I can’t believe I’m about to make this list public, but I feel pretty confident in it. It’s very infrequent that I label something as an all-time favorite book, and if you’ve seen me do it, it’s probably in reference to one of these ten books. I think this list makes sense. I’m less confident in the order, but I’m going to try not to list these alphabetical, but in order of actual top ten favorite books of all time. Here we go.
I often say that HP is not my top book of all time, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, it is. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling has been there for me countless times, when I was least expecting it and when I needed it the most. I’ve reread it so many times, and it’s just such a source of comfort and relief to step back into that world when it was still innocent and before any of the impending chaos.
It was actually a really hard decision to make, whether Sorcerer’s Stone or An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield should be in the number one slot. This book was life-changing for me, and I really, truly mean that. I think about it all the time. I’m a huge space fan already, but Hadfield’s book is really down to earth in a way that it’s accessible to someone who isn’t. And he has great lessons to share, lessons that have reshaped how I look at both the world and my own life.
We all knew Maggie Stiefvater was going to appear on this list somewhere, but I bet you didn’t expect it to be Shiver. This was the first book I ever read by her, and it definitely left its mark. Much like Sorcerer’s Stone, I’m not quite sure how many times I’ve read it, just that it’s a source of comfort for me. I love being able to slip back into my favorite characters and the soft, slow way Maggie writes this story. I love the chilly wintry feel and the hope that threads itself through.
I read The Holy Wild by Danielle Dulsky a few years ago, and it had much the same effect on me as Astronaut’s Guide. I had to keep putting it down and just quietly going woah. I sent my friend dozens of pictures of quotes. There are so many dog ears, margin notes, and highlights. I return to single chapters of it constantly. Whenever I’m doing something even the slightest bit witchy for yoga, I end up bringing this with me, even if I don’t use it. It’s so powerful.
I really didn’t want to do two books by the same author on this list, but I ended up really not having a tenth book that I felt comfortable putting on a top ten of all time. There are a lot of books that I love way more than others, but of all time? So, I gave in and chose the only other book that made sense, even if it meant putting two by the same author.
I mean, duh. The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien was one of my favorite reads of 2019, and I’ve honestly thought about it almost every day since then. Don’t believe me? Here’s my review, that time I created an entire primer for elves, if it’s really worth the read, and why I love Morgoth & Sauron so much. And, believe it or not, this is actually my favorite Tolkien book. I should note that I haven’t reread the trilogy in a long time, so that might change, but I’m pretty confident it won’t.
I know, I know, how dare I list The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien after another book by him! I also always used to list Two Towers as my favorite Tolkien book, butttttt I’m pretty sure it’s just my favorite movie, and I LOVE beginning books so much, it makes the most sense to me to have this one here instead.
The Someday Birds by Sally J Pla was one of the first books that I thought of for this list. I love it so immensely that I somehow convinced my mother to read it, who has read probably three books in the last four decades. And she ended up reading it to the grade school class that she visits. This past year, we even got Sally to Skype with the class so that they could ask her questions! This is truly one of the sweetest books I’ve ever read, and honestly, if you’re only going to walk away with one book from this list, let it be this.
I’m realizing that many of these books are not ones I talk about a lot, and are also ones that I read quite some time ago. I read Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O’Donohue in college, and it was another book that I quoted to the same friend over and over. Anam cara means soul friend, both in relation to actual people and to the earth beneath us, and the philosophy that O’Donohue talks about is both beautiful and powerful.
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell is my favorite Mitchell book, and it was totally mind-blowing to me when I first read it. It was the first time I realized that he was doing something much, much bigger than I’d realized, which I’ll talk more about tomorrow. It’s really such a masterpiece, and I’m still a little boggled about it. Like, this? This is arguably the best written of everything on here.
My Spiritual Journey by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama XIV is my favorite of his books that I’ve read, though it’s also the most difficult. It discusses his journey from becoming the Dalai Lama to having to literally escape Tibet to avoid assassination, and it’s really hard to listen to someone so kind go through so much.