As I mentioned before, my mom was a great influence on my reading life from reading Green Eggs and Ham constantly when I was little to suggesting books to read when I was a teen. She still suggests books for me to read. She recommended Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy and it’s become one of my favorite books.
Here is a small list of books she suggested I read as a teenager and that I still love:
- The Diary of Anne Frank – I read this when I was about 13 or so. I might have glossed over Anne’s romantic feelings for Peter, but I was inspired by her story. She and her family hid above a bakery, hiding from the Nazis. I still am amazed that after everything she and her family went through, she still thought people were good. She died in a concentration camp but her spirit will never die.
- Crime and Punishment by Fedor Dostoyevsky – This was a pretty deep book for a teenager to read. Radion Raskolinkov murders a pawn broker and her sister, for very little money. At first he seems to rationalize his heinous act but later feels guilty. The falls in love with Sonya, a prostitute and the book shows how he finds redemption.
- The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck – One of the great things about books is how they make you aware of other cultures. I didn’t know much at all about China around WWI but this book makes you care about Olan and her struggle on a Chinese farm.
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote – This book is Capote’s masterpiece. It tells the story of the murder of the Clutter family in 1959 in Holcomb, Kansas. There is so much detail in the book, not only about the Clutters but about one of the murderers, Perry Smith. It is a haunting tale of true crime and the ultimate punishment, the death sentence.
- A Bell For Adano by John Hershey – Hershey is better know for his powerful non-fiction book, Hiroshima, but he wrote several well written novels. A Bell for Adono takes place in Scisily after WWII. The Americans are trying to rebuild the small fishing town. Admiral Victor Jopollo has the task of helping the town. High on the native’s list is a replacement for the town bell, which was melted down by the Fascists to make rifle barrels. It’s a simple story told in a beautiful way. The book, by the way, won the Pulitzer Prize for literature.
Did your parents ever recommend books for you to read? Please let me know if you have similar memories of either of your parents suggesting books.