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19 Books You HAVE To Read Before You Die

These won’t change your life, but sure as hell will make you a more rounded human…

How many times have you heard “this book will change your life”? Well, it’s very rarely true. Books can help you, there is no denying that, but they can serve many other purposes.

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

– Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

We reached out to a group of avid readers and have compiled a list of the 19 books you should read before you die. From Pride and Prejudice to Emotional GRIT: 8 Steps to Master Your Emotions, Transform Your Thoughts & Change Your World, there is something in this list for everyone…

#1 Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse is a must read again and again before dying. The book deals with the spiritual journey of a teenager seeking to find the true meaning of life and enlightenment.

It’s a tremendous tale about the struggles of pursuing and acheiving goals only to deal with the self recognition that the desires we had while in pursuit of the goal are not always the same ones we have once we accomplish it.

It’s a book about forgiveness, about love, about reflection, and about knowing the difference between seeking wisdom and finding wisdom.

Lastly, it’s a book about leaving home and the realization that adulthood can be an incredibly lonely and boring experience, much unlike the childhood we seek to expedite. But through it all, we can find enlightenment in our own lives if, to paraphrase Siddhartha, “we can think, we can fast, and we can wait”. My life has become much more meaningful and the world has become a much more beautiful place since doing those three things.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Nathan Atkins

Company: gypsyenergysecrets.com

13 points
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#2 Gypsy Energy Secrets

Would you like to dance your way through life? Heal yourself? Greet whatever happened in your life with open arms knowing there is an underlying purpose for you? Imagine being able to tap into your inner strength when you are feeling depleted and to call healing into your life.

My book Gypsy Energy Secrets: Turning a Bad Day into a Good Day No Matter What Life Throws at You is a quadruple #1 international bestseller for a reason: it helps people heal.

Learn physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of your well-being through simple exercises and mindfulness techniques that will lead to better days and outlook on life. Discover how this knowledge originated with the ancient Romani people, and how even in today’s modern and stressful society, you can channel nature’s powerful and revitalizing energies to celebrate all life that is around you. Soon you will be dancing like the Gypsies!

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Gypsy Energy?

Company: gypsyenergysecrets.com

8 points
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#3 Emotional GRIT: 8 Steps to Master Your Emotions, Transform Your Thoughts & Change Your World

Emotional GRIT book is an in-depth guide to ignite lasting transformation for anyone who wants to step into their power and become the best version of themselves. From world-class leaders to stay-at-home moms, Emotional GRIT is written to empower the individual so they can master their emotions, discover inner strength and revolutionize their homes, businesses, and workplaces to create even more impact in the world.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Natasha Zolotareva | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram

6 points
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#4 Lachesis’ Allotment: A Short Collection of Notes, Observations, Questions, and Thoughts

Drawing from the reality that we’re all granted one life, this book asks what we’re going to do with it. Blending together short essays and a screenplay, the novella invites readers to reflect on the people and experiences that have shaped them and to be honest about the dreams they are pursuing and the ones they are leaving behind. The title comes from the Fate Lachesis, who, in Greek mythology, determines the length of each person's thread of life and what happens along it. Mixing sharp humor and candid reflections, this book is definitely one you can return to at all phases of your life.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Diana Morris (Author)

Company: dianaramorris.com | Twitter | Instagram

3 points
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#5 The Dogs of Babel

Paul, a linguist, learns that his wife has been found dead under the apple tree in their backyard. Since their dog, Lorelei, was the only witness to the death, Paul decides he must teach Lorelei to speak. His obsession is less about believing he succeed than it is about his urgent need to believe that his wife’s death was an accident and not a statement about their marriage. Parkhurst never tells you that Paul is feeling bad or sad or guilty. We only know how Paul feels by his actions, which has the effect of making us feel what he feels even more directly.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Joan Schweighardt

Company: joanschweighardt.com 

3 points
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#6 The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Edgar’s family raises a superior (fictional) breed of dogs, one of whom watches over Edgar, who is mute, night and day. The characters and the dogs—and the relationships among them—are so well drawn and so precious that the reader experiences pure heartbreak when Edgar’s father’s brother shows up at the farmhouse and begins to infect it with his darkness.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Joan Schweighardt

Company: joanschweighardt.com

3 points
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#7 Before We Died (Out in September)

In 1908 two Irish American brothers leave their jobs on the docks of Hoboken, NJ to make their fortune tapping rubber trees in the South American rainforest. They expect to encounter floods, snakes, malaria, extreme hunger and unfriendly competitors, but nothing prepares them for the psychological hurdles that will befall them in this literary adventure novel. 

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Coming soon... stay tuned...

Contributor: Joan Schweighardt

Company: joanschweighardt.com

3 points
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#8 The 5 Love Languages

The Five Love Languages is definitely a book you need to finish while alive. Written by Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages goes over how to better give and receive affection by understanding how people feel and experience love. This book gives anyone actionable tips to better understand both your needs and the needs of others so that you can create more powerful relationships with those important to you.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Adam Busch

Company: datenightxo.com | Twitter | Instagram

2 points
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#9 Making Friends With Death: A Field Guide for Your Impending Last Breath (To Be Read, Ideally, Before It’s Imminent!)

Light-hearted and irreverent, Making Friends with Death broaches the sacred and the scary with warmth, research, and humor. Interspersed with a variety of workbook-like exercises, it is a compelling mix of practical how-to advice and personal narrative. This book will prove to be the go-to companion for anyone who would rather be able to greet death as an old friend, rather than a spooky stranger.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Allyson Fields

Company: vivaeditions.com | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

2 points
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#10 To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird became an instant bestseller and achieved critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

The novel is based around a childhood, set in a sleepy Southern town, that is struck with a crisis of conscience.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

- Goodreads

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Kate Emery

2 points
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#11 Glad to Be Dad: A Call to Fatherhood

My Glad to Be Dad: A Call to Fatherhood (Familius) is a realistic look at parenting and marriage, so it's filled with stories and humor; as crazy as family life can be, it's often hilarious. Like the time my young sons snuck into the house, smeared chip dip all over the arm of the couch, then sat there blithely dipping Fritos in it for a snack. (Well, okay--hilarious in retrospect).

