Rocket Boys/October Sky, by, Homer H. Hickam Jr.:
Rocket Boys/October Sky is the first memoir in a series of three, about growing up in a mining town, and a boy’s pursuits of overcoming many obstacles to achieve his dream. (It was originally published under the name of Rocket Boys, but was renamed as October Sky, after the movie came out which bore the name). I read the first five chapters in October (how fitting) of 2016 with my Grade 8 ELA teacher. After the unit was over, I took it out of the Calgary Public Library and finished it on my own. It’s the ultimate feel-good, delayed-gratification, short-term-pain-long-term-gain book; even though there were a few times where I had to draw out the tissue box. But, it’s a wonderful memoir and I always get a warm bubbly feeling when I think about it.
The Pearl, by, John Steinbeck:
Let me warn you, this book is NOT a cheerful story, please don’t get fooled by it’s flimsy cover. It is a story about a pearl diver, Kino, as he explores the darker sides of the human nature to his own expense. This book will tear out your heart and throw it away. I was crying from the second page. Ok, reading that over, I may have gone a little too far. But this is a truly philosophical book, and it will make you reconsider the world that we’ve created for ourselves. I suggest reading the pearl in one sitting, at least for the first time, so you can lose yourself in Kino’s world. At least, I find re-reading the book, that the one sittings were the times when I find a new meaning in-between the lines.
Sophie’s World, by, Jostein Gaarder:
Sophie’s World was initially what got me into philosophy. It follows the life of Sophie, a teenager living in Norway, and the introduction to philosophy that she gets from Alberto Knox, a middle-aged philosopher. I came across this book in an Indigo on a rainy Saturday afternoon. It immediately caught my attention, and I read the better part of it well into the evening over an earl grey latte, and it kept me up feverishly reading the last 50 pages that night. I adored it and it was simply scrumptious, even though it made me feel insignificant after finishing it. It’s a very educational book, but a page-turner at the same time. Definitely worth the re-read.
The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, by, Ernest Hemingway:
The ‘story’ gets summed up in the title. I came across this book looking for more Hemingway in the school library. At first, I didn’t get hooked by Hemingway’s prose, and I had to put it aside a few times, but soon, boy oh boy did it turn good. I began to read anywhere I went, and it just kept getting better and better. Some of my all time favourites short stories out of this collection were: The Old Man and the Bridge, The Light of the World, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and what there was of the Nick Adam’s Stories. I say this because Hemingway wrote a collection of shorts circling around the autobiographical main character, Nicholas Adams. And after his death, they were all collected and published in a separate copy, and I’m pretty sure that not all of them were there. Another warning, Hemingway has a certain style of writing that cuts straight to the point, so if you read ahead a paragraph, you may see that somebody’s leg was shot off. He also constantly uses an active voice so instead of: “she was writing” he would write “she wrote” which makes it a little hard to understand his writing. Not that it’s impossible, you just need to put in some extra effort, but it’s extremely rewarding afterwards when you’ve understood the story.
The Anne of Green Gables Series, by, L.M Montgomery:
Now you may groan because since you’ve turned ten, people have been drumming into your ear to “read Anne of Green Gables” and you may be even more disappointed this showed up on the list at all, but hear me out. What most adults don’t tell you, is that there’s eight books after Anne of Green Gables not including the first novel. Those who think that there were only seven books after Anne of Green Gables, did you know about the eight book, AFTER Rilla of Ingleside? Yeah! The Blythes are quoted! *wink wink* It’s super good! *wink* Anyway, back to the main story. I hate to say this, but those people were right! Anne of Green Gables is a superbly good book, and you’ll come across nothing like it. If you find it hard to read, listen to the audiobook. Librivox.org has a lot of free audiobooks in the public domain (including about half of the Anne series), so if you’re being bugged to read more classic books, go on to Librivox and BOOM! Thousands of books right at your fingertips AND you don’t need to make an account or anything! I loved the book when I started and I shed buckets over the nine books in the series. There truly can’t be a better book to introduce you into the little world of L.M Montgomery.
The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (or as it is better known: David Copperfield), by, Charles Dickens:
Did I have to tell you the full title of the novel? No, did I want to? You bet. Okay, let’s jump right into this. David Copperfield to Dickens was basically what Nick Adams was to Hemingway; a veiled autobiography. Why veiled? First because it’s fun to say, and it gives a mysterious glint to it, and second, neither author ever directly stated that this was their autobiography. So, the book follows David Copperfield from infancy to maturity, so as you can expect, there’s a lot packed into it. Love, hate, greed, humility, peace, feuds, etc. etc. basically all you can expect to find in about twenty to thirty years of a person’s life. I was searching for more Dickens after I had finished Great Expectations and it caught my eye instantly. Another tearjerker, and I must say, that I’m in no hurry to read this one over again, but I soon will.
Okay! Well, thanks for sticking with me till the very end, I hope I didn’t bore you too much with my ramblings. I hope you enjoyed the list and found some books you would like to try, and I’ll probably make another two years from now, to add on to the never-ending list!