There are days when you’re in the mood to read a book. But, not just any novel – a story that captures a thought, or a feeling, or a season, or even a hodge-podge of everything at once. Here are a few that may tickle your fancy:
- The one to read when you don’t want to read a book, Stardust, Neil Gaiman*, This is the book isn’t a book at all – it’s a wonderful dream. (edit: I wrote this and then found the image accompanying this post. funny, huh?)
- The one to read to your kids (or someone else’s kids), Danny the Champion of the World, Roald Dahl*, Although I read this as an adult I thought it portrays how important it is to develop your own personal concept of right and wrong (versus the traditional concepts of good and bad forced upon us from childhood) in a way children can understand and appreciate.
- The one to read when you want to appear mysterious, The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler*, the perfect embodiment of Noir (although technically it’s a hardboiled crime novel), that is both pessimistic and fatalistic. The narrator of choice for it in my head is Tom Waits and his piano, which tells you all you need to know; this book is dark, gritty, and mysterious.
- The one to read when you’re feeling a bit more philosophical, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera*, this book is not for the light-hearted, in spite of it’s name. At times, I would even say it’s pretty hard going. But, in places it nails human nature so honestly and unassumingly that it makes it a must-read.
- The one to read when you’re looking for a tiny bit of spiritual reflection, Siddhartha, Herman Hesse, yes, this book is both of spirit, and of flesh. But mostly, it’s a book about that grey area where the two meet.
- The one to read when you need to be kind to yourself, Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke, soothing, reassuring, and wise; this book is simultaneously a good, and truly kind hug, but also a well-deserved kick up the arse.
- The one to read when you have a broken heart, Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte*, this book goes from love, to obsession, to revenge. Dark enough to coax you out of feeling sorry for yourself, because you don’t have problems. Healthcliff has problems.
- The one to read to feel a little love, I Capture the Castle, Dodi Smith*, The protagonist, Cassandra is a smart, witty, and empathetic character. The story is set in the 1930’s British countryside who’s mood changes with season (winter of discontent, spring of hope, summer of love, etc). This coming-of-age book is worthy of your time and attention (and heart).
- The one to read to remind yourself to not take everything so seriously, The Importance of being Earnest, Oscar Wilde*, it’s very witty and a bit silly.
- The one to read to remind yourself that you should probably take the important things a little bit more seriously, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Jean-Dominique Bauby*, a good way to remind yourself that when there’s nothing left, there are still some things.
- The one to read to remind yourself why men shouldn’t speak for women, even when they’re trying to “help”, Far From the Madding Crown, Thomas Hardy*. Granted, I haven’t actually finished this book, but I’m not entirely sure I want to. As far as I’m concerned Hardy took a “strong-willed woman”, navigated her through Victorian Britain by stripping her of all her own will, all the while making sweeping statements on the nature of women as dictated by this one woman, whom he made up. HARDY PLS. HARDY STAHP.
- The one to read when you want to know how (some) women really feel, The Complete Poems of Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker, dubbed the wittiest woman in [1920s] America, Parker’s verses are frank and honest through humour and satire. If that doesn’t make you want to read her, nothing will.
And, if books aren’t your thing, all the titles accompanied by an asterisk have movie adaptations (:
Keep up with all my book likes and dislikes on Goodreads.