Winter 2011-2012 Reading List

Ender's Shadow - Orson Scott Card
Shadow of the Hegemon - Orson Scott Card
Shadow Puppets - Orson Scott Card
Shadow of the Giant - Orson Scott Card

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire  - Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay  - Suzanne Collins

The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

Audition - Ryu Murakami

Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer

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Shadow of the Wind
I highly recommend The Shadow of the Wind. Do be warned: it's a page-turner. This book takes place in Spain, post-civil war. It's a story within a story; its plot is filled with twists, lies, deceit, scandal, and romance. It's about 500 pages long (give or take, depending on the edition you get your hands on), but I tore through it in about two and a half days.

This book reminded me of one of my all-time favorites, Wuthering Heights. My mom is reading WH now, per my recommendation. I think I'll pick it up for a reprise since its sitting around the house.

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The Shadow Series (unrelated to Shadow of the Wind)
Contrary to popular opinion, I thought Ender's Game was better than Ender's Shadow. Not a lot better (Ender's Shadow was pretty good), but more full of surprises. Though my interest started to peter out (hah. Series reference.) by the time I finished Shadow of the Giant, I won't rest until I've finished the last two books in the Shadow series (Shadows in Flight* and Shadows Alive) and finally the last book of the Ender series. I MUST KNOW HOW IT ENDS!

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The Alchemist
...teems with thought-provoking one-liners. Here are a couple that hit home for me:

"People learn, early in their lives, what is their reason for being," said the old man, with a certain bitterness. "Maybe that's why they give up on it so early, too. But that's the way it is."

"...I don't live in either my past or my future. I'm interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you'll be a happy man. You'll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesmen fight because they are part of the human race. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we're living right now."

This book is a short read (I actually read it in one afternoon). It's one that I can imagine keeping at my bedside to be moved by a different truism each time.

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(On selecting the next book...)
I may have mentioned before that my method for selecting the next good read is pretty unoriginal and uninspired: I follow NY Bestsellers lists and Oprah's Book Club. Add to my methods: 1) novels made into movies and 2) stories that someone thought were so good that it had to be translated from its original language to, most helpfully, English (hence Shadow of the Wind (Spanish), The Alchemist (Portuguese), and Audition (Japanese)).

Still unoriginal, I know, but no one genre/time period/setting/subject interests me enough that I feel the need to read up on every big author in that particular category. Anyway, I'm just trying to help! Please also leave any book recommendations for me on your way out :)

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