Attention all book lovers: We’re going classic this week! AND with the coronavirus and social distancing in mind, all of this week’s recommendations are available for free online!
If you’re feeling ornery: “The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger
Confession: this is my favorite book of all time. I am constantly both praised and harangued for this, but I honestly don’t care. I love J. D. Salinger (I also highly recommend all of his other work), and I love Holden Caulfield. This book is extremely easy to plow through as it’s written as a stream of consciousness of one character’s point of view. Holden is often written off as angsty and entitled, and I don’t disagree. However, while that bothers some people, to me it just adds to the charm of the novel. Also, why shouldn’t he be angsty? He’s a teenager for goodness sake! If you weren’t required to read this in high school, and honestly even if you were, I highly recommend checking out this objective classic.
If you’re feeling adventurous: “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez
This book is not for the faint of heart. It’s nonlinear in construction, there are tons of characters, many with the same name and there is plot twist after plot twist. All that being said, this is without a doubt one of the most rewarding books I have ever read in my life. Gabriel García Márquez is a literary master, and none of his work shows this as much as “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” The dynamic plot and the descriptive surroundings make this an excellent quarantine read.
If you’re feeling stir-crazy: “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck
This novel is so expansive. It’s full of beautiful imagery that’ll help you out if you’re desperately missing the outdoors right about now. Above all, though, this is a story of family. A lot of my friends told me that they read “Grapes of Wrath” in high school instead of “East of Eden.” Having read both, I’m making the case for the latter. I love everything I’ve read by Steinbeck; for some reason I’ve tackled all of his longer works, rather than his shorter, more manageable novels. But much like “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” I find that the payoff with this book is immense and that the feelings you’ll have towards each of their characters will be tested numerous times.