Late last month, I was tagged in one of those Facebook chain posts, it read:
“In your status, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and do not think too hard. They do not have to be the “right” books or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way.”
The prompt brought back memories of the best books I’ve ever read; from childhood favorites, adored by many, to the pure enjoyment reads, to the more thought-provoking books I read during my Fulbright year in Lithuania and those read since. How would I choose? What were my criteria?
I decided to follow my friend’s own advice choosing only those books that have stuck with me and changed my life.
Here’s my Top 10:
1. “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl
The one book I’ve read more than any other. MS4M is my go to choice whenever I need to re-evaluate my life. Frankl survived the atrocities of the Holocaust, I can therefore trust his advice to survive my cushy modern life.
2. “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand
I’ve only read it once, but suspect I’ll re-read it again—this book is a masterpiece. Rand contrasts Howard Roark, an individualistic young architect beautifully with her portrayal of her archetypes of human character, which all fall on a continuum between Roark, the author’s ideal man, and what she described as the “second-handers”—the personification of which was her character Peter Keating.
If you ever met a real life Peter Keating, you’ll want to vomit.
3. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
4. “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card
Nubela and Hugo Award winner.
5. “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
6. “What I Talk about When I Talk About Running” by Haruki Murakami
A memoir in which Murakami writes about his interest in and participation in long-distance running. This book single-handedly convinced me to take up the sport and to run my own marathon.
7. “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius (Gregory Hays’ translation)
The back cover reads: “Meditations remains one of the greatest works of spiritual and ethical reflection ever written. With a profound understanding of human behavior, Marcus provides insights, wisdom, and practical guidance on everything from living in the world to coping with adversity to interacting with others.”
8. “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan
The book that started my interest in nutrition and my journey to become more engaged with my food.
9. “Empire of Illusion” by Chris Hedges
A thought provoking read, especially since I read it while I was abroad during the fall 2011 primary season.
10. “The Giver” by Lois Lowry
What are yours?