A good book can be the ultimate escape or distraction. It can teach you, humble you, entertain you. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been able to read more than usual. There is nothing better than catching up on a to-do list, especially when there is reading involved. I go through phases of reading, only reading certain types or genres. During the stay-at-home order, I’ve decided to rotate between fictional stories and business/self-help books. I’m not sure if others do this, but every year, I re-read three to five of the same books that help me stay focused on my goals. I’ve been able to knock out two of those books while reading a few new ones to keep this fresh. I wanted to share a quick list of some favorites I’ve read over the years.
All the Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
The Magnolia Story by Joanna Gaines
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Emma by Jane Austen (Great movie, too – the 2020 release)
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Serena by Ron Rash
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
A few disclaimers – The House at Riverton is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. I love all of the author’s other books. They all take place in England or Australia, and Morton’s writing style is impeccable. She tells the story by flowing back and forth between the present and past, with the flashbacks giving perfect insight to the current moments.
The Alchemist is a newcomer to my favorites list. I only recently discovered it in late 2019. It was one that I had seen a million times, but never actually bothered to read it. A short read, it’s easy to see why Paolo Coelho is praised by everyone. If you believe in the law of attraction and manifesting dreams, it’s a great one to grab.
Shoe Dog and Magnolia Story are more biographical in nature, telling the stories of Nike and the Magnolia Empire in Waco, Texas, respectfully. Phil Knight’s words in Shoe Dog are inspirational not only for businesses, but for those searching for more meaning in what they’re doing. Both books serve as reminders to focus on what really matters in one’s life.
All the Lights We Cannot See and Winter Garden are two of the more emotional books on the list. Not in a bad way, but they definitely take you on a rollercoaster of emotions. They keep you on edge with what will happen next. By the end, I was in tears with both. Both books are fictional but based in real times (i.e. World War II, etc.) so you can only imagine the real people that must have lived a similar storyline to those fictional characters in the books. It took me a few days to process after reading these. They leave you with immense gratitude for those you have in your life and teach you to never take anything for granted.
Staying at home has been incredibly frustrating at times. But it has allowed me to spend time with those I love the most, doing the things I love to do. Regardless of what happens, I will never regret how I spent these days or be ungrateful for the memories I now have. I think the real tragedy in all of this is not the virus itself, but coming out of this the same person as before the virus. All these books changed me in some way, just as this stay-at-home time has. Maybe it will change you too.
I am continually growing my reading list, and I love nothing more than a bookstore. I’d love to hear what you’re reading and what you love. Share your recommendations with me! They might make the next list:)