively family new to the neighborhood.

This is one of the most heartwarming tales I have ever been blessed to read – it’s also the newest book on this list.

“He was a man of black and white. And she was color. All the color he had.”

Fredrik Backman

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hoseini

This book humanizes three decades of history in Afghanistan, from the Soviet invasion through the Taliban reign.

While chronicling the horrors of the time, we learn to love the women who refuse to give up or give in, struggle to raise their families, and never stop their search for love.

“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.”

Khaled Hosseini

Stones From the River by Ursula Hegi

Residents of her small town are all just trying to fit in, but Trudi knows she never will – because she is a dwarf, forever different.

Gradually, she learns that being different is “a secret all humans share” and she learns to embrace not only her differences but the differences of those around her.

“Now the purpose of her stories had changed. She spun them to discover their meaning. In the telling, she found, you reached a point where you could not go back, where—as the stories changed—it transformed you, too.”

Ursula Hegi

The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

The story of an ordinary thirteen-year-old boy (or so he believes) who takes an unbelievable solo journey across the United States (or is it someplace else?).

This is not a classic horror story, but it is one of the most imaginative books I’ve ever read, as young Jack travels through dual worlds in search of the one thing that can save his beloved mother’s life.

“…he never forgot that sweet, violent feeling of having touched some great adventure, of having looked for a moment at some beautiful white light that was, in fact, every color of the rainbow.”

Stephen King

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Final Thoughts on Do You Need a Book to Read

There really is nothing like a brilliant novel to take you to new worlds and grant you new perspectives.

I could easily add a dozen or more other books to this list, but for starters, I don’t feel any amount of recommendation could ever overdo it with this list. Give one or more of them a try – I’d love to hear your perspective!

Here they are again:

Trinity by Leon Uris

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esqivel

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hoseini

Stones From the River by Ursula Hegi

The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

stack of novels, do you need a good book to read

4 thoughts on “Do You Need a Good Book to Read?”

  1. I’ve only heard of one of these novels. So, I definitely need to check these out as I love books that are so good you want to read them again and again. My go-to reread books are The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle and the manga series Orange by Ichigo Takano.

    1. Thanks Sarah – you’ve given me some new titles to search for! I’m not familiar with either of those, but I will be checking them out for sure! Happy reading!

  2. I definitely agree with A Thousand Splendid Suns! My personal list of novels worth reading more than once would also include One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche.

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