1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: My top favorite book of all time. I’ve read this book over 16 times. It is a lovely example of Victorian writing and the essence of the language transports the reader to a different time and place. Follow Jane through her rough beginning to her finding happiness in many different forms. Be thrilled with the mystery that presents itself, be horrified when the mystery is revealed, be reduced to see the compassion in all of the main characters, see parts of yourself, your friends, your family, and your own life reflected in the pages as you turn through them.
2. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami: I love Haruki Murakami’s style. I was introduced to him by his novel “The Wind Up Bird Chronicle.” That book would be on this list except that it is quite long and “Kafka on the Shore” shares many similar themes and is much shorter. Murakami’s language will make you FEEL what the characters in the story are feeling – this is a wonderful gift that not many authors have. Furthermore, this book ranked on the New York Time’s Best Books of 2005 list and won the World Fantasy Award.  Enjoy the writing as the book chapters tell two distinct but interrelated plots through narrative. Draw your own conclusions about popular culture, religious themes, and ideals of great philosophers all without knowing you’re reading anything but a story. (*Not suitable for young or immature readers as there are instances of potent sexuality.*)
3. The Being of Two Minds by Pamela F. Service: I have loved this book since I was in elementary school. Though it is a young-adult fiction piece, there is always something to be said for indulgence and what is the harm if it takes up but an afternoon? The story revolves around two young adults; one, Connie (don’t call her Constance), who is a typical American teenager and Crown Prince Rudolf of Thulgaria who share a secret. A secret which will drag one of them into danger and save the other from life threatening peril.
4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon. Imagine being unable to lie, hating to be touched, being superb at match and science but not being able to understand jokes, human emotions, or what people say when they say something other than what they mean. This is the life of the 15 year-old narrator of this story. Amazingly well written, this book gives a huge insight into the world of an autistic child’s life, frustrations, obstacles, and pleasures.
5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: This book has great dialogue, is an easy read and most importantly started the cult-like following of fans ranging so many age groups, reading levels, and socio-economic status. Whether you like the series or not, reading this book will let you in on one of the most prolific series since J.R.R. Tolkien.