Not surprisingly, the people closest to me are devoted bibliophiles. I’ve read many, many books on their recommendations. The following are just a few enduring favorites I’ve discovered through suggestion.
- Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood. I think this was the first book my Laddie ever recommended to me, several months after we started dating. The book captivated me, and I knew a man who admired it so greatly must be exceptional as both a reader and a thinker (a year and a half later, I put a ring on it)!
- City of Thieves, by David Benioff. This recommendation came from my Dad. He’s a fellow English major and closet writer. (Literally: he used to have a tiny office in his bedroom closet, crammed with books. Hunched at a desk barely large enough to seat his 6’6 frame, and jotted notebooks full of ideas that I’m still nagging him to turn into novels. At least co-author one with me, Dad!) We’ve always had a special connection over books. Of the countless titles he’s recommended to me, this remains one of my favorites.
- The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver. This book gathered dust on my reading list for years until my Mom finally read it, praised it highly, and lent me her copy. How could I have ignored it for so long? The prose, the voices, the keen observations on both nature and humanity are peerless.
- Boy’s Life, by Robert McCammon. My Laddie was far, far away from me on a business trip when he finished this book. “You have to read this,” he told me over a long-distance connection. Not only did I love the story and the magnificent writing, it eased the separation a little. Running my eyes over lines he’d just read was the literary equivalent of snuggling.
- All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque. Another favorite of my Dad’s, I read this around the time I moved out of my parent’s house after college. The young narrator’s experiences in a harsh war environment resonated with my own maturing awareness of the world.
Bonus pick: The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. This wasn’t technically a recommendation. A friend lent me his copy with the caveat “you have to read for yourself how violent and awful this is!” Guess I’m a monster, because I loved it and gobbled up the rest of the trilogy inside a week. This is where it’s useful to know your friends’ tastes: their recommendations can still be useful, just take them in reverse!