Top 5: School favorites, running and tear jerkers

Hi everyone! My name is Katie and I blog about running, travel, food and books, among other things, at katieannmcnally.com  I’ve loved reading and writing pretty much ever since I could remember. From a very young age, I was the girl who felt like I was returning home each time I stepped foot in the library. I couldn’t wait to browse the shelves and find a new book to jump into. I tend to gravitate toward fiction, but other than that I don’t feel like I have a certain “book type” that takes over the majority of my reading. If the writing is good and the story is compelling, I’ll read just about anything. It was pretty hard to narrow the list of books I’ve read in 29 years of life down to just five all-time favorites. But I did it, and I’m pretty confident that the following five have solid spots at the top of my list.

1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

This book. Anne Shirley is my favorite heroine of all time and I’m fairly certain Anne of Green Gables will always be my favorite book. To put it in Anne’s words, from the moment I was introduced to her character I felt like she was a “kindred spirit.” Whenever you feel such a strong connection to a character in a book, it easily captures a little piece of your heart.

2. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

I love Jonathan Safran Foer as an author and this is hands down my favorite book of his. I think it’s written beautifully and while I haven’t read it in several years, I can still remember how much I enjoyed it. Overall, the tone is melancholy, but there are so many passages filled with light and hope and that’s what I feel and remember when I think about this book.

Books from Katie's library
Well-loved books from Katie’s library

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I’m not sure why, but I have always loved historical novels that take place during the World War II era. The Book Thief tells the story of a young German girl, Leisel, and her relationship with her foster father Hans who teaches her to read and write as the family hides a Jewish man in their home. The writing is artful and the story is powerful. Whether or not you tend to enjoy historical fiction, I think it’s a must-read.

4. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami 

Yes, I’m sure this book is most enjoyable if you’re a runner (which I am), but if you know anything about Haruki Murakami, you know that his writing is captivating. I love this memoir for its ability to capture all of the pain and joys of running so well, while also shining a light on themes and lessons that are relatable to life in general. (I found his novel 1Q84 to be totally captivating as well.)

5. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

A cliche as a favorite book? Maybe. But nonetheless, Catcher in the Rye was an instant favorite for me since the first time I read it in high school. In fact, aside from a few other novels, it’s one of the only books assigned in school that I remember truly enjoying. I think you either hate or love Holden Caulfield (the main character) and I definitely felt a positive connection. But regardless of how you feel about him, I think it’s an absolute must-read at some point in everyone’s life.

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