Cat, over at Juggling Act Of Life, challenged me to participate in a literary challenge – I have to name 10 books that have made a impact on my life in no particular order and then to nominate 10 more people to take part.
So here goes, in no particular order, but 10 of my most favorite books of all time as follows:
1. Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
I actually blogged about this book here – https://www.theblessedbarrenness.co.za/me-before-you/
I love it! I love love love this book, it’s quite possibly my most favorite book of all time and it had a profound impact on my thoughts surrounding assisted suicide. Such a brilliant brilliant, emotion and thought provoking read!
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.
2. The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
Another book that I’ve written about before and definitely one of my all time favourites. So beautifully written, so smart and intelligent and the writer writes with such utter brilliance. The story is deeply emotion and deeply touching!
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
3. A Child Called It – Dave Pelzer
This book shocked the shit out of me! I think I read it in one day flat! I could not put it down, but screamed, cried and wanted to vomit the entire time I read it. It really opened my eyes to the horror of Dave Pelzer’s childhood.
This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games–games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother’s games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but a slave; and no longer a boy, but an “it.” Dave’s bed was an old army cot in the basement, and his clothes were torn and raunchy. When his mother allowed him the luxury of food, it was nothing more than spoiled scraps that even the dogs refused to eat. The outside world knew nothing of his living nightmare. He had nothing or no one to turn to, but his dreams kept him alive–dreams of someone taking care of him, loving him and calling him their son
4. Rainfall – Melissa Delport
Another book I’ve blogged about before. I loved this book, I loved the story, I loved the twists and turns that the story took and the big twist that surprised the hell out of me!
Paige’s father has Alzheimers, and her fiancé is shot and killed in an armed robbery. Paige fights her depression and pulls herself out of the dark place that she has succumbed to, with monumental effort and a new-found determination to live her life to the fullest, doing things that both terrify and exhilarate her.
When Paige meets Adam, the attraction is instantaneous. Adam grew up in an orphanage and has no recollection of his life before the age of six. Paige falls head over heels in love and embraces a happiness she never dreamed possible. Until the day she finds Adam in bed with another woman.
Wanting nothing more to do with him, Paige cuts Adam out of her life, until she receives a mysterious visitor, who reveals secrets about Adam’s past that shock Paige to her very core.
Determined to fight for the man that she loves, Paige finds herself on a journey that will change her life forever.
5. White Oleander – Janet Fitch
I read this book ages ago and I LOVED it! It’s probably been 10 years since I read it but I still remember it, it really sticks out in my memory. A beautiful, tragic coming of age story!
When Astrid’s mother, a beautiful, headstrong poet, murders a former lover and is imprisoned for life, Astrid becomes one of the thousands of foster children in Los Angeles. As she navigates this new reality, Astrid finds strength in her unshakable certainty of her own worth and her unfettered sense of the absurd.
6. The Pillars Of The Earth – Ken Follet
What an incredible and historical masterpiece about cathedral building in the 12th century. I loved this book! Another one I probably read about 20 years ago but it has stayed with me till now!
The spellbinding epic set in twelfth-century England, The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of the lives entwined in the building of the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has ever known—and a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.
7. Stolen Lives (20 Years In A Desert Prison) – Malika Oufkir
Another book that shocked my socks off. Stolen Lives is an autobiographical novel by Malika Oufkir detailing her detainment, from childhood, to age 38, in a prison. An incredible and inspiring read!
A gripping memoir that reads like a political thriller–the story of Malika Oufkir’s turbulent and remarkable life. Born in 1953, Malika Oufkir was the eldest daughter of General Oufkir, the King of Morocco’s closest aide. Adopted by the king at the age of five, Malika spent most of her childhood and adolescence in the seclusion of the court harem, one of the most eligible heiresses in the kingdom, surrounded by luxury and extraordinary privilege.
Then, on August 16, 1972, her father was arrested and executed after an attempt to assassinate the king. Malika, her five younger brothers and sisters. and her mother were immediately imprisoned in a desert penal colony. After fifteen years, the last ten of which they spent locked up in solitary cells, the Oufkir children managed to dig a tunnel with their bare hands and make an audacious escape. Recaptured after five days, Malika was finally able to leave Morocco and begin a new life in exile in 1996.
A heartrending account in the face of extreme deprivation and the courage with which one family faced its fate, Stolen Lives is an unforgettable story of one woman’s journey to freedom.
8. The Book Of Ruth – Jane Hamilton
Winner of the 1989 PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel, this exquisite book confronts real-life issues of alienation and violence from which the author creates a stunning testament to the human capacity for mercy, compassion and love.
9. We Were The Mulvaneys – Joyce Carol Otes
The unforgettable story of the rise, fall and ultimate redemption of an American family.
The Mulvaneys are seemingly blessed by everything that makes life sweet. They live together in the picture-perfect High Point Farm, just outside the community of Mt Ephraim, New York, where they are respected and liked by everybody.
Yet something happens on Valentine’s Day 1976. An incident involving Marianne Mulvaney, the pretty sixteen-year-old daughter, is hushed up in the town and never discussed within the family. The impact of this event reverberates throughout the lives of the characters.
As told by Judd, years later, in an attempt to make sense of his own past reveals the unspoken truths of that night that rends the fabric of the family life with tragic consequences. In ‘We Were the Mulvaneys’, Joyce Carol Oates, the highly acclaimed author of ‘Blonde’, masterfully weaves an unforgettable story of the rise, fall and ultimate redemption of an American family.
10. Drowning Ruth – Christina Swartz
In the winter of 1919, a young mother named Mathilda Neumann drowns beneath the ice of a rural Wisconsin lake. The shock of her death dramatically changes the lives of her daughter, troubled sister, and husband. . . . Told in the voices of several of the main characters and skipping back and forth in time, the narrative gradually and tantalizingly reveals the dark family secrets and the unsettling discoveries that lead to the truth of what actually happened the night of the drowning.
I’m always on the look out for a good book so I’m opening the challenge to all of you. Leave a comment with your favorite all time reads below!