A Reader: Top Books of 2017
2017 was one of those years when I decided to tackle some large books on my shelf; “Atlas Shrugged” being the biggest culprit. Given the way I read, often picking and putting books down, I didn’t reach my goal of books to read this year. Nevertheless, below is a list of books that made an impact on me.
“Sons of the Profits” by William Speidel
Living in Seattle for six years, the history behind the founding of the Emerald City fascinated me. Walking around the city, meeting locals, and falling victim to a few tours, gave me some general information about the place I will one-day call home again. To dig a little deeper, I read “Sons of the Profits” and got a far-reaching look at the men and women who landed on Alki in the 1850’s. The decisions they made since that fateful day helped shape what is becoming America’s fastest growing city.
“The Discomfort Zone” by Jonathan Franzen
Jonathan Franzen is a master story teller. For “The Discomfort Zone,” the focus is turned inward. Instead of reading like a linear story, this book reads like a collection of essays and observations from a man who is beginning to tune his craft. As I finished the book, I couldn’t help but take a long look at my own life. I was inspired to spend more time writing introspectively. I also challenged myself to do a better job of cataloging my observations. If I can achieve either aim, it would be my hope to continue tuning the craft I love so dearly.
“The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis
After reading the “Chronicles of Narnia,” my fellow readers strongly recommended I read “The Screwtape Letters.” The book is about a demon and one of his underlings written in letter form. The elder demon is trying to coach the younger on how to corrupt a human’s soul. Through frustration and some success, the whole ordeal plays out before the reader. Even though I am someone without much faith, I still found the whole drama fascinating.
“Choke” by Chuck Palahniuk
I have had a love/hate relationship with Chuck Palahniuk for a long time. My relationship began with the movie, “Fight Club.” Lots of my friends believed it to be a masterpiece. I, on the other hand, found it to be confusing and a failure in its attempt to make its larger point. With this in mind, I reluctantly picked up “Choke.” When the dust settled, I found this story to be much well thought out and focused. Here our main character is dealing with a sexual addiction. Most of the time, the story is hilarious, but it also musters moments of complete heartbreak. It these moments I found endearing and reason enough for a quick read.
“Netherland” by Joseph O’Neill
I cannot imagine what it must have been like to be an immigrant citizen of New York after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. “Netherland” tells the story of one man trying to hold his family together on top of the shifting sand around him. While this book is not the most compelling read in the world, it does provide some clear and needed insight into a world few of us experienced. Literature, like any other artform, works well when it affords you an opportunity to better understand life through someone else’s eyes.
Be good to each other,
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