The books that have had the largest impact on my life thus far

Another book post. I'm on a roll. Reading is one of my truest loves and I can think of so many books that I found at exactly the right time in my life for that specific story. Regretting You by Colleen Hoover was one such book as I wrote about here. It was exactly what I needed at exactly that time. Magical. The following books have had a similar effect in the past and I stand by these recommendations 100%. 

1. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
This book came out in 1908 so this is NOT a hot take. My mom and I read chapters of Anne of Green Gables back and forth to each other every night when I was starting to read longer chapter books. I still have my original copy (seen below, I got it when I was eight) and pull it out when I am between books and feeling like I just need a warm hug of a chapter or two. It's definitely a book for little girls more than boys but the story is heartwarming, funny, and nostalgic every time I re-read it. 

2. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella 
The book, NOT the movie. This was my first foray into British chick lit, which remains a favorite genre of mine to this day. I think I first read it when I was in 5th or 6th grade and I selected a funny passage from it when I auditioned for my first public speaking team in middle school. I made the team because this book is hilarious. It's light, fun, and silly. I've never read a Sophie Kinsella book that I actively dislike but the Shopaholic series went downhill a teeny bit after this original and Shopaholic Takes Manhattan

3. Fortune's Rocks and The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve 
I couldn't pick between these two so I chose them both. Both are books I stole from my mother's bookshelf when I was probably too young to read them. They are incredibly different stories but each are a tale of love and loss that have stuck with me for decades now. I've re-read The Pilot's Wife in more recent years but need to re-visit Fortune's Rocks. If you enjoy historical fiction and romance I'd pick Fortune's Rocks and if you like something with a heartbreaking twist I'd point you towards The Pilot's Wife.  

4. Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler 
I have read every single book that Chelsea Handler has written and I've loved them all. Are You There, Vodka? was my first. I was in my first year of college and needed something light to read when I got to take a break from the fun classes I was taking, like chemistry and the history of genocide. I can't get through a page without laughing out loud, sometimes so hard I start crying and can't see the words. It's been incredible to watch Chelsea Handler grow from this bawdy blonde comic (loved her in that role) to an impassioned activist and documentarian. Her documentary on white privilege for Netflix, Hello, Privilege. It's Me, Chelsea, is so incredibly well done and relatable. Even if the idea of watching something like The Thirteenth makes you feel uncomfortable (which, on a separate note, is the point and you need to watch it anyway), start with Hello, Privilege. It's Me, Chelsea. That took a turn but I'm going with it! Anyway, this book is hysterical and I can't recommend it enough. 

5. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 
Again, the book!! Not the movie. I know that women were writing suspenseful thrillers before Gillian Flynn wrote Gone Girl (hello Agatha Christie!) but I don't think anyone busted through a genre and changed it so dramatically. I say "Gone-Girl-type-thrillers" often when describing the creepy books I like and I didn't make up that phrase. Creepy stories written by women and generally centering on the lives of women are everywhere these days and I believe that Gillian Flynn paved the way. Gone Girl got to me like no other book has even gotten to me (even Verity!) I think my mouth was hanging open for the entire second half of the book. It's not, in my opinion, the scariest thing Gillian Flynn has ever written. I think both Sharp Objects and Dark Places are scarier. But it's definitely the best book she's written (in my opinion!) and could turn a skeptic into a reader. 

What books have had a profound impact on your life? I'm always looking for new books - recommend something to me!