Top Ten Books that Make You Think

It's Tuesday -- and time for another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful people over at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme is a fun one - books that make you think.  I had to think (ha ha -- no pun intended!) about this one for a while, since it's been a while since I read a book that truly made me think.  This also reminded me that I need to be a little more diverse about the types of books that I choose in my reading repertoire.  It is perhaps for this reason that I've been in a little bit of a slump lately -- too much YA with not much variety in my reading choices. 

So, with no futher ado, here are my top ten books that made me go HMMMM.....

1. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
This book makes it onto many of my top ten posts, but it's probably the book that I've read the most times over.  It takes place in the Congo, and taught me a lot about the history of Congo, as well as what a missionary family might have experienced during this time of political upheaval.  What I particularly like about this book is that I read it for the first time in Grade 11, and completely identified with Rachel, because I felt that I would view Africa the same way she did.  When I reread the book in university, Rachel annoyed me to no end, which just illustrated how much I'd grown up since reading the book for the first time.

2. White Oleander - Janet Fitch
This is another book that makes my top ten lists all of the time, but the writing is so exquisite that it tugs at the heartstrings and the story stayed embedded in my mind long after I'd savoured the final words.  In fact, the first time I read this book, I immediately flipped back to the beginning and started to read through Astrid's story all over again, because I couldn't bear for the book to be over.

3.  The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
Love that transcends the caste system and one of the most powerful endings I've EVER read.  Need I say more?

4. The Life of Pi - Yann Martel
I read this one for a book club meeting and, even after a two hour discussion, I'm STILL not sure of exactly what happened in the book ... in a good way.  It's a book that can mean different things to different people, which just makes it the perfect book to make you think and it's an excellent conversation starter.

5. Fall on Your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald
I read this one for a Women's Studies course and my group had to do a class presentation on the book.  We spent dozens of hours discussing, dissecting and deconstructing the book, and still felt that we'd barely scratched the surface of the story.

6. The Gargoyle - Andrew Davidson
There are no words for how much I love this book.  If you haven't read it, please do so.  You'll thank me later.  It's one of the most powerful love stories I have ever read, but so, SO intense.  AND he's a Canadian writer -- yeah!

7. Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
I think I'm the only person in my book club who loved this book; everyone else couldn't even bring themselves to finish it.  It's the story of a girl who believes that she should have been born as a boy, and her subsequent struggle to make her body match who she is inside.  It's such a powerful story, and raises such profound issues of gender identify and what it means to "be" male or female.

8. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
I read this book after dropping out of my teaching practicum, when I wondered what I was going to do with my life now that teaching had been removed from my list of options.  The search for a "personal legend" really resonated with me, and it's a story that's stuck with me since then.

9. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
I don't think it's possible to read this book and NOT think about it.  Such an amazing dystopian, because everything that happens in the book really happened at some point in history.

10. The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
I read the last half of this book on the ferry, and sobbed through the last chapter (earning an offer of Kleenex from a couple of complete strangers).  After finishing the book, I spent the last part of the ferry ride just staring out the window into the darkness, reflecting on what I'd read.

Well, that's my books that made me go HMMM... what about you?  What books have you read that stayed with you long after you finished the last page?  I think I need something more substantial to dive into, so I welcome any and all suggestions!  Leave me a link to your post in your comment and I'll stop by to visit!


  1. I'm glad Poisonwood Bible made the list! I love that book and recently convinced my cousin to finally read it (hopefully she will!).

    1. I just bought a copy for a friend as well, and hoping that she enjoys it as much as I (and you) did!

  2. This is such a great list, (and one where I've actually read some of the books mentioned!) It's been years since I read White Oleander, but I'd love to re-read it now. I didn't read Life of Pi in my book club, but my best friend read it at the same time as me and it was so interesting to be able to talk about it and see how we both had different interpretations of what had happened. I don't think I would have enjoyed or gotten so much out of it if I had read it on my own.

    I have to admit - I did not like The Alchemist. BUT, I definitely think it is a book that depends on WHEN in your life you read it that will determine the impression it leaves on you.

    I didn't do this TTT this week, but your list has got me thinking... :) If I had to pick one book right this second that still has me thinking about it years after I read it, I'd have to say We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. This books still gives me goosebumps when I think about it and will forever haunt me, I'm sure.

    1. Thank you for leaving such a thoughtful comment Brie! I completely agree with you on Life of Pi; it's definitely a book that you have to discuss afterwards. My husband read it first and was anxiously waiting for me to finish it because he was DYING to talk about the ending!

      I can see how the Alchemist would be a book that's hard to get into, but I do agree that it's more about WHEN you read the book. As I mentioned in my post, I was in a soul searching point in my life, so it completely fit. I've read other books by Coelho that didn't impact me nearly the same way.

      I haven't read We Need to Talk About Kevin, but it's been on my TBR for AGES. Thanks for the recommendation; I will definitely read it one day!

  3. I really liked The Alchemist too. The others I haven't read but The Handmaid's Tale has been on my to be read list forever.

    1. Oh, I hope that you like The Handmaid's Tale! If you do, Oryx and Crake by Atwood is also equally good.

  4. Great list!! I actually just picked up Middlesex at the library book sale yesterday... I'm curious to see how it goes.. Life of Pi is a good one! Took me a bit before the ending clicked and was like OHHHHHmygod! lol..

    Sorry it took me a bit to get to your TTT! Been a busy week! :P

    Michele | Top 10 | Giveaway

    1. I hope you like Middlesex! Life of Pi is a fantastic book, and I just saw the movie trailer the other day -- it looks like it's going to be a good movie too! And I totally know what you mean about the ending: I instantly needed someone to talk to about what the heck happened at the end!


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