50 Thoughts: The Books That Stuck Around

Anyone that’s come this far into my 50-day writing challenge knows that this blog started all because of books.

I can’t tell you why I started sharing my annual book list with friends via email years and years ago. Mostly, I think, it was just a way to connect with old and new friends, to let them know I was thinking of them heading into a new year and using a common interest to tie the thread together. Books are such a great way to open yourself to new acquaintances and to learn more about them, in a super casual, non-confrontational way. It seems like book lovers are just less judgmental that way. No one hates on you because you like thrillers while they prefer the classics, right? It’s all about the engaging with stories, no matter the kind.

So it seems fitting to wind this writing challenge down with a list of favorites — the ones that over the years stuck with me. They’re not necessarily all critical favorites, but they made a difference to me. If you get a chance, let me know what’s stuck with you — I always find other peoples’ favorites fascinating:


A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle. I read the Box Car Children books, Nancy Drew and Free to Be You and Me, but I think of all the books I read as a kid, this had the most significant impact. I can’t say for sure when I read it first, but I know when I lost my birth father when I was almost 12, this story of a daughter searching for her father and the power of love seemed so profound.


The Stand, by Stephen King. Still probably my all-time favorite King book. It’s good versus evil. It’s knowing the good guys often sacrifice so much to win the war. It’s about hope when it just seems so damn hopeless.


A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara. It’s about love and friendship and it’s tragic and beautiful and I recommend it to everyone I see.


The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach. This too, this too. Just a really really good story, with baseball as a backdrop. I will never forget Henry Skrimshander.


A Mind at a Time, by Dr. Mel Levine. This book saved my life when I was trying to understand my oldest in his elementary years. Of all the parenting books I have read, this just made sense.


Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris. This was my first Sedaris book and I am so grateful I picked it up. It was the gateway drug to all of his work. Anyone with a sense of humor should read this.


Mischling, by Affinity Konar. This was one of the hardest books to read from an emotional standpoint but the payoff at the end is so worth the gutwrenching experience. It is not for everyone, but it remains in my head to this day.


The Double Bind, by Chris Bohjalian. Another first read for an author who I enjoy immensely. Everyone has that go-to author whose book you pick up as soon as it comes out, knowing you are guaranteed to be entertained, and Bohjalian is one of a handful for me. This and The Night Strangers are my favorite of his thriller-esque reads.


The Leftovers, by Tom Perrotta. Another of my go-to authors. It makes you think about life after death on both sides of the equation, and the improbability of making sense of the inexplicable. The bonus was this book also is the jumping off point for some pretty outstanding television.

I could round out the list with an even 10, but there are too many to choose from, many of which are linked here below. I love to read. I love stories. I love to know what you think about your favorite books. I am so looking forward to another few decades of really talented authors and fantastic novels and nonfiction. Onward!

Day 1: 50 Days, 50 Thoughts, 50 Books. Book recommendation: The Bitch is Back

Day 2: There Aren’t Any Do-Overs, Are There? Book Recommendation: A Place for Us

Day 3: Is Pop Culture Circling the Drain? Book recommendation: Live from New York

Day 4: Perimenopause in the Age of Trump Book Recommendation: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Day 5: Take A Knee at the Altar of Common Sense Book Recommendation: How Not to Be a Dick

Day 6: Perspective is the Gift That Keeps on Giving Book Recommendation: A Fine Balance

Day 7: The Accidental Editor Book Recommendation: Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977 – 2002)

Day 8: The First Last of the Firsts Book Recommendation: The Little Book of Hygge

Day 9: All Kinds of Tired Book Recommendation: Believer

Day 10: Overthinking is Anxiety’s Bitchy Best Friend Book Recommendation: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Day 11: Where Would You go with a Wayback Machine? Book Recommendation: A Little Life

Day 12: Fall in my Favorite Chicago

Day 13: On Having It All Book Recommendation: Lean In

Day 14: Where Were You When … Book Recommendation: The Nix

Day 15: 5 Things to Purge Before you Turn 50 Book Recommendation: The Art of Tidying Up

Day 16: A Labor Day Salute to Bad Bosses Everywhere Book Recommendation: Steve Jobs

Day 17: Do You Validate?  Book Recommendation: Less 

Day 18: Identity Crisis Code Purple Book Recommendation: Amp’d

Day 19: Character Really Does Count Book Recommendation: Believer

Day 20: Death Before Public Speaking Book Recommendation: The Gifts of Imperfection

Day 21: 15 Things You Should Do Before You Turn 50 Book Recommendation: Drop Dead Healthy

Day 22: Calling BS on “Sticks and Stones” Book Recommendation: Love Warrior

Day 23: My Feet Are My Favorite Part of Me Book Recommendation: Born to Run

Day 24: Self-Help Books Aren’t Half Bad  Book Recommendation: The Book of Joy

Day 25: Going for Gratitude Book Recommendation: The Gratitude Diaries

Day 26: Past Self Meets Future Self Book Recommendation: A Wrinkle in Time

Day 27: The Book is Always Better Book Recommendation: Big Little Lies

Day 28: Three Cheers for Volunteers Book Recommendation: A Secret Gift

Day 29: The Social Network Book Recommendation: The Circle

Day 30: 50 People Who Can Text Me Before Trump Does Book Recommendation: Purity 

Day 31: I’ll Take My Joy Where I Can Find It Book Recommendation: The Book of Joy

Day 32: Humor is My Sixth Sense Book Recommendation: Sick in the Head

Day 33: Anger Comes Second Book Recommendation: The Leftovers

Day 34: Hypocrisy, Much? Book Recommendation: The Favorite Sister

Day 35: Girl Power Book Recommendation:Girls

Day 36: The Kids are All Right Book Recommendation: Ohio

Day 37: Banned Books Week Book Recommendation: the Banned Books list

Day 38: An Open Letter to Congress Book Recommendation: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Day 39: The Importance of Guilty Pleasures Book Recommendation: The Actress

Day 40: On Stories Never Told Book Recommendation: After Visiting Friends

Day 41: Thank You, Judge Kavanaugh Book Recommendation: Missoula

Day 42: With a Little Help from My Friends Book Recommendation: Bad Feminist

Day 43: Life Doesn’t Flash ... Book Recommendation: Shotgun Lovesongs

Day 44: Crazy Love Book Recommendation: To Be Sung Underwater

Day 45: Simplify, Simplify, Save It Book Recommendation: The Immortalists

Day 46: Ready (or not) for 50 Book Recommendation: The Snow Child

Day 47: The Best Part So Far Book Recommendation: The Light Between Oceans

Day 48: Let It Go Book Recommendation: Life After Life

I blather about books. If you’d like my reviews to hit your in-box, you can sign up here. I also promise a spam-free experience —too busy reading to write and email you every day (hahaha except for right now, but we’re getting closer to the end). I am also on Facebook, trolling for friends. Because we all need more friends. More, more, more.

Filed under: Book Review, mumbo jumbo

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