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"I Re-Read It Every Couple Of Years, And It's Like An Old Friend Now": People Are Sharing The Books That Have Made The Greatest Impact On Their Lives


There are millions upon millions of books out there, and it’s simply impossible to read them all let alone make a dent in all the literature that exists. But every once is a while, you finish a book that speaks to you in such a profound way that makes you think everyone else should read it. So, I browsed through the subreddit r/books and parsed through responses from the BuzzFeed Community. These are the very best books to put on your bucket list, according to avid readers like you.

A book display

1.

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. This book resonated with me on such a deep level. Even though I’m Mexican and not Indian like the characters, I could still relate strongly to the main character’s inner conflict over his cultural identity. Not to mention Lahiri is an incredible writer. It’s such an unforgettable book.”

"The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri

2.

Crying in H-Mart by Michelle Zauner. My heart broke in so many ways when I read this book. Zauner is an incredibly talented writer. The relationship with her mother is deeply moving.”

"Crying in H Mart"

3.

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. It’s been two years since I read this book, and I still think about the twist. It’s really well-written and gut-wrenching, ultimately leaving you with the question: Is a parent’s love truly unconditional?”

"We Need To Talk About Kevin" by Lionel Shriver

4.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker is my personal favorite. The story tore my mind and my heart apart and pieced both back together numerous times, and I loved the journey.”

"The Art of Hearing Heartbeats" by Jan-Philipp Sendker.

5.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. This big boy sat on my bookshelf for years intimidating me. I mentally set aside a couple months to work my way through it, planning to read some other short novels simultaneously. But I couldn’t put this book down. The length turned out to be the best part cause I never wanted it to end! There is so much that happens over the course of this very clever plot. I just loved it.”

"The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas

6.

100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. It’s magical, enlightening, tragic, and serene. It’s everything.”

"100 Years of Solitude" by Gabriel García Márquez

7.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. It’s funny, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s the only book I’ve read in my adult years that I have kept thinking about every so often even a long time after finishing it.”

"A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman.

8.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I first read it at age 10 and have re-read it every couple of years since. It’s like an old friend now, but I wish I could go back to the beginning and re-experience that moment when I realized the main character was basically me, and that being a book-mad misfit wasn’t necessarily a bad thing to be.”

"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith

9.

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman. I wish I could read it again for the first time. I came out later in life (I had known for a long time before I admitted to myself or anyone else that I was gay), and it was that book, especially Mr. Perlman’s speech at the end, that had me sobbing at 2 a.m. It finally made me realize that I needed to speak my truth no matter the consequences.”

"Call Me By Your Name" by André Aciman.

10.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. It was the first time I ever read about mental illness in a way that I connected with. I finally felt like there was a voice out there that went through the same struggles that I have.”

"The Bell Jar" by Slyvia Plath.

11.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I recommend literally everyone I know to read this book. It’s the best storytelling I think I have ever read and ever will read. I think about this book every day — that’s how impactful it is.”

"The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini.

12.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt. There is no experience akin to reading that for the first time. You suspect a lot of things throughout the story, only to find out that the details are so much wilder than you thought!”

"The Secret History" by Donna Tartt

13.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I generally cry quite a lot while reading, but this book made me SCREAM out of sorrow. It’s so beautiful and so heart-wrenching. I cried for weeks after I read it for the first time.”

"The Song of Achilles" by Madeline Miller.

14.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. It’s about a young girl named June who loses her uncle (her best friend) during the height of the AIDS epidemic. She later bonds with his boyfriend who is also dying from AIDS and is blamed by the family for infecting her uncle. The story deals with grief, navigating complex family bonds, and how it feels to be alone when you are a strange kid and the only person to understand you is gone.”

"Tell the Wolves I'm Home" by Carol Rifka Brunt

15.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It’s absolutely stunning. It’s one of those books where there’s a before and after in your life after you’ve read it.”

"The Book Thief" by Marcus Zusak.

16.

The Infinite Plan by Isabel Allende. I was admittedly pretty young when I read it (my early 20s). But I really appreciated the message I took away from it: ‘Everyone is damaged and muddling through life — it’s not just you.'”

