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books on a bookshelf
books on a bookshelf
Tasha Young
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Guelph chapter.

Whether you are the type of person who can sit down and read for hours on end or can only find the time and patience to spare a few minutes here and there, there is no feeling like realizing that the book you are reading is actually good. And I don’t mean good as in well-written with an interesting plot. 

I mean the kind of good that as soon as you finish the last chapter, you want to go back to the very first. 

That you just want somebody else to read it too so they can understand your fascination. 

The kind of good that could swallow you whole. 

Finding a book like this is rare, and it is also very selective. I am an avid reader and I’ve only had the luck of meeting a book as such a handful of times. But I am also the type of person who, with most books I read, just want others to know of them too. So here are 12 books which, I believe, deserve to meet as many readers as possible. 

Books from High School Classrooms 

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote: Set in 1959, In Cold Blood tells the story of a savage murder. Or, four to be exact. A murder that looked to have no motive and left behind barely any clues. Capote follows the tale from beginning to end, crime to punishment, with incredible suspense and unexpected empathy. It combines the traits of a talented storyteller with journalistic expertise, blurring the line between fact and fiction. 

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: Wilde’s most popular work, The Picture of Dorian Gray follows the story of a young man who sells his soul in exchange for everlasting youth and beauty. First released in 1890, the novel was looked down upon because of its tainted plot and bad influence when, in fact, it holds many great lessons of morality. In addition to the gripping characters and the genius of the story itself, Wilde’s writing remains absolutely beautiful from start to finish. 

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien: Written to be both a novel and a short story but managing to be neither, this book confronts many understated issues. O’Brien crafts a fiction story set in the Vietnam war which leaves behind a feeling of eerie truth. He shows snippets from the lives of multiple characters, ranging from childhood memories to the depths of the battlefield. His unique artistic vision creates a bond between reader and character, and I can guarantee this book will stir up many new thoughts, feelings, and questions. 

Books Which Will Draw You In 

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell: This work of nonfiction follows the Durrell family as, by means of escaping the damp, grey English weather, they uproot their lives and relocate to sunny Corfu. Written by the youngest Durrell, it was originally intending to explore the natural history and wildlife of the Greek Island, but the book was effortlessly taken over by the entertaining family experiences and delightful personalities. You will be given a new appreciation of nature from the perspective of Gerald Durrell, who is essentially the father of conservation, as well as fall in love with the rest of the quirky family along the way. 

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin: McPartlin masters the art of juxtaposition as she tells the story of kind, feisty, lover-of-life Rabbit Hayes battling out her last days until death. Confronting her last days with strength and laughter, this is a bittersweet story confined to a hospice bed as well as years of memories. 

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran: Set in 1990, this is a coming of age novel filled with every emotion you can think of, from hilarity to embarrassment to heartbreak. Fourteen-year-old Johanna Morrigan reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde, rising from the depths of her poverty-stricken neighborhood in all the greatest efforts of rebellion. 

Books to Set Your Heart Racing 

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides: Alicia Berenson is a famous painter, married to a fashion photographer, living in a house with big windows, overlooking a park in one of London’s most popular areas. But one night, after her husband returns home late from work, Alicia shoots him five times in the face and never speaks again. Criminal psychotherapist, Theo Faber, is determined to unravel the mystery but is dangerously consumed by his own search for the truth. 

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver: Eva never wanted to be a mother, not really. In a whirlwind of love, marriage, and parenthood, she finds herself with a son she sees as unlovable. And, when two days before his sixteenth birthday, Kevin does something which changes his life, hers, and the life of everyone else in the world, Eva worries that her dislike for her own son could be the reason for his actions. 

The Red Dragon by Thomas Harris: Will Graham; the greatest profiler the FBI ever had. Hannibal Lecter; forensic psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer. Graham has to play in Lecter’s game in hopes of catching the serial killer known as “The Tooth Fairy”, while confronting the physical and mental scars capturing Lecter placed on him years before. 

Books to Tell You Some Truth 

Somebody to Love: The Life, Death and Legacy of Freddie Mercury by Matt Richards & Mark Langthorne: Freddie Mercury remains the world’s most captivating showman even today. Including interviews from Freddie’s closest friends in the last years of his life, this biography follows his life in moving detail, from looking at his search for love to success in music. Interwoven is the astonishing story of how the HIV virus took hold of the world, cruelly known as “The Gay Plague”, effecting the lives of thousands of men, women, and children. 

Educated by Tara Westover: Born to a survivalist Mormon family in Idaho, Tara’s memoir gives insight into being sick or hurt when her father forbade hospitals and being so removed from society that there is no one to ensure she got an education. Tara begins to educate herself, struggling with her roots even when she manages to get out of her family’s grips to make a life for herself. A coming-of-age story, offering valuable insight into the importance of an education and taking control of your own life. 

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell: “Outliers” are the best and the brightest of the world. Gladwell’s intellectual journey brings up how instead of paying attention to what successful people are like we should focus on where they come from; childhood experiences, culture, generation, and so on. He reveals secrets along the way, from why the Beatles make the greatest rock band to how birth months affect success in the life of a hockey player. 

As Ernest Hemingway once said; “There is no friend as loyal as a good book.” And I hope at least one of these will become your good friend. 

Guelph Contributor Account for writers at the University of Guelph!