12 August 2010

You've never what now? A reader recommends...

In the past, so many people have spoken a phrase that baffles me. I've heard this from people of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of education. Well, maybe not all ages, but widely varied age groups. The phrase? "I've never read an entire book in my life." I've heard this phrase from college students - English majors, even! When I was a senior in high school, I took an English course at the freshman college level. Our final paper in the class was a book report on a novel. A student in class, astoundingly, raised their hand and asked the teacher "does this mean we have to read a book?" My jaw dropped. For all those people and anyone who might need to add to their own personal reading list, here's some easy, but entertaining reads I would recommend to anyone.

Michael Ende's The Neverending Story - The movie is nothing compared to the book, not that they two can ever really compare. This book was a favorite from around elementary school age. I'm not sure exactly when I first fell in love with it, but I've always had so much fun in that world. Fantastica (Fantasia based on movie dialogue) is a wonderfully rich fantasy world with so many unexplored adventures. Hence, the title of the work.

Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling turned a generation on to reading. The series is masterfully written with clues scattered throughout for the reader to find. I'm currently working through the series for the second time myself and loving every minute of re-discovery. The characters, major and supporting roles, are well written and rounded out with any changed in motivation explained clearly.

Tuesdays With Morrie - A short, simple story that has a greater effect than some might guess. The fact that the story is true gives it even more meaning and depth.

The Wayside School series - Nice, nonsensical, short books about a sideways tilting school that has no thirteenth story and only one classroom per floor. Classic, always.

Chronicles of Narnia - Yes, there's imagery and symbolism. Yes, the author was a strong Christian. Yes, Aslan represents Jesus. Move on and just enjoy the story.

Walking Across Egypt - Short, sweet, to the point, and a very well characterized story.

The Year the Horses Came - The most controversial item on this list, this fictional novel deals with the idea of white men first arriving from present-day Russia to slowly take over the lands of the Goddess-worshiping natives. There are scenes of strong sexuality, but it's a logical part of the narrative storyline and not the focus of the book.

Harriet the Spy - A classic. Very accurate portrayal of a pre-teen mind and of the social interplay in middle school.

Time for Andrew: A Ghost Story - The story is told in the cleanest way possible with interesting moments of interplay between one time-period and another.

The Phantom Tollbooth - So much to enjoy in this book. The wordplay is wonderful. Shows some of the dangers of taking things too literally.

Artemis Fowl series - Has its far-fetched moments, but who can't love reading about a young criminal mastermind continually plotting against the Lower Elements (faeries)? The series has decent continuity and the author is careful to explain each oddity in sufficient detail.

I could go on and on, but with people who don't read, what would be the point?
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