10 Books That Moved Me

Stuart Turnbull, a frequent contributor to FiftyWordStories.com, challenged me on Twitter to share 10 books that “moved me”. My list, in some ways, may feel like a bit of a cop-out because I basically took the 10 most moving books from my Best Novels page. But these novels made it onto that page for a reason!

I’ve put these into some sort of order, but catch me on a different day and I might order them differently!

Here goes:

10. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hunchback is the novel that taught me about tragedy (in the artistic sense). It isn’t the first tragic story I ever read, but it’s the first one that really got me invested in its incredible emotional swings from sadness to joy, triumph to defeat, and loss to hope.

9. A Scanner Darkly

Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi novel about the surreal life and twisted reality of drug addiction invoked real sympathy in me for the characters, and for their far too numerous real-life counterparts.

8. The Power of One

It’s difficult to pinpoint what was so significant about this novel to me, but whenever I think of it I feel a kind of wide-open longing to find my place in the world, to achieve something with meaning.

7. Lord of the Flies

Nooooo! Piggy! :(

6. To Kill a Mockingbird

It’s a classic, with all of the ingredients needed to get the reader emotionally invested not only in the characters, but also in the book’s broader social themes.

5. The Great Gatsby

Part romantic tragedy, part diatribe against excess and consumerism. I only read this a few years ago, but it definitely moved me.

4. Of Mice and Men

I was hooked by the waning hope and tragic inevitability of the two main characters’ journey. Lennie Small is one of the most sympathetic characters I’ve ever come across.

3. Les Miserables

Victor Hugo’s masterpiece takes us along on Jean Valjean’s incredible journey to redemption. It’s packed with emotion. And historical essays!

2. Grapes of Wrath

The final scene of this novel may be the most impactful, moving scene I’ve ever read.

1. All Quiet on the Western Front

Everything about this novel is incredibly moving. If you haven’t read it, you definitely should, in order to redefine your understanding of World War I, and war in general.

Those are the 10 books that I think have had the great emotional impact on me. Would anyone else like to share their top 3?


Comic Books

Recently I’ve been expanding into a new nerd arena. Specifically, I have begun to collect comic books.

A few years ago DC Comics did a big reset of all of their comic titles with an event called the New 52. Every character was set back to square one. Most of the familiar elements, relationships, and villains have been retained, but you can start at issue #1 and know what’s going on, rather than buying issue #438 and feeling like you’re coming aboard in the middle of a story.

So that’s great for me, since I was looking for a “jumping-on point”. It meant that I had a little bit of backlog to catch up with, but not so much that it would be too overwhelming (or expensive).

I picked two titles to start with, The Flash (my favourite superhero) and Batman (because he’s Batman). I’m collecting them as the trade paperbacks come out, because it’s cheaper than getting them one issue at a time, and they’re easier to store on a shelf. So far I have the first three volumes of The Flash and the first two volumes of Batman.

I’m considering branching out into a third title, but I’m not sure what to choose. The options I’m considering are:

  • Justice League (big team-ups are exciting),
  • Action Comics (Superman is another favourite of mine), or
  • Aquaman (well reviewed, a character I’m less familiar with).

I’m leaning towards Action Comics, because I read the first issue and liked it, but we’ll see.

At a recent garage sale I also grabbed half a dozen younger-audience Batman comics to share with Calvin and Victor as they grow up, so that could be fun!

Things to Be Thankful For

I started my new job with the Government of Alberta this week, and I’ve got a lot to be thankful for so far:

  • I’ve got a spacious new office with a massive desk (but no window, unfortunately). It has a nice big whiteboard in it, too, which is awesome because I love whiteboards.
  • Everyone I’m meeting seems really friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful.
  • I got a new shoulder bag so I no longer have to wear a backpack to work and end up with a sweaty back! Check it out:


I’m so stylish now. Right? Right?

Things are good.

Busy August

Whew. August is turning out to be a busy month.

We just got back home on Sunday after a one-week cruise to Alaska with my family. Now I’m in my final week of my current job, looking forward to starting my new job with the Government of Alberta on Monday.

Not only that, but Larissa and I are doing some upgrades to our basement suite while we search for a new tenant.

So there’s a lot going on, and it’s all pretty exciting. But I’m looking forward to September, which should be a bit more relaxing!