Why do you read? What are the earliest books you remember reading? What books have been most impactful for you?

The first books I remember my parents and grandparents reading to me were Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward and Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. To this day, I can still recite parts of those books by heart. These early books helped foster my love for reading. Growing up, it was rare to find me without a book.

When I started college, my reading switched to text books (admittedly, some of which I still have). It was during this period that reading started to become more of a chore. I had to read to pass classes, which made reading for fun not so enjoyable. For quite a while, I only re-read books I knew I enjoyed and didn’t want to read anything new.

In 2017, I read The Dry by Jane Harper. This book re-sparked what I had growing up and had lost a little bit throughout college. That same year, a friend and I started reading books together, which broadened my genres of books. The first book we read together was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. We’ve continued reading a variety of books together, some of which are now favorite books of mine, to this day.

It wasn’t until 2020, just a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic began, that I started to set a goal to read a certain number of books in a year. Any book I read, no matter the genre or length, is noted. Even if I don’t hit the reading goal, what matters is that I’m trying to be intentional about reading. For me, reading is a form of self-care and I need to continue to make this a priority. This is why I read.

Not including the five mentioned above, below are the top 20 books, in no particular order, that I’ve read in the last couple of years that I’ve either really enjoyed and / or were very impactful. I hope this gives you a moment to pause and think about the books you’ve read.

Fiction

  1. The Survivors by Jane Harper
  2. The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James
  3. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  4. House Rules by Jodi Picoult
  5. How Lucky by Will Leitch
  6. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pee Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  7. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
  8. The Whisper Man by Alex North
  9. The Lost Village by Camilla Sten
  10. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  11. Lethal White (Cormoran Strike #4)by Robert Galbraith
  12. Force of Nature (Aaron Falk #2) by Jane Harper

Non-Fiction

  1. Leadership is Language: The Hidden Power of What You Say and What You Don’t by L. David Marquet
  2. This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism by Ashton Applewhite.
  3. Broken Horses by Brandi Carlisle
  4. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
  5. Who Moved My Cheese? By Spencer Johnson
  6. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You by Jason Reynolds
  7. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
  8. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

What are some of your favorite books? Let me know in the comments below.


About the Author

Jennifer Jordan is the AgeWell Services Grants & Contracts
Senior Manager.

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