8 Books Everyone Should Read

Mama's Losin' It



The Prompts:

1.) An old school song that makes you happy.
2.) Something you’re thankful for.
3.) An outfit you love(d). (inspired by NaBloPoMo)
4.) A new favorite something.
5.) List 8 books you’ve read that you think everyone should read in their lifetime.


Ah, it’s time for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop again.  I adore these weekly writing prompts.  I’m having trouble deciding which one to go with this week, but the nerd in me has decided to stick to number 5. and list 8 books I’ve read that I think everyone should read in their lifetime.  I honestly do think everyone should read these I’m getting ready to list, though I can list about 20 easy.  

1.   Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler –  This is a book that I probably would have read the back cover and laid it aside to never pick up again.  However, I was laid up at my great aunt’s house where my grandmother was staying in 1999.  I was around 22 and had just had my gall bladder removed and the staples and stuff were very uncomfortable, understated.  This was the only book my aunt had in her nightstand in the guest bedroom, so since I wasn’t leaving the bed anytime soon other than bathroom breaks, I picked it up.  It is now my all time favorite book ever.  I let my cousin borrow my copy and when she moved to N.C. she stole forgot to give me back the book. I had to order another copy from Books-A-Million.   I won’t give the plot away but the book is basically about a teenage boy, who throughout the story blames himself for an incident that seemed to have a chain reaction.  He is guilt ridden and won’t tell anyone why, but throughout the book he searches for atonement, wanting to stop feeling guilty.  The places he looks, and finds, are written with humor, hope, and sadness.  I think everyone should grab this book and cuddle up this winter for a book that you don’t want to put down. 

Saint Maybe

2.  Paint It Black by Janet Fitch –  No, this book isn’t about the Rolling Stones song.  It is a fabulous book.  I’m a huge fan of Janet Fitch’s book White Oleander also, which is what caused me to order this book.  This is a story of two young lovers from different walks of life, and when one commits suicide, his girlfriend, Josie begins digging into his other life, the life where he was rich and grew up with a narcissist of a mother.  Mother and girlfriend blame one another for the death of Micheal, yet they feel compelled to connect somehow because their memories and each other are the only ties they have left to him.  Written with honesty, anger at Micheal, guilt over him, and facing the person you blame, this is a wonderful book that makes you look forward to any other book you pick up by Janet Fitch. 

paint it black

3.  The Liar’s Club  by Mary Karr –  This is a memoir of Mary’s childhood, how crazy her parents are, her older sister and her surviving the insanity that bound them together, and her love for her father, even though she realized he lied a lot.  It’s such a horrific story for a childhood, yet Karr puts a wonderfully funny spin on things.  So, you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry for her.  She also went on to write the memoir Cherry about her coming of age at 18 and the craziness that was the Woodstock era.  I own it.  I also purchased her poetry book, Viper Rum.  She has another memoir, Lit, that I haven’t read yet and several poetry books.  Anything of hers I can read, I will definitely get around to it.  Her ability to tell her story so vividly and so creative makes her an amazing writer. 

the liar's club

4.  Blood Orange by Drusilla Campbell –  This is brilliant novel about marriages, routines, friendship, affairs, children, faith, and how with every choice we make, there is a consequence good or bad.  Powerfully written to expose each character’s humanity, and ability to lie.  As I read through this book, and have re-read it recently, I still find it amazing that at points in the story, I’m really rooting for one of the characters.  Then with a simple twist in the story, I find myself disliking that same character and only because they had normal, human responses.  This novel is wonderful at having the reader feel each character’s emotions, and being able to see things in the eyes of each one. 

Blood Orange

5.  The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls –  Her memoir of growing up, struggling because her parents were drifters, they never stayed in the same town for long, until they moved in the town where her father’s parents lived, and then it seemed they were stuck.  She opens her soul to the reader, allowing the reader to laugh with her, cry with her, and get mad with her.  It’s also a tale of a little girl who wants to believe in her father even when her mother doesn’t, and her brother and sister’s have gave up on him.  This memoir walks the reader through a tragic childhood and into her adulthood where she learns her life was made so rough because of one single choice her mother made.  

