Today is the first annual World Book Night in the United States. Unfortunately, I knew nothing of this event until today so I’m not able to be a participant in this great event. I applaud whoever came up with the idea to give away free paperback books to encourage reading among adults. I’ve been an avid reader from childhood and, as an English major, I am a huge advocate this sort of thing. I’m marking my 2013 calendars now for this event so I can help give away some books!
I follow a handful of blogs that post every Monday on this Monday Listicles event. This morning I was pleased to find that this week’s listicle is about books. This is a topic I can easily go on about. I’ve read hundreds of them that I can remember (and probably hundreds from my younger days that I can’t). I’m reading books each semester for my college classes. I read across several genres and indulge in many classics.
I’d like to think I’m an unofficial authority on this particular subject.
While I’d love to be selfish and encourage you to read my Serial Novel as one of the ten books, I will refrain from doing so. It hasn’t progressed far enough to be considered a novel, or even a novella as of yet (I’ve written 4 parts so far). I will direct you to my post where I shared my poem, The Thrill of Books. I believe some other avid readers will be able to relate to that poem.
I thought about doing a list of my ten favorite books. I’ll probably do that list at some point in time, but I think that I will take a different approach to this. I’m going to do a list of ten books that, in my opinion, are must-reads:
1. The Dragon and the Unicorn by A.A. Attanasio – In the realm of King Arthur books, this one is by far the most unique approach I have encountered. There are four books in this series which is, disappointingly, difficult to find. I scavenged bookstores frequently for years before finally buying them all online. It is not a book that you can plow through quickly, but the angle this takes makes it worth every minute spent reading this book.
2. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – I remember in high school being told that there are so many plot and character twists that we would have to diagram them all out on the board. Dumas wrote some excellent novels, including The Three Musketeers, but I feel this one outshines them all.
3. Hamlet by William Shakespeare – What better way to honor the Bard than by promoting his longest play on the day of his birth (and death)? I’d wager almost everyone has read Romeo and Juliet at some point, whether by choice or because they had to. I’ve read this play many times over the years and I find that my appreciation for it increases as I get older.
4. Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning – Everyone knows the poem “How do I love thee/let me count the ways” but few people have read the collection that it comes from. This is a collection of over 40 sonnets that Elizabeth wrote for Robert Browning over the course of two years. She gave this to him as a wedding present, and you can see how her feelings develop over time until she reaches the point of that famous poem (which is the second to last).
5. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – I was pleased to see this is one of the novels being distributed for World Book Night. Even if you aren’t big into Science Fiction, this is a novel that you would probably enjoy. I fell in love with this book back in high school, and I still enjoy reading this novel every time.
6. Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss – I know the odds of convincing most people to read a book about punctuation is about the same as winning the lottery, but her sense of humor makes this book enjoyable and memorable. And in this digital age the importance of punctuation and grammar has never been greater. Grandmothers everywhere will be thankful that you know to write “Let’s eat, grandma!” instead of “Let’s eat grandma!”
7. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – I’m currently making my way through the entire collection of Holmes stories/novels and they have not disappointed. While the vast collection might be unreasonable to expect you to read, this is perhaps the best set of short stories that I’ve come across so far.
8. The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson – I can do no justice to this book by trying to express how wonderful it is. The ending makes me teary-eyed every time I read it. I still refuse to watch the movie because I don’t want to risk the chance of a bad film tarnishing my love for this story. This is one of the best books ever written in my opinion.
9. Watership Down by Richard Adams - Who doesn't like books where animals talk? While novels like Charlotte's Web and Animal Farm are excellent, this is better than any of them. I've read this book several times and I am still amazed at how wonderful this story is. This is perfect for anyone who loves reading books from the young adult section.
10. Queen of Camelot by Nancy McKenzie - I wasn't going to do a second King Arthur-related novel on this list, but I couldn't imagine leaving off either of them. This is perhaps the book I've recommended the most over the years. So far everyone who has read it upon my suggestion has loved it, even if they weren't huge fans of the King Arthur stories like I am. Therefore I am going to say that if you read no other book from this list, you should read this one. You won't be disappointed.
Comment and let me know if you, too, have enjoyed reading any of these books. Comment if you don't like any of these books. Or, better yet, comment after reading any of these upon my recommendation. I'd love to know what you think of these books.
I'd love to know that you are reading.