Ducking between lush ferns, you breathe in the rich scent of exotic flowers. Dangling precariously off sheer mountain ledges, you cling to the gritty rock beneath your hands while the wind howls discordant melodies. Dancing under the stars, you twirl and leap, as graceful as a Victorian ghost.
And you can do all this in the space of a few hours.
How? Your eyes flick toward that thing in the corner of the room. It may be disused, a veritable dust factory. It may be well used, the books chilling on the shelf all dog-eared, lines of old age stretching down their spines. It is your bookshelf.
Whether you’re an avid reader, eagerly searching for new books to dig into, or it’s been a year—or two—since you’ve reached for one on your own, here are some titles you can consider adding to your collection. Hold your breath and dive deep!
For sci-fi lovers: “Dune” by Frank Herbert
You might have already heard about or seen the new “Dune” movie, but reading this sci-fi, futuristic book (if you haven’t already) can be a massive eye-opener. Frank Herbert’s worldbuilding is described by many as unparalleled, and it’s worth reading time and time again.
And there are five sequels to this novel, probably enough to satisfy even the most voracious readers. You’ll have to finish 800+ pages of the first novel to reach them, though! But don’t let the gigantic length scare you away; it’s action-packed all the way through. For these reasons and more, “Dune” is a must-read.
For history enthusiasts: “Salt to the Sea” by Ruta Sepetys
“Salt to the Sea,” an enthralling work of historical fiction by Ruta Sepetys, describes four fictional characters’ experiences on the Wilhelm Gustloff, a real ship that sank during World War II. Over 9,000 people perished in this boat’s sinking, a staggering death toll that exceeds even that of the Titanic. However, its story is largely unknown, lost among millions of other casualties that occurred during the Second World War.
This emotional tragedy is sure to linger in your mind long after you’ve turned the final page. “Behind every statistic, there are stories.” —Chicago Tribune (on Sepetys’s novel).
For the good of heart: “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Join Sara Crewe, the sweet protagonist of this short story-turned-novel. Written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the famous author of “The Secret Garden,” this classic is no less of a gem.
After her family loses all their wealth due to a terrible accident, Sara is forced to work as a servant to pay off her debts and is abandoned by nearly everyone—they’d been hanging out with her for her money. However, she stays true, good and chivalrous. She proves to both us readers and the other characters in the novel that her circumstances don’t define her.
For animal (horse) lovers: “Smoky the Cowhorse” by Will James
Get ready to bust some broncs in this Wild West-themed novel! Readers will immediately fall in love with Will James’ easy-going writing style and the escapades of Smoky, the finest cow horse this side of anywhere.
On par with the likes of “Black Beauty” and “Flicka,” this wild ride of a tale will leave bittersweet stains on your heart. There’s more to this book than rowdy cowboys and bucking contests: it makes a powerful case that horses are truly man’s best friend.
For the mythology geeks: “Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog” by Ralph Hardy
Remember Argos, that old dog who waited ten years for Odysseus, the Greek hero that came up with the Trojan horse, to return from his journey? Well, this book is all about him.
Telling the tale of Homer’s famous “Odyssey” from Argos’s perspective, readers will fall in love with this canine protagonist. Ralph Hardy gifts readers a fresh, refreshing take on an old tale. Join Argos back on Odysseus’s home island of Ithaca and watch Odysseus’s son, Telemachus, grow up. Witness brave Penelope, Odysseus’s wife, contend with the ever-growing numbers of suitors that plague the palace.
The same 10 years, but from the eyes of a different protagonist—don’t wait to read this treasure of a book!