It is one of my deepest beliefs that a book can impact you in a way that cannot even be expressed, that it can take you to far off places and make you forget, or perhaps remember. A good book cannot always be judged by the quality of writing, or the maturity of the plot, or the morals that it portrays, but the feeling you get as it comes to a close, as you read the final paragraph. Sometimes a good book is fluffy, sometimes a good book is nostalgia incarnate, sometimes a good book is fanciful, sometimes a good book is thought provoking, these are nine of which, I would recommend, to do just that:
1. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Following one fateful night involving a girl and a man on the hunt fallen victim to a marauding hound, the Baskervilles have since been plagued by a mysterious, supernatural black hound. Sherlock sends Watson out to the estate to investigate the case of the most recent death of the Baskervilles, that has brought forth the original superstition of such a hound. This is one of the great Sherlock Holmes' mystery's but, unlike most of Doyle's work, of primarily short stories, this is a novel.
2. Emma by Jane Austen
Emma Woodhouse is handsome, clever and rich, she is also quite spoiled. This is a tale of the perils of misconstrued love. Emma greatly overestimates her ability of matchmaking and doesn't quite understand the effects of meddling in peoples lives. A light comedy of love, friendship and misconceptions.
3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Based in the 1960's in Jackson, Mississippi, this is a story about African-American maids working and raising white kids. It is also about "Skeeter" an awkward young woman, who has come back from graduating college, and is trying to get a job as a journalist. This is a great book to get lost in.
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
A classic love story. Following Elizabeth Bennett, in the turn of the 19th century, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, marriage and morality. The story centres around Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, who appear to hate each other from the beginning, and Jane and Mr. Bingley, who adore each other from the beginning. Throwing in the mix, three ridiculous sisters and a mother equally so, this is an epic balance between pride, prejudice, silliness, marriage, money and all manners of social events.
5. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
An orphaned girl mistakenly brought home to the brother and sister pair, Matthew and Marilla, this story follows Anne as she grows up in the Cuthbert's household, at school and in the town. Anne is equally ridiculous, charming and captivating, she will hold your attention despite and due to her imagination. A light and humorous story to ease you back into reading. My favourites from the series of eight, are Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars and Anne's House of Dreams where she is grown up and sent off into the world, however it is necessary to start from the beginning of her story!
6. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Tells the story of four gifted children, Reynie Muldoon, Sticky Washington, Kate Wetherall, and Constance Contraire, as they are formed into the "Mysterious Benedict Society" and are sent to investigate a facility called L.I.V.E. (the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened), run by the brilliant but evil Ledroptha Curtain. Another great, light read that is easy to get into.
7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
A dystopian novel set in the country, Panem, consisting of the wealthy Capitol and twelve districts in varying degrees of poverty. Every year the Capitol holds the Hunger Games, where one boy and one girl from each district are selected at random and put in a man-made "arena" where they are to fight to the death -- only one victor will prevail. It follows Katniss Everdeen, who volunteers in place of her 12 year old sister, and Peeta Mellark from the same district, in their twisted love story to fight for their lives. Even if you are not a "fantasy" reader this story will captivate and transport you into a different world not-so-different from our own.
8. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter is eleven when he finds out he is a wizard, orphaned and living with his Aunt, Uncle and cousin Dudley, Harry is relieved with this knowledge, and against his guardian's will, sent to Hogwarts, the school of witchcraft and wizardry. It follows Harry and his two friends, Ron and Hermione as they face a potential come-back of the feared Lord Voldemort. The Harry Potter books are a classic and should be read at least once! (I believe I might have read all seven at least four times!)
9. Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery
Emily Starr is a heroine with a love for the beauty in nature and art, loyalty to her friends, a thirst for knowledge, and a passionate dedication to her writing. She is also orphaned at a young age and sent off to her relatives, she quickly finds friends in the hired boy, Perry Miller, a slightly erratic and untamed Ilse Burnley and the quiet Teddy Kent. A classic coming of age novel, with two equally captivating sequels.
I think your summer is spent now, I believe every reader will be able to find at least one novel among these to enjoy. Let me know if you have read any of them before and your thoughts!