I get so caught up in the never-ending cycle of new releases that I forget there are some awesome, already out there books that I still feel like everyone should read and know and love. Here are my Top Ten! (And, wow, these really reveal my crazy book brain).
The Chronicles of Narnia
Not just one book, but all of them. There has been a bit of resurgence in their popularity lately thanks to the three Disney movies, but these are simply awesome books that tell a powerful story. As a Christian, the allegory is obvious to me. However, regardless of your faith, there is something magical about these books. My favorite of the series is the first, The Magician's Nephew, because the story of Narnia being created is so perfect!
The Cat in the Hat
This was the first book I memorized, and it is one my mom can still do word-for-word. We found a wall hanging of the entire story last time I was home, and mom bought it because it is awesome. Who knows what she'll do with it, but still. Simple, fun and a great introduction to the power of the written word.
Ryan White, My Own Story
This was one of the first non-fiction books I read on my own. Ryan White was an Indiana kid who was given tainted blood and ended up being HIV positive. Looking at it now, it shows how little the world really understood of AIDS and HIV. Banned from school and just wanting to live as normal of a life as possible, Ryan White's story changed the way the world saw AIDS.
Arguably Stephen King's greatest work (in my opinion). This sweeping story takes forever to read, but it is so worth it. The Stand has it all; life, death, corruption, good, evil, magic, mystery, horror, love, faith, belief...it is the human experience set in a post-disease ridden world where Good and Evil have to come face to face one last time.
Like many, I, Robot was my first real experience with Science Fiction. Asimov, the father of Sci-Fi writing, wrote this book so long ago. Sure, it was made into a popular movie recently, but the book is just so much better. Anyone who says they enjoy sci-fi should be able to quote the Three Rules of Robotics by heart:
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Quirky, fun and laugh-out-loud, I loved these books the very first time I read them. While I've never seen the movie, I can only imagine it would be fun, too. Hitchhiker is part satire, part fun, part reality and worth the read. As you read through the entire collection, you learn the meaning of life, what to eat at the restaurant at the end of the universe and why you should always, ALWAYS, have a towel.
The Face on the Milk Carton
Am I the only pre-teen that was convinced I was taken as a child after reading this book? I recently ran across it at the library and remembered reading it, seeing those kids faces on the milk cartons and always secretly looking for someone who looked just like me!
The Eyre Affair
The first of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series isn't really that old, but it's still awesome and I wish more people knew about it (and the rest of the series). The Thursday Next books are books for book lovers. They are about the world of fiction, the world of writing, the world of prose. They are awesome if you love books. And, if you're reading this you probably do! You should pick them up now!
Sure, it's an amazing musical. And the movie coming out this Christmas looks almost pitch-perfect. But nothing compares to Victor Hugo's epic story in print. It's intimidating because it's so big. It's hard to read and full of politics and fear and frustration. It's a powerful love story. It's the story of what one man is willing to do, to fight for, to live for, to protect. It's epic and sweeping and worth the time and energy it would take to read.
The Name of the Rose
Umberto Eco. Monks. Fire. The truth. It's all in The Name of the Rose. I freely admit that I would have never picked this book up if it hadn't been assigned in college. But, surprisingly, I really enjoyed it. I found it to be a story, a big story, that was worth reading. And worth knowing.
So, what about you? What book do you want to make sure people don't forget?