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70 Books I Highly Recommend as a Reading Addict
So Many Books, So Many Choices
As a self confessed "reading addict" it is typical for someone to find me reading all kinds of different books. When I decided to challenge myself to reading 50 books throughout the year of 2013 I also dedicated myself to expanding the genres of books I read from. I wasn't sure if I would like doing that or not but I found that it was really refreshing to do so. Exploring those new genres kept reading fresh and exciting for me throughout the year. I can also now proudly announce that my bookshelves (physical and kindle editions) are much more diverse. Something I strongly recommend to everyone is that they do the same and as I did and not only challenge themselves to read more but to also read new kinds of books. So I've compiled a list of some of my favorite books in many different genres to share with you all. I hope that you find something in these lists that inspires you to pick up something new!
My Fantasy Epic Selection
1) The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
2) The Lord of the Rings Series - J.R.R. Tolkien
3) A Song of Ice and Fire Series - George R.R. Martin
So it probably safe to say that the books in this particular list a classic and expected. These are the kinds of books that define the genre of Fantasy Epics. For me, I feel that these are a great starting place for someone just getting into this genre. And they are the kind of books that will inspire you to keep reading more books in this genre. I haven't met a single person has read The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings series that wouldn't recommend it to everyone they know. Something that I really love about the Song of Ice and Fire series is that they are written in point of view chapters. This means that each chapter is in a different person's point of view. This style really gives you an in depth look at the different kinds of characters and not only their struggles in the world that they live in but also their internal struggles to do what is right or wrong.
My Young Adult Fantasy Selection:
1) Harry Potter Series - J.K Rowling
2) Cirque Du Freak Series - Darren Shan
3) The Hunger Games Series - Suzanne Collins
4) The Divergent Series - Veronica Roth
5) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Series - Ransom Riggs
Young Adult Fantasy
Very much like the section before this, a lot of the books on this list are obvious choices. The great about them is that you can read them as a child, teenager, or adult and still come out with the same complete and overwhelming love for them. Now there are books on this list that I highly prefer over others, but the qualities of all of these books makes them belong here. So here are some awesome things to consider about these books:
The Harry Potter series has been shown to actually make people more tolerant after having read them. This is because the series takes a great view of different groups of people and other creatures being suppressed by peoples who think they are the only worthy ones of possessing magic and living within the magical wizarding world. Other than that awesome fact, the series is just extremely touching and as one of those kids who grew up with the Harry Potter series I can honestly say that if I could save a couple of books from a burning building, that I would save these ones!
Like the Harry Potter series I feel that the other books on this list also do a really good job at showing how people are constantly suppressed and how it isn't ok to do such things. The Cirque Du Freak series was the book series that actually made me excited about reading again when I read it in middle school. I even shared the series with my grandpa and he couldn't put them down either! We waited each year for the next book in the series to be published and it was a great for us to bond. But I believe that is a really good series that all people could enjoy.
And the same can be said of the remaining book series that I've included in this section. So if you are wanting to explore this genre further I would suggest any of these to help get you started.
My Horror Selection
1) The Shining - Stephen King
2) World War Z - Max Brooks
Now this is a genre that I haven't gone into in depth. I do like the books that I have read in this genre, but they really only consist of the two in this list. However, I am planning to read the sequel to The Shining and I hope to read many Stephen King books like It and Misery.
For this section I'm going to focus on World War Z. This is an amazing book and was a great first read for the Horror genre. I loved this book because it wasn't what I was expecting. I thought when I bought it that it would be some odd action packed zombie book. While it is a zombie book and it has a little action described within, it was the intense detail that left me loving the book from cover to cover. The author of this book did his research and thought of all of the possible outcomes of a zombie infested world. It was an amazing read and if you aren't sure about this genre but you want to give it a try then I would highly suggest starting here.
My Autobiography Choices
1) My Story - Elizabeth Smart
2) Trafficked - Sophie Hayes
3) Stolen Innocence - Elissa Wall
After my husband and I lost everything in a tornado in November of 2013, I found myself reading a lot of autobiographies. I eventually came to realize that I was reading them because I needed to relate to others who had also gone through some sort of tragedy. Unfortunately many of peers don't have similar experiences and I don't do very well with actually talking to people about the tornado. I always seem to just joke about it and blow the topic off. But reading these books was a way for me to cope with had happened in my own life. I now have a much greater appreciation for autobiographies and I plan to continue reading more. The ones that I've included in my list here are written by women who experienced some sort of tragedy in their lives.
My Story is Elizabeth Smarts telling of what she went through when she was kidnapped from her home and kept by her captives for months before she was able to escape from them and the torture they imposed on her. It is a really great book and it really sheds light on how brave children like this have to be in order to survive when they are taken from their homes and their families.
Trafficked is the story of how Sophie Hayes was forced into prostitution by the person she believed had loved her and how she was unable to escape for a very long time for fear that he would kill her family. It is a really good book that gives a lot of insight into the world of human trafficking and I think that many people could learn from it why these women can't always just get out of it.
