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8 Treasured, Timeless, Unforgettable Books, According to Our Readers

Reader’s Digest supports the National Education Association’s #ReadAcrossAmerica campaign, a daylong reading celebration observed annually on March 2, Dr. Seuss’s birthday. This year’s selection is Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, the Seuss classic that celebrates the limitless potential within everyone. In its honor, we asked you to share on our Facebook page the books that made you think, feel, question, and grow.

Beat the Turtle Drum by Constance C. Greene

I read this during a very difficult time in my childhood. It was the first book I intended to get lost in and did, the first book I walked into with no expectations but ended feeling so many emotions. Most people find it depressing, but I loved it—especially the beginning poem: “Dance along the silver sands and beat the turtle drum, that youth may last forever, and sorrow never come.” —Rhonda Davis

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

It was the first novel I ever read. I was nine, and it was summer in the Philippines. I was rummaging through boxes I was not supposed to rummage through, when I found it: pale blue with tea-colored stains on its cover, pages with yellow-orange edges that made each page look gilded in gold. I grew up to be my own version of Jane, living life on my terms and loving just the same way. —Lisa Tripoli

Check out these must-have gifts for the book lover in your life!

Watership Down by Richard Adams

This was the first of a few books that my father passed on to me—a story about loners, those on the outside, friendships that tested the boundaries of belief and death, fear and overcoming fear. I identified with the odd little bunny named Fiver and all that he feared, marveling at his determination to save his fellow rabbits from extinction. The book has traveled with me through my father’s death, college years, marriage, children, mother’s death, divorce, remarriage, grandchildren, and finally to a cherished spot in my guest room. —Shelby Oppermann

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

I worked at a juvenile institution and had a somewhat narrow view of the kids’ situations. Reading this book opened my eyes to the fact that sometimes we don’t have a choice in life and must do what is necessary to survive. It made me a better, more patient person. —Christy Smith

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

These books gave me comfort, therapy, happiness, and a sense of togetherness with millions of other fans across boundaries of nations and languages. I found my greatest friends in the characters and made friends in real life from connecting over the series. How can I possibly forget something so important? —Rhea Khurana

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

This is one of the most haunting books I have ever read. The pain of displaced Afghans, the horror stories of those who stayed behind, and the new lease of a fresh start are all relatable. I learned a very important lesson from it: Let go of a traumatic past and embrace a second chance. Not everyone is lucky enough to get one. —Yamini Pustake Bhalerao

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

I first read this book when I was 13 and have reread it almost every year. Each time, I’ve seen a line or an incident that spoke to me when I was a child, a teenager, a newlywed, and then a mother. It is ageless and speaks to everyday struggles. —Marianne Adames Tennant

Letter from Peking by Pearl S. Buck

I read this book the summer I was 17 and then devoured every other book Buck had written. The stories allowed me to travel to a foreign land—to step into people’s homes and observe their lives. These books opened my eyes to differences in culture and reinforced my love for all nationalities. —Ramona Scarborough

Originally Published in Reader's Digest