When I read all four books in the Twilight series last year, one of many thoughts I had afterward was that I would never let my (future) children read any one of these books. At least, not unless they'd be smart enough to make fun of them. In which case, we would bond by talking about all the ways the Twilight series basically suck: how the prose is vapid at best, nauseating at worst; how the heroine is unremarkable except for her incredibly bad judgment; and how not even the hero's good looks and loads of cash can redeem these stories.
But making fun of bad books can only last so long (diba Ging?) and afterwards, you need to read some really good ones to make you remember that good writing still exists. So I started doing some research (by which I mean, I started reading). Here are the ones I'd recommend to all of you:
1. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart – Frankie, the title character, is clever, pretty, and fearless–the complete antithesis of Bella Swan. Read this book if only for that. Or read it because E. Lockhart writes like E.L. Konigsburg, weaving bits of trivia to the story (so you learn while reading) and using characters to drive the plot (instead of the other way around).
2. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow – Orwell's 1984 is one of my favorite books; Little Brother is a bit like 1984, only with the adrenaline rush. If you still need more convincing, check out Neil Gaiman's review.
3. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak – Fair warning: you're probably going to cry at some point. And it might take you more than a day, or a month even, to finish because you'll want to stop, put it down, and forget all about the Holocaust and Death (the narrator). But eventually, you'll want to pick it up again. And when you're finally done, maybe you'll have learned something. But even if you haven't, you'll find that, surprisingly enough, you've also been entertained.
4. Fly On The Wall by E. Lockhart – I liked The Disreputable History.. so much I deliberately sought out this book and ended up reading it in one day. The story slightly parallels Kafka's Metamorphosis but where the latter is dark & disturbing, this one is lighter and has a charming love story, to boot.
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Again, shades of 1984. But also The Lottery (Shirley Jackson). And most of all, Battle Royale. Even if you don't like any of those, it's pretty hard not to get caught up in the Hunger Games. Stephen King did. And so did Smeyer. Okay, perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned that last one. But did I also mention that it's really really good?
*If I had to pick a favorite, I'd choose between The Disreputable History… and The Hunger Games, which are at the extreme ends in terms of story. Start with the former, if you're looking for something light and insightful, but go for the latter, if you want something dark and exciting. And before you ask, romantic subplots are present in all the books except for The Book Thief. Well…maybe even including that one.
Reposted from the LDG