Monday, October 14, 2013

65 Books You Need to Read in Your 20's (or whenever)

Those of you who know me well know that I love to read.  I usually read about a book a week, sometimes more. 

I love finding lists of suggested reading and then reading the entire list.  I love books.  I love to read. I love lists.  I love crossing things of lists.  Lists of books are a no brainer for me.
Recently I came across this list on Pinterest.....
I have read a few of these but I found the list to be intriguing.  So, although I am no longer in my 20’s (just barely), I decided to jump right in and read all the books I should have apparently read before last March. Here’s to hoping these books still apply to my 30 year OLD ass.
I am not going in any particular order.  Basically I am starting with the ones I find the most quickly and for the least amount of money on my Kindle.  Over the weekend I read, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz. 
All I can say is wow.
Wow Wao.
The book begins with a story about a young boy and his growing pains with his body and girls.  It deceptively lulls the reader into thinking that what you are about to read is a heartwarming and humorous tale of a boy coming into his own while suffering some heartbreak and few embarrassments along the way.   And you do read that…..just with more emphasis on the heartbreak than on the heartwarm.
This book unfolds an entire familial history spanning decades. I was introduced to cultures that I knew nothing about and really didn’t even know existed other than seeing the chunks of land that these cultures occupy while glancing at maps.  
Much of the book is set in the Dominican Republic during times of political turmoil.  At risk of sounding very self-righteously American, on top of being very informative, this book also really made me think about the everyday freedoms we have without ever realizing they are freedoms. 
There a a lot of heart wrenching moments but the lessons you take away and the little bit of humor you do squeeze out of the words is worth it.  The narrator, speaking in broken English, slang and sometimes Spanish, really has a unique voice that I suspect is very real and without pretense.  But I really wouldn’t know considering the lack of knowledge I have on the culture. But it feels sincere and that is more than half the battle I would assume.
This book embodies an idea, or belief, that I have held for a long time.  I believe that our ancestors and family’s course influences us in ways that we could never imagine.  The past, although doesn’t necessarily have to shape who we are, it most certainly influences who we become.  And I believe this is true of family members and occurrences that may be hundreds of years removed and that we know nothing about.  I believe things come full circle without our ever knowing it.  And my idea of Heaven (like actual Heaven, not just my idea of a heavenly day or something) is one day meeting those ancestors and knowing and understanding  those occurrences so that we may better understand why we were the way we were and why we felt the way we did about things.  Your own personal meaning of self.
This book embodies these ideas in its own way…..and through a curse.  Which is cool.
Which of these books have you already read?  Plan to read?  Which books are on your list?
A little too existential for a Monday,

1 comment:

  1. Okay, so I've only heard of maybe 10 of these books. But, Never Let Me Go is a GREAT book that I definitely recommend. Made me think that I should look into some of the others. This Wao book sounds very interesting. And not knowing anything about it other than what you wrote, it sounds similar to one I just finished-- Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress. It takes place in China, but it had the same sort of culture shock effect on me that you described. If you liked this, you should check it out.