As a 22-year old man, I can confidently say that I am in touch with today’s youth. Thus, I am certain that there are three things that every teen and twenty-something in this country loves to do: go to church, respect their elders and read books.
In all reality, I do love to read. I know over 17 different words off of the top of my head, and I can sound out most of the rest of them in a pinch. Diving into a novel can take you to the wonderful land of Oz (The Wizard of Oz), the impossibly-lavish castles of Hogwarts (Harry Potter), or Alabama (To Kill a Mockingbird). I’ve been reading a lot lately, and so I thought to myself “why not write a blog recommending some books to your pals/millions of loyal readers?”
So here it goes:
1) “John Dies at the End” –David Wong
I’m starting off the list with a book that made me laugh audibly (or “LOL” to my fellow young adults) throughout, immediately earning itself a spot on my favorite books ever list. Wong, a writer for the popular website Cracked.com, turned what had been an ongoing blog story into a full-length novel (and later a movie). Though the movie is just okay, the book itself blends beautiful, imaginative storytelling with quick-witted humor and even drug references (still trying to appeal to the younger audience here)! Once you finish this one (which shouldn’t take long), grab a copy of the, sequel “This Book is Full of Spiders.”
2) “The Basic Eight” –Daniel Handler
If you feel as though you may vaguely recognize Handler’s name, it’s because you may have spent your childhood reading his “Series of Unfortunate Events” books, written under the pen name Lemony Snicket. If you enjoyed that series as a child, you’ll love Handler’s first adult novel. The writing style is extremely similar to SoUE, albeit with slightly more adult themes and slightly less Count Olaf. The book, which is written in the form of a series of journal entries, can be taken as a bit of a satire on the high school classic literature reading experience, blatantly pointing out what is foreshadowing, metaphor, etc.
3) “Tricky Business” –Dave Barry
Barry, a former columnist for the Miami Herald (and Pulitzer Prize winner, to boot) followed up his first work of fiction “Big Trouble” (also a great book) with this one, written in a very similar light. If you watched the TV show “LOST,” you might note similarities in Barry’s writing style. Each chapter often focused on one character (or set of characters), ultimately having each storyline converge late in the novel as all Hell often breaks loose (or as all Hell is..brought back together or whatever the opposite of that would be). Barry blends more plausible storylines with the same humor he used in his Herald column, making for a reading experience as pleasant as that first sip of lemonade on a hot summer day, or some similar cliché.
4) “Fluke” –Christopher Moore
Of the three Christopher Moore novels that I’ve read, this one tops the list as my favorite. A bit more fantasy-like than Barry’s, Moore’s writing style is less poetic and classically beautiful than someone like Vonnegut, but just as entertaining and easier to follow. Given the fact that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything I’ve read by Moore, I can confidently say that this book is no fluke. Ha-ha, do you get it?
5) Literally anything by Kurt Vonnegut –Kurt Vonnegut
Speak of the devil. Vonnegut is the author you wish you read more of during high school English class. His novels are intended for adults yet capable of being enjoyed by anyone and everyone. They are littered with metaphor, symbolism and imagery (for your English teacher’s enjoyment), but contain plots deeper than “a look at the textile industry’s effect on life in the 40’s” (for your own enjoyment). Like the other books on this list, everything by Vonnegut also contains humor (often dark), which makes for a much better reading experience in my own opinion. “Slaughterhouse Five,” “Breakfast of Champions” and “The Sirens of Titan” are tremendously funny full-length novels, while “Welcome to the Monkey House” is a collection of his short stories, for those of you with shorter attention-spans.