Required Reading #1

Looking for books for the summer? I just got done putting my list of summer reading together. I’ll post that next. First, though, is a few of the novels I read over the school year that were really phenomenal.

1) The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach                                                                             Fielding is such a great book because it forces you to develop feelings for the characters regardless. Harbach did a wonderful job crafting honest, believable characters. There are no “manic-pixie dream” characters that come across in some other novels. Every character has a flaw, and it is a beautiful experience to be a part of every time I read it.

2) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky                                                           Perks is a book for anyone who has ever felt completely and utterly alone. So, what I mean is Perks is a book for everyone. It is weird, and charming. The plot makes you want to laugh, cry, and throw up all at once. I know that doesn’t sound appealing, but it is. It’s a pretty short read. I read it in a day, and passed it on to a friend, who passed it on to another one of our friends. We’re like a really poor book club.

3) The Emperor of All Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee                                                       As a science nerd, I found this book to be incredibly informational. Above that though, it was incredibly refreshing to read a novel written by a doctor about medicine that was so incredibly warm, and personable. Doctors get a bad rap for being cold and unattached. Mukherjee writes with such a warm tone that learning about such an abysmal topic seems comfortable. Another author/doctor who does very similar things is Atul Gawande.

4) This is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper                                                               Reading this book is like watching a slow motion car crash. It is painful and difficult and messy, but you look on anyways. You know the second you open the book that you are going to watch the main character’s life fall apart. It reads in such a way that makes everything inside you hurt for this character. Tropper manipulates his readers in the best sort of way.

5) Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi                                                                                                     This is an important read for anyone who grew up in the US during the war with Iraq/Afghanistan/Etc. It is important for those of us still growing up in the middle of these wars. It is written comic book style to appeal to a young audience,and outlines a young girls growing up during the time before the US invaded the middle east. It shows the struggle, and trial that she goes through. I read this as an assignment for a Young Adult Literature course, and hated it for the first few chapters. As I begun to understand it, I grew to love it. Persepolis does a great job of reminding us that perspective is all a matter of where we stand.

6) Looking For Alaska, John Green                                                                                         Because it’s not a book list if it doesn’t contain a John Green novel. His book TFiOS has done quite well, but I am considerably more fond of Alaska. It is a tragic coming of age novel. It shows that pain occurs in everyone. And that we all believe in our own invincibility, even if it is only for a short time. It reminds us to let the people around us know that they are loved, they are forgiven, and they are not alone.

There you have it: six books you need to read. Enjoy!


A New Tradition

I used to read a lot. Not that I don’t read much anymore, but as my father so elegantly pointed out, I read trash. Which is depressing considering the fact that I used to be a very avid reader of classic novels and good news. So, I have started a new tradition. Every year, on the evening of Thanksgiving Day, I will write up for myself a book list. Now, speaking ideally I will be finishing up one list as I make another. That’s not the case this year, as this is my first go ’round with this whole mess. To fix this lack of book awesomeness in my life, I’ll read Harry Potter backwards until 2012. Then I’ll start the new list. Here it is, if there is something I’ve missed and MUST READ, leave it in the comments:

1) Gone With the Wind –Margret Mitchell (You will read the whole thing…)

2) The Glass Castle -Jeannette Walls

3) Pride and Prejudice –Jane Austen

4) Jane Eyre –Charlotte Bronte

5) The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe –C.S. Lewis (It doesn’t matter that you’ve already read it)

6) Martian Child –David Gerrold

7) A Farewell to Arms –Ernest Hemingway

8) The Last September –Elizabeth Bowen

9) The Sound and The Fury –William Faulkner

10) The Sun Also Rises –Ernest Hemingway

11) The Great Gatsby –F. Scott Fitzgerald (Also a reread, but it’s beautiful and you love it.)

12) The Grapes of Wrath –John Steinbeck

13) Little Women –Louisa May Alcott

14) Johnny Got His Gun –Dalton Trumbo

15) The Jungle –Upton Sinclair

16) Saturday –Ian McEwan

17) Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy –Douglas Adams

18) Vanishing Point –David Markson

19) The Girls With the Dragon Tattoo –Stieg Larsson

20) Great Expectations –Charles Dickens (Even though you hate Dickens)

21) The Strange Cas of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde –Robert Louis Stevenson

22) The Catcher in the Rye –JD Salinger (Again)

23) War and Peace –Leo Tolstoy

24) Les Miserables –Victor Hugo

25) Walden –Henry David Thoreau

26) Moby Dick –Herman Melville

27) The Scarlet Letter –Nathaniel Hawthorne

28) Vanity Fair –William Makepeace Thackeray

29) The Pit and the Pendulum –Edgar Allan Poe

30) Sense and Sensibility –Jane Austen

31) To Kill a Mockingbird –Harper Lee (Even though this will be the third time)

32) Catch 22 –Joseph Heller

33) The Hobbit –JRR Tolkien

34) The Time Traveler’s Wife –Audrey Niffenegger

35) The Kite Runner –Khaled Hosseini

36) Winnie the Pooh –AA Milne

37) The Da Vinci Code –Dan Brown

38) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night –Mark Haddon

39) The Inferno –Dante

40) The Color Purple –Alice Walker

41) The Five People You Meet in Heaven –Mitch Albom

42) Tuesday’s With Morrie –Mitch Albom

43) Adventures of Sherlock Holmes –Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

44) Hamlet –William Shakespeare

45) Life of Pi –Yann Martel

46) My Sister’s Keeper –Jodi Picoult

47) Three Cups of Tea –Greg Mortenson

48) The Help –Kathryn Stockett

49) Things Fall Apart –Chinua Achebe

50) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory –Roald Dahl (You can’t even count how many times you’ve read this one)

So, yeah if there really is something else I have to read I will get around to it in the next couple years. If you want to use my list, go for it. You’ll be seeing the occasional post about these books. Actually, there’ll be around fifty of them. Give or take. Some may show up again next year, some may not get read this coming year. We’ll see.