“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom”
– Thomas Jefferson –
Do you know that feeling you get after reading a really good book? Chills, maybe, because the story was so beautiful, or goosebumps because the ending was unforeseen.
In the light of good books, an ode to great stories, and because I changed my header image to books and added a library (archive) to my blog, here are seven (or more?) books and stories that just got to me somehow:
De Profundis (by Oscar Wilde)
Oscar Wilde wrote a heartbreaking letter to his lover when he was in prison for loving a man. As a genuine Wilde-fan I couldn’t help but feel sad and angry towards “Bosie” for treating my literary hero with such disrespect. Of course, letters are one-sided, but they are also very personal. I don’t imagine I could get closer to Oscar in any other way than read his words, and this personal letter was more than enough to leave a lasting impression on me.
To Kill A Mockingbird (by Harper Lee)
I had to read this book for English in my final year of high school and I remember not being keen on doing homework. What happened was I eventually finished the book in two days and didn’t really enjoy or appreciate it. But a few years ago my interest for literary classics went through the roof and I bought a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird.
This story touched me because I loathe injustice. With a passion. I think I actually cried when reading it, and I am so so so very happy and proud to have this one in my collection.
The Lovely Bones (by Alice Sebold)
The only thing wrong with this story is that it got made into a movie (my advice: don’t ever watch the film and stick to the book instead). Just like number two in this list this book made me cry. It’s about a fourteen-year-old who gets raped and killed, and then her spirit watches over her family, sees their different ways of grieving and overcoming their loss. How Sebold describes heaven is exactly how I picture it is like, and the way she puts into words the intense feelings of loss and grief the murder leaves the family with is honest and touching. This book is a real recommendation as it’s beautiful in all its sadness.
The Green Mile (by Stephen King)
I know what you’re thinking: yes, it is also a movie. In fact, The Green Mile is a good based-on-a-book-movie, but the book is still slightly better. If you’re not familiar with the story: a very special man enters death row and leaves everyone astonished by his special powers (I won’t give any spoilers, just go read the book or see the movie).
I can’t watch the film without crying (especially when… you know). The book is maybe even more impressive. Not a King story as you would expect, but it will linger in your head forever.
Frankenstein (by Mary Shelley)
An evergreen among monster stories, Frankenstein is actually a beautifully sad book. I’m not sure about you, but I felt sorry for the monster and I completely understood where he was coming from. I mean, I’m not saying I justify his killing spree, but I get him.
Maybe it’s a bit tough to get through word-wise, but the story is well worth it. Juicy detail: Shelley wrote it after a nightmare she had. Go figure: having a nightmare in 1818 that everyone still knows about in 2016. Do yourself a favour and get a copy of this classic.
The 50/50 Killer (by Steve Mosby)
If you read as much as I do, and watch as much TV series and movies, you will find there is a certain way of building up a story for a public. Which means as much as: things easily get predictable. My mother hates me for ruining shows such as Law & Order for her, as I would look up from my book, see a character and say: “She/He did it” and be right.
Mosby, however, shocked me. I did NOT see that ending coming! The only bad part about this book is that I can’t ever un-know the finale! It’s brilliant, and just for that you ought to read this book! Another plus is the constant change of perspective. You even get to see the world through the killer’s eyes as well as his victims’. Or do you? ;)
The Invisible Man (by H. G. Wells)
Wells was a great writer. I am so thankful he quit his teaching job to become a full-time author. A copy of his The Time Machine is eagerly awaiting my attention, which it will get soon in a very near future.
As for The Invisible Man, the storyline is brilliant and the pace is admirable. Also, this is the book with possibly the shortest chapter I’ve ever read (or was that in Douglas Adam’s Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy? Not sure now…). Why you should read it? Because it’s way ahead of its time and it’s easy to read for a classic. Why it got to me? Imagine being able to come up with a story like that and put it into words as masterfully as Wells did. I say: amen.
Extra: The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer (by Mark Twain)
I love stories like these! Smart, playful, adventurous yet honest behaviour of a mischievous young boy and his friends. This story brings me back to my childhood and reminds me of when I was a kid. For purely nostalgic reasons, this books in on this list.
Mark Twain is seen as the king of American literature and I love to believe it’s true, for his writing style is amazing. Simple yet entertaining and you are grasped into the story from the first page. Tom Sawyer worked his way into my heart and I am sure you’d feel the same after reading this book.
These are some of my favourite books and stories. If you click on the images they will take you to the book’s Goodreads-pages, with information about the story, and reviews.
Most bloggers write because they don’t have a choice: it’s in their system. But writing is also reading, as by reading we expand our horizon, our view on the world, our mind and spirit. I hope you enjoyed my list. What are your favourite books!? Let me know! I am always in search for more books to devour! :)
Let’s end this week’s special Sunday Summary with a song that’s as famous as the story on which the opera was based. A rule of thumb is that the book is always better than the movie (or any other adaptation), but in the case of The Phantom Of The Opera I have to admit the book is actually worse.
Enjoy the song. Cheers!