Books You Should Read (In My Opinion…)

Sometimes me and my friend like go on long walks together and we usually end up summarising whole novels in horrible, inaccurate ways as we stumble over rocks and wade through mud. Recently he leant me a couple of books that he’d mentioned on one of these walks and then asked for a list of all the books I’d mentioned to him. I couldn’t remember half of them, but I came up with a small list to give him and I figured I would share it here too!

 Book Recommendations

  • The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell 
    • A wonderful fusion of religion and science-fiction. A Jesuit priest travels across the universe to meet his God, but is traumatised from the experience. Highly, highly, highly recommended.
    • ‘There’s an old Jewish story that says in the beginning God was everywhere and everything, a totality. But to make creation, God had to remove Himself from some part of the universe, so something besides Himself could exist. So He breathed in, and in the places where God withdrew, there creation exists.
      So God just leaves?
      No. He watches. He rejoices. He weeps. He observes the moral drama of human life and gives meaning to it by caring passionately about us, and remembering. Matthew ten, verse twenty-nine: Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. But the sparrow still falls.’
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K Le Guin
    • What if someone created a device that allowed instantaneous communication across the universe? (There’s a lot more to it than that though!)
    • ‘If a book were written all in numbers, it would be true. It would be just. Nothing said in words ever came out quite even. Things in words got twisted and ran together, instead of staying straight and fitting together. But underneath the words, at the centre, like the centre of the Square, it all came out even. Everything could change, yet nothing would be lost. If you saw the numbers you could see that, the balance, the pattern. You saw the foundations of the world. And they were solid.’
  • Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist 
    • A personal look at a lonely, young boy after he becomes friends with the supernatural girl next door. ‘Horror’, but innocent in the way it goes about it.
    • ‘They stood there for a while, not saying anything. Then Eli said: ‘Do you want to come in?’
      Oskar didn’t reply. Eli pulled on her T-shirt, lifted her hands, let them fall.
      ‘I’m never going to hurt you.’
      ‘I know that.’
      ‘What are you thinking about?’
      ‘That T-shirt. Is it from the trash room?’
      ‘…yes.’
      ‘Have you washed it?’
      Eli didn’t answer.
      ‘You’re a little gross, you know that?’
      ‘I can change, if you like.’
      ‘Good. Do that.’
  • The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K Le Guin
    • A man who can’t sleep, because everything he dreams become reality. His therapist begins to use that gift to change the world; make it ‘better’.
    • ‘You have to help another person. But it’s not right to play God with masses of people. To be God you have to know what you’re doing. And to do any good at all, just believing you’re right and your motives are good isn’t enough.’
  • Genesis by Bernard Beckett 
    • A philosophical question for YA readers: can man sympathise with machines?
    • ‘I cannot choose to ignore this feeling, of life slowly bleeding out of me. I cannot ignore the fact that life only makes sense to me when I see a smile, or feel another hand in mine.’

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