Everyone has a few book titles that speak to their hearts and stay with them forever. I thought I would take a minute and share a couple of my favorites. I read across all genres. I love all kinds of books. Thrillers, romance, fantasy…I love it all.
The first book I can remember that affected me on a visceral level was Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”. It is a bastion of modern fiction that has been heralded as one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. The first time I read this book I was blown away. Lee masterfully pens a tale of innocence and love that transcended everything I thought I knew about literature. To this day, my well-loved copy holds a place of prominence among all my books.
“Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad is another one on my keeper shelf. Most people I know either haven’t read it or hated it. I love this novel. Love it with a passion. The complex play of emotions and a man’s struggle with his moral compass in an immoral world is haunting in its depth. The subtleties between Marlowe and Kurtz are characterizations that I strive to reach in my own work. It’s one of the reasons I love character studies so much. The inner conflict and turmoil will keep me turning pages long after the action is done.
“Stuart: A Life Backwards” by Alexander Masters is a contemporary English novel that chronicles the tale of an abused, mentally-ill man and his unique and self-effacing view of the world. He knows who he is, why he is the way he is, and accepts it in a heartbreaking and terrifying way. Something inside me broke when I read this for the first time. Just shattered me. Masters’ recollections of his time with Stuart is funny, endearing, yet so gut-wrenchingly sad it is impossible to read this novel and not walk away changed in some way.
I think everyone should have some Shakespeare on their shelf. For me, it’s “Othello”. This is my favorite Shakespeare play of all time. ALL. TIME. The tragic story of the mad Moor and his love that borders on obsession with his wife and the sinister machinations of betrayal and deceit never ceases to amaze me. Every time I read it, I am awed by the sheer passion Othello has for Desdemona, and how crippling that much emotion can be.
I could go on with several other examples, but I’ll leave it here for now. Go on, tell us about your favorite books!!!