If you already have children the same question applies.
We all know you can’t force children to read certain books, it just doesn’t work. That is precisely why so many of us hated reading books in school, because they were forced upon us, instead of us willingly wanting to read those books. But if however your future children do read books, which books do you then inwardly hope that they will someday, somehow actually read, maybe even without you or anyone else forcing them to read it?
I read a really great story the other day about a woman who, when she was a little girl, her mother had quite an extensive library. It was so big in fact, that she put a bookshelf in the hallway outside of her daughters room for extra storage. She told her daughter that she could read any of the books in the book case except for the books on the top shelf.
To her delight, her daughter’s curiosity got the better of her and she secretly stole each book from the top shelf to read at night. Little did she know that her mother had deliberately placed the most prized of her collection on that shelf in hopes that her daughter would read them. By the time she was a teenager the girl had read some of the greatest literary works ever written. It just goes to show you what a little curiosity can inspire.
I wish I would have done the same for my daughter. Now at 23 I doubt she will appreciate the giant box of books I’m getting her for Christmas! Too funny, but at least she will have them. Maybe I can give her a story similar to this one…”now that you’re old enough honey, I think it’s time I introduced you to some books I forbade you as a child!” Why not right? I’ll get her something she wants too of course, I’m not that terrible 🙂
Anyway, here is a list of some that I would have placed on the top shelf had I thought of it.
My Top Shelf:
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offers a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform your life to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love. This recommendation would also include any other book he’s ever written as they are all written so eloquently and deliver a clear message that’s worth discovering, even if you felt you already knew it.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Adventurous and incite-full. The Alchemist is an intuitive exploration of purpose, and how it takes the virtues of courage and tenacity to fulfill ones destiny. It alludes to universal truths that all things are interconnected and that while we make things complicated even when they are quite simple. This book takes you on a journey of discovery to the magic that stirs within your life.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
The travel narrative is filled with fundamental questions on how to live your life. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a powerful, moving, and penetrating examination of how we live . . . and a breathtaking meditation on how to live better. Here is the book that transformed a generation.
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
This mind-bending Japanese novel blends two interrelated plots between 15-year-old Kafka, who is on a mission to find his mother and sister, and the older Nakata, a mentally-challenged man who has the ability to speak with cats. The two characters are on a collision course throughout Kafka on the Shore, which is a metaphysical journey filled with magical realism.
Think and Grow Rich Napoleon Hill
Think and Grow Rich has been called the “Granddaddy of All Motivational Literature.” The most famous of all teachers of success spent “a fortune and the better part of a lifetime of effort” to produce the “Law of Success” philosophy that forms the basis of his books and that is so powerfully summarized in this one.
Cosmos by Carl Sagan
Sagan somehow manages to explain 15 billion years of cosmic history while touching on philosophy, religion, and our society. This book is written so even those without a strong science background can understand it, and manages to convey the profound unity of the cosmos.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
In a dystopian world nearly 40 years after the second world war, what remains of Earth has been split into three superpowers after an atomic war, Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia. Everyone in Oceania, including protagonist Winston Smith, is closely monitored by the government. Orwell explores issues of censorship, propaganda, and individualism in 1984 as Winston struggles to escape his monotonous existence.
The Finding of the Third Eye by Vera Stanley Alder
Alder explores the esoteric wisdom of the third eye: the hidden gate of mankind’s ascent toward god-hood. Alder was an investigator of ancient wisdom in the 1930’s. She made it her task to simplify and summarize the knowledge she gained in order to share it with others. She has a rare gift for condensing and synthesizing the essentials of esoteric teaching.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead by Walter Evans-Wentz
The Tibetan Book of the Dead has its origins in the treasure texts said to have been hidden away by Padmasambhava, the Lotus Guru, in Tibet in the 8th century AD so that they could be revealed at an appropriate later time. As a funerary text and guide to the afterlife, The Tibetan Book of the Dead was read aloud to the dying or recently deceased so that they could recognize the true nature of the mind and thus attain enlightenment and liberation from the suffering associated with the endless cycle of death and rebirth. If we too can recognize the true nature of the mind, each one of us can become enlightened.
The Mahabharata by Veda Vyasa
Quite possibly the oldest story ever told. The Mahabharata was written in 5561 B.C. The innermost narrative kernel of The Mahabharata tells the story of two sets of paternal first cousins, the five sons of the deceased king Pandu and the one hundred sons of blind King Dhritarashtra, who became bitter rivals and opposed each other in war for possession of the ancestral Bharata kingdom. What is dramatically interesting within this simple opposition is the large number of individual agendas the many characters pursue, and the numerous personal conflicts, ethical puzzles, subplots, and plot twists that give the story a strikingly powerful development.
