(Note: Readers of “Apartment Life Returns” may now read Part Nine, which takes us very near the end of the story)
I’ve made casual remarks about movies, books, music, and television series here and there. Although there are several of each that appeal to most people, choices can be intensely personal. Two people who get along well and consider each other close friends may hold widely divergent opinions not just on what they like, but on what constitutes “good.”
Today I start a four-part series focusing on what I like and why. It can’t possibly cover everything, so I’ll try to give a representative sample.
Just like other media, with books I like a little of almost everything. Bestsellers and obscure dollar bin finds, science fiction, drama, comedy, nonfiction, horror, alternative history — the list goes on.
Instead of the entire list, however, here is a smattering.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
This is the first and only Dickens I read, at about age 33. He tells a great story and turns phrases that had me dog-earing pages so I could go back and marvel at them again later. Not because they were flowery, but because of their succinct statement of a moving or thought-provoking message. Entertains me and makes me think. Very hard to beat.
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
I didn’t read this until age 30, under pressure to complete at least the first tale before the movie came out. Somehow Tolkien makes it easy to get past the talking trees and giant eagles.
All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg
An autobiography by a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times feature writer, this book moved me like few others. Bragg goes through a harsh childhood in Appalachia and later a life-threatening experience in Haiti. His devotion to his mother is unflagging.
Simon of Space by Cheeseburger Brown
I had to include this one, even though it’s still in the final stages of revision before publication. As good as it was online serially, I can’t wait to see it tightened up in novel format, and send copies to friends and relatives.
The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski
I “discovered” this book in a college course called Adolescent Literature. It’s a harrowing account of a boy’s efforts to survive in war-torn Poland during World War II. Alone, dirty, and half-starved, the boy exemplifies pure will to live.
I didn’t link to each of these because links change. Stressing again that I’ve never been paid nor offered payment for linking, I encourage you to use alibris.com for all your online book purchasing needs.
I’m sure I’ve left out many books I call all-time favorites. Thinking of these is difficult, especially when I don’t have them on shelves for easy perusal. I’m sure I’ll share more of these in the future.
Next up: music.