It’s the scary month, October! And what with bug zapping and all the hoopla going on, I must admit I haven’t prioritized expanding my nonfiction mental library.
So we’re going to try something a little new this time. With National Novel Writing Month just around the corner, this month’s book list will feature fiction more heavily than nonfiction, as usual.
In this month’s recommendations:
- A book that was a classic before it was even published
- The true story of a prodigal son…and his prodigal mother
- A slightly lesser-known work by, arguably, the greatest female author in history
- And more
Let’s get started!
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Be not fooled by the saccharine title of this classic novel, which was subtitled “a classic” before it was even written, according to the “translator/abridger” of the “original story.”
And in case you haven’t figured it out by reading the book or from the sentence above, the “translator abridger of the original story” is none other than William Goldman himself, which right there already hints at what a rollicking, 4th-wall-breaking, semi-satirical fantasy-comedy The Princess Bride is. So if that sounds like the kind of novel that tickles your tailfeathers, then you have to give it a try! 😃
Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
I cracked open Quo Vadis on a Friday afternoon and some 8 hours later, realized that I had powered through the whole thing without stopping. Although it’s been a while since then, this historical novel set in Rome during the end of Emperor Nero’s reign shows the slow destruction of Rome, its persecution of early Christians, and the redemption of a young Roman soldier whose attraction to a young woman who is forbidden to him drives a deep, complex plot that is difficult to describe in a few simple lines.
Quo Vadis was written in 1896 by Nobel laureate Henryk Sienkiewicz, and became an international bestseller that was adapted to the screen multiple times. If you’re wondering what makes this novel so compelling, the best way to find out is to read it yourself. (Just make sure you have a lot of free time to read it all in a sitting or two, just in case 😉)
Out of a Far Country by Christopher and Angela Yuan
Out of a Far Country is a duo-autobiography (a duography?) written by a mother and son about a picture-perfect family on the verge of falling apart; a profligate son on the verge of destroying his life with parties, sex, and drugs; a hopeless mother on the verge of suicide…
And a series of small, unwanted miracles that turned it all around.
This is a true story that, to me, is one of the clearest pictures of what love really is: not mere indulgence, sexuality, emotion, feeling, or passion, but a genuine, self-sacrificing, truth-honoring, long-suffering attitude toward even undeserving “prodigals” who try to push it away.
To this day, Christopher and his mother Angela and father Leon continue to share their experiences to audiences around the world, bringing hope for healing relationships to families that are hurting, just as theirs was.
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
If you loved the cheeky humor, the hilarious characterizations, and ingenious plot of Jane Austen’s most famous work, Pride and Prejudice, then you’ll enjoy her other alliteratively titled novel, Sense and Sensibility.
This story about two sisters, one logical and reserved, the other wild and passionate, and their challenging relationships with out-of-reach love interests includes such snarky, side-splitting lines as:
“Mrs. Ferrars’ family had of late been exceedingly fluctuating. For many years of her life she had had two sons; but the crime and annihilation of Edward a few weeks ago, had robbed her of one; the similar annihilation of Robert had left her for a fortnight without any; and now, by the resuscitation of Edward, she had one again.”
In spite of his being allowed once more to live, however, [Edward] did not feel the continuance of his existence secure, till he had revealed his present engagement; for the publication of that circumstance, he feared, might give a sudden turn to his constitution, and carry him off as rapidly as before.
Need I say more? 😉
Then Sings My Soul by Robert Morgan
Then Sings My Soul is a collection of background stories about the great classic hymns of history.
Some stories include:
- The story of a famous Baroque composer who wrote, in less than a month, a powerful, perennial composition still played hundreds of years after its creation
- The tale of the other, less famous song written by former slave-ship owner John Newton
- How a German nobleman with an odd-sounding name inspired a young woman to write and publish a poem which became a song, a hundred years later
If you, like me, love history, music, and stories (especially true stories), or know someone who does, then this book is a must for your (or their) personal library!
And that’s the book list for October ~
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