Creative Visualization has been successfully used in the fields of health, education, business, sports, and the arts for many years. Gawain explains how to use mental imagery and affirmations to produce positive changes in one’s life. The book contains meditations and exercises that are aimed at helping the practitioner channel energies in positive directions, strengthen self-esteem, improve overall health, and experience deep relaxation. This is the book that launched a movement.
The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
Set your goals high…then exceed them! Millions of people throughout the world have improved their lives using The Magic of Thinking Big. Dr. David J. Schwartz, long regarded as one of the foremost experts on motivation, will help you sell better, manage better, earn more money, and—most important of all—find greater happiness and peace of mind.
1984 by George Orwell
Winston Smith lives in a society where the government controls people’s lives every second of the day. Alone in his small, one-room apartment, Winston dreams of a better life. Is freedom from this life of suffering possible? There must be something that the Party cannot control something like love, perhaps?
Animal Farm by George Orwell
An allegory and satirization of Soviet Communism, Animal Farm is about a group of animals who take over a farm after ousting their human master. And though everything starts alright as all the animals work together and productivity soars, their new society begins to break down as certain animals start to believe that perhaps not all animals are created equal.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Full of intrigue, love, fight scenes, and social satire, The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the best revenge books ever written. It follows Edmond Dantès, a young sailor in 19th century France who is falsely accused of being a Bonapartist traitor and imprisoned for six years. After acquiring a secret fortune from a fellow prisoner, he remakes himself and sets out to find, and repay, everyone in his old life.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, To Kill A Mockingbird is set in Maycomb, Alabama during the Depression and follows the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, the trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman, and the mysterious character Boo Radley. Despite its serious themes of rape, racial inequality, and gender roles, Lee’s story is renowned for its warmth and humor.
The Hobit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
In The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins is whisked away from his comfortable, unambitious life in Hobbiton by the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves. He finds himself caught up in a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo Baggins and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the dwarf; Legolas the elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider. J.R.R. Tolkien’s three volume masterpiece is at once a classic myth and a modern fairy tale, a story of high and heroic adventure set in the unforgettable landscape of Middle-earth.
Dune by Frank Herbert
Dune is to science fiction what Lord of the Rings is to fantasy. Herbert is able to create complete histories, politics, religions, and ecological systems of this feudal interstellar society.
Harry Potter the seven book set by JK Rowling
The author’s imagination is vividly presented in a cast of almost believable characters attending a school we all wish we could attend. Classes like “Defense Against Dark Arts”, “Divination”, “Transfiguration”, “Arithmancy” and “Care of Magical Creatures” are written as if the author actually attended them and certainly enjoyed every minute of class. More than can be said for most of the classes I have attended. Each book in the series encompasses one year of Harry’s fascinating life. The Potter books are written in a way that can charm any age reader.
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Billy Pilgrim is a man who has become unstuck in time after being abducted by aliens, specifically Tralfamadorians for their planet’s zoo. The book follows his capture, as well as his time as an American prisoner of war witnessing the firebombing of Dresden in WWII. Slaughterhouse Five is a comically-dark novel that combines both fantasy and realism.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
In the first book of the series, Arthur Dent is warned by his friend Ford Prefect, a secret researcher for the interstellar travel guide The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, that Earth is about to be demolished. The pair escapes on an alien spaceship, and the book follows their bizarre adventures around the universe along with quotes from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide” like: “A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.”
Truly a must read! The Time Quintet consists of A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time. The digest box set features the art of Taeeun Yoo. A Wrinkle in Time is one of the most significant novels of our time. This fabulous, ground-breaking science-fiction and fantasy story is the first of five in the Time Quintet series about the Murry family. A Wind in the Door―When Charles Wallace falls ill, Meg, Calvin, and their teacher, Mr. Jenkins, must travel inside C.W. to make him well, and save the universe from the evil Echthros. A Swiftly Tilting Planet―The Murry and O’Keefe families enlist the help of the unicorn, Gaudior, to save the world from imminent nuclear war. Many Waters―Meg Murry, now in college, time travels with her twin brothers, Sandy and Dennys, to a desert oasis that is embroiled in war. An Acceptable Time―While spending time with her grandparents, Alex and Kate Murry, Polly O’Keefe wanders into a time 3,000 years before her own.
Imagica by Clive Barker
Imajica is an epic beyond compare: vast in conception, obsessively detailed in execution, and apocalyptic in its resolution. At its heart lies the sensualist and master art forger, Gentle, whose life unravels when he encounters Judith Odell, whose power to influence the destinies of men is vaster than she knows, and Pie ‘oh’ pah, an alien assassin who comes from a hidden dimension.
That dimension is one of five in the great system called Imajica. They are worlds that are utterly unlike our own, but are ruled, peopled, and haunted by species whose lives are intricately connected with ours. As Gentle, Judith, and Pie ‘oh’ pah travel the Imajica, they uncover a trail of crimes and intimate betrayals, leading them to a revelation so startling that it changes reality forever.
What Are Your Top Shelf Books?