I should begin by saying that I come from a family that encouraged reading. From a young age books were around and people were reading, so I grew up thinking that this was normal. Later, I discovered that other people watched lots of TV and play video games instead of the said “reading,” though I came to enjoy these endeavors as well, I never lost the love of reading that had been fostered in me.
My family had a penchant for sci-fi and fantasy, along with learning to back shuffle, I was expected (and I do mean expected) to read The Lord of the Rings Trilogy; it was a right of passage into the adult book world. Along the way I was transported to different planets, with characters I understood and those that perplexed me. My brain was growing, every time I didn’t know a word or understand a phrase I would look it up, thus increasing my vocabulary and understanding of language.
I think that is why now as an adult reader I don’t really do fluff very much. I like complex story lines and sub plots. If you take me to your average movie I can figure out the bad guy or the love interest long before I’m supposed to and all because of books. So…her are a few of the ones th at stuck with me and why I love them so much.
The Chronicles of Narnia: I really enjoyed all of them but The Silver Chair is my favorite. I won’t go on too much as the link will take you to an exhaustive article I have already written on this wonderful books. But I must say that these are wonderful books for children, well written and full of wonderful creatures and adventur es.
Anne of Green Gables: I love the character of Anne, all the trouble she get into, her stubborn ways and her fearless dedication to her friends. She is a wonderful model for your girls in how to be yourself. The link will talk you an article about all things wonderfully Anne that I wrote not long ago.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: This is a very different kind of book from the ones mentioned before. The language is more adult and the story line is not specifically YA (young adult) though very accessible. I related to Frodo leaving his home to go on an epic quest. I loved the his companions were so colorful and different. I personally always liked Gimli the dwarf.
In the later books (the Two towers and the Return of the king) Sam and Frodo journey on alone while the remaining members of the part battle darkness all over the land. I really enjoyed Gollum and his split personality, constantly battling to be good after years of suffering at the control of the ring.
This work is usually used to describe or define “epic” fantasy. There is the sense that the story involves this entire world and their journey travels though many lands giving us a snap shot of each. If you are a “fast” reader or need a fast pace to keep you interested this is not the set of books for you unless you have endurance under you belt. It is a wonderful story but slow.
The Hobbit: Conversely this book is a wonderful adventure from one crazy happening to the next. Also by Tolkien this book has a much lighter sense about it. It is the journey of Bilbo Baggins a middle-aged would be adventurer. From giant spiders, dragons, wood elves and four army battles the book has it all. The language is much simpler than the Lord of the Rings and therefore available to a wider audience. This book is just plain fun, if you need and adventure or know child who could this is your book.
The Dune series: Let me begin by saying this is serious science fiction. I read these books when I was in high school and loved them but I understand that they may be too scientific or political in nature for readers who are after just a good time. I loved the complexity of characters, the difficult choices that they made and ran way from and the humanness that this exposed. My favorite book in the series is God Emperor of Dune (which is about Leto, Paul’s son) but i think most people prefer Dune Messiah (Which is about Paul).
Herbert went to great lengths to make places, societies and their interactions real. I never got the sense that something didn’t fit or wasn’t justified in the confines of his world. I fell in love with the tragic Duncan Idaho and his unfailing duty to the Atreides family.
These books are not for the average joe reader, but if you are a true science fiction reader they are a must.