There's nothing quite like discovering the book that will turn out to be your favorite.
It'd be very hard for me to pin down favorites per se, but I can tell you a bit about some of the books that greatly impacted me:
- Dracula, for its masterful storytelling;
- The War Zone, for its honest depiction of subject matter both thoughtful and harrowing;
- A Simple Plan, for being one of the most thrilling reads of my young life;
- The Day of the Locust, for delving into the horror of Hollywood like no other piece of literature before or since.
"I feel like I still read a lot..."
Contact by Carl Sagan, about a radio astronomer named Ellie Arroway who discovers extraterrestrial life. (There was a movie too which is also good, but different enough that I think the book is worth reading.)
I feel like I still read a lot, but I don't have obsessive favorite books like I did when I was younger that I read and reread a million times and underline favorite passages. But Contact came across at just the right stage of formative years for me, and showed me the kind of astronomer I wanted to be... and I'm now a radio astronomer who specializes in "transient" radio signals that turn on and off over time! No aliens yet though. :)
"I am a fan..."
Circe and The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.
I am a fan of any Greek Myth interpretation or re-telling, but the way that Miller portrays and gets inside the heads of characters that have existed for thousands of years is incredibly unique and powerful. These books do not have to be read together as they just share a world, but would highly recommend both! Though just a side character in both, her Odysseus might be my favorite.
"The way he described the feasts..."
The Redwall series by Brian Jacques. I love the adventure and questing and figuring out riddles. The way he described the feasts...god I always wished I could experience a feast like that. The way he would write the different dialects for the different animals was so much fun. They are young adult books, but I'm nearing 4 decades and still love them. Been reading them since I was just a wee lad.
Eulalia! For Redwall!
"I love the movie..."
Jurassic Park is the only novel I've sat down with and consumed within twenty-four hours. I love the movie, but the book is so much more detailed, and the characters so much deeper, and in some cases totally different.
"I remember my dad reading it..."
The Hobbit. I remember my dad reading it to me when I was really little before they got divorced so when I read it on my own I remembered some parts from then. PLUS, it's a great story that I loved.
"It shows that we are connected to each other..."
The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. Absolutely fabulous novel that is a greatly entertaining read. It's hilarious, relatable, and enthralling. It shows that we are connected to each other across centuries. Written in the early 1600s, but it still holds up!
The Martian. Hard (reality based) science fiction with a smartass protagonist in a desperate struggle for survival. Watney displays constant problem solving that shows real resilience of character, punctuated with moments of stupidity like anyone would have and humor that anyone would need to live through a disaster.
"If you're a sucker..."
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. F**k, I don't even know how to explain it. This is some real stuff that'll make you hurt in places you never knew you could hurt. If you're a sucker for a sad/melancholic, but real and honest novel this is what you need.
"But for me..."
Thud! by Terry Pratchett. Really all of the Discworld books, particularly the City Watch series (and yesterday, the 25th of May, being a particularly important day for all the Night Watch fans).
But for me, Thud! - particularly the crescendo of the action in the last act of the book - it hit me in a way that's hard to describe. I was crying from laughter, frustration, nervousness, and release. It was a truly great book.
"It's big and intimidating..."
Stephen King's The Stand.
It's big and intimidating but the story is so good and written so well I found myself wanting to savour it. The story and world change throughout the book. I'm excited to leave it a few more years so I can read it again without knowing quite what is going to happen.
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