Fountainhead. This book, plus her other great novel, Atlas Shrugged are monumental works that had a great influence on the course of my personal and professional life. Howard Rourk (Fountainhead's hero) is one of my all-time favorite fictional characters. And, where in the world is there a woman like Dagny Taggart (heroine of Atlas Shrugged). If you're out there, send me an email: .
I rotate the fare to avoid getting burnt out on any one genre. It's a toss-up as to which are my favorites. On the one hand, Historical Fiction (James Clavell, Ken Follett, John Jakes, Wilbur Smith, Leon Uris, Herman Wouk), or on the other, Science Fiction (Isaac Asimov, Orson Scott Card, Arthur C. Clark, Gordon R. Dickson, Frank Herbert). Throw in an occasional Thriller (Tom Clancy, John Grisham, John Le Carre), or Biographical Novels (Gore Vidal, Irving Stone) or a Classic (Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemmingway, John Steinbeck, Mark Twain) and that just about covers the bases.
Many times fictional books (like Colleen McCullough novels of ancient Rome including: First Man in Rome, The Grass Crown and Fortune's Favorites) will motivate further study by reading a non-fiction book about the same person or era (Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire).
Books I've re-read many times include J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings Trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King.
A Good Place To Start
When I started reading for pleasure again, I went back to some of the reading lists from my school days. On top of many of those lists was J.D. Salinger's Catcher in The Rye. You probably read this excellent little book in high school or college. I was suppose to read it for more than one English Literature class, and successfully avoided it each time. I started there.
Catcher's hero, Holden Caulfield is a kid going through some really tough times. He has been attending this boarding school with other rich New York kids, and he doesn't like it. They're just a bunch of phonies he laments. Catcher in The Rye is the story of one weekend in Holden's life. He finds out he's been kicked out of school (he wasn't an "ideal" student either). There are three days left in the term but Holden's not sticking around. He decides to skip town and go into New York City, planning to shack up in a hotel until working up the nerve to go home and face Mom and Dad.
The rest of the book tells of Holden's adventures in the city. We meet some of his friends and acquaintances, and in the end his savior and kid sister, Phoebe (you're going to love her). Along the way we get some insight into what's really going on in Holden's head. Catcher in The Rye is a sad-story humorously told. It captures "life as a teenager" through the actions, events, relationships and emotions of Holden Caulfield. Read this wonderful book! Young or old, Catcher in The Rye will make you laugh and cry, and maybe give you some insight into your own life.
It is never too late!
It is never too late to start reading. Books can take you on adventures from inside the atom to the furthest reaches of the universe, from the dawn of time to the far future, from inside the soul to the highest achievements of human ambition. Take it from someone who was late getting into the game, reading will set you free. Start today!
First Published: September 21, 1997 | Copyright © 1997-2008 Robin Chew