Mar 13, 2010

In Which the Author Recommends Four Books to His Readers

One of my goals for 2010 is to read some classics that I've not read before. I thought I'd give an update about some of the best (new) ones I've read since January:

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens:
This book is . . . incredible. It earned itself a place in my top three best books. The storyline is riveting, the style of writing is poetic, and the allegory in the final chapters is sobering. Absolutely wonderful.

1984 by George Orwell:
I can't believe it took me until I was 23 to read this book, but I'm glad I did. I enjoyed the plot, but the very end was a bit too depressing for me. I had a hard time because Orwell takes away any hope that might remain for redemption. Kind of sucks, but it's still a fascinating read.

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn:
A very fast read, but intriguing as well. Even though I have spent some time in the former U.S.S.R., I have to say I have a fairly large blind spot when it comes to the realities of communism and what Russian life was like. Similarly to Catcher in the Rye, nothing really happens in this book, but it's more about a character and his day to day life.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck:
I probably shouldn't even write this one, as I'm only partially finished with it, but I'm really enjoying it so far. I've never read anything by Steinbeck, so his writing style is new and yet comforting at the same time. A good read thus far.

What types of books are you reading? What would you recommend?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recommendations! I, too, have been wanting to read more classics like that...ones that everyone should probably read in their lifetime.

Right now I've been reading lots of quality young adult lit, sort of as research for my own writing projects.

The one I would recommend very heartily would be The Book Theif by Markus Zusak. I was absolutely amazed by this novel...the poetry of the writing was fascinating.

Laura said...

I am still reading through Ivan Denisovich. I like it, but it's hard to find a good place to put it down (no chapters...or even breaks between thoughts)...but then again, I really really like Catcher in the Rye as well.
Over break, I chose to start with Angels and Demons, which was the longest of all the books, so I only got that and half of Ivan D read so far. But the rest of the books are not due back to the library until the end of the semester, so I have some time.
1984 is also one of my favorites.
Anyway, I'm this far into the comment, and can't remember what you had originally asked for. Book recommendations? I always always always recommend The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom. My favorite. And, the Giver, by Lois Lowry. Also my favorite. As for recent books, I would have to say one that I read last semester: Christianity Rediscovered by Vincent Donovan.
Hope you are well!

carmen said...

One book that I'm sad I never read as a teenager but that is on my top-10 list now is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Maybe it's because I'm a girl? Also, have fun with the Grapes of Wrath. I love love that story but the end tears your gut out emotionally. Other recommendations? Willa Cather, Marilynne Robinson, Anne Tyler. And props on tackling the Dickens. I haven't read a full Dickens yet, even though it would be worth the effort. Every winter I think "maybe this year. . . ." and here it is spring already.

Warren MacLeod said...

Anna: I really enjoy young adult literature as well. I finished the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series over Christmas (which I noticed you mentioned on your blog :)

Laura: I agree about Ivan Den. Similarly to Gilead, the lack of chapter breaks makes difficult reading. Also, I can't believe I've never read "The Giver," but that will go on my list of books to read this year.

Carmen: Good to hear from you! I'll also add "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" to my list, and as for Cather and Robinson, I'm already a fan!