If a severe disaster did affect us all, what book would you want to have with you? Here’s my top 5:
1. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. This novel is beautifully written. It follows a migrant family escaping the Dust Bowl and seeking work in California. The chapters alternate between tales of the family’s struggles with poetic prose describing challenges of the Dust Bowl Era in general. Steinbeck actually traveled with a family of migrants to research this book, and his attention to detail is apparent. This book reminds me of our humanity–those threads that unite humankind regardless of situation. It’s a book everyone should read. Yes, it’s long, but it’ll be worth your time.
2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Because of its language alone, I would choose this book. Fitzgerald writes brilliantly of class struggles in Long Island during the Roaring Twenties. His language is brilliant, and although I teach the book every year, I never get tired of reading it, and I always notice new and clever language devices Fitzgerald uses. The book is about the corruption (or even death) of the American Dream, making me appreciate the ability to work toward a dream and cautioning me against acting like the spoiled characters in the novel.
3. 1984 by George Orwell. Unfortunately, Orwell saw the worst of what mankind can be. After his experiences with war and oppressive governments, he wrote 1984 as a hyperbole–but it sometimes doesn’t feel that far from the truth. In the novel, the protagonist (Winston) understands how The Party oppresses people, but he cannot understand why. Why can’t people just let each other live in peace? It’s something America has tried to provide–a place where man can be free to prosper–but it’s not the natural state of man. There’s always the tendency to oppress and to desire and consume power, exercising rights over others just because it can be done. In a post-apocalyptic world, this gloomy but brilliant work would be a reminder of what mankind has to lose, and it could become a cautionary tale as new post-apocalyptic governments emerge.
4. The Hobbit (or the Lord of the Rings trilogy, if I could count that as one book) by J.R.R. Tolkien. There’s not much explanation needed here. I don’t know how many times I’ve read either The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, but the books have the ability to draw me into the tale, to the world of orcs and goblins and elves. My head dances with vivid imagery, and I lose track of time. I can’t imagine wanting anything more in a post-apocalyptic world.
5. Milton’s Paradise Lost. I’ve never gotten to read the whole thing, but it’s so dense and rich, it would take FOREVER to read and appreciate fully. I really enjoy the human element even in the character of Lucifer. It really gets me thinking about what it is that makes up mankind.
But man, if I could only choose five books, it would be difficult. Hopefully I’d have room for a bit more (I can’t help but think of that Twilight Zone episode where the man survives the apocalypse but breaks his reading glasses!!).
For this blog hop, you can win a copy of my time-travel trio, For Whom My Heart Beats Eternal (and other stories), two of which are about the end of the world. If the winner is US, winner receives choice of paperback or e-copy of the book. If winner is international, winner receives e-copy of the book.
In this time-travel novella incorporating sweet romance and science fiction, Anna, a young graduate student, has found her intellectual soul mate. She and Dr. Thomas Wellesley, forty years her senior, have been working on sensitive research on applied time travel. She respects the man: he is married to his work and just as passionate about science as she is. He is her favorite part of the day and she’ll stop at nothing to help their research. When a rival professor follows the pair into the lab and threatens their research and their safety, Dr. Wellesley does everything in his power to protect Anna from harm. But in his effort to protect her, he inadvertently sends her back in time. Forty years back in time, to be exact—to a time when a young student named Tommy Wellesley is just embarking on his first degree in physics. And it’ll be up to young Tommy to see her safely back to her own time. If he can bear to lose her.
This edition also includes two short time travel stories. “Suicide Watch” explores the more dangerous ramifications of time travel. After an unfortunate fight with the love of his life, Matthew Mitchell discovers a time machine. Tempted to win back his girlfriend, Matt takes the machine for a spin, only to find out that time travel is much more complicated than he expected, and the results are catastrophic.
“Toward Every Future’s Past” is flavored with sci-fi and fantasy and examines the cyclical nature of time and man’s difficulty in comprehending it.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck, and I hope to see you on December 22!