Stolen Innocence is Elissa Wall's autobiography of her experiences in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints. From being removed from public school to being forced into marriage at the age of 14, this story is a great eye opener of the world of the FLDS church.
Books like these have a tendency to remind us that we are all human and everyone has gone through something in their lives that is worth writing and reading about. It really makes you feel more connected with humanity in a way.
My Science Selections
1) The Greatest Show on Earth - Richard Dawkins
2) What Should We Be Worried About - Ed. John Brockman
I have been reading a lot of science books these days. I was very surprised with myself when I began reading one and started buying a ton of them. They are so useful, especially if you don't have the time to take a lab course in something. It's a great way to accumulate knowledge on your desired scientific topic of interest. My particular recommendations are a very great start!
The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins is a book on the evidence of evolution. I am a strong believe in evolution but I never really understood the in depth concepts of it before starting this book. It is a great way to learn about evolution whether or not you have a base knowledge of it.
My other recommendation is What Should We Be Worried About which is a collection of writings by a large number of scientists on possible situations that they believe could scientifically arise and we should worry about for the future. This a great book if you want to get started with reading books from the science section of your local bookstore. Hopefully they carry this book!
My Politics Selection
1) Conceal and Confront - David E. Sanger
2) The Anatomy of Peace - Emery Reves
3) My Hope for America - Lyndon Johnson
As a Political Science/Pre-Law student I find myself reading a lot of books on politics and law. So I have some really great recommendations for you that pertain to this area of writing. I always encourage people to become more aware of government, politics, and laws. I believe that by doing so citizens can come to great realizations about their ability to influence these areas. So I'm recommending some of my favorite books on politics.
Confront and Conceal, though I don't agree with some of its views, is a great look into the actions of the first Obama administration relating to the Middle East. It goes very in depth into important topics revolving around conflicts and disputes with our plans/actions in the Middle East. If you want to learn more about what was going on at the time, including actual discussions between ambassadors and leaders of other countries, then you should really consider reading this book.
The Anatomy of Peace is another good book to look into, though I mostly recommend just the first part of it. The amazing thing about the first part of this book is that it asks very good questions about how other countries views of World War II. It is amazing to dive into those pages and see what other people in other countries were thinking throughout the war. I highly suggest that people read at least the first part of this book to help show them that everything is not quite so black and white in war.
My Hope for America is an amazing book by Lyndon Johnson, the 36th President of the United States of America. Many people are familiar with his work. It is a great, though short, book on improving the conditions of the public in American society. I don't believe that much more needs to be said about it. If you are in favor of things like better education and health care services then this is a book for you.
My Young Adult Selections:
1) Impulse - Ellen Hopkins
2) Perfect - Ellen Hopkins
3) Tricks - Ellen Hopkins
4) Tilt - Ellen Hopkins
5) Identical - Ellen Hopkins
6) Go Ask Alice - Anonymous
7) Lucy in the Sky - Anonymous
8) Winter Girls - Laurie Halse Anderson
I love reading young adult books. Young adult books are where I rediscovered my love for reading and I strongly believe that I will always come back to this genre for a good book every now and then. So I have a lot of amazing recommendations in this section for people of all ages!
Ellen Hopkins is an amazing author who is never afraid to address real life issues and struggles. She has been through a lot in her own life and as a follower of hers on facebook I know that I agree with a lot of her views in general, though not all. Some of my favorite books from her are Impulse, Perfect, Tricks, Tilt, and Identical. These address many important real life issues - such as sex, depression, and child abuse - that many young adults are either struggling with or do not know much about. But I constantly recommend these books to people of all ages because these kinds of scars don't simply go away with age and the older we get the more we can sympathize and relate to the characters in Ellen Hopkins's books.
In addition to all of the wonderful Ellen Hopkins books out there, I also recommend Go Ask Alice and Lucy in the Sky. They deal with the same kind of issues as the books that I just discussed by written in diary format of teenage girls.
The last recommendation I have for this genre is Winter Girls. This book deals with the struggles of losing a dear friend, dealing with anorexia, and finding your place in your family. It is a really good book for all young adults and I hope that many of you reading this article may have already it!
My Play Selections:
1) The Crucible - Arthur Miller
2) Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller
3) Antony and Cleopatra - William Shakespeare
4) Hamlet - William Shakespeare
5) A Raisin in the Run - Lorraine Hanaberry
6) Noises Off! - Michael Frayn
7) The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised] - Daniel Singer, Adam Long, and Jess Winfield
8) Dr. Faustus - Christopher Marlowe
As a theatre geek I have always enjoyed reading a good play. I won't describe each of my recommended plays in detail, but the list I've provided is full of amazing plays to read in your life time.
