I love books. I devour them. There are books in my life whose covers are worn thin and books that make the English language sing. And then there are the books who fill me with a sense of wonder.
It’s a strange experience. Books have the capability of eliciting many emotions from me. I’ve cried, I’ve been angry, I’ve been afraid, I’ve been impressed. But wonder… Wonder is a strange emotion that occurs rarely in my perusal of fiction. I still can’t describe it fully, but a part of it is that these books are the ones that capture me so fully that I stop processing what is happening in the world outside of the pages.
These books were the ones that devoured me.
- Eragon by Christopher Paolini
I don’t recall much of this book. I read it my sophomore year of high school and that is now eight years past. However,I do remember one very important thing: I nearly missed my bus stop reading this book. The bus stopped, and I read on, unawares. The bus driver called out, and I read on, unawares. The bus driver closed the door, and I read on. The bus started moving and only after other students shouted that yes I was here, I finally pulled myself from the book and realized how close I had come to walking a very long way home.
- The Rover by Mel Odom
This novel is the epitome of the idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover.” For years I passed it in my high school library, mocking its design. I mean look at it! That’s clearly the scene from The Two Towers when Frodo and Sam are captured by Faramir. And it’s in that awkward old-timey style. Seriously, why would anyone pick up such a blatant Tolkien rip-off?
To be honest, I actually don’t recall why I picked it up. Was it because I had already nommed through the other fantasy books? Was it morbid curiosity? Whatever the reason, I’m glad I did.
Sure, there are definite similarities to The Hobbit, and like The Hobbit, there were hints at a wider world beyond the protagonists’ current adventures, but it was its own world, with its own cultures and politics and history. Every page breathed something new and made you reach out to grasp at the unknown.
- The Golden One by Deborah Chester
It was on sale at Shopko, the first in a science fiction trilogy that focused on aliens (it’s even called The Alien Chronicles). I had the money and
wasam a book hoarder. So I bought it, and then I loved it. It’s the coming of age story of a slave owned by the empire’s heir apparent. There’s a richness to the world and to Ampris’ story, found in the language used by the characters and their inner thoughts. And the clear understanding of what Ampris will eventually become gives a thrill to see the steps that will take her there.
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is one of the few books I read that also makes the English language sing. It’s structure is poetic, the imagery vivid, the narrator one-part solemn and one part content. I grabbed the next few moments whenever I could, between classes, on the bus. I remember running the half-mile home from church, just to finish the final pages of this book. It’s the type of story that echoes long after the last page is turned.
- Broken Circle by John Shirley
One could say that this book had an unfair advantage. It’s a Halo novel with a focus on the aliens, of course I’ll fall in love with the book. Yet even Silentium, with its own ability to make a song out of English prose, and Hunters in the Dark, which was a story I had long desired to read, failed to engulfed me like Broken Circle. I trekked through a blizzard to the bookstore to purchase this novel, curled up back home with a cup of hot cocoa, and lost myself to planets of blue and red, worlds of metal, and alien expressions.