Do you have books in your library you will never give away for any reason? I do. I don’t even lend them to anyone, because each book signifies something important in my reading journey.
Over time, a book can become part of the fabric of your life, holding a special place in your library. I have five books in my personal library that I can never give away because these books mark different lessons in my reading journey.
1. Night by Elie Wiesel
What the book is about: This memoir is based on the real-life experiences of the author during the Holocaust, as seen through the eyes of a Jewish teenager named Eliezer. It is a horrifying account of his experiences in the concentration camps of Birkenau and Auschwitz before eventually being freed. Eliezer witnessed first hand the darkness of hearts and minds, leading him and other prisoners to question their faith. Through the cruelty of their captors, the prisoners lose their humanity, with survival being their only priority. In this book, the author’s experiences highlight one of the darkest periods in world history.
Reason to keep in my library: We must never forget the horrors of the past and learn from them for a better future. This book has been in my library for over ten years.
2. Letters Between a Father and Son by V. S. Naipaul
What the book is about: The title of the book is misleading as it begins with letters between the author, Vidia, and Kamla, his sister who has moved to India to study. A year later, when Vidia himself moves to Oxford University, he corresponds with both his sister and his father, Seepersad.
The letters, written with wit and humor, offer an insight into their lives and relationships. When his father passes, Vidia, his mother, and his other siblings continue writing letters to each other. This book is a descriptive account of each of their lives, providing insight into the love they share. The author has written other books of letters which are also good, but I prefer this book because it is an intimate account of family interaction.
Reason to keep in my library: This book provides great insight into the relationship between the author and both his father and his siblings. The letters are all beautifully written and vividly descriptive and would be a brilliant addition to any library.
3. 1984 by George Orwell
What the book is about: This book’s setting is a fictionalized year of 1984, where the world has three separate powers. Winston Smith lives in Oceania, where ‘The Party’ rules via four ministries. In Oceania, they forbid individual thought, and it is common to find the signs ‘Big Brother is Watching You’ almost anywhere. Winston’s quest for freedom of thought brings him to the attention of O’Brien, who ultimately provides insight into ‘The Party.’
The book also depicts what people will trade for perceived safety and prosperity. It’s a plodding read, but well worth it. The reason the book will feel familiar when reading is that it reflects aspects of current world events. They banned this book for many reasons!
Reason to keep in my library: It’s a stark reminder of what can happen when a man gives up his right to free thought and the need to question and analyze. I’m sure that it’s a book that many people have in their libraries.
4. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
What the book is about: This is a sad, haunting memoir of the author’s childhood in Limerick, Ireland amidst utter poverty. It is a tale of survival against all odds. It’s about hope, loss, perseverance, and love. Frankie has an alcoholic father, a depressed mother, and few choices in life. As he grows older, he focuses on helping his siblings, and dreams of moving back to America. When you finish reading this book, you can only marvel at the author’s will to survive and thrive. It is the reason that this book has proved very popular over the years.
Reason to keep in my library: This book is so beautifully written and is a very visual read, so you will likely want to read it multiple times. It’s a prized book in my library.
5. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
What the book is about: A Harvard professor and a French cryptologist are bought together by a murder at the Louvre. While examining the clues left next to the body, they come to believe that the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci contain a well-hidden mystery. They embark on a rollercoaster journey to solve the mystery, but are being stalked by an Opus Dei follower along the way. The book has many great twists and turns, likely a big reason it was made into the popular movie of the same name.
Reason to keep in my library: This book is truly a page-turner, being the first book I read in only one sitting. It’s a brilliant and intelligent read with a great plot twist. Although based in the Catholic church and tradition, you don’t have to be a believer to enjoy the writing and storyline. It’s the only book by this author that I won’t give away and is a brilliant addition to my library.
We all have books in our libraries we value above others for various reasons. There is a list of books I will never give away or lend that I’ve read multiple times over the years. Do you have a similar list?