Favorite Books

Books I Like
If you’ve visited my site and read any of my posts, you know that I like adventure – reading about adventure, writing about it, and experiencing it. It’s what keeps life in our hyper-competitive, ego-fueled, money-centric world palatable. Sometimes, we all need to get away from it all, but since can’t always physically take off, books are there to sweep you away into another realm. A good reading adventure doesn’t replace a real adventure, but is a very acceptable, easily accessible alternative.
So, with that in mind, here’s a short list of books that I really like, in no particular order and from a range of genres:
1. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

The first classic novel I can remember reading on my own. It may have been required reading for middle school English class, but I loved it anyway. My mind became a movie screen as I imagined the places Tom went, the people he met, and the things he did. I guess you could say Mark Twain set the hook that made me a lifelong reader.
2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Like Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn was a true-to-life character for a young boy like me. I wanted to do the things he did and experience the wild adventures he experienced. I got lost in another world and discovered that I enjoyed reading.
3. A Time to Kill by John Grisham

Grisham’s first novel and the first unassigned reading I did after graduating college, A Time to Kill was gripping, suspenseful, emotionally binding, and mind-engaging. As a young father of a little girl at the time, I was moved by the characters’ dilemmas and their responses to the stresses put upon them. It was a real page turner. I found myself wanting to read more than anything else from the very first chapter.
4. The Bourne Series by Robert Ludlum

Starting the “The Bourne Identity,” Ludlum did such a great job of building a character that was unique, intriguing, and relatable. I was just as taken with the books as I was the movies, despite having seen the movies first and discovering that the storylines in the books are much different than the movies. Despite that fact, Jason Bourne in the movies has many of the same characteristics, skills, traits that Ludlum gave him in the books. They are fascinating spy stories mixed with a bit of human drama, romance, and adventure in exotic lands.
5. The Jack Reacher Series by Lee Child

I love this series because of the main character, Jack Reacher. Once again, I saw the movie first and started reading the books later, but have been captivated by the dominating intelligence as well as physical presence of Reacher. But the first book, “The Killing Floor,” is a completely different story than the first movie. In each book, the plot moves quickly, with unexpected twists and turns, and supporting characters that keep readers like me interested and wanting to know more. Great storytelling and interesting people – that’s why I like the Reacher series.
6. The Hunger Game Series by Susan Collins

I don’t typically read Young Adult fiction, but there was so much buzz around these books that I had to read them just out of curiosity. Once I got started, I couldn’t put them down. The narrative and perspective Collins brings to a situation that, at first, seems far-fetched but later, as you start to think about where our society is headed, becomes more and more plausible, is fresh and thought provoking. You start to realize that civilizations hinge on our ability to get along with each other and work together for the common good and that it only takes a handful of wrong-doers to throw the whole thing into chaos. I found it a fascinating look into what our future may possibly look like.
7. Under the Never Sky Series by Veronica Rossi

Another Young Adult Post-Apocalyptic Dystopian fiction series set in a world that should be implausible, but really isn’t. Rossi does a great job of painting a picture in the reader’s mind of the scenes and the people. She also gets you involved in the characters’ emotions and motives. I found these books hard to put down because they had all the elements I like in the books I read: action, suspense, drama, interesting people, exotic places, and intrigue mixed with a bit of romance. Fun reading.
8. Unbroken by Laura Hildebrand

Want a powerful, true story that highlights the strength of the human spirit? Unbroken will leave you in awe of man’s ability to withstand all manner of challenges and difficulties. Of course, it also reveals the depths of human depravity and cruelty, especially in times of war. But I came out of it feeling like my burdens were nothing. My resolve to face them with more courage was bolstered as a result of reading Unbroken.
9. Into Thin Air by John Krakauer

Ever dream of climbing Mount Everest? Need a reality check? This book provided that little bit of correction for me by showing me how even the most skilled and accomplished mountaineers are nothing against the uncertainties of Everest. In other words, it showed me the risk-reward ratio and I decided, though it’s still a cool thing to say you’ve done, it’s just not worth it for me. It’s a hair-raising true story about a disaster that claimed several lives on the mountain and the circumstances that led to the tragedy.
10. CyberStorm by Matthew Mather

This book was one of those hidden gems for me. Mather is a relatively new author, like myself, so my expectations were mid-range at best. Needless to say, they were far surpassed as he does a masterful job of taking the reader down a path of plausible discomfort and insecurity in an end-of-civilization-as-we-know-it story. Essentially, the island of Manhattan, New York, is plunged into the stone age without running water, electricity, or other basic services, forcing people into primal survival mode. It’s a stark look into a “what-if” that makes you wonder how you’d handle it.

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