Why a book to read before you die? Because family is central to all of us, whether we admit that or not. And this is a book about how family life should be lived.

The book made #5 on Amazon's Hot New Releases in Fatherhood list, was featured on the Parents Magazine site, quoted on Disney's BabyZone site, won the Ben Franklin Digital Award, and has gotten excellent reviews.

Here's one of many excellent reader responses:

"Your book overwhelmed me. I’ve spent the best part of the last two days reading it in its entirety. I have just finished…and have tears in my eyes…I share completely your commitment to family and was pleased to learn more about just what such commitment involves for men today.

You present your ideals strongly but in language and with humor that make them forceful without being offensive. Well, a piece that makes me laugh and cry and that teaches me something is excellent in my view. I think your book is both superb and necessary… I would like very much for my married son to read this book. I loved the mixture of wisdom and humor, the balance of high ideals and the low comedy of much of family life.”

- Mary Dossin, Mother, Writer, and Writing Instructor, Plattsburgh State University

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Tim J. Myers

1 point
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#12 Pride and Prejudice

It is a truth universally acknowledged that this book belongs on almost everybody’s top 100 books of all time list. By turns witty, charming, and astute, the story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy has won millions of hearts and launched dozens of retellings.

There are no pedantic spiels about the nature of good and evil here — Jane Austen even makes fun of that tradition herself, writing, “The work is rather too light, and bright, and sparkling; it wants shade” — but readers will discover humor, satire, romance, and some of the most memorable characters in literature in this classic.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Emmanuel Nataf | CEO

Company: reedsy.com | Twitter

1 point
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#13 Watership Down

There might be a bunny on the cover, but don’t be fooled — the tale of Watership Down is one of strife, perseverance, courage, integrity, friendship, and vision. It was a gamble to publish, with one publisher writing afterward:

“Certainly it was a mad risk for a one-man publishing firm working on a shoestring to accept a book as bizarre by an unknown writer which had been turned down by the major London publishers, but it was also dazzlingly brave and intuitive.”

Since then, it’s gone on to be treasured by multiple generations, enjoying several decades of unprecedented acclaim. And all the characters are bunnies. What more could you ask from a book that you ought to read in your lifetime?

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Emmanuel Nataf | CEO

Company: reedsy.com | Twitter

1 point
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#14 Matilda

If you haven’t already, you should read Matilda for its message alone: that books can transport you anywhere and give you powers both big and small. But there’s even more to Matilda than just that: there’s a plucky heroine in Matilda, a caring grown-up in Miss Honey, and one of the best villains of all time, Miss Trunchbull. Throw telepathy into the mix and you have a beloved classic for children and adults alike in your hands.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Emmanuel Nataf | CEO

Company: reedsy.com | Twitter

1 point
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#15 A Brief History of Time

To be fair, the British physicist Stephen Hawking probably rarely experienced the rejection of a book proposal. But this book, published in 1988, remains a seminal achievement for the ages. Documenting cosmology, or the study of the universe, Hawking goes into such complicated concepts as space, time, and the fate of the world — discussing them in plain speak for the inexperienced reader. It’s the go-to book if you ever wish to understand a bit more about the universe that surrounds us.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Emmanuel Nataf | CEO

Company: reedsy.com | Twitter

1 point
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#16 Lolita

English wasn’t Vladimir Nabokov’s first language but you wouldn’t guess it if you read Lolita, which revolves around the story of a man who grows ever more obsessed with his 12-year-old stepdaughter, Dolores Haze. Layers of intricate language and a fascinating — albeit disturbing — protagonist made this book a controversial bestseller when it was first published in 1955. Half a century later, it remains a burning study of obsession and the vices that control the human heart.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Emmanuel Nataf | CEO

Company: reedsy.com | Twitter

1 point
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#17 Great Expectations

Philip Pirrip, known to everyone as Pip, might be one of the most enduring characters of all time. That’s appropriate — if only because it took 195,954 words for Charles Dickens to document Pip’s growth from child to adult in this masterpiece of a book. If you read one book of Dickens before you die, make it this one. There’s all the winding narratives, amusing subplots, and unforgettable characters that you’ll come to expect from a Dickens novel — and one of his best opening scenes besides.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Emmanuel Nataf | CEO

Company: reedsy.com | Twitter

1 point
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#18 Fahrenheit 451

Of all the types of conflict that have arisen in literature, there is perhaps none more distressing than the one that Fahrenheit 451 showed the world: Man vs. Book. No surprises here that this is a grim dystopian novel. But, as one of the books at the forefront of that tradition, Fahrenheit 451 is a must-read for everyone as we contemplate the consequences that book burning has upon culture, society, and humanity at large.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Emmanuel Nataf | CEO

Company: reedsy.com | Twitter

1 point
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#19 Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close

An absolute must-read is *Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close* by Jonathan Safran Foer. It depicts the tragedy of 9/11 in a way that's completely unique from other books in its genre. The novel follows a young child whose father died in the attacks, and his journey to find something his dad left behind. As someone who was also a child during the 9/11 attacks, I related a lot with the confusion and hurt that the protagonist felt. By viewing the tragedy through his perspective, someone who's young and doesn't understand all the details that the adults in his life know, it felt even more real.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Alexa Bauman

Company: kiwisearches.com

1 point
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