Feel like the black hole of assigned reading, television, and Reddit has robbed you of the joy of reading for pleasure? Me too. In the past six months, I’ve read 170 pages of my current book, "Suttree" by Cormac McCarthy. It’s pathetic. If you’re like me and want to get back to reading more for fun, here’s a list of relatively quick reads that you should be able to knock out in about a weekend.
"The Road," Cormac McCarthy
This book, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2007, comes from my absolute favorite author. It chronicles a man and his son as they trek across post-apocalyptic America trying to find hope in a barren world full of thieves, cannibals, and utter despair. One of my all-time favorites.
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"Maus," Art Spiegelman
Art Spiegelman’s magnum opus became the first and only graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize. The powerful true story of Spiegelman, in the form of an anthropomorphized mouse, as he interviews his father about his experiences in the Holocaust is as sophisticated and powerful as any novel, and it will undoubtedly change the way you think about graphic novels.
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"One Foot In Eden," Ron Rash
A murder haunts a small Appalachian town in this North Carolina writer’s debut novel, which evokes masters of the Southern Gothic novel such as William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor.
"The Devil All the Time," Donald Ray Pollock
Pollock worked in an Ohio paper mill until age 50, when he enrolled in the Ohio State University English program. His first novel, "The Devil All the Time," will repulse you and even enrage you, yet it will most certainly engage you with perverted and misguided characters that hit uncomfortably close to home.
"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," Mark Haddon
An award-winning novel about social disability and being different, told through the eyes of a 15-year-old boy with Asperger syndrome. Girlfriend’s recommendation.
"Children of Men," P.D. James
A pregnant woman and a scholar struggle to survive and fight the system in a dystopian, infertile future. A personal favorite.
"The Fault in Our Stars," John Green
Hazel, a 16-year-old cancer patient, struggles with life and love in this “melancholy, sweet, philosophical and funny” tale (The New York Times book review
). Read it before the movie comes out in June---watch the trailer here
"The Last American Man," Elizabeth Gilbert
A much less whiny and self-involved Gilbert ("Eat, Pray, Love") tells the true story of Eustace Conway, a man who forsakes modern society to live off the land near Boone, NC.
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"The Things They Carried," Tim O'Brien
A collection of stories that reveal the mystery, the tragedy, the wonder, the numbness, the mundaneness, and the power of war. O'Brien's writings on the Vietnam War, based on his personal experiences, are brilliantly written and possess a staggering immediacy. Try the audiobook read by Bryan Cranston at audible.com.