Posted in books


The hardest thing for a bookworm to do is pick their all-time favorite book. So, I’ve compiled a list of several of my favorites, along with a short summary and why I love them. In no particular order:

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Dorian Gray is an impressionable young man, the muse of a talented painter named Basil Hallward. Basil’s friend, Lord Henry, takes quite a liking to Dorian, and takes him under his wing, showing the young man the Hedonistic ways of the world. Trouble comes when Basil finishes his portrait of Dorian – Dorian takes one look at it and wishes that he could stay that young and beautiful for the rest of his life. But is there more to this wish than Dorian intended?

The main reason I love The Picture of Dorian Gray is because of Wilde’s incredibly beautiful prose. Lines like “Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic,” and “Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope,” showcase the aesthetic movement that Wilde was trying to represent in his only novel.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

This series opens with Blue Sargent, a teenage girl in a family of psychics, pondering the many readings she has gotten that all say the same thing – if she kisses her true love, he will die. So, she has simply decided that she will never fall in love, thus avoiding the issue all together. But when she meets a group of boys from Aglionby Academy, everything changes. She joins them on their epic quest, looking for the grave of a Welsh king, the reward being a granted wish. This is a very simplified description of the first book in a series of incredible adventure, all-consuming friendship, and true loves.

Maggie Stiefvater really does it with her prose. Perhaps the most iconic quote in this book, in my opinion, is “‘Is this thing safe?”
“Safe as life,” Gansey replied.'” The lines can be quick, quippy, but they carry a heavy weight with them. Stiefvater is also a master of characterization. The characters seem real, like they’re your best friends instead of words on a page. She has heavily influenced my writing as I try to emulate that.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Emily Hughes is a regular seventeen year old – she loves her family and her best friend, Sloane Williams. Sloane has a habit of sending Emily lists when she goes on vacations, different things to do in each new locale. But this summer, things are different. Sloane has disappeared with her parents to some unknown location with absolutely no warning. All she leaves Emily is another list, with things like “Hug a Jamie” and “Ride a Horse.” Emily dutifully follows this list, hoping that it will magically bring Sloane back into her life. Along the way, she meets new people, makes new friends, and has an all together unforgettable summer

The reason this book made it into my favorites list is because from the beginning, I really connected with Emily. In fact, my best friend and I call each other Emily and Sloane because of this book. At the start, Emily is a shy girl with no penchant for adventure, and Sloane is her only friend. By the end of the book, though, she is able to push for what she wants, speak up for herself, and has had the summer of a lifetime. When I first read this, I was fifteen or sixteen, and I felt exactly like Beginning Emily, and I wanted desperately to be like End Emily. I am now. And I’ll always list Morgan Matson as one of my favorite writers for giving me a character to look up to.

Love Looks Pretty on You by Lang Leav

This collection of poetry and prose actually just came out last month, and it quickly worked its way into my heart. It’s harder to do a summary for a book of poetry, so I’ll skip to why I love it, including some snippets.

I think the reason this book resonated so deeply with me is because I was going through a heartbreak when I read it. The book focuses on love, but different kinds, especially self-love and platonic love, with less of a focus on romance. My favorite line is “The most beautiful thing is not when you learn to live without something; it’s the moment you realize you never
needed it in the first place.” And this is so true – if you’ve lived without something before, you can do it again, and you can, in fact, be better off without it. Leav’s words really struck a cord with me, and I’m very thankful I found this book when I did.

For now, these are the books I’ll leave you with. They have meant a lot to me, and I’ve read most of them several times. I’ll add books to this list as I come across more that reach favorite status. As a closing, have one last quote from Love Looks Pretty on You,

Don’t stay where you are needed. Go where you are loved.

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