Here is my friend Victor Fraternale reading a short poem I wrote.
I was thinking recently of what books I consider must-reads. Books that I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone, regardless of their personal preferences or reading habits. These may not be my favorite books (some are), but they are books that I think are important, entertaining, and make the reader a better person in one way or another.
What follows is a list of those books. Feel free to argue with me or leave your own additions in the comments.
Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
This started when I was writing about Ender’s Game in my last post. So I’ll kick this list off with that one. A commentary on war and the cost of winning, and a thrilling read to boot.
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
A classic for a reason. The story of a sad time in history (depicting events that probably still happen, unfortunately), but a story still full of hope and innocence.
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Another classic for a reason. On the surface a great story of survival, but layered with interesting ideas and comments on civilization and religion.
Sandman – Neil Gaiman
A series of ten graphic novels (and some miscellaneous additions) that chronicle the life of the titular character, a member of a family that influences the lives of everything in the universe. It really is incredible the journey that Gaiman takes the reader on throughout this series.
In the City of Shy Hunters – Tom Spanbauer
I was tempted to put three Spanbauer books on this list, but I decided to narrow it down to just one. And this one speaks to me the most. It’s the story of a young mid-western man searching for his lost lover in 1980’s New York City. This book feels like Spanbauer poured out his entire heart and soul into every sentence. It’s dazzling.
Maniac Magee – Jerry Spinelli
A young orphan boy becomes a local legend because he lives his life ignorant of the racial issues in the area. It’s a book for children that will probably help adults more. Children aren’t racist unless adults make them so.
That’s all for now. I’m sure I’ll think of more as time goes on. And I might be adding the Game of Thrones series as well. I’m waiting to read all the complete series first.
Some context for the curious: This story is almost 10 years old. I had started reading Chuck Paluhniuk’s essays on writing, so everything I wrote for a year read like bad stories he would write. This one was the best. I quite like it, but you can tell I was trying to be Chuck.
Let me know what you think!