This month I'm appreciating a handful of bloggers I love and admire and I'm beginning with Gretchen Rubin who writes The Happiness Project blog (among many other things). Although I've never met her, I feel safe saying that a love of books and reading is something that Gretchen Rubin and I have very much in common. In addition to posting her personal book club picks once a month, Ms. Rubin is constantly referencing books she's read in other posts and I often take note. At the same time, with the exception of children's literature, my sense is that Ms. Rubin and I gravitate towards very different kinds of books. She seems to read a lot of history and non-fiction (with a strong dollop of happiness-related self-help, as you might imagine). I mostly read fiction - leaning heavily towards more modern writing - with a sprinkle of non-fiction which tends to be on the lighter side of what non-fiction can be.
Each month Ms. Rubin lists one book about happiness, one great children's book and one eccentric pick. Here, in my own single-serving (or, perhaps, annual) spin, I list: three works of modern fiction that you're less likely to have read (which is to say, most people I talk to haven't read these books); three more classic (or well-known) books that I love and have enjoyed returning to over time; three children's books; and three wild-card works of non-fiction:
- The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian (although, if you're a man, consider his Gob's Grief which my husband preferred - they're both great)
- Making History by Stephen Fry
- The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
- Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
- Half-Magic by Edward Eager
- Them: Adventures With Extremists by Jon Ronson
- Common Sense by Thomas Paine (okay, okay. Technically this is a pamphlet and not a book. Still a great read.)
- The New England Primer (such a great primary document for trying to understand the world-view of some of the earliest American colonists)
That's twelve books! One a month for a year, if you like. Leave a comment and let me know if you've read any of these books and what you think, or leave your own recommendation.