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Book Recommendations: Top 3 I Would Recommend to Anyone

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The Phantom Tollbooth


Now, this may technically be a children’s book, but you are vastly underestimating it if you think you can’t glean value from it at any age. The Phantom Tollbooth is my favorite book of all time because it has stuck with me through the years; it has clung to my mind like a child with it’s mother to a point where I often relate real life scenarios back to it’s rhetorical and hyperbolic nature.


In this book you follow a young boy named Milo, who spends his whole life moving from point A to point B without stopping to enjoy the journey in between. He’s always looking for something to make him happy and attentive rather than learning how to create it for himself. One day he returns home to find a toy tollbooth for his assembling in his room, and upon doing so and traveling through the toll, he is transported to the lands of Digitopolis and Dictionopolis where words don’t always mean what you think they do and jumping to conclusions could be the worst mistake you ever make.


This book is so outrageously clever in the way it makes you think about language, diction, and syntax. It makes you view the world around you in a whole new way, and every time I read it, I take something new away from it. If you’re looking for a creative boost, this is the book to read!

Original cover of The Phantom Tollbooth published in 1988 ( source: https://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Tollbooth-Norton-Juster/dp/0394820371 )

Original cover of The Phantom Tollbooth published in 1988

https://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Tollbooth-Norton-Juster/dp/0394820371

Shadow of the Wind


This book rested with me in ways no other book ever has. I like to think of this as the every person’s book because it really does contain elements of most genres so any reader can enjoy it. It has mystery, it has thrills, it has romance, it has drama, and it has a touch of humor. It’s a love letter to those who love books. It’s an analysis of family dynamics and how that shapes us into who we become. It’s a deeply unsettling picture of how secrets can tear us apart. It’s a gorgeous and accurate painting of Barcelona in the aftermath of the Spanish civil war.


When Daniel Sempere’s father wakes him up in the early hours of the morning to take him to a secret place, he has no idea what to expect. At only 10 years old his life, which had already changed forever with the passing of his mother, is about to drastically shift again. His dad takes Daniel to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a long-kept secret beneath the streets of Barcelona. The caretaker tells Daniel he can take one book with him, but that it’s his duty to protect that book for the rest of his life. The book Shadow of the Wind calls out to him from a shelf deep within the maze of books, and its author, Julian Carax, will prove to be one of the most influential people in Daniel’s life, even if he doesn’t know it yet.


This novel constantly reminds me of the true beauty, grace, and power of storytelling. It’s incredibly rich with culture, atmosphere, raw characters, and gorgeous writing. You will not regret picking it up.

U.S. cover of Shadow of The Wind; originally written in Spanish published in 2005 ( source: https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Wind-Carlos-Ruiz-Zaf%C3%B3n/dp/0143034901 )

U.S. cover of Shadow of The Wind; originally written in Spanish published in 2005

https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Wind-Carlos-Ruiz-Zaf%C3%B3n/dp/0143034901

The Book Thief


I am not traditionally a historical fiction buff, but between Shadow of the Window and The Book Thief, maybe I should be. This is easily one of the most moving and powerful books I have ever read. This was also a very popular book and won a lot of awards, so if you haven’t read it or even heard of it, then I don’t know where you’ve been all these years. It shines a light on the horrors of World War II in a way unlike any other story, fiction or nonfiction, told about that time in our country’s history. Another book that’s a love letter to book lovers, it radiates with a melancholy beauty that is almost palpable.


Liesel Meminger is a young, German foster child living near Munich. Living day-to-day surrounded by so much hate and violence, she finds solace in small acts of rebellion by stealing books from book burnings or anywhere else she can get her hands on them. Her foster father teachers her to read and she steals away moments in their home to read in secret… and often with the Jewish man the family is hiding in their basement.


This is an incredibly powerful story about finding one’s path and following your morals, even in a dangerous world that tries to tell you what to think. It’s a book about kindness and small mercies. It’s a book about finding shining gems hidden in dark places. Did I mention this story is also narrated by death? I’ll leave you now so you can go pick up a copy.

Cover of The Book Thief published in 2007. ( source: https://www.amazon.com/Book-Thief-Markus-Zusak/dp/0375842209 )

Cover of The Book Thief published in 2007.

https://www.amazon.com/Book-Thief-Markus-Zusak/dp/0375842209

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