I am a massive bookworm. My favourite place in the world is our town library, my favourite activity in the world is reading and my favourite possessions in the world are my books.
Now that our priorities are clear, I would like to share some of my reading choices with you. I’m not going to write about books that I for some reason disliked because people have put a great effort into creating them, from the authors themselves to editors etc. And I don’t see a point of criticising their work on my blog.
Positive vibes, people!
This series is going to be only about the books that I genuinely enjoyed and that I appreciate. I hope that it will be useful and that you, the reader, will maybe even grab one of them and see for yourself.
FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON
Written by: Daniel Keyes
Published in: 1966
Number of pages: 240
“I don’t know what’s worse: to not know what you are and be happy, or to become what you’ve always wanted to be, and feel alone.”
I read this book such a long time ago, yet I still find it as one of the most touching books I’ve ever read. Flowers for Algernon are about a thirty two year old man, Charlie Gordon, who is mentally retarded. That’s what hits you right in the face when you look at the first page – it’s written as Charlie’s diary, therefore there are many grammatical mistakes and it all gives you an impression as if you really read something from a stupid person.
Charlie is chosen to undergo a surgery which is supposed to boost his intelligence. In the laboratory he meets a mouse, Algernon, who has already unergone the operation and now is smarter than any other mice. Charlie slowly starts to become more and more intelligent, he reads books, understands the world around him, even falls in love.
But then he discoveres that Algernon’s behaviour is getting stranger and stranger and eventually she becomes as stupid as she has been before the surgery. Will the same happen to Charlie?
This book gives us an amazing view on the difference between intelligence and stupidity, between the happiness of life in an illusion and the depression of knowledge.
What is better?
THE GREEN MILE
Written by: Stephen King
Published in: 1996
Number of pages: 346 (if you buy all 6 books in one)
“We each owe a death, there are no exceptions, I know that, but sometimes, oh God, the Green Mile is so long.”
I’ve read many books by Stephen King, but oh my, The Green Mile outperforms them all. I feel like this is his only book so far that has this strong sense of purpose, of meaning. Most of his books are more about the story (which is not critics, I love his style of writing and I personally think he’s a master of his art) but The Green Mile… it really says something important.
Long story short, Paul Edgecomb works as a prison guard and he’s in charge of the Death Row, which is informally called The Green Mile due to the green linoleum on the floor. One day, they bring in a new inmate – John Coffey, a huge black man who is convicted of raping and murdering two young sisters.
There are many other prisoners and guards and we get to know their stories as well, but the most important is of course the plot of John Coffey. As time goes by, Paul realizes that this enormous strong man has a very tender soul and he cannot believe that this person could do such a terrible crime. Did he really kill those girls, or was it just a big misunderstanding? And if so, will he walk The Green Mile right to the electric chair, or will he live?
It wouldn’t be the right Stephen King if there wasn’t a little bit of magic as well – there are weird things happening around John Coffey, for example his relationship with a mouse (it’s all about the mice today) Mr. Jingles.
I love this book. It made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me feel the weight of the world’s suffering on my shoulders, if that makes any sense. You might also know a movie which was based on the book and which is excellent as well.
THE BOOK THIEF
Written by: Markus Zusak
Published in: 2005
Number of pages: 528
“They say that war is death’s best friend, but I must offer you a different point of view on that one. To me, war is like the new boss who expects the impossible. He stands over your shoulder repeating one thin, incessantly: ‘Get it done, get it done.’ So you work harder. You get the job done. The boss, however, does not thank you. He asks for more.”
The most interesting thing about this book is the storyteller – Death. The story is set in the World War II., when a massive amount of people is dying and Death has to work really hard. However, as she travels and takes peoples’ lives, she notices one little girl in Germany and she gets very interested in her story. And so we get to know Liesel.
Liesel is forced to go live with her foster parents after her brother dies on a train and her mother says farewell to her. She knows it will be safer for Liesel to live in a different family (if I remember it correctly, it’s because her mother is a Communist). Liesel tries to adjust to her new life and she becomes friends with a boy called Rudy. During the story, Liesel steals many books on many different occasions and her foster father Hans teaches her to read. She becomes mesmerised by words – she is fascinated by their influence, by their importance. Her new family also hides a friend Max, who is a Jew, in their basement. He influences Liesel’s life a lot.
This book is about a life in war, about childhood and its beauties, about books and words, love and friendships. And about Death. Even Death has a heart.
OF MICE AND MEN
Written by: John Steinbeck
Published in: 1937
Number of pages: 110
“Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.”
I’ve decided to put this book on today’s list because… well, we can never have enough mice, can we? (I just love mice, okay?)
George and Lennie are two migrant workers who want to start working on a farm in California. On their way there, we get to know their characters a bit – George is short and the dominant one, whilst Lennie is a huge man who has a very gentle soul (doesn’t it remind you of John Coffey?). Lennie is like a child – he’s innocent, he’s pure and he’s not aware of his own strength – right in the beginning he keeps stroking a dead mouse without actually knowing that he’s killed her. He looks up to George, he’s depending on his presence and protection. They have one dream – to have their own farm with lots of rabbits (because Lennie loves rabbits).
They are hired at a ranch and they get to know all the people in there. But then something happens. Something that is not, and yet is, Lennie’s fault. And the end is just so heart-breaking, I sobbed like a little child.
Of Mice and Men is about innocence, about prejudice, about tenderness hidden behind strength and largeness. Lennie reminds me of The Little Prince – he’s like a child, thinking that the world is a lovely and peaceful place. He has the purest heart you can imagine. And yet he hurts his surroundings without intending to do so. Lennie’s strength is his biggest weakness.
That would be all for this article. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it and I promise you won’t regret trying any of these books. I absolutely love them all. They’re touching, they make you wonder about life… And of course, there are mice. (I didn’t even intend to mention so many mice in this post, it just kind of… ended up being about them. And I haven’t even written about The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie!)
btw. If you click on any of the links mentioned above and purchase a book, I’ll get a small commission (no extra cost for you). I hope it’s okay. 🙂