There are tons of books to sift through out there, so I thought I’d provide a list of Must Reads. This is all based on my opinion, of course. These are the books that I return to, time and time again, when I need a good read. Sometimes it can be good to re-read a book you’ve known before – especially amid a sea of inferior books.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
This recommendation can stand for the entire series, but here I focus on the first book, which shares the title. HHGG details the journey of an Earthling as he learns about the worlds in space he never knew, all starting with a group of aliens wanting to get rid of Earth to establish an interstellar highway. Through politics, wild parties, and imaginative places, the journey through space is always engaging and magical.
The characters are written fantastically; the whole thing is written fantastically. Douglas Adams was a brilliant, clever man with a sense of humor that can leave you giggling to yourself. Even just his sentence structure is witty – something I have to admire. Certain sentences I have to read over and over again because they are so fantastic! The style is something I try to emulate in my own writing. I highly recommend anything he ever wrote. Please, if you like books or reading at all, take a look at this novel.
The Book of Lost Things
This novel, by John Connolly, was one I originally picked up at a library, then went out and bought on my own. It’s a twist on fairy tales and the coming of age of a young boy. It is done fantastically. We have our normal archetypes of selfish kings and wandering woodsmen, but then we also have wolves gaining intelligence and a hunter that splices together animals and children to make the best prey. Nothing is overtly original, but it is all presented in this fresh, wonderful fashion that makes you long to be a child again.
The writing is excellent. I can’t recommend Connolly more, though I’ve never read his ‘detective’ novels. He has other books written in the same style as The Book of Lost Things, including The Gates and The Infernals, which are both excellent. If you’re looking for a story with some oomph, this is a great place to start.
World War Z
World War Z is the ultimate zombie novel, hands down. Don’t be fooled, though – it stands as one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve ever read. I truly believe that anyone could get into this book, because it isn’t about the zombies – it’s about the people and how humanity reacts and survives.
World War Z, by Max Brooks, is written on the basis that someone interviews lots of people after the zombie apocalypse calms down, getting varying points of view regarding different parts of the zombie plague and aftermath. You learn of a world that has changed irrevocably, as well as see the good and bad in humanity being put on display. The writing is excellent, leaving nothing to be desired, and the book will make you laugh and cry. The most important part of the novel is the questions it raises about the nature of humanity. Perhaps the most poignant part of the novel is the fact that any of these situations could easily happen. It is exactly how different countries and people would react, by my estimation.
If you aren’t into zombies, this is a great novel of struggle and overcoming adversity that will suck you into each character’s story and truly experience what they felt while everything was happening. If you like zombies, this is pretty much the Holy Grail.
I’m not in a hurry to finish this list; these are the first three books I thought of when considering what would be on my Must Read List. I intend to re-read these books and do full reviews at some point – I don’t think they are fresh enough on my mind at the moment to give an exact, dedicated review just yet.