World Book Day

by Marissa Matton

In honor of yesterday being World Book Day, I thought I would share some of my favorite books.

The other week in one of my classes, we talked about the low expectations we have of assigned reading. Typically if we’re “forced” to read something, we’ve already made up our minds about it not being enjoyable before we even get past the title page. I’ll admit to having fallen victim to this logic quite a few times over the years. That negative train of thought has also been proven wrong, however.

I first read my favorite book, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, in high school as assigned summer reading before my senior year. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the book, but I was nearly immediately taken with the tale of mortality and ethics. As part of that assigned reading, I also read The Awakening by Kate Chopin. I’ve had to read the novel in two courses since then, and each time I was drawn into Edna’s search for independence.

While I haven’t always been as lucky with my assigned reading, these two books have stayed with me as favorites years later, despite the fact that neither fall under my favorite genre of literature. From the moment I finished reading my first Nancy Drew novel, I devoured any mysteries I could come across. I came across And Then There Were None in middle school and immediately fell in love with Agatha Christie’s writing. The classic whodunnit helped fuel my passion for solving fictional crimes. I learned to pick apart scenes, searching for clues and piecing them together to deduct who committed the crimes.

Some people don’t enjoy rereading books, but I find comfort in picking up something familiar. If I were in a novel, my great character flaw would be my faulty memory. When I’m enjoying a book, I hate to have to put it down–partly because of the fact that I’m enjoying it, but mostly because of how probable it is I’ll have forgotten something important before picking it back up.

With the end of the semester approaching, I’m eager to tackle my ‘to-read’ list. After getting through the piles–yes piles–of books I’ve been pushing aside over the past few months, one of my goals is to finish reading Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. I started the novel a couple of years ago, and while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t able to devote enough time to it.

I’m eager to hear some of your favorite books. What is it about them that stuck with you? Alternately, which books are on your to-read list?

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6 thoughts on “World Book Day

  1. That’s great, Lance! I’m glad to hear it’s been successful. There is definitely a lot to talk about.

    Marissa

  2. My favorite book of all time is Jane Eyre, which I read on a whim in my early teens. Such a ridiculous book, but I reread it every now and then (and I’ve taught it a handful of times). I also love watching the film/miniseries adaptations, to see how hilariously bad or inaccurate they are (my favorite one is inaccurate, but Rochester is spot-on). I think I love most that Jane is a normal human being, for the most part. She’s in a really mysterious, weird situation, and she’s inquisitive – but she’s not Nancy Drew, so she doesn’t solve it in roughly two days like Nancy would have. The less we say about St. John Rivers, the better. I tend to like strong characters who face tough choices.

    I have many of the “classics” on my to-read list, like Anna Karenina and some Thomas Hardy and Edith Wharton – but I do love reading classic mysteries like Agatha Christie (I need to finish off my tour of Wilkie Collins, for example, and I absolutely love re-reading Raymond Chandler; I’m kind of saving Dashiell Hammett for a rainy day or two). I’m kind of snobby about what I read, though. I like specific authors/characters, and I don’t really search outside them. I stumble onto books sometimes (Small Gods by Terry Pratchett had an eye-catching cover, when I bought it at a remainders store, and I fell totally in love with that universe), and sometimes I read from recommendation (like the mysterious woman at a Barnes & Noble who overheard my wish for a well-researched intelligent historical romance and recommended the Outlander series, then promptly vanished behind a bookcase).

    Nancy Drew’s like comfort food, though. I love rereading those books… most especially if her special friend Ned Nickerson makes an appearance. 😉

  3. Well.my favorite book is pride and prejudice
    Jane Eyre, persuasion, nothanger abbey,the tenant of the wildfell Hall…of mice and men,Heidi,Willa cathers short stories, the stranger,middlemarch…..

    Tbr – great expectations, war and peace, water ship down,Emma,the sound and the fury,grapes of Wrath,the good earth,

  4. My favorite book seems to vary by the day. But Dorian Gray is definitely one I can always keep going back to.

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