I think we can all agree that there are some books out there that, if you don’t like them, it’s a good indication that you are an evil alien come to this planet to enslave humanity and turn Earth into one giant human-being-operated battery for your spaceship. Like, seriously. If you don’t like Pride and Prejudice just don’t even talk to me. We aren’t friends and never will be. Here are some other books that you’ll love or your money back.*
Emma by Jane Austen: Austen is one of my favorite authors. Her books are full to the brim of wit and are extremely funny. Her ability to write characters three-dimensionally, especially when her subject matter is pretty restricted to love stories among the landed gentry of Georgian England, is phenomenal. Emma is a great choice of book if you’ve never read any Austen or if you’re already a fan of any of her other books.
Big Fish by Daniel Wallace: Though published in 1998, Big Fish definitely has a place among great literary classics. A fusion of Homer’s Odyssey, Joyce’s Ulysses (another book which borrows extensively from The Odyssey, obviously), and American Tall Tales, Big Fish is a story for the ages. Follow William Bloom as he tries to discover the truth of his father’s strange and fantastical life. If you love the idea of reading Homer but are daunted by the language and the sheer girth of The Odyssey, give this book a try.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Man. This book. It’s a giant. In terms of influence, significance, and importance, this book is almost beyond compare. The seven generations of the Buendia family that populate this epic novel are both more fantastic and more real than real life. Also, naming a character Aureliano Buendia pretty much guarantees success.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: Ahead of its time in a variety of ways, Jane Eyre is the book to read if proto-feminism, precursors to modernist prose, or incredibly moving stories of personal growth and love are things you like. Can’ t say it fairer than that.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: This book is a huge time commitment. Though it’s been touted as compulsively readable since it was first published in 1936, there’s no denying that GwtW is not for the faint of heart and/or biceps. Sure, maybe Mitchell’s characterization of Southerners and African Americans is slightly (or more than slightly) controversial, but GwtW is a book that has endured and been popular for almost a century, so she must have done something right. (Also, Vivien Leigh is super pretty. Not a factor in appreciating the novel, I know, but if you cheat and just watch the movie, you’re in for a treat.)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock is particularly great for summer reading for a variety of reasons. First is that the stories are completely riveting and are way too much fun to even consider putting down for an instant once you get into one. Second is that, because the Holmes stories are a collection of short stories, not a single, long novel, it’s easy enough to finish one quickly and be able to take a short beach break or popsicle break or what have you.
Happy reading! And stay tuned for more KU Summer Reading lists coming soon to a computer near you!
*Just kidding. We do not give refunds under any circumstances. Sorry. I will bet you ten bucks that you’ll like any book on this list, though. Come in, buy a copy, and shake on it. You come back and tell me you didn’t like it, I’ll pay up.