Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Lauren French

Reporter offers up her choice books

If you ask me, a reading list can never be too long.

For those of you looking to freshen up or extend your list, allow me to throw some recommendations your way:

• “West with the Night,” Beryl Markham: I carried this book around with me all summer, even after I had already finished reading. It tagged along on my camping trip to the Apostle Islands, and it spent a lot of sunny afternoons on my front steps.

This memoir-style book recounts the life of Beryl Markham, the first woman to fly solo, non-stop across the Atlantic from east to west. Her book focuses less on her accomplishments and more on her love for flying and her childhood in what was then called British East Africa and is now Kenya.

As a reader, be prepared to live through a lion attack and numerous flight missions to rescue wayward adventurers. The writing is striking. Here’s a quick example:

“I have lifted my plane from the Nairobi airport for perhaps a thousand flights and I have never felt her wheels glide from the earth into the air without knowing the uncertainty and the exhilaration of firstborn adventure.”

• “The Alchemist,” Paulo Coelho: I liked this book for its grandiose, fable-like story arch and the idealistic philosophies it contains.

The story focuses on Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who embarks on a journey for treasure. The book is cliche-heavy in its style, but I thought that worked well for the purpose of this book.

It’s an easy read at about 200 pages.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

• The Millennium Series, Stieg Larsson: This series of investigative crime novels from Swedish author Stieg Larsson will forever remain some of my favorites in that genre.

While planned as a 10-book series, Larsson’s unexpected death means only three of his books made it to print. In order, those are “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Girl who Played with Fire” and “The Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest.”

The series follows journalist Mikael Blomkvist and computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, who is one of my favorite literary characters. Blomkvist is charged with investigating the 40-year disappearance of a young girl, and his investigation weaves into Salander’s story.

One quick note: The first 80 or so pages of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is boring but necessary background on Swedish financial information. Make it through that and I promise it gets better.


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