Crime and Punishment
I had always put off reading Crime and Punishment, just because I didn’t feel that I was smart enough to understand it yet and I expected it to be an absolute beast to get through. I could not believe how wrong I was. It is an extremely engaging read, it is amazing the way your feelings for Raskolnikov change throughout the book and everything you go through with him. You really start to think about motives and what it takes to go through with a task. It made me realize what a powerful motivator the love for a family member can be and how sometimes you will do things for someone else that you would never dream of doing for yourself. One of those special books that is entertaining but also makes you think about ideas that may make you a little bit uncomfortable. Guarantee that everything you do after reading this book will remind you of it in some way or another.
Of Mice and Men
As I am sure many of you did, I first read this book in High School. I remembered enjoying it then, but I am a very different reader and different person than I was then and I figured it would be worth another read. This book is unbelievable in the fact that it is a very short story, but it uses each page and each line to build the characters of George and Lenny and the relationship between them just perfectly to evoke true emotion at the end of the novel. Steinbeck is a master of dialogue, character development, and storytelling, making this book a must-read for anyone looking to learn from a master. It is certainly worth at least a read, and I even recommend a reread.
A Moveable Feast
Hemingway is one of the most famous American Writers to have ever lived and that reason alone is enough to for you to read this book. It is a memoir of his time spent in Paris as young writer and his encounters with other artists such as Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Picasso, Scott Fitzgerald and many more! Each page will truly make you envious and you will wish you could travel back in time to live the Parisian lifestyle of the twenties. This book is as close as you will ever get to knowing what that felt like and you could almost consider it a very engaging history lesson. After reading this book you will want to go back and read everything Hemingway has ever done, but I am going to beat you to it. 🙂
The Death of Ivan Ilyich
This book is a short read, but it isn’t quite an easy read. The actual writing is never hard to get through, it’s just the ideas on the pages that are sometimes difficult to pick up on. I’m sure it comes from the fact that Tolstoy is writing a book about death, which is his favorite subject and something he spent his entire life worrying about, and he tried to cram all his thoughts into a mere 100 page book. That being said, it is really an interesting read, my favorite passage in the book comes at the end when Ivan is on his deathbed,
“It occurred to him that what had seemed inconceivable before–that he had not lived the kind of life he should have–might in fact be true. It occurred to him that those scarcely perceptible impulses of his to protest what people of high rank considered good, vague impulses which he had always suppressed, might have been precisely what mattered, and all the rest might not be the real thing.”
This is a great read for the right person. If you find yourself wondering if you have the right priorities in life and if your heading down the right path, then maybe pick up this book and see if good ole Leo Tolstoy can kick you into shape.