10 Books That Have Stayed With Me

10 Books That Have Stayed With Me

1. To Kill a Mockingbird

The first book on my list of books that have stayed with me has to be To Kill a Mockingbird.

I read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time as a 15year old GCSE student way back in 1999. In Harper Lee’s classic tale, the author revisits her own childhood and loosely based the novel on a set of events that occurred when she was a 10-year-old child growing up in Alabama.

The novel is set in the 1930s and explores some of the issues of the day. A particular focus is placed upon racial inequality. Harper Lee’s father, Atticus Finch is for me, as for many others, a moral hero. The enduring tale of Atticus Finch has always remained with me throughout my adulthood and often enters my thoughts when I consider a moral dilemma.

2. A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities was the first Dickens novel I had properly read. I only picked up this book around a year or so ago. Initially, I found the novel a little tough to get into. In fact, I almost gave up in the first few chapters. But thankfully, I stuck with it and learned to love Dickens’ descriptive writing style.

The novel is set prior to, during and after the French Revolution. Dickens wrote his classic in 1859. Thus, for him the events of the French Revolution were within living memory. He would have been able to draw upon the experiences of those around him to recreate the event that to us is in the far distant past.

The story follows the trials and tribulations of the French Dr Manette and his daughter Lucie. As the title suggests, the novel switches between the two cities of London and Paris. I have always found the French Revolution incredibly fascinating. The reason this book has stayed with me since I read it is the ending, which is nail-bitingly incredible!

3. Chariots of the Gods?

I’ve always had an obsession with all things supernatural. Erich von Däniken’s groundbreaking book was the first book I ever read on this subject.

Initially published in 1968, Däniken explores the possibility that our ancient ancestors were visited by aliens. Furthermore, Däniken suggests that alien visitors gave our ancestors technology, religion and advanced scientific knowledge. The author then suggests that our ancestors then worshipped these ancient astronauts as gods.

Däniken fully explores all these possibilities and provides some compelling evidence to support his theories. I don’t subscribe to all his theories, however, I do find Däniken’s book incredibly interesting and thought-provoking.

I quite often see evidence of Däniken’s theories and my mind is drawn back to the book.

4. Jane Eyre

Charlotte Bronte published her classic, Jane Eyre in 1847. The novel follows the life of Jane, an orphan. The victim of a tyrannical aunt, she is sent away to a boarding school at an early age and then seeks to make her own way on life.

The novel features romance, tragedy and also explores the themes of class and gender. I can remember the story vividly as if I had just read the book a week ago. I adore the Bronte novels and can now add a few more to my ‘have read’ list!

5. Wuthering Heights

Another Bronte novel which is a favourite of mine is Wuthering Heights. Indeed, this Gothic novel is undoubtedly one of my favourite books of all time! Written by another Bronte sister, Emily, a strange orphan boy named Heathcliffe arrives at a family home. His actions will change the fortunes of this family forever!

As we follow the tale, Bronte really conjures up images of early 19th-century life. The descriptions are amazing. The character of Heathcliffe is utterly captivating and with every page, you will want to find out more! The characters and descriptions, as well as the storyline, have made this one of the books that has stayed with me throughout my adult life.

6. The Silmarilion

If you enjoyed The Lord of the Rings, then you really need to read The Silmarillion. In this beautifully written novel, Tolkien takes the reader on a journey from the start of the creation of Middle Earth to events that occurred after the Lord of the Rings trilogy had ended.

The reader learns more about why certain occurances happened in the Lord of the Rings and more is revealed about Gandalf and some of the other key characters.

I read this book as a teenager and I can still remember vividly Tolkien’s beautiful descriptions of his creation, Middle Earth.

7. The Hobbit

Another classic of Tolkien’s is The Hobbit. I read this book as a child and have enjoyed reading it to my own children. The Hobbit really stimulates the imagination.

The book is in essence the prequel to the Lord of the Rings and follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and how he comes to find the ring. I fell in love with the characters as a child and loved them even more as I have read the tale as an adult. This is one of the books that has stayed with me throughout my life – I still have the same copy I read as a child!

8. 1984

I was rather reluctant to read George Orwell’s classic, 1984 for many years. It’s not the sort of book I would normally read, but my daughter convinced my last year to give this a read. I’m very glad I did!

