Yesterday one of my friends asked me for some book recommendations. Immediately, I gave her a list of about 7 or 8 books, and while I was writing the email I was like heck I should make this a blog post. So in no particular order here is part one of two. As I was making this list it was getting a bit long so I decided to come up with an even dozen but only give you half now. I also gave you the amazon.com links just in case you are tempted to grab a few for yourselves although most of these are older so they can be easily found at the library or through a book swap.
As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text (Modern Library) by William Faulkner. The first Faulkner book I ever read and still my favorite. I love the symbolism and the way each character has their own chapters and speaks to us in stream of consciousness. If you haven't done any Faulkner start with this one and then do the others. I won't get into a whole synopsis because there are a lot of reviews and information out there about Faulkner, but I will say that if you are interested in the American South and in small town families and relationships between families then you will appreciate his work.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. While this is not the most well-written book literature-wise it is very fast-paced and his ideas were so intriguing about the church and Jesus that I went down a whole path of getting other books about the real historical Jesus and such. If you are a true Catholic or you are a person who believes that the Bible is really God's word than this book could be upsetting. As I am not either of those types, I found his ideas to be really interesting and my above-mentioned friend and I had many conversations at work about the book when we should have been talking about customer files instead - oh well.
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. Another novel with a lot of symbolism and beautiful language and rich characters. This is the kind of novel that you need to read over and over so you can pick up on all the subtle details and the details of each character's life. Set in Michigan starting in the 1930's it is a story about a young black man trying to find his identity. Each detail, even down to the character's names is so carefully planned and executed that you wonder how could she have thought of that. When you read her books you realize the difference between those that are gifted storytellers and all other authors.
As an aside, did anyone else see in the news how Rutgers is paying Snookie - yep Snookie from that trashy Jersey Shore show - more money to come and speak than Toni Morrison. Just tragic. Really says something about the sad state of affairs in our universities when they value someone like her more than a Nobel Prize author like Toni Morrison. Okay enough soapbox.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. This Newbery Medal book is so good that I have read it every year of my life since 4th grade. I am not kidding you. It is a children's book but the story is so perfect - part mystery, part romance, part science fiction, part fantasy - that you can't help but fall in love with it over and over. It is the story of a teenage girl's coming of age, her undiminished love for her father, and the strength of family. This is a must read for everyone always.
The Alienist by Caleb Carr. A riveting historical mystery set in 1890's New York City this novel is more than just your average mystery. I loved it because it had so many interesting details about NYC and early methods of catching criminals. The characters have depth and the book is a fast read that will keep you up for a few nights trying to get to the last page.
Spoon River Anthology (Signet Classics) by Edgar Lee Masters. I like this book because it is so different from most others you will ever read. It is a collection of poems written in first-person narrative spoken by the dead residents of the town of Spoon River. As each of the almost 200 residents gets their chance they let out little secrets about what really went on in their small mid-western town - about failed marriages and secret liaisons and such. It is the type of book that you have to keep flipping back and forth between the pages because when one character reveals something you want reread what another might have said on the subject. I did notice that this one is only $1.99 on the kindle for those of you like me who are addicted to that silly little machine.
Let me know your thoughts if you have read or do read these. Also send me any great books you have read lately. I have been stuck on this series by C.S. Harris (What Angels Fear: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Book 1) for the last few weeks so I haven't had much variety in a while. Putting this list on paper (so to speak) makes me want to reread them all now.
~ Gold Shoe Girl ~