In a world of iPhones and bright screens, traditional reading — you know, reading words from a piece of paper — is becoming a lost art. For those of us who prefer turning a page rather than scrolling, this general decline of interest in reading books pulls on our heartstrings and elicits a small sense of panic. If you are among the worried, fret not, for I have assembled a short list of a few of my favorite books — ones that I believe are worthy of a spot in your bookshelf.
“Sick in the Head” – Judd Apatow
Director and screenwriter Judd Apatow (think “Trainwreck,” “40 Year-Old Virgin” and “Anchorman”) recently released a book that is packed to the brim with interviews he’s conducted with some of the world’s finest comedians. With the intent of trying to understand what makes a comedian a comedian, Apatow has transcribed his conversations with Jerry Seinfeld, Jimmy Fallon, Amy Schumer and the whole cast of “Freaks and Geeks,” just to make a few. If you’re curious about the inner workings of the comedy world, or you just want to enjoy some good stories, you will want to get your paws on this book.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” – Margaret Atwood
Now talk about a story that is hard to put down. Atwood won me over with her book “Surfacing,” so when I picked this one up, I knew I’d be in for a treat. Set in a dystopian United States, the main character, Offred, is one of the many women who is forced to become a sex slave and a surrogate for infertile couples. The story is disturbing, compelling, and the ending will most likely frustrate you. Yet, it is highly recommended.
“Not That Kind of Girl” – Lena Dunham
This book will never get old. Yes, I may be biased — Dunham’s character, Hannah, in “Girls” is one of the only television characters I have ever related to — but this book is a must-read. In it, Dunham delves into her childhood years, sharing stories of her family, her lack of friends and her internet love interest. Though you may already have a not-so-great opinion of Dunham, I guarantee that you will relate to at least one of her narratives. Plus, she’s exuberantly hilarious.
“The Road” – Cormac McCarthy
Sometimes stories do not have to have a happy tone or end on a triumphant note in order to be a good read. “The Road” is one of these books. This post-apocalyptic story documents the journey of a man and his son as they make their way through the world that once was, depending on one another, as they are the only ones each other has. McCarthy writes in a simplistic, fragmented manner, and chooses to omit traditional grammar — no quotations or apostrophes. The story may leave you feeling as gray and desolate as the setting described, but nonetheless, it is a book worthy of your reading.
“The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” – Junot Díaz
History intertwines with teen angst. Taking place in the Trujillo dictatorship of the Dominican Republic, this story captures the life of Oscar, a painfully insecure and overweight “ghetto nerd” navigating the college years. Written in Spanglish, you will find yourself reading along in your head with an accent. Educational, relatable and surprising, this book will leave you with one question: what makes Oscar wondrous? Read on to find out.
Collegian A&E reporter Zara DeGroot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @zar_degroot.