I recently returned from Toronto on a six week internship at ET Canada. The point between my aunt's house and the building required three hours of public transit a day, so needless to say I had ample time to read. I also spent much time sitting by the fire with a cup of tea and my aunt’s jazz music playing in the background. 

I made two trips to local book stores and both times spent more than I should have, leaving me at one point with 24 cents in my bank account. Luckily, I was able to return some overpriced nail polish, adding the rather unnecessary lie that I collect polish for a living and forgot I already had this shade of blue. Here are the books worthy of breaking your budget. 

1. Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett – A House in the Sky

One of the most riveting stories I have ever read. Sometimes I felt like I was the girl and that it could have been my life. I have recommended this book to quite a few friends and heard nothing but positive feedback. It is heart wrenching, full of courage, rage, and ultimately forgiveness. It will force you to feel the strength in fighting for life, drag you along with the injustice of her misfortunes, and beg you to hold on to a thread of hope while dwelling in the darkest corners of human consciousness. 

2. Emma Donoghue – Room

This book was recommended to me by a dear friend and fellow reader. I dove in thinking I wouldn't like it because it was written from the perspective of a five-year-old. I quickly changed my mind. What this book does so spectacularly is present a very difficult topic (rape) and a very difficult situation (kidnapping) and a very difficult event (miscarriage) from the eyes of a child. Filled with simple yet empowering observations, you are taken on a journey that encapsulates what it means to love without judgment and live without want for more.

3. John Ajvide Lindqvist – Let Me In

Move aside Stephanie Meyer, this is how real vampires do it. This book is amazing in its prose, emotion, and eventual outcome. And while vampires may be a little out of fashion, bullies getting what they deserve is SO in. One of my all-time favourite books. 

4. Susannah Cahalan – Brain on Fire

A terrifying true story of a brilliant young woman’s decent into madness. It flowed easily, it was exceptionally well written, and strikingly honest. I found her emotions raw, her confusion painful, and her slow crawl to recovery courageous. By the end of the book I felt like I had a chance to sincerely get to know this young woman, and felt inspired by her willingness to overcome what plagued her, and furthermore, go on to help those facing a similar battle.

5. Lauren B. Davis – Radiant City

This book begins with a scene of horses screaming inside a burning barn. This graphic opening sets the tone for the majority of the book. It follows a war-zone journalist after he is shot in the field. His mental recovery is the hardest to heal from, as he runs from his demons, revisits his past, feels the harshness of war weighing on his skin, and falls in love. 

6. Daniel Keyes – The Minds of Billy Milligan

A true story about the first person in Ohio to be diagnosed with multiple personality disorder after having committed felonies such as rape and robbery. A fascinating story built on hours of interviews, recordings, and court documents that ultimately weave an intriguing dialogue between Billy’s outside interactions and the constant conversations within his own mind. An intricate account of the events that transpired leading to one of the most riveting court cases involving the debate of mental illness and accountability of crimes committed.