March 5-11: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
One of my favorite books of all time, it perfectly depicts a specific time period when a boy is discovering the world and growing up. Holden Caulfield is able to acknowledge the hypocrites (phonies as he calls them) and wants nothing more in life than to protect the innocence of the children who still have it. Between his realizations and confrontations with reality, it is the definition of a coming-of-age novel. Often cited as the inspiration behind John Lennon’s assassination, Catcher in the Rye remains on the banned book list in some states because of strong language and subject matter.
February 26- March 4: Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L’amour
L’amour dropped out of high school to travel, work, and read his life away, while also writing in his spare time. He managed to complete seventy novels and close to twenty collection of short stories, plus memoirs. “Education of a Wandering Man” chronicles his life, how he self-educated himself through literature, reading over 120 books a year, and documenting all the places he traveled. This story is not only interesting, but inspiring to say the least. I drew similarities between Mr. L’amour and Will Hunting from the movie Good Will Hunting, except Hunting was a master of math and sciences while L’amour was a connoisseur of the English language and literature.
February 19-25: South of Broad by Pat Conroy
South of Broad by Pat Conroy is the best book I’ve ever read in my life. The language is as beautiful as the book is long, over 500 pages, and the plot always keeps you guessing. I was so enveloped in the story and involved with the characters that I read the whole thing in just three days and hated when it ended because I didn’t want to part with the lives of Leo King and his friends and family. I’m convinced that Pat Conroy is the reason writing can be referred to as “word painting” because I felt as if I lived South of Broad in Charleston, South Carolina my entire life after reading his in-depth and masterful description.