This does not need to be anonymous. It seems like you have really awesome taste in books. I see you do a list every year of your favorite books. Could you do a favorite all time list of books since-lets face it-I barely have time to sleep let alone read right now so I need the best of the best if I’m going to read! Thanks!
This is really a difficult task for me! For years and years I had my list of “favorite” books memorized, but that was long before I started reading voraciously every month. So I am not sure I “trust” my old list, because it has been SO LONG since I have read those books. You know how you thought something you saw/read/wrote/ate/wore was the most amazing thing in the world and you see it years later and are thoroughly disappointed/embarrassed in your taste? That’s kind of where I’m at. My tastes are evolving every month and so things I once was obsessed with might completely lose their luster within a year or two’s time. Anyway, without further ado – my list of All-Time Best Books as of 2017! Warning – I have a big thing for memoirs.
Wild – Cheryl Strayed
(Memoir) I read this three years ago and it is without a doubt one of the most powerful books I have ever read. I also believe it holds the record for the hardest I have ever cried reading a book. Cheryl writes about her journey hiking the Pacific Coast Trail after the death of her mother. I saw the movie after I had read the book and hated it – for me it didn’t come within a million miles of the book. So if you didn’t like the movie, give the book a chance. There are a few books I’ve read on this list that I consider actually life changing, and for me, this was 100% one of them. The story itself is incredible, but Cheryl’s writing is just extraordinary.
Carry On Warrior – Glennon Doyle Melton
(Memoir) When women ask me to recommend a book, this is almost always the first one I mention. I DEVOURED it. Glennon writes exactly how my brain speaks, and it is equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking. She writes about her life as a woman, mother, wife, Christian, and recovering addict. I am only half of those things and still saw myself in at least some ways in almost all of her essays. I laughed and cried and saw myself reflected back to me through her words. But the magic is, I think most women will see themselves in some part of this book. It is inspiring and validating, and I think it should be required reading for all women.
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
(Fiction, Psychological Thriller) Ok, I saw the movie first. I was obsessed with it – for days and days I thought about it. I borrowed the book from a friend and absolutely loved it. Such a departure from what I was reading at the time, but absolutely enthralling and riveting. Even though I knew exactly how it ended I was hanging on every page. So, so, so good. I just kind of want to pick it back up again right as I am writing this …
When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
(Memoir) Another one of those life changing books. Written by a talented neurosurgeon while he is battling Stage IV lung cancer, it is gut wrenching in all the ways you’d expect, but I am fascinated by the insights he had while dying. I sobbed reading it – we already know how the story ends – he passed away before the book was finished and his wife writes the final chapter. Beautiful and brutal and a must read.
13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl – Mona Awad
(Fiction) I couldn’t stop thinking about this book when I finished it, and I still think about it all the time. For any women who have struggled with body image, being overweight, dieting or who have found themselves suddenly thin etc, it is unflinchingly, brutally honest and at times plain uncomfortable to read. I think this book is nothing short of brilliant.
The Girls – Emma Cline
(Fiction) Creepy, dark, intense, and absolutely pitch-perfect writing. I am so not into creepy books in general, but got sold on this one because it branded itself as a story about, well, girls. And it is, underneath it all that is exactly what its about – the relationships girls have with each other and with men and boys. SO GOOD.
People are Unappealing- Sara Barron
(Memoir, Humor) This is one of those books that made me literally laugh out loud for the majority of the chapters. I remember reading it in my car outside of work and just cracking up. It’s been years since I have read it, but I’ve recommended it to many people looking for a funny book who have loved it as well.
Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
(Memoir) When a book gets so gigantically huge and is everywhere you look, it feels a little hokey to put it on your All Time Bests lists. But I read this book during the summer of 2008, when I was going through my own divorce at the ripe old age of 23 and it was another life-changer for me. I read it at work at a job I hated when I was on break and would feel inspired and courageous and deeply sad and heartbroken. I absolutely loved it. Another case where I was not a huge fan of the movie because it just doesn’t do what the book does. There is a reason this book became as popular as it did – if you haven’t already read it, I think you should.
Yes Please – Amy Poehler
(Autobiography) I LOVED THIS BOOK. Obviously it was funny, because, duh, Amy Poehler. But it was also so smart and insightful and overflowing with such solid and un-pretentious advice.
So there you have it! The books I feel are deserving of my best-of-the-best designation. Let me know which ones of the above you’ve read, if you agree or disagree, and what you’d add to the list!
And as always, submit your questions anonymously at Ask Ashley.