My friends tell me that my reading habits are eclectic. Many people find a genre that they love and stick with that. I will read just about anything. What I want is a well-written, interesting story that will hold my attention. I used to always finish a book, even if it was terrible. Since then, I’ve realized that there are so many good books in the world, I don’t want to waste my time finishing a bad one. In that sense, my reading habits have become pickier, but I still read across many genres. I’ve never had a favorite book, but I’ve chosen five books that I thoroughly enjoyed and tried to explain why. I hope you find one that intrigues you.
West with the Night is the memoir of Beryl Markham. Markham was born in England but raised in Kenya, which was at the time a British colony. She was a bush pilot, delivering supplies across the country to remote areas. The book chronicles her adventures growing up and flying solo through Kenya and eventually across the Atlantic. It is one of the most well written books that I have ever read, and her adventures are fascinating.
On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft was written by Stephen King. Some of Stephen King’s books are a bit intense, to put it mildly, but he is still one of my favorite authors. On Writing is about King’s journey through life and writing. He tells stories of his childhood, his mother, his wife, and he includes practical tips on writing. One of my favorite aspects of Stephen King is his honesty in writing. He doesn’t sugar coat things and often says things very bluntly, in this book and his others.
Wizard’s First Rule is a classic fantasy novel, classic in the sense that it has the traditional fantasy elements. It’s not groundbreaking, but that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was written by Terry Goodkind and is the first in a series (a very long series.) I also read most of the series and enjoyed it at the time, but the first book is definitely the best. It is a character-driven series and Goodkind does a good job of making the good guys likeable and the bad guys unlikeable. It’s a book that you can read quickly and not miss much, but also a book that I’ve reread and still enjoy.
Persuasion. I will admit I am a Jane Austen fan, and while I like Pride and Prejudice, I think Persuasion is just as good if not better. There’s just something about Anne and Captain Wentworth, and the letter he writes her certainly rivals that from Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth. It was Jane Austen’s last novel and differs a bit in style but it’s something you can immerse yourself in.
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis is an interesting ride through different centuries. I spent the first half delightfully confused and the rest slowly putting the pieces together. It has elements of fantasy, science fiction, romance, and a Victorian novel. The title is actually the subtitle of the book Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome, also written in a unique and amusing style. Thinking about To Say Nothing of the Dog still makes me smile.
By Melissa Blakely