Carpe Weekend: Let it read
By Jason Freeman email@example.com February 29, 2012 3:52PM
"Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
Updated: April 2, 2012 8:07AM
If you’re in your mid-30s or younger and you love to read, you probably should thank actor LeVar Burton.
Years before he donned a Starfleet uniform as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Burton was teaching young kids like me about the wonders of the written word as host of the PBS show “Reading Rainbow.”
I was 5 years old when the program began airing in 1983, and I watched it with an almost religious fascination that rivaled my infatuation with Hot Wheels cars and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video.
Although it was replaced a few years later by “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” as my favorite TV show, the underlying message behind “Reading Rainbow” already had been embedded into my personality: I was in love with books.
Reading gives you an experience that no other artistic medium can. You can escape into another world, one that unlike movies and TV shows lets you imagine the characters, scenery and soundtrack in your own way.
Thanks to those early seeds planted by Burton and “Reading Rainbow,” my apartment is littered with hundreds of books, most of which are lovingly abused with creased spines and dog-eared pages.
Here are a few reads from that collection. Hopefully they give you the same hours of enjoyment they’ve given me over the years.
“Ender’s Game” (Tor Books) by Orson Scott Card
It’s rare when a science-fiction book achieves the same legendary status afforded to novels written by more “serious” writers, but this 1985 page-turner is nothing short of a classic.
“The Monk” (Addison Wesley) by Matthew Lewis
“The Monk” was written in 1796, so expect some archaic language. The story, though, is spectacular and has everything you’d expect from a modern-day horror movie.
“The Time Machine” (William Heinemann) by H.G. Wells
When Wells published this novella in 1895, it not only revolutionized science fiction but gave generations of writers and scientists a creative well from which to draw.
“The Sirens of Titan” (Dell) by Kurt Vonnegut
Vonnegut rarely wrote a bad novel, and this 1959 tour de force is no exception. The novel blends science fiction with philosophy and humor in a way that makes an entertaining and thought-provoking read.
“Keep the Aspidistra Flying” (Victor Gollancz) by George Orwell
Long before he wrote the dystopian classics “1984” and “Animal Farm,” Orwell waged a figurative war on money in this 1936 tale.
10 OTHER READS
“11/22/63” (Scribner) by Stephen King (2011)
“My Antonia” (Houghton Mifflin) by Willa Cather (1918)
“The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” (Bantam) by Ernest J. Gaines (1971)
“What Dreams May Come” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) by Richard Matheson (1978)
“The Moon and Sixpence” (William Heinemann) by W. Somerset Maugham (1919)
“The Aspern Papers” (Macmillan and Co.) by Henry James (1888)
“The Road” (Alfred A. Knopf) by Cormac McCarthy (2006)
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (Viking Press & Signet Books) by Ken Kesey (1962)
“One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” (Signet Classic) by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1963)
“World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War” (Crown) by Max Brooks (2006)