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Important Books To Read
How does one choose? There are lots of books to read and picking the top five for me would be a hard task indeed. I love to read and in point of fact cannot fathom the mind that does not read.
Kanye West reportedly said he was a proud non-reader of books. He did not like to read and would not read. Well, okay, I reckon that is one life choice. For me? I am a bibliophile of the first order.
My great disappointment in my younger life was the knowledge that working as a clerk in a book store would not pay the bills. The work was awesome and I loved the environment. Sadly, you cannot feed yourself very well on minimum wage.
Again, how do you choose? How do you choose five(5)? I really don’t think I can, not without whittling it down a bit.
You see you can pick top five novels. For me that would be, in no particular order:
- IT, by Stephen King
- The Stand, by Stephen King
- Freckles, by Gene Stratton-Porter
- The Santaroga Barrier, by Frank Herbert
- The Wolf and the Dove, by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
I almost included George Orwell’s 1984 but in my mind that would be filed under prophecy and economic literary docudrama books.
IT, by Stephen King
Why IT? Because my childhood, like Ben Hanscomb’s, was filled with bullies and a heart wrenching crush on a girl I would never dare to talk to, too much anyway. I remember walking into my 4th grade class at A.H. Watwood and there she sat. She glowed, she shined, if a 4th grader could die from a vision on that day I was in mortal peril. When I read Freckles guess who was the Limberlost Angel? You got it, her name was…
Anyways, getting back to IT, when I was in the lower grades, before I shot up, my grandmother had to buy me what were called ‘husky’ size pants. Yes, I was a bit heavy.
When I read about Ben’s crush on Beverly, I immediately identified with the kid. Also, the idea of a bunch of innocents taking on some devil spider that was the embodiment of one of what I guess was one of the old god’s of Chaos kept my eyes bolted to the pages.
Childhood is often filled with well defined terrors. I like the way Stephen King defined it. Childhood is filled with well-defined terrors and passionate, inflamed dreams and loves that give way to the grinding reality of adulthood, where the fears are diffuse and heavy and completely unable to be appropriately grappled with and stabbed to death like St. George killing the dragon.
Yeah, there was a lot of paraphrasing there, but I am reasonable sure Stephen King would be at least to some degree okay with it.
If I told you how many times I have read IT you would be certain I would be in dire need of drug therapy for a horrible case of OCD. I don’t know but what you would be right in that assessment, but that is the way I read. If I love a book I tend to want to read it repeatedly. I suppose I have read it more than 20 times over the years and I no doubt will read it again when I retire.
The Stand, by Stephen King
A world ravaged by a super influenza strain that wipes out 95% of humanity and leaves the 5% trying to survive while the forces of good and evil make them pawns in a game of life and death.
A loner from Arnette, Texas named Stu Redman winds up more or less in charge of a group of good folks who have been called by God to stand as His proxies in a battle against evil, controlled by a devil prince called Flagg.
You know, I hate to admit it, but I think I liked the book because it was about a world that was emptied out. Naturally, I would be one of the survivors and so it was just a given that I would consider the consequences of no government left, anywhere, and that you could do as you liked as long as you exercised some human decency.
Of course, there is that little inconvenient truth of 95% of the people dying would completely and forever suck.
This book by Gene Stratton-Porter is classed as a children’s classic. For me, it is a good read about the good guy coming out on top. Besides, I read the book not too long after I found out my biological father abandoned me and my mom shortly before my birth.
Never giving up, never backing down, always being there putting it all on the line for those who have faith in you, this is what Freckles is all about.
The Santaroga Barrier
We are all asleep, wrapped in a cocoon of advertising, prescription drugs and political lies that keep us with our faces firmly under the boot of those who think themselves superior to us by birth and education.
Again, calling on George Orwell’s 1984 I am reminded of something that was said towards the end of the book:
What does the future look like in our Utopia? Imagine a human face, looking up in abject misery. Now imagine a big cleated boot, driving that face into the dirt.
This book was really remarkable because it showed what people could be like, if they wished. Or if, as in the case of this story, they had the right pharmaceutical to help them free their consciousness.
While I am ambivalent about that, Frank Herbert does a good job of leading you into the world where what the Santarogans are doing to their children and to outsiders who come and pass the test of whether they are awake is perfectly acceptable and honorable.
It may be time for me to read this one again.
The Wolf and The Dove
This was a straight up heaving bosom and bare chested hero along with the dusky hued bad guy, but it was a great read.
I don’t currently have it in my library and frankly, I may never make the effort to re-acquire it but it was a great read. It made an impression because I have never forgotten it. Every time someone brings up the issue of what books did or do you love the most, The Wolf and The Done is on the short list.
Want some ideas? The BBC’s Big Read is a good place to start. Go through the list; you might be surprised at how many you have already read.
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