I’ve read quite a few books, and I wasn’t sure the best way to write about it, but here it goes (in the order of when I read them and only if I finished them)…
The Pleasure of Reading in an Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs
Many lessons learnt…Read on the whim and for yourself, don’t worry about reading “good” literature or following the top 100 books. Challenge yourself by reading authors that read by authors you love (instead of Fan Fiction etc). Only annotate books that request it, ink in your thoughts and realizations (relevant or tangential) and don’t use a highlighter.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Favorite Q&A: Why should you leave the people you love for something your gut tells you to pursue? Because “you will the spend the rest of your days knowing that you didn’t pursue you destiny, and that now it’s too late. And [your loved one] will be unhappy because [they] felt like [they] interrupted your quest”.
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Kipling studied his surrounding and understood and loved them. He used facts and evidence to make his plot be a possible reality. I loved the book’s appeal to both children and adults.
The Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan and The Farthest Shore by Ursula Le Guin
Not fabulously written but fun to read due to a capturing plot. A great example of a book you shouldn’t annotate. Love the quote from Jasper, “Even foolery is dangerous in the hands of a fool.” Her works seem to follow rules: the protagonist is someone you hate at the beginning so that you love them ever more deeply when they grow up at the end, and the side kick of the main character is good, someone who always does the right thing and the reader can rely on.
Hard Times by Charles Dickens
Dickens is a master of repetition, and it’s utility in writing. His classic style of writing is calculated and thought provoking, a nice contrast from Le Guin.
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
The protagonist is unpredictable, and I love the fact a French author made him British. Weirdly inspirational (or maybe that isn’t weird) and totally engrossing.
Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest By Oscar Wilde
Wilde is a master of irony and the ultimate conversationalist. He says exactly the opposite of what you believe him to say and viably backs it up. Some of my favorite quotes:
“To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness”
(After showing a photo of herself) “I’m afraid it is very flattering – I’m not as pretty as that.”
“I’m afraid all we can hope for is passionate celibacy.” (Or something for similar)
“This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.”
Cartoon History of the United States by Larry Gonick
Great illustrations clearly differentiating events and people. Perfect balance of humor and US History. A nice supplement to a regular US History course or book.
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
His writing is surprising, insightful and paints vivid illustrations. I would never have guessed he was a doctor due the writing being of the highest quality.
Pride and Prejudice and Emma by Jane Austen
Love Mr. Bennett, reminds me of Wilde. Austen’s irony is well appreciated, but I hate all her female characters, whose only goal is to marry (though this is might just a difference in time).
Archaic stories that articulate morals for modern society. Loved this. Short and sweet and perfect.