• My Ten Favorite Books

    by Dr. Timothy Horan Year Published: Fall in Love with Reading!

    My Favorite Books

    Below, you will find ten of my favorite books.  Some are from my childhood, and some I have read quite recently.  But whether you’re a young person or an adult, you should read them all.  You'll learn something, and you will enjoy every single one.  Trust me.

    If you do this, I'm pretty sure you'll Fall in Love with Reading.  And that's always a good thing.

    A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle.  This book won the Newbery award for the best children's book of the year.  It's often considered a middle school novel, and that’s a shame, because this book is incredible.  It should be read by high schoolers and adults, and I reread it every few years.  Get ready to embark on the journey of a lifetime with a small group of young people on a very important mission.  Part science fiction, part fantasy, this will probably become your favorite book.  Ever.  I’m not kidding. 


    The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley.  Like A Wrinkle in Time, this is often considered a middle school novel, and we really need to change that.  It’s a marvelous novel of adventure and friendship that high schoolers (and adults) will devour.  A shipwreck, a boy, a wild stallion, and a desert island.  What’s not to love?  This was my favorite book as a young adult.  And it might become yours also.  And the fun doesn’t end there, because this is the first book in a series.  (And when you finish the book, see the movie.  It’s not as good as the book, but it’s very good.)


    The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury.  I discovered this book when I was a young student, and I couldn’t believe how good it was.  And every few years, I pick it up again and reread it.  It’s a collection of short stories that all focus on the colonization of Mars, and every story is a beyond brilliant.  This book is a an undeniable masterpiece, and it gets my vote for the greatest science fiction book ever written.  Oh, yeah.  I said it.  And I meant it.


    The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury.  Another masterpiece by Bradbury.  This is a “framework” collection of short stories.  The narrator encounters a man tattooed from head to toe ﹘ an “illustrated man” ﹘ but these are no ordinary tattoos.  When the illustrated man falls asleep, his tattoos start to move.  And each moving tattoo tells a different story.  And each story is riveting and beautiful.  It is perhaps as good as the Martian Chronicles (and I don’t say that lightly).


    Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card.  This novel won the two biggest awards in science fiction: the Hugo and the Nebula.  And it deserved both of them.  Ender Wiggin is a young boy with some special talents.  And he is sent to a special military school so that he can learn to fight aliens who are threatening Earth.  You won’t believe how good this book is, and you won’t be able to put this book down.  The ending is stunning, and will leave you speechless.  Oh, and the sequel to this book - Speaker for the Dead - that won the Hugo and the Nebula also.  (But skip the movie Ender’s Game.  It’s terrible.)


    Maus, by Art Spiegelman.  This book is a true story of the Holocaust, and it tells the story of the author’s father.  But it’s unlike any other book on the Holocaust, because it’s a graphic novel.  That means it’s written (and drawn) like a comic book.  In it, Spiegelman casts the nazis as cats, and the Jews as mice.  And it is spectacular and brilliant.  It’s also the first graphic novel to win the Pulitzer prize.  It is beautiful, original, and deeply moving.  And when you finish it, make sure you read the sequel: Maus II.  It’s just as good as the first.


    A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway.  Hemingway is one of the greatest writers that America ever produced, and he proved it by winning the Nobel Prize in Literature (and there is no higher literary prize).  Hemingway invented a style of writing that is simple, sparse, and beautiful.  This book tells the story of a young soldier during World War I, and it is based on Hemingway’s own experiences.  It’s a deeply human page-turner, and it’s also the best writing you’ll ever read.  And the ending...well, you'll never get over it.


    1984, by George Orwell.  A dystopian novel describes a world with enormous societal flaws, and 1984 is, without a doubt, the greatest dystopian novel ever written.  Period.  Winston Smith is an “average” guy living in a world where everyone is being watched, continually, by a fascistic and controlling government.  And the threat of punishment is everywhere.  Sound familiar?  It should.  Orwell was way ahead of his time, and his predictions just keep coming true.  The characters are wonderful, the story is fascinating, and the setting is unforgettable. 

    But remember: “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.”


    A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess.  This is another great dystopian novel.  It’s very different from 1984, but it too is a masterpiece.  The characters are fascinating, and the story is disturbing, but my favorite aspect of this novel is the language.  It’s fantastic.  This novel was written during the Cold War, and Burgess mixes Russian words into the English language to create an amazing slang used by young people.  “Horrorshow” means good.  “Droog” means friend.  It takes some practice, but you’ll love this horrorshow book, my droogs.


    The Road, by Cormac McCarthy.  When this book came out in 2006, it won the Pulitzer prize for fiction.  That means it was the best novel of the year.  It’s a post-apocalyptic masterpiece in which a boy and his father move through a ruined world, trying to avoid cannibals and other bad things.  It reads like a nightmare or a vision of the future, and it is beyond terrifying.  It’s also a bit challenging, but definitely worth it.  You will love this book.  I’ve read it three times.  Shocking and unforgettable.  When you finish it, see the movie.  It’s not as good as the book, but it’s very good.

    So, what are you waiting for?  Come to the library, and Fall in Love with Reading!

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