I have read more books in the past five years than during any other period of my life. In high school, I BSed my way through Waiting for Godot
tests and Scarlet Letter
book reports. In college, while I did read a heck of a lot of biographies and textbooks to meet the requirements of my history major, I still managed to get by on the least amount of reading possible. I just didn’t enjoy it. I presume this lack of interest stemmed from the fact that all this reading was forced upon me. Anything that was forced upon me (piano, flute, dishes) I did half-heartedly and reading was no different. It wasn’t until my 20s, when I was gifted a Kindle for my birthday, that reading really became a passion for me. I welcomed it into my life with open arms and haven’t looked back since.A quick look to my Kindle confirms that I read about 20 books a year. 100 books divided by 5 years. Yes, there are a couple samples on there for which I never took the plunge and downloaded completely (one day I will give A Prayer for Owen Meany
another try), but it evens out considering there are a few actual paper bound books I have read post Kindle. I’ve dabbled in the classics — or rather the books I was assigned to read in high school and college — such as The Sun Also Rises
and The Great Gatsby
and enjoyed them immensely. I have found authors, such as Ken Follett, that I love and burned through their collections as quickly as my finger could hit “purchase.” But my most treasured reads are those that have been recommended to me by family, friends and co-workers.My mother told me to read Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken.” Having thoroughly enjoyed her Seabiscuit
I said, why not? 497 pages later my mind was blown. I now take every opportunity to recommend it to anyone who will listen. It is an amazing story of courage, resilience and the power of the human spirit. Whenever I am having a bad day — my blowout is too frizzy, my Metrocard swipe failed and I ran into the turnstile — I think of the ordeal that Lieutenant Louis Zamperini went through when his plane went down in the Pacific Ocean in 1943. It’s a beautifully written tale that, I have heard, is destined for the silver screen.
A former co-worker — the first person to ever hire me — told me to read David Benioff’s City of Thieves, knowing I had a passion for history. This recommendation came from a self-proclaimed book worm who had been attending the same weekly book club for the past 25 years, so I figured she had to know what she was talking about. She, and the book, did not disappoint. The book tells the story of Lev and Kolya, two unlikely friends who come together during the Nazi’s brutal siege of Leningrad and help keep each other alive. Benioff, author of The 25th Hour, is a dark and compelling storyteller who kept me on my toes with each new adventure the boys faced.
My good friend insisted I read Tina Fey’s Bossypants, which I dutifully did during one glorious vacation weekend in Maine. While sitting beach side, and in between lobster feasts, I tore through this hilarious gem of a book. I think the description my Kindle offers sums it up perfectly: “Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream; a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that she would be a comedian on TV.” It’s a laugh out loud story of Tina Fey’s humble beginnings as told by one of the greatest comedic minds of our time.
I hope you take one or all of my literary recommendations to heart as I truly believe it’s the only way to read. I’m currently 84% through a title given to me by my current boss, The Interestings, so I am going to go now so I can finish it.
Which of these best-selling books of 2013 is your favorite?
50 Shades of Grey, E.L. James
A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
A Memory of Light, Robert Jordan