Must Have Books for Your Own Excellent Library
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
I find myself reading this book at least once a year, and every year I’m struck by something new I find in the pages. Hemingway does setting and imagery better than anyone. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy for your library (I have several editions: an old hardcover for keeps and a paperback for loaning out).
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
This is a book I’ve recommended over and over to a wide variety of readers. It’s takes what we know of mythology and flips it into a modern world in a way that sticks with you long after the book is over. It’s one of my MUST must haves.
Phantom by Susan Kay
Phantom is a book that leaves me with a massive book hangover every time I read it, and yet, I keep going back to it. The book is so rich, dense and lush it’s hard to come back to reality after reading. The story is a fleshed out telling of Phantom of the Opera; giving the Phantom a history of love and loss than pulls a reader into his world. Melodramatic and fantastic in the best way possible.
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
A Storm of Swords is the third book in the wonderful A Song of Ice and Fire series by Martin. Obviously I recommend the entire series, but this is the book that absolutely hooked me on the series. The most action packed book of the series and the one that left me the most speechless (a huge feat). If you’ve only seen the HBO show, you’re missing out. Go read the books.
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
My love for historical fiction started with The Three Musketeers. Written in serial format in the 1840′s by Alexandre Dumas, the story is set in the 1620′s. The rich, complex novel is a coming of age tale about a young man named d’Artagnan and his adventures with his new friends, three Musketeers named Porthos, Athos and Aramis. If you’ve only ever watched film adaptations, you are missing the complexity of both the characters and the plot. Dumas conveys adventure, daring and camaraderie like no other writer, and is a classic writer everyone should enjoy. The Three Musketeers is an essential for your excellent library.
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
Set during the French and Indian War, in 1757, The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore cooper was published in 1826 as part of the 5 book Leatherstocking Tales. The story follows the life of a young American, known as Hawkeye or Natty Bumpo, as he becomes embroiled in a conflict between British soldiers and the French, with their Huron tribe allies. This book gives a great sense of America in the early 1800′s and despite some narrative flaws, the story is much more socially risque than a reader might expect for the time. This is a book I discovered in college thanks to a wonderful professor, and have enjoyed many times since.
I thought about adding just one Jane Austen novel to this list and realized quickly I couldn’t pick one. This collection of Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey is a must have for your excellent library. Austen is an author whose work gets boiled down to romance in film adaptations, but when read, Austen provides biting social commentary about the lives of women, humor, wit and yes, romance in an unforgettable way.
Watchmen by Alan Moore; Illustrated by Dave Gibbons
This is the graphic novel that single-handedly converted me to being a comic reader. The plot, pacing and art of Watchmen is captivating. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons collaborate in a way that is truly spectacular; the plot couldn’t exist without the artwork and vice versa. Set in an alternate history in which superheroes exist, and they have affected the history of the world as we know it in a variety of ways. I won’t say anything more because the story is too good to spoil anything for my readers. Even if you are skeptical of comics, get this one- it is one of the best books I’ve ever read.