I’m an avid reader, I always have been. If you have ever been in my car then you have probably found a book stashed somewhere inside, probably in the glove box or the pocket of the side door. Just in case. Basically my nose is in a book whenever it can be. So I decided to compile a small list of my favorites to share, just in case you might enjoy them, as well.
#1- Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes, 1966.
Two books have ever made me cry. This was one. I had seen the movie adaptation, Charly, when I was a kid. It was haunting. And not overly appropriate for kids, to be honest. I didn’t know it was a book and didn’t realize that when I found the book I would recognize the movie from the description on the back cover. I was elated. I bought it without thought. We meet Charlie Gordon, a mentally challenged man who has the mind of a child. He is chosen to be a part of an experiment which will help make him more intelligent, which it does, vastly. However, it doesn’t last. The book is written as a journal, and to see Charlie’s growth and eventual decline makes his story heart swelling and heart wrenching when at the last his final plea is to not lose his ability to simply read and write. It is moving, daring and captivating.
#2- The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck, 1939.
This is one of those books you were either forced to read in high school or you simply heard the name and assumed it was going to be long and boring and filled with words you didn’t know. At least that’s how I felt. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Reading it in high school I probably would have hated it but reading it in my thirties was a pleasure. We follow the Joad family, tenant farmers during the Great Depression who are pushed off their land and forced to find work out west. As they continue to struggle, they continue to fight and what I took away from this the most is that when people eventually have nothing, they will still give of themselves to help others survive. It was very moving and powerful.
#3- Warbreaker, Brandon Sanderson, 2009.
This was my second foray into Sanderson, the first being The Wheel of Time series when he took over the last three books when Robert Jordan died. (Well, co-authored but I won’t get into it.) Warbreaker is a single fantasy book, which is not very often the norm when they are usually part of a series. In the book we learn that color itself can be a dangerous thing as it can be manipulated physically and taken from a person, leaving them lifeless or bland. We learn of secret conspiracies and plots within plots. It was very well read and I still think about the characters from time to time.
#4- What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Peter Hedges, 1991.
This is a great one. I had seen the movie when I was younger and fell in love with it. When I came across the book many years later, I was hoping it would be like the movie. It was, by far, so much better. You get to see so much more into Gilbert and his family that simply couldn’t be shown on the big screen. I highly recommend. Definitely for a more mature audience, though. My only regret? “Match in the gas tank, boom boom” is not in the book. At all. And I was sad.
#5- The Cold Dish, Craig Johnson, 2005.
Wyoming. Cowboys, Indians, murder plots and politics and at the heart of it all is Sherriff Longmire with his skeleton crew. Johnson’s writing style is beautiful as well as poetic and his characters are engaging and well written. This book is categorized as mystery and the amount of charm, wit and humor make this series captivating and enjoyable. The Cold Dish is the first in the series and there are many sequals with more to come.
I have more books I enjoy, The Canterbury Tales, McTeague, Call of the Wild. And Mockingjay, the third book in The Hunger Games series, when I got towards the end, I threw that book across the room and had to walk away from it before I finished it. But as I said, these are a sampling of my favorites and if you should ever be interested, I hope you pick one up and try for yourself. Also, I would love to hear yours. I may get a new favorite out of it.