Six Novels All Book Lovers Should Read

By Jennifer Schleich / Originally published in The Cliffhanger, April 2015

Spring is an excellent time to start cleaning, or so they say. On the other hand, cleaning is one of those chores that’s never finished, so why bother. I recommend dusting off your bookshelf instead.

You cannot write if you have not read, or something along those lines, so here is some knowledge gleaned from my very expensive English degree — it’s good for something, right? Get ready to bust out your library card and give these six books a chance; I promise you they are worth the read and many literary scholars, more studious and astute than I, agree.

  1. Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King

Written by Canadian-American Cherokee author Thomas King, this is a wonderfully humorous book rife with comedy. It’s written in the winding and flexible style of oral storytelling innate to First Nations cultures. It’s a rich and vivid satirical look at life on the Canadian prairies.

  1. Complicity by Iain Banks

For the mystery lover among us, Complicity is a must-read story about a Scottish journalist who becomes intertwined within the crime he is reporting. The thrilling novel is muddled with confusion and plot twists and by the time you get to the end you still won’t quite know what you believe. Literary intrigue at its finest.

  1. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Katherine Dunn dives deep into the world of American carnival culture with her story about the Binewski family. It is funny, familiar, sad, heartbreaking, disturbing and subversive. Be prepared for this novel to make you feel uncomfortable, but you can take solace in the fact it is a favourite of Tim Burton’s.

  1. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

Let us travel back in time to 1941 and the emergence of hard-boiled detective dramas. This is a classic 20th century novel that captures the entire cultural feeling of an era, and it’s a good old fashioned mystery too.

  1. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

With pure science fiction and gravity-defying language, Pierce Brown will literally transport you through time and space to a world unlike our own. It’s a story of political and ideological subversion on the planet Mars in a high-tech space faring future.

  1. Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang by Joyce Carol Oates

You may or may not have heard of this book in movie form, starring Angelina Jolie. You will hear quite frequently that the book is never as good as the movie, but having not seen the movie I will decline to comment. Here’s the premise: high school girls in 1950s America form a girl power pact ahead of their time, and subsequently falter through adolescence as they struggle to exist in a society to which they don’t conform.

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