5.) The Name of the Wind
- By Patrick Rothfuss
- 722 pages
Towards the middle of 2019, I went into a fiction reading frenzy, starting with The Name of the Wind.
The Name of the Wind is the first book in a (soon to be) three book trilogy called the Kingkiller Chronicle Series. If not already a classic, The Name of the Wind will soon join the upper echelon group of adult sci-fi books such as Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Narnia, and Game of Thrones.
The only downside in starting this series is that the author just began working on book three, so you and I might be waiting to finish the trilogy!
4.) The Gulag Archipelago Abridged: An Experiment in Literary Investigation
- By Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
- 526 pages
History books in the U.S. gloss over details in the early to mid-1900s Soviet Union, mainly because of the attention drawn towards WWI and WWII. The Gulag Archipelago sheds light on the harsh realities its own citizens faced in the USSR during this time.
The Gulag Archipelago is a grueling account of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 11 years in a Soviet gulag. Gulags were the USSR forced labor camps created in 1918, officially ending in 1956.
The author was arrested for a “derogatory” letter to a friend discussing Joseph Stalin, the Soviet dictator at the time. For this, he was trialed, and given an 8 year labor camp sentence where the majority of victims (numbers vary greatly since they kept little to no record) froze to death.
The original copy of his book comes in three volumes, all over 1,000 pages each. If you don’t have the time, nor the will to read over 3,000 pages, do what I did and get the abridged version instead.
The stories are gruesome, sometimes unbelievable. Give it a read, and gather a new perspective on life.
3.) Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know
- By Malcolm Gladwell
- 400 pages
Every year there’s one book that surprises me. Last year, it was Malcolm X’s autobiography. This year, it was Talking to Strangers. The audio book was a recommended listen by a coworker, but since I’m not a fan of audiobooks, I decided to give it a read instead.
Malcom Gladwell’s newest book became one of the best-selling books in 2019. The author goes into detailed analysis of real life scenarios between strangers. It sounds simple, but Talking to Strangers sheds light on issues everyone faces on a regular basis, interaction between people they don’t know.
Unfortunately, there are no lessons to be learned from Talking to Strangers, only harsh facts. Situations between individuals who don’t know or understand each other are simply inevitable.
2.) Harry Potter
- By J.K. Rowling
- A lot of pages
You’ve read right, Harry Potter. And not just one book, but all of them. Three of them alone would have been on this list if I hadn’t grouped them together.
At the time, when people asked if I was currently reading anything, I replied with “Harry Potter”. Most responded with, “I’ve seen the movies.”
The movies are not the same, not even close. The movies’ plots don’t follow the books’ and tend to have gaps to fill. This is where books came in handy.
People also said, “I’m not reading that, it’s for kids.”.
Nonsense. Not after book three it isn’t. Yes, the first three books are geared towards “tweens”, but after that, all adult fiction.
I believe anyone who enjoyed the movies should give Harry Potter a read. It’s too good to pass up.
1.) Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds
- By David Goggins
- 364 pages
I’ve quit reading self-help books for a while now. They tend to be money grabs and repetitive. The books worth a damn are biographies and autobiographies of outliers’ lives.
In his five star rated book on Amazon, Can’t Hurt Me details David’s life from nothing, to fit, to navy seal, to ultra-marathon runner, to breaking pull up records, and his struggles along the way.
David Goggins is a rare breed. His book proves that pushing one’s mind and body to the extreme is possible.
Don’t get me wrong, some of the things he’s done were stupid and idiotic. I’m not advocating that.
His book simply proves that you can achieve much more than what’s meant to believe.
“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”