Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Books to Read

I have a written list of the top books I want to read next...kind of a reminder that I need to just get started instead of always wishing I could "find the time"! So just in case you were interested to see what's on that list I decided to outline it as a post.


A Walk Across America 2

I finished the first book in early June and I cannot wait to read the sequel. These books are written by a man named Peter Jenkins. As a college student in the early 1970's he decided to go on an adventure. Bringing nothing but his dog Cooper and a backpack, he set off on foot to explore, and walk, across America. The first book follows his journey from New York all the way down through most of the Southern states. Some of his stories are funny, some inspiring or thought-provoking, and others terrifying, but all are riveting and 100% true. Part one ended when he met a young woman in New Orleans and, in one of the most romantic real-life love stories I have ever read, she chose to walk the rest of his journey with him and they set off on the next leg of the adventure as a newlywed couple. And that's where the second book picks up. Incredible story!


Flyboys

Flyboys is a World War II book written by James Bradley. It is about eight real-life US airplane pilots and follows their story when they crash-land onto a Japanese island. Bradley wrote one of my all-time favorite books, Flags of Our Fathers, and this is a book I've been wanting to read for a long time. His style is what drew me in; in his books he follows the soldiers' stories in vivid detail. It almost feels like a novel with how descriptive he is, and he makes the characters come alive until you feel like they are in the same room with you. I have heard a lot of great things about Flyboys, and plus I should read the book before I watch the movie.


Harry Potter

I know the basics about Harry Potter already - including lots of death spoilers - but never actually read the books or watched the movies. I've had friends and cousins alike who recommended this series to me over the years but I never really caught on to it. Now that I'm almost an adult I want to read them before I move out of the house. A good friend recently told me to check them out, so I'm going to give it a shot the next chance I get.


Persepolis

I watched the animated French film a couple years ago and it left me breathless. It was amazing. One time in the bookstore I found the graphic novel the film was based on and by skimming through found out just how much the film had to exclude in its two-hour run. Now I really want to read the book for myself and get the whole story. Persepolis is an autobiography (written as a graphic novel) about a girl growing up in Iran during a violent period in the nation's history. The fact that it's all a true story makes it all the more heartbreaking but inspiring to read.


Mein Kampf

Ugh, I love this book and I hate this book. I tried reading it once before but it is so poorly written in regards to flow and process I had a difficult time following it, so I put it down. But, it's sitting on my shelf, and I am going to try again. You probably know this already, but Mein Kampf was the book Adolf Hitler wrote while he was in prison in the late 1920's, and became the "Bible" for Nazi Germany. The book is a blend of a memoir, ideals of the Nazi Party, and his vision of a new Germany and a new world. I think it is something everyone should read at some point. And I've always been fascinated - albeit horrified - by Hitler's story, his rise, and downfall.


The Abolition of Man

Our family recently read Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis as a group, and I found the book deep and thought-provoking in its study of ethics, the Trinity, sin and evil, heaven and hell, and the human nature. The Abolition of Man is a companion book from what I hear, and I want to read it on my own. C. S. Lewis writes in such a way that makes you keep putting the book down and having to think about what you just read, read it five more times, and think about it again. So if you don't like having your brain played with, or possibly having your own morals tested by logic and reason, his books will be dangerous to touch. But, I loved Mere Christianity, and I'm willing to give this one a shot as well. As a side-note, C. S. Lewis is a brilliant writer...we read the Narnia books when we were kids but I love his nonfiction ten times more. (And if you want a good scare, read The Screwtape Letters. Those will keep you up all night.)


The Devil in the White City

I'm a rabid reader of history books, but this is one of those that stands out every time I walk by it in the bookstore or read about it online. Written as a novel, it's about a real-life murder plot set in the 1893 World's Fair. I've been wanting to read it for a long, long time but one of my goals is to start (and finish!) it within the year. When I was little I read almost all the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels so I always love a good murder mystery, but, especially, one that actually happened!


Miscellaneous:

-More classic literature. I love classic novels like A Christmas Carol, Little Women, and the Sherlock Holmes stories. The trouble is I have not read a whole lot of classic literature. In high school, freshmen year especially, I had to read a lot of those kind of books for school, and when I found an author I liked I would read other books by them. Even before middle school I was reading a lot of them. But now that high school is over my only required reading is college textbooks, so classic lit has been moved to the back burner. However, there are so many good books out there I still have to read, and I am going to. The list is just too long to start!

-Steampunk novels. My sister and I have been rabid lovers of the sub genre/culture of Steampunk for a couple years. If you like the Victorian and Industrial ages, fantasy and/or science fiction, and lots of clocks and gears, you'll love Steampunk. We're crazy about it! The trouble is Steampunk is not a popular genre, hence being its own sub-culture, and so finding good Steampunk books is a hard find. I have read a couple good ones, like The Dream of Perpetual Motion, as well as some Steampunk short story collections. But other than that, not much. So one of our goals for the next year or two is to find some good books in that genre.

-More biographies. Biographies are actually pretty dangerous things to read. One time my mom decided to read one about one of her favorite late celebrity figures, and after reading it my mom lost a lot of respect for the celebrity. On the other hand, reading an in-depth story about a figure may make you respect them much more. One of the things I want to avoid the most is making false assumptions and having a false perception about a historical figure, which happens more the farther back history goes. For example, I would love to read more about the Roman emperors or the line of English kings. A couple years ago my mom also read a biography on every single American president, and that is something I would love to try too.

So what books are on your waiting list? What is a book you've been wanting to read for a long time but never got around to? Is there a new genre or type of book you want to try out?





1 comment:

  1. Although I haven't read the Harry Potter books, the movies were great, especially, the last four movies.
    I am looking for some books as well, particularly audiobooks, since I just finished the Lord of the Rings yesterday. I will probably start the Fate of the Jedi series next.

    -James

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