For the Record

It is probably no secret that I am an avid reader. I am one of those unfortunate people who reads six books at a time and often does so while walking. One downside to college is a serious reduction in pleasure reading time, but there are ways to get around this dilemma – the elliptical, for one.

Because of my firm belief that readers should share the gems they discover, I decided I would take up my weekly column to share a short list of all-time favorite books.

These are the ones I want to read again. Some of them are already well-known, but I guarantee, if you add one to your own list of to-reads, you won’t be disappointed.

Seven of the Very Best Books According to (and Summed Up in One Sentence by) Kate Stoltzfus

1. “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak

The subject is the Holocaust, with one wonderful little girl named Liesel at the center, and the writing just completely blew me away. Perhaps my all-time favorite, and I don’t say that lightly.

2. “The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy

The story is centered on two twins, Rahel and Estha, and their family, set in India, and the writing, again, is hauntingly poetic.

3. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer

Step into the mind of Oskar Shell, a 9-year-old boy who has just lost his dad in 9/11 and is on a mission to discover a lock that fits a mysterious key his dad left behind. He will knock your socks off. The movie was good but the book is a million times better.

4. “Little Bee” by Chris Cleave

What happens when a young Nigerian orphan girl shows up on an English journalist’s doorstep? She has come into their world due to one big secret and it’s one of the most moving stories I know.

5. “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz

Exactly what the title says — Oscar Wao has a brief (and semi-wondrous, but also tragic, hilarious and sharp with words) life and you get to hear about it.

6. “The Virgin Suicides” by Jeffrey Eugenides

A beautiful book about the five sheltered Lisbon sisters, narrated by the neighbor boys of suburbia who are obsessed with them.

7. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” by Mark Haddon

The narrator, an autistic teenager, sets out to find the murderer of his neighbor’s poodle after he is wrongly accused. Be prepared to be completely inside his head, which is utterly fascinating.

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