Hey, I’m on a role! Another question I can answer definitively. Let me first start off by saying that I have a tremendous love of reading. Some of my earliest memories involve books and from the time that I could first read, I had my nose buried in one. Reading was my escape and to this day, my idea of perfection is lounging by the pool with a frosty drink and a book in hand. Since I’m an academic by trade (and spend much of my working time reading scholarly articles), I usually gravitate towards something light, easy and fun to read at my leisure – I think I’ve read every Nora Roberts out there and I’ve tackled a number of series from diverse genres, but I particularly like fantasy (again for the element of escapism). I’ve read all the Harry Potter books, the Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind and the Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan.
With that said, my all-time favorite book is Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. While this is neither a light read nor fantasy, this book spoke to me in a way that no other book had. I first read this book exactly 10 years ago and it explained so much of what frustrated me about this world and the people in it and it gave me the courage to stay true to myself regardless of what others said I was supposed to do or feel or say. The characters in this book are like old friends and I have read this book each and every summer since that first one 10 years ago. In fact, I’m reading it again right now (I always start it on August 1). Each time I read it, it’s like coming home again and it gives me the strength to plow onward for another year. In my experience, this book will either profoundly change the way you see the world or you won’t understand what the big deal is and you’ll be annoyed that you just read 1040+ pages of philosophy. In all the conversations that I’ve had about Atlas, I’ve never heard someone say, “It was okay.” As an aside, if you’re planning on reading this for the first time, please read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand first.
Now, If I had to pick a runner up, it would definitely be To Kill A
Mockingbird by Harper Lee. My passion is social justice and civil rights and this book hits that spot in my heart that hurts for everyone who has ever been victimized by the system. Our daughter’s middle name is Harper and that is in no small part a tribute to the author of this wonderful book. As soon as our son is old enough to read it, I want us to read it together so that I can help me think through the thoughts and ideas presented.
I’m excited to read everyone’s favorite books this week! I’m always looking for new stuff to read.