Favorite Books – A Growing List of Must-Reads

Nov 30, 2022JOURNAL

I escaped into favorite books as a child. The sensation of turning each page transported me to a happier existence. I was a voracious reader. My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Hawkins, once sent a concerning note home. It read, “Julie is clearly exhausted. I’m worried she’s staying up all night reading.” She was onto me, the compulsive little bibliophile escaping her volatile reality, armed with a book and flashlight under the sheets.

One of my most cherished things to do is read with my son. We curl up together with our favorite books, sometimes reading aloud. I feel cloaked in solace as I watch his eyes scan the pages. Venturing together into abstract worlds rich with emotional imagery is the ultimate meditation.

Reading books can foster empathy and understanding. As you read, you may encounter characters and situations that are different from your own experiences. This can broaden your perspective and help you understand and relate to people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Studies show creating a robust reading habit can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, prevent cognitive decline and enhance overall well-being. Seems like a good reason to dive into a favorite book, don’t you think?

My Favorite Books - Julie Pedraza

“Books are the most vital, intimate, personal, mind-altering, thought-twisting, friend-giving, empathy-strengthening, thrill-riding, emotional, world-shaking technology we will ever have. And in a world where we are increasingly connected via technology, but disconnected by society, books and stories can be the glue that bonds us.”

—Matt Haig


Know My Name by Chanel. Miller - Julie Pedraza

Know My Name is the story of a justice system failing the vulnerable and a victim moving through suffering to live a beautiful life.

Goodreads Rating: 4.7

Finding Me by Viola Davis - Julie Pedraza

Finding Me is the story of nurturing creative expression and rediscovering who you were before the world put a label on you.

Goodreads Rating: 4.6

The Choice by Dr. Edith Eger - Julie Pedraza

The Choice is a story of how the horrors of the Holocaust helped the author delelop life-affirming strength and remarkable resilience. 

Goodreads Rating: 4.6

Favorite Book, I'm Glad My Mom Died - Julie Pedraza

I’m Glad My Mom Died is the story of a child star healing from parental abuse. If you like dark humor, you’ll love this one.

Goodreads Rating: 4.5

Favorite Book, Born a Crime - Julie Pedraza

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous boy breaking the cycle of poverty and abuse in apartheid South Africa.

Goodreads Rating: 4.5

Favorite Book, Educated - Julie Pedraza

Educated is a story about how severing dysfunctional ties and viewing life through an educated lens can change your trajectory.

Goodreads Rating: 4.5

Solito - Julie Pedraza

Solito is the story of a child immigrant navigating a world that marginalizes those who are different.

Goodreads Rating: 4.5

Broken Horses - Julie Pedraza

Broken Horses is the story of Carlile’s flawed childhood, struggle with homosexuality and religion, and epic rise to stardom.

Goodreads Rating: 4.4

When Breath Becomes Air - Julie Pedraza

When Breath Becomes Air is the story of facing death when you’re the patient and a doctor—and the writer who became both.

Goodreads Rating: 4.4

Man's Search for Meaning - Julie Pedraza

Man’s Search for Meaning is the story of surviving the Holocaust, finding meaning in suffering, and moving forward with renewed purpose.

Goodreads Rating: 4.4 

Night by Elie Wiesel - Julie Pedraza

Night is Elie Wiesel’s testimony to what happened at Auschwitz and Buchenwald and why the Holocaust horror must never be allowed to happen again.

Goodreads Rating: 4.4

Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad - Julie Pedraza

Between Two Kingdoms is a profound chronicle of survivorship and a fierce, tender and inspiring exploration of what it means to begin again.

Goodreads Rating: 4.4

The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonsea Lee - Julie Pedraza

The Girl with Seven Names is the story of how the author and her family survived one of the most arduous, costly and dangerous journeys imaginable.

Goodreads Rating: 4.4

Hollywood Park - Julie Pedraza

Hollywood Park is the story of a childhood wrought with emotional abuse and trauma that leads to Stanford University and becoming a famous author and musician.

Goodreads Rating: 4.3

The Glass Castle - Julie Pedraza

The Glass Castle is about the unconditional love of a flawed family that gave the author the determination to create a successful life on her own terms.

Goodreads Rating: 4.3


Remarkably Bright Creatures - Julie Pedraza

Remarkably Bright Creatures is a gentle reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible.

Goodreads Rating: 4.5

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver - Julie Pedraza

Demon Copperhead is the story of a new generation of lost boys, and all those born into beautiful, cursed places they can’t imagine leaving behind.

Goodreads Rating: 4.5

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer - Julie Pedraza

The Things We Cannot Say is a reminder of the devastation when truth is silenced and how it can take a lifetime to find our voice before we learn to trust it.

Goodreads Rating: 4.5

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - Julie Pedraza

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is the story of two very different women’s lives intersecting in tragic and irreversible ways.

Goodreads Rating: 4.5

Favorite Book, A Thousand Splendid Suns - Julie Pedraza

A Thousand Splendid Suns is the story of an unlikely bond between two women who endure brutality under Taliban rule.

Goodreads Rating: 4.4

Favorite Book, Where the Crawdads Sing - Julie Pedraza

Where the Crawdads Sing is the story of a wild young girl coming of age, loving two men and the haunting mystery that follows.

Goodreads Rating: 4.4

Favorite Book, We Were the Lucky Ones - Julie Pedraza

We Were the Lucky Ones is the story of three generations of a Polish Jewish family and their will to survive WWII.

Goodreads Rating: 4.4

Take My Hand by Dolen Peters-Valdez - Julie Pedraza

Take My Hand is the story of a Black nurse in post-segregation Alabama who blows the whistle on terrible wrongdoing.

Goodreads Rating: 4.4

Before We Were Yours - Julie Pedraza

Before We Were Yours is the story of a Memphis adoption agency who kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families.

Goodreads Rating: 4.4

The Great Alone - Julie Pedraza

The Great Alone is a daring and beautiful story in 1974 Alaska about love and loss and the ultimate test of survival.

Goodreads Rating: 4.4

A Man Called Ove - Julie Pedraza

A Man Called Ove is the story of a delightfully grumpy old man and the reason behind his conviction about how the world should be.

Goodreads Rating: 4.4

American Dirt - Julie Pedraza

American Dirt is the story of a mother and her young son fleeing a Mexican cartel via their treacherous migration to the United States. 

Goodreads Rating: 4.4

The Kite Runner - Julie Pedraza

The Kite Runner, set in 1970s Afghanistan, is a tale of life shattering tragedy, friendship, love and the healing power of redemption.

Goodreads Rating: 4.3

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin - Julie Pedraza

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is about the gift of life, even when it is about to be taken away, and our infinite capacity for friendship when we need it most.

Goodreads Rating: 4.3

The Alice Network - Julie Pedraza

A story of courage and redemption, The Alice Network is the story of two women brought together on a mission to find the truth no matter where it leads.  

Goodreads Rating: 4.3

You can read more in-depth descriptions of each of my favorite books on Goodreads. I encourage you to download the Libby app for convenient and free book reading or listening. Now, go treat yourself to some literary goodness today.


Shop Linen Bedding - Julie Pedraza
Shop Evil Eye Ring - Julie Pedraza
Shop Evil Eye Incense Burner - Julie Pedraza
Shop Care Package Gift - Julie Pedraza

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