The Glass Castle

6.  Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz –  I love how this novel is written in the different perspectives of each character.  As the story let’s the reader get involved with each character’s thoughts, there is still no clues as to what the mystery is.  I was compelled to keep reading because every time I believed I had it figured out, something would shift in the story, making me doubt my previous thoughts and wanting to find the answer.  It’s also about the bond between sisters, the jealousy when one finds a husband, a husband who is off in the army, his grief mixed with the feeling he’s being lied to.  When the end does come, it’s not at all what you would expect but in a good way so that you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. 

drowning ruth

7.  Summer Sisters by Judy Blume – I have been a huge fan of Judy Blume since I was in about 4th grade and read her book Blubber.  To be 9 or 10 and realize a grown-up had written this “children’s book” that contained more cuss words than I’d heard my grandfather say, made her a 10 on my coolness rating scale.  Summer Sisters is a book that I believe every female can relate to. I know the prompt said “8 I’d recommend anybody read” but this could benefit men as well by giving them a true idea of what puberty and growing up can be like for girls. I also believe we all have that 1 friend, the friend we are first just in awe of, then get to know them to the point of them losing the ‘awe’ factor, and then they become like sisters to us.  It’s also the one friend that needs to be the center of attention, the friend that sometimes hurts you, or is unpredictable.  The friend that makes all your other friends question why you even tolerate such a friendship, and the only lame answer you can muster up is, “We’ve been friends over half of our lives and that’s just the way she is.  You’d have to know her.”  Your other friends in the meantime are thanking the gods they don’t know her.  Wrap all this into a wonderful book and you get Blume’s reaction from each friend’s point of view. 

summer sisters

8.  To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee –  I suppose this could be called a classic.  It’s a very good book told through the eyes of a young girl who doesn’t understand the reason some things are the way they are.  To look at life from her point of view, do any of us understand some of the issues mentioned in this book?  Some of the book is written with a touch of humor and some written with a seriousness that pulls on the reader’s heart strings. There are many lessons throughout the book. I believe everyone should read this book once.  I’ve read it several times.  

to kill a mockingbird

This is my prompt for Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop.  Go link up on her page after you choose your prompt.  


6 responses

  1. An interesting list… unfortunately (for me I suppose) I haven’t heard of many of those books… guess it’s time to expand my horizons. 🙂 However, I have heard of and most definitely read To Kill a Mockingbird and it ended up on my list of top eight books as well. You can check out my list if you like. 🙂 http://youmeandacupofteablog.blogspot.com/2013/11/eight-must-read-books.html

    1. Thank you for stopping by. I have seen on so many blogs that chose that prompt books I never heard of. I’m ashamed to say I had never heard of “The Great Gatsby” until back in May when the movie came out. Then I ordered the book asap. Fell in love with the book and his beautiful wording.

  2. I really enjoyed Drowning Ruth and my daughter asked for The Glass Castle for Christmas because her English teacher was reading from it to the class and she got hooked. Some of those others sound intriguing too. There are so many good books out there that we can all have different – and equally good – lists of eight. (Yep, I chose the same prompt)

    1. I have tried visiting all the list of books because I’m crazy about reading. There are so many I have written down on my very long list of books to read. I agree that even with all the different list, if the book touched that person, there is something special about it. The Glass Castle is a wonderful read. I still love quotes from that book. Super cool that your daughter ask for a book too!!! My second grader loves to read and is actually reading her 11 year old sister’s book, Charlotte’s Web.

  3. Oh, I love Anne Tyler so much! She had a new one out recently (last year, maybe?) but I’m afraid to read it because for some reason I’m afraid it won’t be good, and that would be tragic. To Kill a Mockingbird made my list, too.

    1. Wow. I didn’t know she had a recent book out. That would be tragic if it wasn’t good, but for some reason I thought the same of “Saint Maybe” until the 3rd line into the book. I may tread there, lightly. Thanks for letting me know! 🙂

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