Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Want a Good Read? These 10 Books All Fit the Bill Nicely; Outgoing Book Editor Makes Some Final Recommendations

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Want a Good Read? These 10 Books All Fit the Bill Nicely; Outgoing Book Editor Makes Some Final Recommendations

Article excerpt

Byline: JENNIFER FISH DECAMP

I have led a double life for the past three years.

It's not the exciting kind, like that of uber spy Gabriel Allon in Daniel Silva's novels. I'm not a covert agent like Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan. Instead, I'm a bookseller. By day, I've acted as the Times-Union book editor, but at night I've been the person at local bookstores who gets paid peanuts to be around one of my first loves.

I was one of those children who left the library with a dozen books when only one would have been suitable. I woke up a half-hour early on school days so I could read in peace before the rest of my family left their beds. I had to double-major just so I could take all the creative writing classes that Indiana University's English department offered.

Little did I know that a few years later, I would be writing about books instead of writing my own. And I would be putting away that same copy of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment at the store.

Many times, I thought my last story for the Times-Union would be a bookstore etiquette lesson. (And you thought people in movie theaters were bad!) But that wouldn't really get to the point of my true love.

So I'm going to leave you with my recommended reading list: 10 titles that I've suggested to thousands of customers. The books aren't all classics or literary masterpieces; they're just books I love because they have made me laugh, cry, smile or fall in love whenever I needed an escape from life.

I hope that you'll crack open some of these covers and experience one of these feelings, too.

MAUS I AND MAUS II

BY ART SPIEGELMAN

Readers who pick up Spiegelman's Pulitzer-prize winning graphic novel will be so haunted and mesmerized by the depth of storytelling that they'll just have to read Volume II.

In Maus, Spiegelman not only examines the Holocaust story of his father, Vladek, but also uses this retelling to understand the emotionally elusive dad of his youth.

It's beautiful and bittersweet and a fantastic example of how simple line drawings can carry more weight than endless pages of words.

THE KITE RUNNER

BY KHALED HOSSEINI

I put off reading this book despite the glowing reviews of critics and friends. When I finally picked up the tale of friendship and family love in Afghanistan before the Russian invasion, I got so caught up in it that I read it all in one day.

THE GREAT GATSBY

BY F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

Fitzgerald's novel about the American dream, unrequited love and the clash between different socioeconomic classes is as meaningful today as it was in the Roaring '20s.

ABOUT A BOY

BY NICK HORNBY

American authors never seem to fully understand clever, understated humor like the Brits do. Hornby's novel about the tentative yet budding relationship between a young boy and wealthy, unlikely father figure is the kind of book you'll feel compelled to read aloud to a friend or family member. …

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