10 Books With Meaning

My parents came to visit last weekend (which is why I didn’t get a list up) and she, C, M, and I were going the rounds about Daughter of Smoke & Bone, and she mentioned that she only read books with Meaning in them. I said, kind of off-hand, that I must have low standards, because that’s not what I immediately look for in a book. But then, Hubby jumped in and mentioned that that’s the first thing I talk about when I talk about Hunger Games: how it’s a commentary on reality TV. So, I thought I’d make a list of good books that I’ve read where the Meaning in them has stood out.

1. All the Truth That’s In Me, by Julie Berry: It’s about how we can transcend adversity, and find strength within ourselves to withstand. Especially when we know we’re on the right side.

2. Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Septys: About keeping hope in the face of dire situations, and how humans and survive — if only barely — the worst of atrocities.

3. The Giver, by Lois Lowry: C actually suggested this one. It’s about choice and freedom and what each of those mean.

4. The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery: Honestly, I don’t remember much about this, except that I liked it a lot. I’m assuming that since I wrote in my review that it was “full of Philosophy and Art and the Meaning of Life” that it has some sort of Meaning to it.

5. A Song for Summer, by Eva Ibbotson: A story about Beauty and Art and how it brings us together as people.

6. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green: John is the King of Meaning; most of his novels are about Something. I call this the cancer book, but it’s really about living life, and not being afraid of what comes after.

7. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel: It’s been a long time since I’ve read this, but what I remember it’s about Truth and how we can know — or at least believe — what is and isn’t True.

8. The Prince Who Fell From the Sky, by John Claude Bemis: Shades of classic animal stories (“Watership Down” and “Jungle Book”) and the fierce protective nature of a mother shows for her child lend a human-ness to this story.

9. A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness: It’s another cancer book, one in which we learn the power of stories. Which I think it a good Meaning in itself.

10. Marcelo in the Real World, by Francisco X. Stork: It’s Marcelo who is acting the questions, and exploring the meaning of life and religion. I said this: “It’s a deep book, one full of difficult questions and tough answers. And yet, as I finished it, I was surprised at the love and the hope that radiated from it, which brought tears to my eyes.”

What do you think? Any meaningful fiction books that I missed?


4 thoughts on “10 Books With Meaning

  1. That's a good one, Becky! I often argue that it's not really “Science Fiction” because it's so much about humanity. But maybe that's splitting hairs… science fiction can be about Meaningful things, too.


  2. The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson conveyed how perception and context are everything. It's a YA novel written by a former undercover CIA officer. The protagonist grew up believing she was a princess by birthright and never saw her father as a cruel dictator until her father was killed in a coup and her family fled to the US. Other books have portrayed the culture shock of immigrants/refugees, but this book is amped up by believable political intrigue and espionage.


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