If you’ve been making your holiday wish list – or if you’ve been thinking about updating your must-read list, we encourage you to add some of these books into the mix. Books are always great gifts to give and to receive, since readers can be transported into new worlds full of adventure, entertainment, and sometimes, personal growth.
This list of 17 books has something for everyone. There are timeless classics, young adult novels that offer new meanings when read years later, and new bestsellers that you won’t want to miss!
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Memories of Summer by Ruth White
A young girl, Lyric, and her older sister, Summer, move, grow up and change in a book about loss, grief and acceptance. This book, set in 1955, is also about mental illness, and – as one of the American Library Association’s top ten books of 2001 – readers of all ages can truly take something special away from this read.
It by Stephen King
In 1986, the King of Horror wrote about seven individuals being haunted by their greatest fears in Derry, Maine. In 1990, a TV mini-series brought that story to life, and this year, fans flocked to the theater to see a full-length film version of this haunting tale. The book is the scariest version though!
This is Water by David Foster Wallace
This piece came about during a commencement speech given at Kenyon College in 2005. It inspired graduates to seize the day, to be aware, to live life to the fullest, and now, readers of all ages, from all parts of the world and in all stages of life can be inspired, too.
Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton
Those who love Jurassic Park will enjoy this paleontology story set in the Wild West, full of Indian tribes, the gold rush, dinosaur fossils and a rivalry known as the Bone Wars (which is based on a real-life rivalry between real-life paleontologists!).
1984 by George Orwell
“In 1984, London is a grim city in the totalitarian state of Oceania where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind.” Sound familiar? This book is about the future, it is set in our recent past, and it is quite relevant in today’s world.
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
This real-life crime story tells about the murder of the Clutter family in rural Kansas. Truman Capote met with the killers to provide a mesmerizing insider’s look into this violent act.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Le Cirque des Rêves is more magical than any other circus, with over-the-top attractions and actual magic drawing guests in. Plus, two young magicians are battling it out throughout the story, and they end up falling in love.
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
This classic follows an American family that buys a British manor that is haunted by a ghost. Years later, the story is still delightfully chilling.
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks inThe Da Vinci Code) is back after a strange object covered in symbols is discovered. He then falls head first into an adventure involving Masonic secrets, hidden history and tunnels beneath Washington, D.C. – all in Dan Brown’s most exciting novel.
Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
In this story, families of the future are only allowed to have two children, but Luke exists as an illegal third child – a shadow child who must remain hidden at all times. One day, though, he sees a face in a window of the house next door…a house that already has two children. Are there others like him? Should he risk finding out? Can he afford not to?
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Published in 1860, this is considered to be one of the first mystery novels: a mysterious woman, mistaken identities, surprise revelations, an asylum…What else do you need??
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
A fun group of adventurers head out to find buried treasure in a book that doesn’t get old – no matter how long ago it was written or how many times it has been read.
The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell
A big-game hunter shipwrecks on an isolated island. In order for him to leave, he must partake in a game…a game in which he is hunted by a Russian aristocrat.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
This is where it all started…The debut novel about Harry Potter, The Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry and the hijinks of some of the world’s most beloved characters.
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Two decades after To Kill a Mockingbird, a twenty-six-year-old Scout comes home to visit her father. The book deals with civil rights tensions and political turmoil, as well as Scout finding out disturbing truths about her family and her town. (See a full review here.)
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
This classic book is about shepherd boy who sets off to find worldly treasures and ends up discovering things that are far more treasured, on a journey of self-discovery. (See a full review here.)
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
Even if you’ve seen this movie and even if you aren’t into “love stories”, you have to read this book about a steadfast commitment and bond – Just get the tissues ready.