Thursday, May 20, 2010

A post for Katie

So my friend Katie left a comment on my last post asking for book suggestions. I have had trouble coming up with any -- not because I don't know of any good books, but because recommending a book is difficult. It completely varies from person to person. It depends on if you want something for mindless entertainment or to learn about a specific topic or to really immerse yourself in. One of the best fiction books I have read recently was the Hunger Games. I know a lot of other people who loved it, too. There are three books in the series, but I haven't read the second and third ones yet because I am somewhere around number 124 in the request line at the library. Hunger Games was really good and if I described it, you would think it would be horrific. I am not a person who generally is okay with violence, but for some reason it didn't bother me that much in this book. I seriously couldn't put it down and I even talked Nate into reading it (and he loved it).

I always get people asking me which books I recommend, and I never have very good suggestions. I think reading is so personal. It's amazing to me how the degree to which I like a book can be so greatly influenced by my life and experiences. I have read and hated books only to re-read them years later and absolutely love them. I think reading is 50% what the author gives us and 50% what we bring to the literature. I think we can use past reading experiences to choose the books we read -- we just shouldn't always judge a book by its cover. We never know when we might find our new favorite book or author. I recommend reading about the background of an author and the society of a book before I begin reading it. For some reason it always helps me get more out of the book. I also really like the library because I can check out a book and if I don't like it, I don't have anything more invested in it than the time it took me to read the first few pages. Of course, some books take longer than others to get into. Hmm... how many times have I contradicted myself in this paragraph? Oh well. {By the way, my friend Passelly recently wrote about how she felt the library had so much potential for germs. Surprisingly, I had never thought of this, but she brings up a good point. Of course she offered the solution of cleaning off all the books with antibacterial wipes which is nothing short of brilliant. }

My mom used to tell me that if she learned just one thing from a book, she felt it had been worth reading. I think that's true. I love to read because it's one of the few ways to see inside the mind of another person. I can hold in my hands a world that normally seems so far away. I really enjoy reading for the purpose of connecting with a writer. It's amazing to think that someone you never met has felt the exact same way as you do. I also like reading about ideas I completely disagree with -- it helps me understand others, changes my mind, or reaffirms my own beliefs.

Saying all of that, here is a [very condensed] list of my favorite books:
A Tale of Two Cities
Tuesdays with Morrie
A Brave New World
The Secret Life of Bees
The Alchemist
Billy Budd Sailor
The Scarlet Letter

There, Katie! Now I think everyone should leave comments with their favorite books. Or we could all become friends on :)

p.s. I also love poetry and short stories. Before my college literature classes, I never would've believed I would say those words. In high school, my knowledge of poetry consisted of Robert Frost and Shel Silverstein. Now I love Emily Dickinson and Anne Bradstreet.


Heather Lee said...

My ALL time favorite book is Twilight! (you better know I'm joking, although I did like them)

I'm surprised that I've only read 2 books on your list...not counting Hunger Games and Catching Fire. I don't think the third book is out yet, and if it is then I'm hightailing it out to Barnes and Noble right this second! (with a carseat cover of course to ward off those GERMS) how funny, Passedly and I sound quite a bit alike.

I am looking for some new reads so I'm glad you did this. As for my recommendations.

Always hesitent to recommend these (not sure what judgement will be placed upon me) but I loved the Shopaholic series. Definitely pure entertainment, like watching a movie. Nothing too deep there. But I went through a phase (after college) where I wanted a little mindless reading time.

Now lets get to some more serious books. I liked all the books I read for my African American Lit class, which included Native Sun, A Raisin in the Sun...umm lots more.

I also really liked Kite Runner.

The last book I read was Olive was ok.

I also read the Memory Keepers Daughter, didn't love it but I always finish a book once I start.

Anyway, my mind is kinda blank, I do a lot of "Will You Be Elmo's Valentine" reading these days.

Ashley said...

Les Mis, fav. book of all time.

David and Shalynna said...

I love this! I'm always looking for a good read.

My two favorite books are: The Hiding Place and Pride and Prejudice. I also love The Giving Tree. Do children books count? :)

Ty, Steph, & Bristol said...

Good list! Have you ever got on Love the website. Great way to share your favorites and get ideas too!

Colby said...

I just read Tuesdays With Morrie a few months ago and LOVED it and just recently had a co-worker recommend reading Hunger Games. I think I might pick that and The Secret Life of Bees up. Thanks for this post. You are amazing for writing so much in response to my question. You know, I never have had my name in a post title before. That is definitely a red letter date for me. Haha. Thanks MC!

ps, I am sure you have read it, but in the slim chance you haven't The Last Lecture reminds me so much of Tuesdays with Morrie. It's up there on my list of favorites. If you haven't read it, give it a shot.

Colby said...

Nope, not's Katie :)