Happy National Book Lovers’ Day!

Which I totally didn’t know was a thing until today!

But it’s a great topic to write about, since I do indeed love books. I have five tattoos; all of them are book quotes. Books have always had a tremendous impact on me. I was every bit of the nerdy middle-schooler and angsty teenager that found a lot of solace in the written word. I’m going to share a few of my favorite books today, and why.

The Sirens of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. My all-time favorite book. Simultaneously heartbreakingly bleak and endlessly hopeful in a way only Vonnegut could do. This book reminds me that your place in the universe is what you make it, and that’s a lesson we could all stand to learn.

Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte. One of the best love stories ever written. The characters are so tremendously raw and flawed and broken. The story is utterly devoid of any perfect or admirable characters, but you can feel each beating heart through the page. I’ve re-read this book dozens of times, and it’s amazing every time. Even more impressive when you read about the story of its author.

Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman. This book changed my life. An absolutely incredible study of our cognitive biases and how they affect our lives – and what we can do about it. This book will hands-down make you a more effective thinker.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. This is the funniest book ever written. Hands down, no question. I’ve read it a hundred times, and I can still pick it up, turn to any page at random, and laugh hysterically. And like all good humorists, Adams also has a tremendous number of keen insights as well. (Note, I’m kind of blurring the line between the first book and the whole series, but the whole series is absolutely worth reading.)

Tunnel in the Sky, by Robert Heinlein. I’ve always loved mashups of the Sci-Fi and Western genres (Firefly was one of my favorite shows ever), and Tunnel in the Sky does it brilliantly. It’s also one of the best coming-of-age novels you could read, with lessons that stand the test of time.

House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski. This is the only book in my life that has truly terrified me. It’s the weirdest, most surreal book you’ll ever read. You’ll question your own sanity. You’ll get trapped by it. Don’t start reading it if you have to be somewhere. It’s perhaps the most original book I’ve ever read, and it’s a masterpiece. (By the way, you cannot e-read this one. You need a physical book. The author uses the book’s structure to reinforce the underlying themes of architectural horror in brilliant ways that preclude the use of an e-reader.)

Not a comprehensive list or anything, but those are just some of the books that have really stuck with me over the years. But no matter what you like to read, enjoy it – today and every day!

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