Enlightened State

10 Books You May Not Have Read Yet, But Definitely Should

BooksMorgan Vanek2 Comments

So many classic books are just that  - for a reason.  New and old, there are some titles that nearly everyone has read, whether it's because they took high school English or because they saw the New York Times Bestseller List.  

When you walk into a used bookstore, you're bound to find multiples of some titles, like The Alchemist and The Great Gatsby and A Farewell to Arms.  Those books are awesome, and if you haven't read them yet, you definitely should.  But what's a bookworm to do when they have read all of those, and a lot more?  

There are millions of different books out there, and each one is unique.  Some of them read like the Harry Potter series, but others seem like they were written by Peter Pettigrew.  Reading a book is a big investment of your time, and it's frustrating to get to the last page and feel disappointed.  

If you feel like you've read everything, check out this list of ten books you may not have read yet, but definitely should.  There's something here for everyone, whether you're looking for fiction or non-fiction, classic or contemporary.  All of these titles will leave you with something new to think about, and each provides a solid reading experience.  

Mother Night: A Novel
By Kurt Vonnegut

In my old job as a buyer of used books, I only saw a copy of Mother Night come across my counter once.  I'm a huge fan of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions, so I snapped it up immediately.  I'm so glad I did, because now it's one of my favorite novels.  Mother Night is the story of Howard W. Campbell, Jr., an American who is on trial for war crimes during World War II as a member of the Nazi party in Germany.  This surprisingly humorous story is one you'll want to read more than once.


Fans of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre will enjoy this book written by the lesser-known Bronte sister, Anne.  It's widely credited as being one of the first feminist novels, and it's relatable even today.  Helen Graham is a woman who fell in love with the wrong person, and the consequences of her decision to marry him even in the face of some pretty big red flags will resonate with you if you've ever had the misfortune of going through something similar.  


As a child, you probably read Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.  If you were lucky, you also got your hands on A Swiftly Tilting Planet and A Wind in the Door.  As an adult, I discovered that these books were actually part of a quintet, not a trilogy, and that there were two more books I hadn't read yet.  Many Waters became not only my favorite in the series, but one of my favorite novels of all time.  It's a re-telling of the biblical story of Noah's Ark, and it weaves faith, philosophy, and time travel seamlessly into one masterpiece.  


Steal Like An Artist is a short read, but a useful one.  If you've ever been interested in creating something, you should definitely pick up Austin Kleon's little book that packs a big punch.  It will help you come up with great ideas no matter what your medium is.  And if you have ever told someone that you're not creative, this is the perfect book for you.  Pick it up for some inspiration.  


This Side of Paradise
By F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald gets a lot of attention for The Great Gatsby, but you should also check out This Side of Paradise.  I fell in love with the tragic, charming Amory Blaine, who never seems to get it quite right.  If you're young and struggling to get it together, this book is for you. If you're no longer in that place in your life, read Paradise  to remember what it was like to feel like Taylor Swift - happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time. 


Well, this is embarrassing.  I first discovered Kelly Cutrone while binge-watching old episodes of The Hills a few years ago.  Watching that show taught me two things:  I'm never going to be shiny enough to make it in LA, and Kelly Cutrone is a total badass.  Whether you're making it in the fashion industry or just trying to make it to your next paycheck, Cutrone has some motivation for you, and her mystical, no-nonsense view of the world will inspire you to make sense of your own life.  Read If You Have To Cry, Go Outside if you need a pep talk.  


Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See  is an accurate look into what it is like to live with unchecked mental illness. It's not an happy read, or a particularly uplifting one, but if you have been touched by mental illness in some way, you should pick up Juliann Garey's incredible novel about a man who escapes his life in an effort to set his mind free.  


Cheryl Strayed's Wild made her famous.  Just a few months later, she published a collection of advice columns that she wrote for literary website The Rumpus.  Tiny Beautiful Things helped me through a really hard time in my life, and I still go back to it every so often.  If you've ever experienced fear, grief, hopelessness, or hurt of any kind, you need to read this book today.  


Sellevision: A Novel
By Augusten Burroughs

I hope you're familiar with humorist Augusten Burroughs, who wrote Magical Thinking, Running With Scissors, and Dry.  His memoirs and essays are funny and heartbreaking at the same time, and it's no wonder they're so popular.  However, many people don't realize that Burroughs' first book was a novel, and they end up missing it because it's shelved in a completely different section at the bookstore. Sellevision is the story of four people who are tied together by a home shopping network called Sellevision.  Grab this short read if you need a laugh.  


I'm not sure why more people haven't read Todd Henry's book, The Accidental Creative.  It seems like the sort of title that would go straight to the top of the bestseller lists, but for some reason, no one I know has read it.  It's an engaging read that will help you harness the power of creativity in your own life and use it to make your dreams come true.  If you work in a creative field (or have ever wanted to), this book is for you.  


Have you read any of the books on this list?  What are your favorite uncommon reads?

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