Friday, November 22, 2013

8 Books Everyone Should Read

I've mentioned before that I am a voracious reader.  I get that from my mother, who is never far from a book if she can help it.  Most of my childhood memories involving my mother have her reading, and the habit rubbed off on me.  I read just about everything.  I'm a serial reader; if I like a particular author, I will read everything they've ever written.  My point is that I've read a lot of books, and rarely will I read one more than once.

Except that some books grabbed me, got my attention. Made me think about life and my place in the world. Made me visit dusty cattle trails, consider politics as a profession, and avoid clowns in storm drains. This is my list of books that I think everyone should read, and it's a bit different, I know.  I've read most of these books twice, sometimes more. Some of my copies have passages underlined, or have been read so many times that they are falling apart.  They're old friends, in other words.

Lonesome Dove  Almost anything by Larry McMurtry is pure gold; that man knows how to spin an epic.  Lonesome Dove is the adventures of two very different men who happen to be the best of friends.  They set out on a cattle drive from Texas, and their story is the stuff of legends.  Don't be turned off by the idea that this is a Western; there is so very much more.  These characters are old friends, and I never get tired of visiting.

True Women  There was a lady in Texas who was researching her family tree, and she decided to write a novel using her family as characters.  It just so happened that her family was in Texas at the very beginning, when Texians(Yes, that's what they called themselves. I know it's lame, but apparently it made sense at the time) fought for independence from Mexico.  But Janice Woods Windall didn't write about the men in her family.  She wrote about the women left behind who kept the farms and ranches going.  This is a book about strong, independent women and their adventures in the founding of a nation/state, and for that, it is worth reading.

Good Omens  Off the beaten path, this book.  Neil Gaiman helped write it, which should give an indication that things will be topsy-turvy.  Some people might become upset after reading this book, which involves an accidental switch at birth.  I expected a horror story, and instead found something else. It definitely made me laugh, but it also made me think.

Mrs. Dalloway  I'm not a big Virginia Woolf fan.  She could be a bit of a downer.  But this book isn't the least bit depressing; it's a bit like a manic phase where everything is impossibly happy.  In fact, when I finished the book I was in a better mood than when I started. Not many books leave you blissful at the end, but this did it for me.  Sort of like Mrs. Dalloway herself.

A Game of Thrones  I hated this book the first time I read it. Hated. It was a completely visceral response; given the story, and I threw the book in a corner and left it there for days while I sulked about it.  Then my husband found it in a box, abandoned, and decided to read it.  And he loved it, and demanded that I read the book again.  So I did. And while I was still extremely angry about the same things that got me riled the first time, it became obvious that George R.R. Martin is a freakin' genius.

Howards End  I wasn't prepared to like this novel as much as I did.  It was a class assignment in college, an afterthought, following weeks of D.H. Lawrence novels.  Yet it struck a chord with me; I found myself a member of a family of eccentrics and intellectuals attempting to interact with their world as Britain was changing from a rural to an industrial nation.  Something was lost in the translation, of course, since we are all still fascinated that time. 

Lord Foul's Bane  Another off the beaten path story, about a modern man diagnosed with leprosy who gets knocked out and finds himself in a strange land where people think that he is a messiah, of sorts.  Thomas Covenant has to remember his humanity somehow, while refusing to believe that anything he sees or hears is real.  Some people insist that the tale is derivative of Tolkien; I have an answer to that. Every fantasy written since Tolkien is derivative of Tolkien. Get over it, and enjoy the story!

It   Stephen King is the master of American horror for a reason.  He knows how to scare the bejesus out of people.  He's responsible for my fear of closets, my fear of women stalkers, my fear of spiders, and my fear of clowns.  It is a tale of childhood, of bravery, of good and evil, and redemption.  The characters are drawn in pencil and the reader fills in the lines and makes them family.  You cringe when they cringe, you scream when they do.  It's impossible not to.  There are a great many people who rabidly insist that The Stand is King's best book, and maybe they are right.  But It is scarier.

What are your favorite books?  Share in the comments!

I borrowed this prompt from Mamakat.  Thank you, Ma'am!
5.) List 8 books you’ve read that you think everyone should read in their lifetime
Go visit Mamakat's website.  There are many other bloggers who wrote about their favorite books, too--lots of new reading ideas!


  1. Lonesome Dove! I loved Good Omens and Howards End oh so very much, too, but I'm sort of ashamed to admit that I have never read Mrs. Dalloway. I read a Virginia Woolf short story collection and it made me want to stab my eyeballs out, so I stopped there. Perhaps I should revisit it?

  2. I can't believe I haven't read any of these. Need to add to my reading list- especially Mrs Dalloway and Lonesome Dove.

  3. I totally get that books can become friends--David Eddings books are my very best friends.and have been since I was introduced to them at age 14. Now I get the joy of introducing my sons to them. Even if I have to read them to them.


I welcome comments, but reserve the right to correct your spelling because I am OCD about it!