5 Books You MUST Read

6 Oct

There are many more books that I’ve read that I can recommend than those that I can’t. I’ve put together a short list of books that are near and dear to my heart, hopefully getting a little of several genres. I’ve also included some runner-ups that I couldn’t include because of my genre and number restriction. The Bluest Eye, The Sound and the Fury, and Beloved were all pining for the same spot. And here we go…

Runner-up: The Bluest Eye, The Sound and the Fury

5. The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King – This is a book I read when I was either in 8th grade or as a freshman in high school. I read it twice, both within a year of each other, but it has remained on my top list of books to tell people about. There are a few great things I love about this book. First, it takes the fantastical elements you’ll find in all historical fiction and combines that with the writing style of Stephen King. From page one you’ll be hooked, and soon after you’ll be lost in the characters that are spun so well by Mr. King. Secret passages and scandal make this book a must-read!

4. Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll – These books epitomize the wonderful place that vague meets descriptive. While I do prefer the former, I had to include both to do Carroll a justice. Whimsical in nature, the imagery of these books is the best kind of original. There is enough to decipher, here, that we can easily interpret and adapt to what we need this book to serve as. From the darker Through the Looking Glass adaptation of Disney/Tim Burton to the possibly drug-induced classic by Disney to the Czech stop-motion film Něco z Alenky (Something from Alice), we can find a little something for everyone.  We can look at this book as a child, curious about the world and tired of daily monotony, or as an adult in which we find a commentary on the contrast between adult and child that lends the former to reservation and control and that latter to excess and imagination. You can actually read these books online for free!

3. Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood – Now we’ve reached a place where our last three books are interchangeable in position based on my mood. This book I read in my 20th Century Fiction course about four years ago. It is a dystopian novel, which already places it high on my list of books that I like. This book serves as a commentary to the current state of the United States focused on our sexual needs and the decline of our fertility. Any book with sex as a theme is probably on my list of books to read, and this one deals a lot with sexual dysfunction. We get to see the contrast between how things stayed the same and how things are drastically different (think underground strip clubs vs. ritualistic fertility sex orgies) in a society designed to save the human race.

2.  Beloved by Toni Morrison – This is also a recent read, but is a beautiful and sensual novel in none of the classical ways. The premise of this book is very dark, but each word has a purpose. The flow of her words on the page is nothing less than sensual. Throughout the book Morrison alluded to the ending, and while my suspicions were correct, I did not imagine the book would end like it did. With nothing even close to a happy ending, the book still ended in the best way possible, and left me very satisfied.

1. Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg – I’m cheating by having this on the list, because I haven’t actually finished it. To give you an idea of what this book is about, let me list some key words for you: rape, sex, sexuality, race, gender, love, suicide, depression, oppression, police brutality, civil rights, poverty. Do I have your attention? You wouldn’t expect all of these to be able to fit into one book without being overwhelmed, but it is eye-opening how cohesive and spot-on Feinberg illustrates each of these struggles. One main character is faced with all of these challenges and more and you can’t help but gain a better understanding for how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. This a novel that will transcend generations and will continue to be relevant, even decades from now.

 

Have you read any of these books? Do you disagree with any of my choices?

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2 Responses to “5 Books You MUST Read”

  1. L October 6, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

    I’m just not a reader personally. I derive no pleasure from it whatsoever. I have not read a novel since my senior year of high school and have no intentions of ever doing so again.

    Reading it seems is like most hobbies – it’s for some people but not everyone.

  2. buddy71 October 6, 2015 at 9:26 pm #

    alice is the only one I have read, but not all of it. I don’t care for king as his endings are crap!!

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