Like a lot of people, I enjoy getting lost in a good book. However, what I think is good may differ from what other people think is good. For example, when people call to mind their favorite Stephen King books, the titles that come to mind are ones that are familiar to many.
When I think of his books, I think of “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon,” “From a Buick 8,” “Dreamcatcher” or “‘Salem’s Lot.”
That being said, my top 10, all-time favorite books are a hodgepodge buffet of literary feats that each have a flavor all their own, some familiar, some obscure.
1. “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy
I can say I have never read a book like this before and when I was finished reading, I was in awe of the beauty that was interwoven throughout the bleak subject matter. The triumph of this book and what resonates with me even now is the relationship between the man and his son (neither one of them having a name) and how they struggle to survive the end of civilization. The most haunting scene from this book for me was when the man apologizes to his son because the ocean isn’t blue.
2. “John Dies at the End” by David Wong
Clever title, ingeniously silly book. JDATE (as it’s abbreviated to fans of the book and its two sequels) is the story of John and Dave, two weirdo slackers who stumble upon a supernatural black ooze that leads to an otherworldly conspiracy and a monster composed of cured meats that assembles itself from the contents of a chest freezer.
3. “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess
Are you familiar with words like “tolchok” and “litso”? Then you haven’t read “A Clockwork Orange.” This is a book that is written from a first-person perspective, but here’s the catch, the narrator speaks in a form of slang that only he and his “droogs” can understand. Most readers of this book either need a glossary specific to the book or have a talent for language syntax to figure out what’s going on.
4. “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The name Hester Prynne is one I heard a lot about in high school and she happens to be the main focus of “The Scarlet Letter.” This is a classic book about redemption in the face of wrongdoing, perceived or otherwise, and is a powerful example of the use of metaphor and setting to deepen our understanding of these characters and their plights.
5. “The Red Badge of Courage” by Stephen Crane
A gunshot wound, this is what the red badge in the title is. I normally am not drawn to historical war novels, but this book is different, it’s not a war novel, it’s a novel about a brave young man and what he does during the American Civil War, there is a distinction between the two and that’s why this book spoke to me.
6. “Enchanted Night” by Steven Millhauser
7. “Breakfast of Champions” by Kurt Vonnegut
8. “Girlfriend in a Coma” by Douglas Coupland
9. “Lullaby” by Chuck Palahniuk
10. “Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell