Want to teach your child to love reading? Try moving to the middle of nowhere, where it’s freezing cold eight months out of the year, and then refuse to get internet or cable TV. Thats how my parents did it anyway! It didn’t work on my brother, he just learned to love video games. But, I do love to read, even though I’m still a little bitter about the no tv thing :) Here are a few of my favorite books from over the years. I’ll do another post later for my nonfiction faves.
On the Road by Jack Kerouac:
This is hands down my favorite book of all time. I used to read it once a year, every year ,in the spring. I need to get back to doing that! This book isn’t for everyone. In fact, pretty much no one I’ve recommended it to has liked it, go figure :( But, i’ll keep recommending it anyway :) It’s written in a style called stream of consciousness; which if I had to describe it, is sort of a cross between fiction and poetry, with a lot of run-on sentences.One thing I love about this book is that it’s based on his own travels and experiences. He wrote it in just three weeks, after taking a road trip across America with his friend Neil (Who he refers to as Dean in the book) His account of the trip is very raw and honest and beautiful. His writing has a certain masculinity and forward motion coupled with a deeply sensitive attention to detail and appreciation of beauty in all forms. As I mentioned before, this was the book that made me want to be a writer, so of course it will always, always be at the top of my list.
Lolita by VladimirNabokov
This is kind of a twisted love story, more like a story of obsession, which I think all of the best love stories are. I first read this when I was about 13 and I got kind of obsessed with it myself. Is this book the reason I’ve always dated older guys? Could be! Any therapists out there want to tackle that question? :) The language in this book is absolutely beautiful, a fact that sometimes gets lost because of the controversial subject matter. An interesting fact is that English was not even Nabkov’s first language, or second (Those being Russian and French) I will sometimes choose a book just for the rhythm of the language, even if it doesn’t have much of a plot, but this book has both. The movie is alright, but doesn’t really capture the humor and poetry of the book in my opinion, but I do love those little heart shaped sun glasses!
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
The minute I picked up this book, I was hooked, I finished it in one day and have read it many time since. I love Palahnuiks style of writing. It’s fast paced, observant, and funny. He is one of the few authors left who is completely unpredictable and original. There is nothing worse than reading a book that you feel like you’ve read a hundred times before. No matter how many times I go back to Fight Club, it feels fresh and current and not derivative of anything. I will buy anything this man writes! I also loved the movie, BTW, Brad Pitt needs to get back with Jen so he can look like that again, who’s with me? :)
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
I love that this book has a deeply spiritual and empowering message. It’s short and easy to read, yet so powerful. The story really keeps you engaged, even if you aren’t into the spiritual aspect of it. It’s sort of a parable about how we are all on our own path in life, and the most important thing we can do, is to follow our heart..Only then, will we get to where we need to be. I read this book at a difficult time in my own life, a sort of transitional period when I was confused and uncertain about a lot of things, and I found it so comforting and validating, like a big sign from the universe telling me that I was on the right track, and just needed to keep trusting myself. I think that’s a message we all need to hear sometimes.
Home at Last by Chet Kozlowski
I’ve never really been a big reader of short stories, but this book changed my mind. I was lucky enough to take a fiction class taught by this author and he is not only a brilliant writer but also a super nice person who has taught me pretty much everything I know about writing. (Disclaimer: He is not in any way responsible for my bad grammar, I take full credit for that myself :)) If you like stories with strong, memorable characters, then you will love this book. Each story invites you to see life from a different perspective, like looking at a familiar setting through an unfamiliar lens. You will definitely recognize someone you know, maybe even yourself, in at least one of these characters,and the dialogue is some of the best I’ve ever read.
Have you guys read any of these books? What did you think of them? What are some of your favorite books of all time? I’m always looking for something new to read, and would love some recommendations!