Sunday, May 29, 2011

250 Books: Looking Back at Being 'Literate'

Reading for me is one part entertaining and one part enlightening.  Some books provide more of one thing than the other, but I sincerely try to read books that can provide at least a little bit of both.  To paraphrase Ezra Taft Benson, one sign of wisdom is not only knowing what to read but also what not to read.  There are literally millions of books in print and hundreds of thousands more are printed in the United States each year.  Clearly, even a meaningful goal, such as 1,000 books in a lifetime, can feel somewhat minimal or lacking in scope.  Therefore, I don’t want to feel like I have wasted my time once I’ve finished a book. 

I recently reached the first tier of my 1,000 books goal—250 books (my wife beat me to that tier by finishing her 250th book while I was finishing up my 249th).  Looking over my current list of 250 books, I wanted to cull several books that for one reason or another have stuck with me in an exceptional way after I read them.  Not all of the books will appeal to everyone, but I think anyone could get a sufficient amount of entertainment and/or enlightenment from each.  (As with all lists that attempt to tally the ‘best’ of anything, I will naturally and unfortunately leave out books that should probably be included).

Fiction/Historical Fiction/Narrative
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card
Exodus by Leon Uris
The Haj by Leon Uris
Armageddon by Leon Uris
Watership Down by Richard Adams
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
Anthem by Ayn Rand
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Freddy’s Book by John Gardner
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
True Grit by Charles Portis
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
The Giver by Lois Lowry

Non-Fiction
The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage
Eat the Rich by P.J. O’Rourke
Man . . . His Origin and Destiny by Joseph Fielding Smith
The Federalist Papers by James Madison, James Madison, John Jay
The American Tradition by Clarence B. Carson
The True Believer by Eric Hoffer
Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden

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