10 Books You Must Read
Updated: Feb 7, 2019
Books really resonate with us, the co-founders of Stone & Hearth Publishing House. We obviously love books. We love the way a story can inspire, educate, and entertain all at once, and we have a grand vision for the future of reading and the great stories that have yet to be told. This list we have compiled is our top picks from five of our favorite genres.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien is my favorite author, so it should not come as a shock that my favorite literary classic is The Hobbit; It is a classic because Tolkien’s masterpiece, though it came from humble beginnings, has grown into an entire universe in Middle Earth. The story follows the natural structure of the Hero’s Journey, but as you read along, Tolkien, as he often does, gives you much more than you bargained for. The Hobbit is a story filled with adventure, clever characters, and priceless life lessons.
I am always looking for ways to get more things done in a way that does not infringe on the things I already find important. If you know anything about productivity, you have most likely felt this tension. There is difficulty and trial in just the simple things of taking on a new venture, reading that next book, or prioritizing important time with family. This book aims to help you clearly understand how to rank tasks so you do the RIGHT things, not just many things.
The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
This story is an invaluable resource to the life of the reformed Christian. Written in 1678, this book has been considered a classic work of English literature. The story is an allegory for the Christian life, in which the main character, named Christian, faces the struggles of a life in devotion to and pursuit of Jesus Christ.
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
This book was one of my absolute favorites when I was a kid. The book, published originally in 1939, is a delightful characterization of the hard work and innovation that brought America the industrial revolution. Within the struggle of relevance and perseverance, there is a beautiful tale of friendship between Mike and his shovel, Mary Anne. Such fantastic books are rare, especially in publications within the last decade.
Young Adult (12-18)
The Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan
I began reading this series when I was in high school and actually didn’t continue reading it until recently. The strange thing is that even as I read these books recently I thoroughly enjoyed them. The constant adventure, attention to detail in character development, and coherent world design makes this series a fun read for all ages.
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
I could not put this book down. It is different than anything I've read. It is written from the mindset of the main character, who has Alzheimer's disease. Most books about dementia are memoirs, and don't give a voice to the person who has the disease. It walks us through her daily life, in her forgetfulness and others' reactions to it. An interesting side-note: the author went to Harvard University, and has a degree in neuroscience!
Stephen and Alex Kendrick
This book is highly recommended for believers, anyone who isn't sure how to pray, what to pray, or just want to improve in their daily walk. It is inspirational and invigorating, like a breath of fresh air.
Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull
If you have a creative job, or are a creative person, or you enjoy reading about other creative people, this book is for you. It is motivating and enlightening. It gives some unbelievable stories about how Pixar came about, and how they got through their struggles and how they became the successful company that they are today. Beware, you will feel inspired to do better at your job.
Madeline written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans
Originally released in 1939, this is a popular classic that will remain timeless. Ludwig is an author/illustrator (with whom I can relate to, so maybe I'm a little biased.) He did it right decades ago and it still is something that resonates with young girls now. I remember this book from when I was young, perhaps it's the mystery and enchantment of a different country that makes it such an interesting read, along with the rhyme scheme which is done in a non-cheesy way.
Young Adult (12-18)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney
Another author/ illustrator, who no one believed in, set out and did it on his own and he did wonderfully! He originally wanted to write comic strips, and was told his illustrations weren't good enough. They pair perfectly with this story of a young boy trying to get through middle school, with stories that I'm sure many kids can relate to. I just wish this was out when I was 8...