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In my preparations for traveling abroad, I am stocking up on good reads to keep me company.  I have compiled together both favorites and a few I am dying to get my hands on. Enjoy.

The End of Boys by Peter Brown Hoffmeister; A coming of age story littered with teen angst – no. A memoir of a lost teenage boy rising to the man he is destined to be – yes. This book is captivating, dark, beautiful, and haunting all at the same time. Not once does Peter drift into a world of excuses for his childhood or fall into the trap of self-pity. Hoffmeister simply retells his story in a way that is unbiased and straight forward. His writing style is refreshing – a quick, to the point, no bull-sh*t kind of voice. A truly remarkable, inspiring story. Do yourself a favor and read this book.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess:  I’ll be upfront here, I’ve been trying to get through this book for a year now.  Not because I don’t enjoy it, not because it is slow paced or boring.  But because Burgess invents an entirely new language with his writing that has never been seen before.  This book requires time to truly understand and appreciate what Burgess has done with language. It is a haunting tale that challenges society’s take on the difference between good and evil and questions the limits, or lack-there-of, of self-redemption. This narrative is truly inventive and worth the time it takes to finish.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan: My good friend Jessica recommended this book to me after she chose to read and review it for our literary editing class.  I have yet to start, but it’s staring at me from my bookshelf and is one I cannot wait to get to.  A winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, I have high hopes for this one.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein: What a lovely breath of fresh air this book is! If you’re looking for a quick read that is for once something other than a sappy romance or a coming of age story, please, please pick up a copy of this book. Written from the perspective of a dog named Enzo, this book defines what it means to find hope in the face of tragedy.

100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Another Pulitzer Prize winner. One of the most acclaimed authors of our time, Marquez greatly influenced the literary Latin American Boom movement with this book that to many is considered his masterpiece.  Looking forward to this one.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald:  I recently had the pleasure of re-reading this little gem for an English course I took a few months ago, and it reminded me of how truly fabulous this novel is.  Calling attention to the jazz age, and with it class divergence and social stratification, this novel paints a picture of the roaring ’20s at it follows Nick Carraway, a respectable young man, after his move to New York, where he encounters the one and only Jay Gatsby.  If you haven’t read this already, put it at the top of your list.  And if you have, re-read it! It’s even better the second time around. Promise.

Well folks, there you have it. And in the words of one of my favorite childhood authors of all time, “The more you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go,” – Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”

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