10 Books You Should Read in Your Lifetime

Books, though considered by some to be just mere objects that are incapable of conveying emotions, can create a profound impact on the rest of your life. In order to compile books that invoke feelings such as these, I’ve created a list: In no particular order, are 10 books that either immensely shaped me to become the person I am now, or changed my outlook on life as I knew it. 

“Scythe” by Neal Shusterman:

“Scythe” is a novel that starts out as seemingly tame, that slowly progresses into the realm of morality and philosophical debates of ethics. The book is set in a seemingly utopian world that has conquered mortality, and now is only subject to death by Scythes. These scythes, whose occupation is to bring death and regulate the human population by doing so. As readers continue with the series, they’ll find constant opportunities for further analysis and masterful writing. This alongside amazing world building eventually develops into a beautiful crescendo in the story.

“Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott:

This novel, considered to be a classic and known more recently by its new movie installment based on the book of the same name. The novel is a family centered story involving the tales of four sisters growing up together and finding their true selves within. “Little Women” feels like being wrapped up nice and cozy in a blanket by the fireside, and though starting off slow, creates an ambiance of comfort and accentuates the familial bonds that every person should experience.

“Percy Jackson and the Olympians” by Rick Riordan:

A childhood classic for many, the “Percy Jackson” series is a perfectly modern combination of Greek mythology and summer camp, a relatable experience for many. Though not a literary masterpiece, this series undoubtedly is a favorite among many of the generation due to it’s sarcastic narration and captivating characters who are constantly growing and overcoming the challenges of facing ancient monsters long thought to be erased from existence.

“Sadie” by Courtney Summers:

As a trigger-heavy story full of intrigue and shocking twists, “Sadie” is a perfect example of an impactful novel that manages to stick with readers long after finishing. The book is a combination between the narration of Sadie, a runaway teenager hellbent on finding the answer to her sister’s death, and a podcast who follows her movements and  tries to solve the mystery of where she went. Again, before reading this novel, please be wary if you are affected by sensitive content. 

“The Secret Garden” by Francis Hogdson Bernett:

A children’s classic that tells the story of Mary Lennox and her journey through life at her uncle’s estate, discovering herself and learning to navigate the world. Her character is fully fleshed out both in atmosphere and personality through a wonderful writing style.

“Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by Lania Taylor:

One of, if not, the best writing I have ever read in a novel, that flows beautifully like poetry, and perfectly fits the content of the story. Karou, a strange girl who has the aid of wishes, discovers the part of her life her family has always hidden from her. Trust me in this case, some things are better just left unexplained until you experience them, such is the case with this series. 

“The Hound of Rowan” by Henry H. Neff:

Another childhood favorite but virtually unheard of, the “Hound of Rowan” feels like a combination of the world of “Harry Potter,” but dare I say better. It is a coming of age tale that progresses perfectly to fit the intricate and engaging story the series becomes. The premise is simply a young boy gets scouted to join a secret and magical school where he finds his purpose in an ancient struggle between good and evil.

“Lovely War” by Julie Berry:

“Lovely War” is a truly touching tale concerning the intertwining of love and war. Set in World War 1, multiple characters have to navigate the now twisted shape the war has turned into. With narration provided by the Greek Gods, Hephaestus Aphrodite and Ares,  “Lovely War” is a beautifully written novel and timeless piece that serves the purpose of a romance while including philosophical thinking.  

“When Breath Becomes” Air by Paul Kalanithi:

Another novel with a touching story and outstanding writing, “When Breath Becomes Air” is an all too real novel about a neurologist who has been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.  Suddenly, his life is turned upside down, and the roles of doctor and patient are now reversed onto him. Reading this book, I couldn’t help being awed at how a person can articulate their own thoughts into words so masterfully, and leave such a lasting impact on the reader.  

“A Winter’s Promise” by Christelle Dabos:

Placed on this list not for the feeling of the novel, but the worldbuilding. “A Winter’s Promise” starts out as a fantasy novel in which the world has been split into floating islands called arks, and Ophelia becomes engaged to a man on a different ark that she has never met, and now has to navigate the political and social challenges of this new land. The plot development is absolutely incredible and from the second book in this series onwards, the story becomes absolutely remarkable. Paired with the outstanding worldbuilding, it makes for a great, well-balanced story that everyone should have the opportunity to read.