Arthur Miller is my favorite playwright. His plays The Crucible and Death of a Salesman are two of my favorite all time plays. I hope to see them both performed in person one day, but until then the scripts will have to do. I specifically recommend The Crucible as my absolute favorite play. It is based during the Salem Witch Trials; and though it is certainly not accurate as far as history is concerned, the hysteria experienced during that time is well displayed in this play.
I am also a fan of William Shakespeare. I haven't read any of his comedies yet, but I love reading Shakespeare's tragedies. My favorites are Antony and Cleopatra and Hamlet and both are great reads! If you haven't gotten into Shakespeare yet then I suggest starting with one of these.
Noises Off! is just a hilarious play within a play. It is a fun and fast paced read and if you have ever worked backstage on a show then you will greatly appreciate how it makes you laugh at everything that can go wrong during a performance. Sometimes it's just nice to let go and laugh at the mishaps.
The other plays included in this list are also amazing reads and once you get started on them you just can't put them down! Any of these plays would be a great starting point in this wide genre.
My Textbook Selections:
1) Foundations of Astronomy - Michael A. Seeds and Dana Backman
2) Critical Thinking - Brooke Noel Moore and Richard Parker
3) American: A Narrative History Brief Edition Volumes 1 & 2 - George Brown Tindall and David D. Shi
4) The New World of International Relations - Michael G. Roskin and Nicholas O. Berry
5) Countries and Concepts - Michael G. Roskin
Now this is probably the least liked section of books that I'm recommending. But if you give some of these a chance, you may find that you actually can enjoy textbooks. I have always been a huge fan of textbooks and I always buy my college textbooks new so that I can keep them and so they have no pen/pencil/highlighter marks in them. I love keeping textbooks, and I usually only sell back books that I don't believe I will ever look into again.
So why am I recommending these textbooks? Well it's simple.
I love these textbooks because I believe they teach valuable information that all people should learn about. In addition to them having this kind of information, they are also very well designed and provide the information in a fun and exciting way that doesn't make you think, "Oh my gosh, is it over yet?!"
America: A Narrative History is an amazing way to learn about American history and the brief editions are my favorite because they keep things moving along and prevent the typical boredom that many people associate with history textbooks.
Foundations of Astronomy is a great way to learn about the universe and where we exist within it. I bought this book early to start studying before an Astronomy class I was taking actually started. I couldn't put this textbook down, I was constantly reading it and had made it through a large portion before that class started. I strongly believe that the universe is something that all people should learn about in depth, but without going into detail on that topic I think anyone with even a minor interest in astronomy should pick up this textbook.
Critical Thinking is a textbook that I bought for my Logical Reasoning class. This class was an LSAT test-prep course but we did a lot more than just take practice tests. I think this is a great book for everyone because it will help you to not only put information across to others more successfully but it will also help you identify the fallacies of others' arguments.
And to round out this section of suggestions we have my International Relations and Comparative Government textbooks. I think that these are very important because they provide a great information base about the governments of other countries and how we all interact with each other as well as provide a great historical account of relations with other countries through peace and war.
So if you want to further your knowledge of these topics or if you are wanting to prepare for upcoming classes in these fields, I highly suggest all of these textbooks. In fact, I suggest them for reading in general, but I'm just an odd textbook lover like that.
My Philosophy Selections:
1) The Republic - Plato
2) The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
When I took Philosophy 101 in college I absolutely hated it. The readings we had drove me crazy and I couldn't relate to any of the views being proposed within them. To meet my major requirements, however, I was required to take a 300 level philosophy course: Political and Social Philosophy. I discovered in this class that I actually do like some philosophy texts and it was an amazing class. The entire semester was dedicated to reading Plato's The Republic and having in depth discussion on each week's reading materials. I am even voluntarily taking another 300 level philosophy course this upcoming semester with the same professor because I liked this class so much.
One of the most well known philosophical texts of all time is The Republic, and I believe that it makes you think about the down sides of trying to enforce a perfect society. The 'perfect city' created in the book is very obviously not perfect for many reasons. And for me this helped display what the downsides of certain decisions were when trying to perfect a society.
Another favorite of mine is The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. As an atheist I really connected with book. And I highly recommend it to all, not just atheists, because I think that it really makes you think about a lot of things. However, if you don't think you would read this book for religious reasons, then I would still suggest one chapter out of the book. Chapter 6 of this book, titled "The Roots of Morality: Why Are We Good?", is a great look into morality in general and I think that even people who would denounce the entire book in the name of religion may actual find this chapter inciteful. I know that I particularly loved this chapter.
So What is Your Favorite?
Which of the Book Categories That I Mentioned Do You Like Best?
Try Something New
So if you found a genre of books in this article that you haven't really tried before, I believe that you should give that genre a good hard look. You may be surprised by what you find. It is amazing to try a new kind of book and find that you actually enjoy it. So please don't be afraid to step out of your reading comfort zone and start looking for something different!
- Psychologists Find a Surprising Thing Happens to Kids Who Read Harry Potter
An article about three studies compiled to show that kids come out of reading the Harry Potter series being more tolerant.