"The Infinite Plan by Isabel Allende

17.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It parallels the lives of a blind French girl and orphaned German boy during WWII. It is the standard by which I now judge all other books. So much more than a war story. It’s the kind of book you’re sad to finish because the journey and magic have come to an end.”

"All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr.

18.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. As an American-Nigerian, this book spoke to me on so many levels — from the simple joy of a text interspersed with the language of my parents, to the struggle of understanding race in terms of the world beyond America. I highly recommend it.”

"Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

19.

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. This book should be required reading for every student in the US. It’s so relevant today more than ever. As a white woman, this book left me shook and completely changed my perspective on the 400+ years of black oppression in our country. This is a book about things that were never taught in school or even talked about. It’s heartbreaking, and everyone should read it.”

"The Warmth of Other Suns" by Isabel Wilkerson

20.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is that rare, quiet, and dignified thing that sneaks up on you from behind and just devastates you. It’s my constant reminder to approach people with an open heart, because you can never presume what path they’re actually walking. There’s nothing quite like it, and I don’t want to give anything away — so, just go read it.”

"Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro

21.

Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo. It’s a heartbreaking tale of love and grief, which deals with the loss of a child and relationships in an extremely poignant and relatable way. It’ll make you cry and captivate you.”

"Stay With Me" by Ayobami Adebayo

22.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. This is the story of two Afghan women who find their lives connected forever. It taught me about the struggles of womanhood, as well as the power and strength of sisterhood, and proves that not all love stories have to be romantic.”

"A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini.

23.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. This book was so eye-opening in regards to how horrible it was for Koreans, especially Korean women, who lived in Japan during the annexation. It changed my views on my family, life, and culture, and I would 100% recommend it to everyone.”

"Pachinko" by Min Jin Lee.

24.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. It’s based on true, historical events in the late 1930s when poor children were put into orphanages and sold to wealthy families. I could not put it down once I started it!”

"Before We Were Yours: by Lisa Wingate

25.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan. The main character, Pino, is still a kid during WWII, but he’s expected to act like an adult with all the experience of one. He’s trying to understand the horrible world created by WWII. It’s a tragic love story and paints an untold perspective of the time. It’s also a true story, which makes it all the more heartbreaking.”

"Beneath a Scarlet Sky" by Mark T. Sullivan

26.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. No other book has made me cry like that. It made me feel understood and empowered.”

"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou.

27.

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I’ll never forget when O’Brien writes, ‘A thing may happen and be a total lie; another thing may not happen and be truer than the truth.’ The idea that the fabrication of a truth can be truer than the event itself really made my head spin. It says so much about the importance of authors and writing. It’s not a typical war story at all, and more about storytelling.”

"The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien.

28.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi is an unbearably beautiful description of a man writing about his terminal cancer diagnosis. It made me see the whole world with more empathy and honesty. I re-read it every few years just to be reminded.”

"When Breath Becomes Air" by Paul Kalanithi

29.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab. I just read it recently and was floored by how beautiful the writing was and how intricately the author weaved together the story lines, both past and present.”

"The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue" by V. E. Schwab

30.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb. I started reading this book because it seemed like suddenly everyone was talking about it, but I wasn’t sure it would be my cup of tea. I wasn’t sure I’d really enjoy a book about therapy. But turns out, I could not put it down. This was one of the best books I’ve read in my life. This nonfiction book was insightful, engaging, and emotional. It made me feel vulnerable, introspective, and most importantly, human. Even if you don’t think therapy is ‘for you,’ you will take something incredibly important away from this book.”

"Maybe You Should Talk to Someone" by Lori Gottlieb

31.

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb quickly became my favorite book of all time. Reading it is quite the undertaking, but it is such a great book. The story spans a couple of generations, and it’s a deep look into mental illness. I only wish there were a sequel so I could see what happens to the main character.”

"I Know This Much Is True" by Wally Lamb

What’s the best book you’ve ever read — the one that you couldn’t stop thinking about, made you see the world differently, or wanted to recommend to everyone you know? Tell us in the comments.

Smiling beautiful young female reading book standing against bookshelf at home


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