Many compare today’s societies with 24-hour surveillance to the world created by George Orwell. And the premise that “Big Brother is watching you” makes many of us shudder. The comparisons we can make to our own world make Orwell’s classic one of those books that has stayed with me!

9. Emma

I recently read Emma prior to the release of the movie. It actually took me a while to get into the book, but once I did, I was really glad that I stuck with it. This is perhaps my favourite of Jane Austen’s novels. The novel follows the life of a young early nineteenth-century woman, Emma. Throughout the story, Austen explores love, romance, family, secrets and lies. As with all Austen’s novels, there is an element of humour as she explores social norms and etiquette.

I fell in love with a number of the characters within the book, some of them, such as Mr Woodhouse and George Knightley, are some of my favourite fictional characters.

10. Odyssey

Perhaps an unconventional choice which doesn’t seem to fit this list, but I am a historian after all! Homer’s epic poem, Odyssey is a book that has stayed with me throughout my adult life.

The poem follows the adventures of the Greek literary hero, Odysseus as he embarks on an epic quest following the Trojan Wars. The poem written in the 8th century BC, tells of Odysseus’ defeat of the Cyclopes, in which he famously claims his name is ‘nobody’ using his wits to defeat the monster. I adored this tale as a child I still enjoy reading these passages as an adult.

I’m sure I could have added many more this list of books that have stayed with me throughout my life, however, these are undoubtedly my favourite! I hope you enjoyed this list!

I often buy books from charity shops or second-hand book stores, but since lockdown, I’ve been making use of Amazon for all my book needs!

For similar posts, see my Reading the Classics category.



  1. May 12, 2020 / 3:54 pm

    Great list! I tried to read 1984 years ago and never could get into it. I think I need to try to read it again now that I’m older. I might be able to get more out of it now.

  2. May 19, 2020 / 4:56 pm

    I really need to read To Kill A Mockingbird! I remember back when I was in school half of the year read it and the other half read something else so I never got the chance to read it x


    • Lellalee
      May 20, 2020 / 8:38 pm

      It is an incredible book!xxx

  3. May 21, 2020 / 8:01 am

    It has been many years since I’ve read a few of these (To Kill A Mockingbird, A Tale of Two Cities, 1984) & I feel like I should reread them! The books that stuck with me are The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men & The Poisonwood Bible.

    • Lellalee
      May 21, 2020 / 11:34 am

      I’ve only read Of Mice and Men – an excellent book! xxx

  4. This is a list of some truly fantastic books! Many have stuck with me as well. I’ve never heard “Chariot of the Gods,” before. Sounds interesting, I will definitely check it out. I also got stuck on “A Tale of Two Cities.” After reading this, I feel inspired to try again (and to stick with it this time!). Great post!

    • Lellalee
      June 4, 2020 / 12:22 pm

      Thank you lovely – A Tale of Two Cities is definitely worth sticking with xxx

  5. May 21, 2020 / 3:43 pm

    I have a few books left from here but I must say, this is a great list!

  6. Hannah Louise Blog
    May 21, 2020 / 4:45 pm

    I’ve been meaning to read To Kill a Mockingbird since school, I read something else but all my friends said it was really good!

  7. May 22, 2020 / 1:01 pm

    Great post! I love those books that really stick with you long after you’ve put them down. I don’t have any classics in my list – I don’t really read classics tbh. But there’s certainly a few books I always think about x

    • Lellalee
      June 4, 2020 / 12:01 pm

      Thanks Jenny xx

  8. June 6, 2020 / 7:20 am

    I completely agree with your list. I haven’t read A Tale of Two Cities and Chariots of the Gods, I am checking this out! I just recently read The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings Trilogy so I am still on a Tolkien high!

    • Lellalee
      June 10, 2020 / 12:43 pm

      That’s wonderful to hear!!!xxx

  9. June 12, 2020 / 6:29 pm

    Great post. I’ve recently found my Kindle and got back into reading and it’s the most relaxing and enjoyable thing. I wish I had got back into it sooner during lockdown. Thanks for sharing – I may have to read a few of these next.

    Holly x

  10. June 13, 2020 / 9:39 am

    I love To Kill A Mockingbird. I did it for GCSEs myself and got an A for my assessment on it so I have fond memories of studying it. Reading it was one of the best things about my English lit lessons. Glad you gave it a mention on your list.

    Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures

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